I wanted to share a bit more about the group that I (accidentally!) set up and some tips on setting up your own group for your local home ed community.
When we started out in our Home Ed journey, we were keen that the children would develop a routine and a frienship group, and we are really lucky that there are a number of other home educators, with similar aged children right on our doorstep! We have a good group of friends that we see regularly and the children are all at similar stages in development.
I wanted my older two to earn the WWF badges a few months back, and so I thought it might be a fun project to do with friends, and a way to introduce them to the idea of presenting their work back to their peers. It’s a skill I struggle with myself and both Damian and I really want the children to be more confident than we are.
Having now run three groups and being in the position of having people ask if they can join us (but having to turn down due to space and numbers) I wanted to share my top tips about setting up your own group.
Decide on the style of the group
I wanted the group to be reasonably formal and to have a structure to it – I wanted there to be a tangile outcome so it was important that this was clear to the other participants. I planned out a rough idea of what I thought the session might look like and decided that a two hour get together would be a good amount of time.
Our group meets, once everyone is here the children take it in turns to present their projects. There are a maximum of 13/14 children who take part (and some of us also have younger children with us too). It takes us around 45 minutes on average to listen to all the presentations. This then allows the children to look at each others’ work then play. It was important to me that all the children were listened to, and so I didn’t want the listening session to be too long when (inevitably) children get restless. It works well for us as the children all approach their projects in different ways and they are all genuinely keen to listen to each other.
Decide on a venue
I’m fortunate enough to be able to host a reasonable number of children and their parents at home, so it was an easy choice to host at home – there’s no hire costs and it stays informal.
We do a small snack after the presentations, usually drinks, fruit and a biscuit. The children then disperse around and the mums (dad’s are invited but it’s mums who predominantly home educate) get to catch up, share ideas and enjoy a coffee. Myself and another local mum have shared the hosting so far (and others have also offered) so this works well for us.
Choose a theme
Our group started up to complete a WWF badge, and the children all enjoyed it so much that we decided to meet again, the second time to earn an RSPB badge. Each child gets a certificate and a badge after their presentation and I know some fasten on to backpacks and my own two have a length of material that they affix them to.
We continue the group around once a month (a bit of a longer gap over the Christmas period) and the next theme is People of Note. I’ve also got ideas to do Sports People, Ocean Creatures, Artists (music, actors, painters etc) and I’m sure we will think of many more.
Having a theme works well for us at the moment, as it means there is a focus for the children, and they’re looking at things that they might not have necessarily naturally chosen to themselves.
Enjoy the day!
We really enjoy the events – it’s nice to be able to see all the children growing in confidence each time we get together and to see the many different approaches to the same theme that they all take. I’m really looking forward to our next meet up and listening to the people the children have all studied. Daniel is doing his on Roald Dahl and Emma is yet to decide.