I have been homeschooling for a good 9 years.
There were years before we officially started kindergarten here which were filled with dry erase boards, notebooks, projects and field trips as well. But we’ll just say, for the official record, that it has been 9 years.
All these 9 years have been exploratory years. Not only have we explored different curriculums, but we’ve explored different approaches to learning, different organizational approaches and different homeschooling groups in which to participate.
We have been in virtual academies, local co-ops, Classical Conversations, online homeschool groups and public school homeschool educational partnerships.
Last year was our experience with the public school homeschool educational partnerships, which just sounded…weird? And maybe awesome? But definitely something we had to try.
By mid-year, we were all in. We were doing harvest festivals, music performances, PTO meetings, regional PTO meetings, bulletin boards, newsletters, calendars and websites…
I thought I had finally found my tribe.
People surrounding our family who loved education and learning just as much as we did, and who were ecstatic about all of it! My tribe! My peeps!
In the end, that’s not how it turned out.
You know, when you were younger and had a boyfriend who took you to your favorite restaurants, and loved the same music you did? You both loved old 19th century gothic literature and you both adored kung fu movies.When suddenly, one day, he asks you out to lunch. At your favorite cafe`, of course. When he drops it on you:
He hates kung fu, he hates literature, he has always hated your music…and your face is ugly.
It feels like the air has been sucked out of the room. What just happened? I thought we were on the same page with everything…we had spent hours, if not days discussing everything. What happened? Where did this come from? Why did I not see this coming?
What just happened…??
This is the absurd drama I have been dealing with for…a while. We’ll say.
Drama that I didn’t see coming because it had never been brought up all year. Drama that I certainly don’t need, that’s for sure.
Drama which I thought might blow over, or get better, or maybe even turn into something positive in the end. Hey, it might! We might be able to use tough situations to work together and build something even better in the end! Right??
NOT. SO. MUCH.
It is just the…stupidest situation that keept getting stupider. Not worse. Not horrible. Just stupider. Yes, I said stupider.
No time to ‘splain, lemme sum up:
In September I joined a group, a community you could say, which was missing a lot of foundational information. Like, “what, exactly, do you do here, exactly?” kind of information.
But, as my youngest says, I’m a good helper! I would love to participate in this community and help out. So I do! And all year, it goes very well. I make friends, my kids make friends, we are involved and it seems to be going pretty great.
Little did I know…
Actually, the board which I was serving hated my guts.
Whaaa?? You might say. Hated youu?? You are thinking. I know, right?? But why?? You seem like such a nice person who hates drama and has been selflessly publishing a newsletter, running the school calendar and events page, given the community a website finally and been an overall pretty nice lady. What could have happened?!
I’m glad you asked!
I found out all these very crucial answers in an “emergency meeting.” Which means they asked to go out to coffee with me to discuss some concerns they had with the group. At the end of the year. When I don’t have time to change anything, and all of this would have been really great to know like, 9 months ago, or maybe we could have had a conversation about it during the year instead of getting 2 hours worth of gossiping baggage dumped on me at once.
So, what happened?
Apparently, and I might disagree with this one, but apparently when parents ask all year for information about what is happening in their kids’ classrooms, it is actually a bad thing to inform the parents. So, when I was finding classroom information every month for the community newsletter, the board actually saw that as
… taking away the parent’s ability to ask the teachers, or inhibiting the administration from updating their webpages (which they have never done) by informing the parents.
Wow. That seems awful. So, what is happening is not actually informing the parents of what their kids are learning, but I am inhibiting the parents from forming a relationship with the teachers. Man, that’s harsh! But now I wonder, what else have I done wrong??
They went line by line of everything I’ve participated in, and the bulletin board, and the newsletter…and said that they are all unnecessary and taking away from other people’s ability to volunteer. What I am doing is detrimental to the community, specifically.
Okay, so by participating in my kids’ community, I am taking away the opportunity for other parents to participate. So, every month when I change the calendar on the bulletin board, another kitten dies. And the newsletter, which provided the parents with information about what has happened in the past month, pictures of the kids in school events, a bio of a teacher so parents can be better informed of who is teaching their kids, along with an events page which has never been given to the community in the entire 15 years of its existence, and a recipe for fun, is actually unnecessary and the parents don’t want to know what is going on.
But you know what would have been nice to have for the community? Like, one place where the parents could find all this information. All the newsletters, all the teachers’ directory in a list instead of having to fish it out of the district’s cavernous webpage, a board directory…
you know what? Why don’t we raise the bar even more! What if we informed the parents about the current Common Core state standards, since that keeps coming up. Wouldn’t it be awesome to know more about what we should be teaching our kids, since we are homeschoolers?? That would be great!
As far as the website… As a group (wait, I thought I was part of the group?), we decided that we need more time to research what platform we want to use for our site. We will work with someone else to build a new website for our community. Thus, please shut down the website that you created.
So, let me get this straight. I gave the community a website last September with all the information we need on it. But you decide, now, what you lot are going to do is to shut my website down, then work together, without me, and make an entirely different website with the exact same information on it.
So, at the end of the year, everything I have contributed has been taken away. Deemed unnecessary. And I won’t be involved in rebuilding any of it.
This seems like an amazing, progressive, healthy environment to be a part of.
I’m so glad we got involved with them.
So what am I doing this year, you ask?
I’m divorcing homeschooling groups for a year, at least, because I, and my kids, need a break from the insane, echo-chamber, unstructured and uncommunicative culture that is homeschool groups.
And I can’t tell you how emotionally freeing this decision is, or what a profound sense of relief I feel in saying this.
“Not all who wander are lost,” said a very wise J.R.R. Tolkein.
This year, we are going to see where the road takes us.