Monday, December 05, 2005

Homeschool's cool, but finding friends may be down right hell!

And now to my soap box (drum roll) Cliquish homeschoolers and exclusive groups. Ahhh, time to rant. Skip this if you've heard it. Grab a cup of coffee or tea if you haven't 'cause you'll be here a while. We have had the pleasure and pain of living and being involved in 3 different homeschool groups in 3 different states. I will spare you the diatribe about state laws, but suffice it to say Oklahoma is OK to homeschool in. The founders got it oh-so-right! However, the homeschool group there did not. There was the usual Christian sign-on-the-line group here and there and one broader based group, but it's glory days were behind it when we found it. The families who'd founded it had older kids and had lost their zeal for including new comers. We muddled along, made a few friends for the kids, but because home schoolers don't generally live in the same neighborhood, getting kids together was a challenge. I've heard that the group ultimately resorted to being an e group only. There was a split or two and some smaller cells survive. In Pensacola we weren't exactly unschooly enough on some levels, but Rose did the most angelic thing our first physical visit (we'd been on the e group for quite some time) and introduce all the kids and their ages. Even my little introvert eventually, by the time the first 2 hour unstructured meeting/gathering was over, had found a FRIEND! yep, a friend folks. Bona fide friend. And my little social butterfly was thick in the crowd as well. So we hosted and ::gasp:: kids their ages actually CAME. The boys love their friends and that group, but we're back in TN and it's not the same. It's much closer to the Oklahoma group. Max, the intelligent introvert has had a friend or two but for weirdo parental reasons and nothing to do with him or THIS family, those kids have disappeared. The other boys his age, who I've known since birth, don't reach out to him and he's too shy to try in a large group. We've organized activities, invited people to join us volunteering and hosted small groups at our home, but he hasn't gotten "in". He's supposedly seen as "not wanting to play", but my rant (you knew there was a point, right?) is that this is the most homogeneous group of kids I've seen in a homeschool group. There are no bookworms! If there are, they are excluded, ignored and their families eventually disappear. There are no other options in town except the Christians and they're looking better by the day! At least I KNOW why they don't like us! I'm deeply disturbed by the general cliquish nature of homeschooling groups and the general lack of options for those that don't fit in. I asked Max today if he thought homeschool groups were accepting of quiet kids and he said "Yeah" then walked away, turned back and said, well not here. :::sigh::: So we'll head off to the phones and call friends in Pensacola. They will chat online in RuneScape and eventually, maybe next month we'll squeeze in a 4 day weekend back in Pensacola to hook up and renew our souls enough to keep on for another few months until we can get back. I'm keeping my fingers crossed for a group we've visited in MS though. Now can you find the irony if a Jewish Lesbian mom finding a friend for her introverted smart bibliophile kid in a conservative group in MS? I know I can and just to throw a sweet thought out to end this salty rant, the sweet kids that clicked the best with our kids, were from a large Mormon family. Bibliophiles unite!
And if you're reading this Elizabeth and Sam, thanks again for talking to Max, it meant the world to him. We need to host another teen night and get Daniel up here too. That was amazing.

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