We've homeschooled for several years, but I've never had an interest in joining any sort of homeschooling group or co-op. The primary reason is that I've never wanted to be committed to something that interrupts our weekdays on a regular basis. Over time I've also noticed that the only time I hear people talking about their groups is in a negative light - don't like the other parents, don't like the leaders, don't like the other kids, don't like the way decisions are made, don't like the activities, or simply dislike the hassle of being committed to going. Additionally, we just haven't felt any sort of need or desire to join a group. The pros, which I realize are there, have never outweighed the cons for our family.
However, we went to a group today.
Yes, we did.
Remember my announcement that we aren't going to homeschool the big boys next year? Well .... I don't know.
Silas and Devon had a writing assignment a few weeks ago about what they like about homeschooling, what they dislike about it, and what things are important to them in regards to schooling choices. It totally confirmed my reasons for wanting to change things next year, which was reassuring, and their answers pretty much matched up with my own.
At the same time, I've spent the last couple weeks wondering if we could change the way we homeschool to make it work better for all of us. Neither the big boys nor I are super happy with how things are right now, both academically and non-academically, so one way or another, things have to be done differently next year. The public and charter schools are definitely still on the table as very realistic options for next year, but I'm tossing around some ideas about how we could possibly homeschool more successfully. And by "successfully" I mean in a way that works for our family at this particular point in time, not that there's a right or wrong way to do it.
Anyway, back to the homeschooling group.
One of the things that needs to change is to have more time around other people. Well, last fall I met a woman at swim lessons who had recently started a group for homeschoolers in our area. I joined the group online a few months ago, but we've never attended any of their events.
The thing I like the best about this group is that there is no commitment necessary. If you want to come, then come. If you don't, then don't. They have a set schedule for Fridays, which makes it easy for people to decide whether or not a particular week would be worthwhile for their family to attend, and they randomly do other things together.
This week? Art.
I don't have an artistic bone in my body and the word "craft" makes me start twitching, so my kids are just a wee bit deprived in that area. I figured that meant it would be a good week for us to attend the group, so off we went. The kids made paper mosaics. Simple, I realize, but it never would have occurred to me to do that with them.
I chatted with some other women, the kids visited while they worked, and we all went home happy. I have the upcoming events written on the calendar and we're planning to attend regularly on science and art weeks throughout the rest of the school year.
You know what else I like? It's within walking distance, though we drove today because it was pouring buckets and we had an errand on the other side of town.
So, there it is. The "I don't want to join a group" mom just joined a group. Or participated in one, anyway.