I had a quick look through the various homeschooling e-groups that we belong to and this is a sample of what's on offer to homeschoolers:
- foreign languages (Chinese, Spanish, French, Latin)
- field trips
- theatre studies (drama, film studies)
- arts and crafts (weaving, sewing, basketry, woodwork, mixed media, arts awards)
- nature-based education (forest school, forest conservation, gardening)
- language arts workshops (creative writing, poetry)
- park days
- sports (karate, fencing, horse riding, sailing, trampolining, multisports, gymnastics, swimming, bowling, scouts/guides, climbing, kayaking, archery, ice skating)
- music (choir, instruments, music production, musicianship)
- science (engineering and electronics, robotics, physics, science fairs, various LEGO groups, science awards)
- history workshops
- geography workshops
- maths workshops
- special interests workshops (magic club, first aid, philsophy, cookery, circus skills)
- toddlers and preschoolers groups
Most of the time interest groups are started by one or a few parents to fill in a gap when their own children has a need and the corresponding activity has not been offered yet. These groups are basically created out of various homeschooling parents' initiatives.
As is obvious from the list above, it is very possible to home educate your child successfully in England by just signing up to the activities that are currently on offer. I know of at least two families that do exactly that.
I apply the same basic principles in selecting how much external participation Tiger does as I have mentioned here. It is really a question of finding the right balance for my family. More than 90% of the activities listed above take place outside of our local area (i.e. more than 10 miles away from us) so Tiger's regular homeschooling group meet-ups has been for:
- field trips
- forest school
Socially, the amount of regular interaction we have with other homeschoolers as stated above, is sufficient to keep us happy. We don't limit our social interactions to homeschoolers so Tiger's social circle is very wide. In other words, his peer group is not restricted by age group, locality, or methods of learning. He is led by his interests to have regular meaningful interactions with adults as well as school-attending children, both locally and further afield. For example, Tiger's passion in military history has resulted in him holding membership to a national history group that meets regularly to discuss, investigate, and debate over research and findings in archaeology, history, and battles.
|These are books that Tiger reads at his own leisure.|
Tiger is also a member of a junior chess club that competes at county and national levels, a local junior tennis club, and a regional junior archaeologist club run by working archaeologists.
Interestingly, I am aware that there are at least 10 homeschooling families that live locally to us, but there is no local group. Everyone seems to have already found a comfortably suitable way forward without the need or desire to form a local group.
I have met a number of these families through our rounds in the home ed groups circuit over the years. The common characteristics of these families, as far as I can gather, are that:
- they are decent, honest families who are discreet and fiercely protective of their personal privacy;
- they are very often blessed with an independent spirit that requires little external validation for what they consider to be a personal decision and indeed a private matter, i.e. to educate their own children.
- they know why they are homeschooling their children, and they know what to do to best support their children's needs, so most of them just want to be left in peace to get on with their family life purposefully.
Having said that, there is nothing to stop me from taking the lead in organising regular activities for the homeschooling community in the future should the need arise. In fact, I often toy with the idea of starting regular group activities locally, but that hasn't happened yet because Tiger still needs individualised and focused support from me at the moment so trying to start something now would only distract me from giving him the attention he needs. To meet Tiger's needs is, afterall, my top priority in this homeschooling journey.
With the wide variety of activities that are available to homeschoolers these days, there are so many ways to create a great education that is tailored to meet each child's needs, based on individual families' circumstances and requirements. For other examples of how homeschooling groups might work for your family, please visit these ladies to read what they have to say on this topic:
- Chareen wonders about where you get your Homeschool Support.
- Bernadette shares a sad story about the demise of a homeschooling group when some are Unable to Commit.
- Julie declares that she will always be a member of a Local Homeschool Group.
- Erin has been involved in home education support groups for three decades. She shares an overview of that journey and the importance the groups have played for her family in It Takes a Community.
- Nicole explains in Homeschool Groups -- This Mom's Lifeline! why her homeschool group is pivotal to her homeschool experience.
- Savannah speaks of her Local Homeschool Support Group - A Breath of Fresh Air, and feels that no blog, forum or online group recharges or equips her to be a better home educating mother like her local support group.
- Lucinda discusses the benefits of growing a local homeschool network in Why I'm Glad We Joined Our Local Homeschool Group (Even Through We No Longer Go).
This post is linked up to:
1) Hip Homeschool Hop - 5/21/13
2) Hearts for Home Blog Hop #18
3) Homeschool Mother's Journal: May 24, 2013
4) Collage Friday - Time for Nothing and an Exciting Something
5) TGIF Linky Party #77
6) Creative Learning #15
7) Weekly Wrap-Up: The One at NCHE
8) Share it Saturday! Creative Play with Kids
9) Sunday Showcase - 5/25/13