Although we were “not back to school” a couple of days ago, today felt a bit like it was our first proper day as home educators. Or at least the first time we were outing ourselves as such, hence the daft title of this post.
After I’d spent a frantic few days in July researching home education, I came across a few online groups of home educators. Happily, there is a local group that meets every fortnight. It’s just a ten minute drive from our house. Today we went along to their “not back to school” meet up…
Do We Belong Here?
We had no idea what to expect at all. The Facebook group didn’t give much away. Well, only that the current group organiser was leaving. It didn’t fill me with confidence but I thought it was still worth a shot, especially being so close.
Honestly, our first impressions were not great. Literally no one looked at us or spoke to us as we came in the room, so we had no clue who was in charge or what was happening. The girls felt especially uncomfortable. Of course, the other children knew each other and were all busy getting toys and games out. We sat at a table and started to play a game that had been left there but I could tell that the girls wanted to leave.
Andy and I both felt incredibly uncomfortable. We decided to give it half an hour and then slink off and go home. I was amazed that no one said hello to us! Lots of the adults were wandering about with cups of tea, so I eventually asked someone where I could make one. Thankfully he was incredibly friendly (it was his first time there too) and he showed me to the kitchen. We had a nice chat and then someone else came and said hello. She said she’d noticed that we were new and was about to come and introduce herself. Phew!
Hurrah For Tea!
If it wasn’t for my desperate need for a cup of tea, I’m still not convinced we would have stayed. I don’t know what I was expecting really, but at least after a while the girls felt comfortable enough to run off and play.
They found their way into a box of crafty bits and pieces. Phoebe made a snake and did some origami and then painted us a picture of a dinosaur. That was her convinced!
Meanwhile, the adults had been asked to sit in a circle and join in a discussion. We were talking about the way forward for the group now that the organiser couldn’t continue. This seemed a bit strange to me as there were obviously three or four people (regulars I assume) who had already agreed to take on various roles. We just sat there, unable to really hear the conversation, looking confused!
Are Home Educator Groups Worth Going To?
This is the question we discussed after we got home. In essence we’d spent £2 to be largely ignored, feeling like we’d gatecrashed a private event. To be fair to everyone else there, I don’t think they’d intended anyone to feel like that. I guess a lot of the home educators were catching up after not seeing each other over the summer.
We’re definitely going to go along a couple more times. I think that it’ll take us that long to find our feet with it and get chatting to people. We all just need to be more confident!
We’ve been back to this same group a couple of times now and it couldn’t be more different than our first experience. The girls are having a great time joining in with the creative activities that are being set up and look forward to going. The last time we went one of the mums had gone to the trouble of making vegan cupcakes and icing for them so that they could join in with cake decorating too! How lovely is that?!
Andy and I are definitely feeling more comfortable too. We’ve spoken to quite a few of the parents there now and everyone has been very friendly. I think that our first visit was a total anomaly!