Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Seeking Like-Minded Homeschoolers

In the beginning, we found it difficult to find people who were homeschooling for any reason other than religion. It was really hard to make friends, especially since any arranged get-togethers with other families inevitably led to the dreaded question: What church do you attend? Once a parent discovered my children were godless heathens bound for the pits of hell, they no longer wanted their children anywhere near mine.

I eventually found a local "inclusive" group who met once or twice a month. We started attending meetings, and after a few discussions about creationism versus evolution, I realized inclusive didn't mean there were actually other non-religious families attending. The group's leader, however, was adamant that this group was open to everyone, and encouraged me to keep attending.

As the group grew, and more and more introductions started with "We were led by The Lord to homeschool," I suppose I got a little tired of being quiet about my lack of belief. I began stating in my introduction that I was not a Christian, and my reasons for homeschooling had nothing to do with religion. I felt it was better to get it out in the open instead of having my kids be left out later.

Once in awhile, a pagan or another atheist would come to these meetings, and bit by bit, we began forming friendships.

One day a new homeschooling mother showed up. I'll call her Angie, because that's her name. Angie had three kids, and they were all within one year of the ages of my kids. Before the meeting started, a woman stated she was in the midst of a move and wasn't sure what to do about lessons while they were trying to unpack and get situated. She asked, "Has anyone ever just not had school because you're too busy moving?"

There were a few replies with similar situations.

Then Angie--this new member of our group--asked, "Has anyone ever not had school because you're too hungover?"

...and then this happened:

...and she and I made eye contact, I started laughing, and I said, "You and I are going to become very good friends."


Susan said...

heh...Angie is daring! :-)

You're very fortunate to find a good homeschooling friend with kids around the same age.
We have homeschooling friends and I appreciate them, but none that we can let really let loose with...

Bleu said...

My very dearest homeschooling friend moved away right around the time I met Angie, so that meeting was fortuitous.

My other friend was an unschooler with two kids, and she is now living happily in Oregon. Actually, make that living ecstatically.

We have other like-minded friends that are homeschoolers, too, so all in all, we've been very fortunate to find our niche here. Our not-back-to-school parties get quite large, actually. Of course some friendships are closer than others, but that's true of all friendships.

Anonymous said...

What a funny story. I am just finding some like-minders in our area, and my daughter is already 5. She had a few very good friends over the years, but I've had few who shared my views. Here's hoping to better days.

Anonymous said...

Ooops! I said my daughter was 5. I meant 15!

Wendy Hawksley said...

THAT is precious! I need an Angie, or someone else who understands that - yup - sometimes you're too hungover for school. ;)

Meg_L said...

I love the group we've been part of for the last 10 years, but.....

I also get very tired of being the "non-religious" voice in a sea of green. The year we were in NM was very fulfilling.

It would be WONDERFUL to find someone like minded around here.

jugglingpaynes said...

LOL! That's hysterical! I love it!

Thanks for visiting my carnival and advertising it. I really appreciate the support!

Peace and Laughter!

Bleu said...

Wendy, everyone needs an Angie. :)

Meg, the only way I found people was to keep talking and outing myself. It's too bad you aren't here--I'd welcome you with open arms!

Cristina, your carnival was very impressive. The theme was perfect for homeschooling, and there were a lot of really great posts. I left comments on several blogs, as a matter of fact, and I made sure to let them know I found them via your version of the carnival.

Bleu said...

sg, I recognize and am grateful for the secular hs'ing friends we've made. I wish everyone could be so fortunate.

Barefoot Mama said...

This made me laugh Bleu! In the UK, home education (as we tend to call it) is usually chosen for 'alternative, non-conformist' type reasons, not religious reasons, which was great for us. But I'm finding it quite different here in Cyprus, most of the home schoolers are missionaries. I made a quick dash to the toilet the other day at a gathering as the conversation turned to 'what church..?', so you're post really resonated for me! Glad I'm not alone! Thanks.

Bleu said...

I'm glad so many of us are finding one another online.

You know what's funny...a few decades ago in the US, homeschooling was for the non-conformists, as well. We've been surpassed in recent history, however. When you mention you're homeschooling here, people just assume it's for religious reasons.

Meg_L said...

Bleu, I do.

And while I have found a few other liberals, they either tend to be my not homeschooling friends or still very, very conservative in other ways.

It gets tiring.

Tigers Moondiva said...

Hi! I have been soaking up your blog (and I LOVE the too hungover thing... LOL)

I actually wanted to homeschool since before my son was BORN. I prepped for about 4 year... and then this past year - I got a LOT of pressure... from EVERYWHERE.

I got frightened and 2 days ago sent him to "real school."

I dropped him off - at what seemed to me a prison - and picked him up after crying all day. I felt like I had fired myself.

The teacher looked as if she'd been put through a WRINGER. She said to me "We did NOT have a good day."

Apparently - when I taught him that if a "stranger" ever tried to get him to do ANYTHING - he was to do the opposite and make a LOT of noise. -oh yeah, and run like hell.

Apparently he remembered this lesson. And technically - the teacher WAS a stranger.

That was his first and last day of school!

This morning we withdrew him - and I am pretty sure I heard his teacher scream "Thank God" from the teachers' lounge. (JK:)

We are both happy and excited about the new journey though and we will continue going through the wealth of information you have to offer.

Keep making us laugh!

Bleu said...

That is the most interesting first day of school story I have EVER heard! :D

Best wishes for a successful homeschool journey. Sometimes it's scary, challenging, and a big pain in the rear, but there are lots of benefits, as well. I'm too tired to think of any right now, but I know they're there.