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    #6502 - 12/28/07 08:09 AM homeschooling groups
    Lorel Offline
    Member

    Registered: 08/22/07
    Posts: 970
    Loc: New England
    I saw Q and Kriston started a discussion on homeschooling and I thought I'd bring it up here.

    Homeschooling groups of all kinds exist all over the country. There are groups exclusively for unschoolers, classical homeschoolers, Christians, gifted, etc.

    I live in a rural community 45 minutes outside any major city. My group is not easy to locate, but we have small posters up at local libraries and have a contact listed on the state homeschool organization web site. There are about 200 families on our email list. We attract people from up to about 30 minutes away from our "hub". Most of our big events are in one particular town, in the community center building or a park.

    It is impossible to say how important our group is to me and my family. It is an inclusive group, welcoming everyone who home educates their children, regardless of ethnicity, color, or creed. We have diehard unschoolers as well as strict classical homeschoolers, but most of us seem to be more relaxed and/or eclectic. We have friends who are Jewish, all flavors of Christian, Muslim, and Wiccan. Just this morning, the mother of the Wiccan family was telling me about how they celebrate Winter Solstice.

    Regular events include the annual:
    science fair, International Day, National Day, Spring Fling (Prom), and Family Fun Day, which is a fall kickoff BBQ and outdoor game day.

    monthly: board game day, craft day, and two teen events

    and short term classes arranged by members such as:
    swimming, dance, art, gymnastics, science, drama, book club, and more

    Naturally, we also have informal playdates as well, which can last for many hours or even a couple days! LOL, my husband likes to tease that homeschooling is a misnomer, as we are rarely home for a whole day.

    I will say that I make social activities a priority. I feel that the social and emotional stuff is vital, and my kids are pretty well able to feed their heads without a lot of time or effort. I see my oldest with Asperger's, and he is SO smart, yet struggles with everyday interactions. I wish we could trade off IQ points for EQ points; I'd do it for him in a heartbeat.

    Anyway, there are many groups out there, and if you don't find one that rings your bell, you should consider starting your own. All it takes is 3-4 families to get started.


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    #6503 - 12/28/07 08:11 AM Re: homeschooling groups [Re: Lorel]
    Kriston Offline
    Member

    Registered: 09/19/07
    Posts: 6145
    Loc: Midwest
    Thanks, Lorel! I knew you'd be better at answering this sort of question (for Questions! smile ) than I am!
    _________________________
    Kriston
    Mom to DS13 and DS10

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    #6516 - 12/28/07 03:58 PM Re: homeschooling groups [Re: Kriston]
    questions Offline
    Member

    Registered: 11/24/07
    Posts: 864
    Thank you. I just wanted to know more about home schooling. This afternoon, I followed your leads and looked into some of the local groups around here and sent out emails. I don't want to home school, but if I have to down the road, I'd rather have the knowledge ahead of time.

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    #6524 - 12/29/07 12:39 AM Re: homeschooling groups [Re: questions]
    Kriston Offline
    Member

    Registered: 09/19/07
    Posts: 6145
    Loc: Midwest
    You're so right. And even if you decide to afterschool instead of doing the full-on home schooling, you might find groups to give you some guidance, support and fun activities to do with your DS.

    Very smart of you! I wish I'd planned ahead so that our emergency home schooling would have been something less of an emergency! wink
    _________________________
    Kriston
    Mom to DS13 and DS10

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    #6530 - 12/29/07 07:00 AM Re: homeschooling groups [Re: Kriston]
    Lorel Offline
    Member

    Registered: 08/22/07
    Posts: 970
    Loc: New England
    It's never a bad idea to be prepared. I read about homeschooling for about a year before I talked DH into even considering it. Basically, I wore him down!

    I think it is important to remember that no decision has to be forever. You can make plans year by year, according to how things are working out for your child and your family. The exception might be if you give up a slot in a selective school- your child may not be able to return. But public schools are always there as a fall back, and many times the public schools are more flexible about accommodation than their highly priced counterparts.

    To begin homeschooling, you don't really need much more than a library card and reliable transportation. Take your time locating resources and don't be tempted into buying expensive curricula before you really understand all the options. A very common newbie mistake is to buy the right program at the wrong grade level, or something that is a total mismatch for your child. Even within the same family and at the same level of intelligence, you can't assume the kids will react the same way to a particular program.

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    #6531 - 12/29/07 07:20 AM Re: homeschooling groups [Re: Lorel]
    Lorel Offline
    Member

    Registered: 08/22/07
    Posts: 970
    Loc: New England
    I realize I must sound like a homeschool cheerleader, and I apologize for that. I just want to demonstrate that the social aspects of homeschooling can be quite rewarding. It seems that too many people have an idea of sitting alone with their children in the house day after day, and Mom or dad's brain turning to mush as it shrivels from lack of adult conversation. In reality, a homeschooler does not have to be on task form 8 am to 3 pm, as their learning tends to be much more efficient. There's no waiting for the teacher to answer their question, no standing by while a classmate is disciplined, no time staring out the window waiting for slower classmates to finish their work. So most homeschoolers have MORE time free to socialize or to pursue hobbies and special interests.

    More on activities: Usually anyone can step forward and run an activity. If I see an opportunity my kids might enjoy, I call around or post a query to our group e-list.

    Some activities are one time only. Last year, a mom organized this:
    http://www.talklikeapirate.com/

    Some kids chose to dress like pirates; others displayed reports on famous pirates, both real and fictitious. It was a hoot!

    My son ran a pokemon card game tourney a couple years ago. We had kids from age 8-14 take part.

    There are also field trips to see maple syrup made, volunteer with Heifer International, attend the Nutcracker, view an IMAX film, spend a day at a historic village...

    Have a great day!


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    #6535 - 12/29/07 08:08 AM Re: homeschooling groups [Re: Lorel]
    questions Offline
    Member

    Registered: 11/24/07
    Posts: 864
    I have to thank you both. This has been a very valuable "conversation," and through the links provided, I have found some great resources, including our local gifted association and gifted homeschooling association.

    For us, the homeschool issues would be: 1) I work; 2) my family would freak out - they have enough trouble with DS as it is, since he's so clearly not like other kids to begin with; and 3) I'm just not sure what's best for him. Interestingly, this morning he told me his ideal school would be hands-on (after all, the scientists at NASA don't just do the calculations - they build the rockets, too). He also told me for the first time that school is boring because it's too easy. He wants to be doing the calculations to build those NASA rockets, not wasting his time with the easy stuff.

    So I'm educating myself as to how to best educate him. And looking for other gifted children for him to hang out with. And maybe some additional activities through various local homeschool groups. So thanks again!

    And here is one of the great links I found that I thought I would share with all of you. Definitely helps me with our constant web searches: http://www.emints.org/ethemes/resources/by-grade.shtml#9_

    Happy New Year!

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    #6536 - 12/29/07 08:59 AM Re: homeschooling groups [Re: questions]
    Kriston Offline
    Member

    Registered: 09/19/07
    Posts: 6145
    Loc: Midwest
    Glad the stuff I sent you helps, Questions. If you have any other questions or anything, just say so. And let me know how it's going. We're all in this together! smile
    _________________________
    Kriston
    Mom to DS13 and DS10

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    #6549 - 12/29/07 09:15 PM Re: homeschooling groups [Re: Lorel]
    Kriston Offline
    Member

    Registered: 09/19/07
    Posts: 6145
    Loc: Midwest
    Originally Posted By: Lorel
    It seems that too many people have an idea of sitting alone with their children in the house day after day, and Mom or dad's brain turning to mush as it shrivels from lack of adult conversation.


    True! I always deadpan that we lock DS in the basement and just toss books down the stairs to him so none of us has to speak to anyone.

    tee-hee-hee!

    But seriously, I worried about all the same things with home schooling before I started doing it. It's SOOOO much easier and more pleasant than I thought it would be. It is NOT "school at home," which would be socially isolating and painful; it's a totally different, much more laid-back animal.

    If only I could keep the house cleaner, have more time alone, and find more time and energy to devote to my book, it would be darn-near perfect for our family!
    _________________________
    Kriston
    Mom to DS13 and DS10

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    #6551 - 12/30/07 06:39 AM Re: homeschooling groups [Re: Kriston]
    Lorel Offline
    Member

    Registered: 08/22/07
    Posts: 970
    Loc: New England
    Kriston-

    Every option has positives and negatives, and you've hit upon two of the biggies for homeschooling. One is that it can be hard to keep the house in order when it is occupied so much, and you have to have the educational stuff readily accessible. The other is that many of us have to work hard at giving ourselves a break. I am lucky enough to have a DH who works from home several days a week. I can run here or there without hauling all the kiddos along every single time. Let me tell you Moms with kids in school, a solo trip to the grocery store can feel like Heaven! LOL, but I also try to schedule an hour away here or there when I don't have to do anything. I try to get out with my friends several times a year, and attend the adults only homeschool support group meeting when I have an interest in the topic to be addressed. As my toddler grows older, I will be making more of an effort to have "me" time and couple time with DH. It isn't easy to keep this stuff from getting pushed to the back burner though, and months can go by and I feel myself getting crabby for no particular reason. Be good to yourself, and your whole family will profit!

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