Jump to content

Menu

What have you done to serve the/a homeschooling community?


Recommended Posts

My posts in another thread about what you don't get about homeschooling/homeschoolers seem to be derailing it, so I'm posting the heart of the matter here with related sub categories. 

The primary question is what have you done to serve the/a homeschooling community.  This means you took responsibility or shared responsibility with (an)other(s) to provide an academic, enrichment or social activity/event/opportunity that included (an)other homeschooler(s) in addition to your own children.  Anything from co-ops, playdates, inviting someone over for dinner, service activities, projects, classes, coordinating simple meet ups in a building or outdoors, trips, field trips, inviting guest speakers, being a guest speaker, disseminating useful homeschooling information, anything at all.

What was the activity/event/opportunity?
What was the age/ability range?
Where was it? (Local, more than an hour travel time, out of state, out of country)
What was the financial cost to participants?
What kind of coordinating/planning tasks did you do?
What kind of prep or participation was required of the student and parents who participated?
How many homeschooling families were invited?
How many showed up and participated?

One secondary question is what is  your perspective on providing that/those opportunities now that you can look back on it.  What should someone new to providing opportunities to a/the community need to know before doing it so their expectations are realistic?

What advice would pass on to someone else considering a similar event?
Would you do something differently if you could do it over again or how have you done it differently since then?  
What were the pros and cons?
Were you surprised by anything?
What was predictable about any aspect of it?

Another secondary question is what was your personal situation when you provided the opportunity?

 

About how long had you been homeschooling when you provided this opportunity?
How many kids did you have at the time you provided the opportunity?
What age rage were your children? (Infant/toddler, preschooler, elementary, middle school, high school)
Are you an introvert, extrovert or a mix that leans more one direction?

Anything else related to this list or you think should've been included on this list.
 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Wow, over the years a lot. But that is a lot of questions, and I need to read to my kids and get ready for the study hour I have planned for this afternoon in my home with two other families to whom I teach Latin once a week at co-op and prep for the NLE's in my home on another day of the week (and register them and set up the actual testing.) 

 

What are all of these questions for? A paper or something?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

My posts in another thread about what you don't get about homeschooling/homeschoolers seem to be derailing it, so I'm posting the heart of the matter here with related sub categories. 

 

The primary question is what have you done to serve the/a homeschooling community.  This means you took responsibility or shared responsibility with (an)other(s) to provide an academic, enrichment or social activity/event/opportunity that included (an)other homeschooler(s) in addition to your own children.  Anything from co-ops, playdates, inviting someone over for dinner, service activities, projects, classes, coordinating simple meet ups in a building or outdoors, trips, field trips, inviting guest speakers, being a guest speaker, disseminating useful homeschooling information, anything at all.

 

What was the activity/event/opportunity?

What was the age/ability range?

Where was it? (Local, more than an hour travel time, out of state, out of country)

What was the financial cost to participants?

What kind of coordinating/planning tasks did you do?

What kind of prep or participation was required of the student and parents who participated?

How many homeschooling families were invited?

How many showed up and participated?

 

One secondary question is what is  your perspective on providing that/those opportunities now that you can look back on it.  What should someone new to providing opportunities to a/the community need to know before doing it so their expectations are realistic?

 

What advice would pass on to someone else considering a similar event?

Would you do something differently if you could do it over again or how have you done it differently since then?  

What were the pros and cons?

Were you surprised by anything?

What was predictable about any aspect of it?

 

Another secondary question is what was your personal situation when you provided the opportunity?

 

About how long had you been homeschooling when you provided this opportunity?

How many kids did you have at the time you provided the opportunity?

What age rage were your children? (Infant/toddler, preschooler, elementary, middle school, high school)

Are you an introvert, extrovert or a mix that leans more one direction?

 

Anything else related to this list or you think should've been included on this list.

 

 

The only thing that I think anyone, anywhere, is ever obligated to do in service to the homeschooling community is to not screw up their attempt at homeschooling too badly. The end.

 

As far as what I've done...I've tutored some homeschooled kids who were in dire need of academic help and support, I've written articles for my state hs'ing organization, I've contacted legislators about hs'ing freedoms, and I've mentored countless homeschooling moms (locally and online) over the past 18 years. I've done some writing online, and helped to get other hs'ing moms' work published and disseminated.

 

I'm more concerned with my contribution to society in general than I am with my contribution to hs'ers. Hs'ers, IMO, tend to fall into two categories: People who have it together better than the general population and are therefore not as needful of my services, or people who don't have it together who should be encouraged to seek community (schools, jobs, whatever) instead of being encouraged to keep being miserable on principle.

Edited by Tibbie Dunbar
  • Like 13
Link to comment
Share on other sites

IRL:

I have taught a coop class on physics for middle school age. Big mistake and I never did anything like it again. My expectations were based on my own kids, and I took it down a few notches, but still it was a flop: no actual interest, nobody did the suggested homework, people did not pay attention. Not worth my time. The whole coop experience was not worth it academically for my kids. The goals were just too different. 

 

My advice to people thinking of something similar: make sure the expectations of all participating families match yours. If in doubt, step away and use your time to educate your own child.

 

Online:

My main contribution to the homeschool community is participating on this forum and offering my insight/advice in threads where my particular expertise is helpful. I consider this by far the most valuable contribution I can make.

 

ETA: Answering questions about homeschooling, giving away books and materials I no longer need, participating in a play group - all regular stuff that is not really worth mentioning specifically. I assume we all do that.

Edited by regentrude
  • Like 6
Link to comment
Share on other sites

My posts in another thread about what you don't get about homeschooling/homeschoolers seem to be derailing it, so I'm posting the heart of the matter here with related sub categories. 

 

The primary question is what have you done to serve the/a homeschooling community.  This means you took responsibility or shared responsibility with (an)other(s) to provide an academic, enrichment or social activity/event/opportunity that included (an)other homeschooler(s) in addition to your own children.  Anything from co-ops, playdates, inviting someone over for dinner, service activities, projects, classes, coordinating simple meet ups in a building or outdoors, trips, field trips, inviting guest speakers, being a guest speaker, disseminating useful homeschooling information, anything at all.

 

What was the activity/event/opportunity?  I ran a 4-H Cloverbud club for homeschoolers, I currently run a 4-H club not for homeschoolers but I have 5 or 6 in it.

What was the age/ability range?  I had 4 to 7 year olds in the group

Where was it? (Local, more than an hour travel time, out of state, out of country) Local

What was the financial cost to participants?  Minimal, I think I collected $25/child or per family for supplies for the year.  We also did a field trip every month, some were free some had a cost

What kind of coordinating/planning tasks did you do? I ran the whole thing so I planned the activities, set up the field trips, did all the paperwork

What kind of prep or participation was required of the student and parents who participated? pretty much nothing

How many homeschooling families were invited?  I had 15 kids at one point and finished up with 10, most were sibling groups so 5 families.

How many showed up and participated?  10-15

 

One secondary question is what is  your perspective on providing that/those opportunities now that you can look back on it.  What should someone new to providing opportunities to a/the community need to know before doing it so their expectations are realistic?  I set it up mainly to have something for my kids and I like to teach science.  Main thing is spell out expectations about costs, being on time, parental involvement.

 

What advice would pass on to someone else considering a similar event?  Be up-front about everything, and have confidence in your ability.  People are attending because you are providing something they need.  Don't downgrade your contribution.

Would you do something differently if you could do it over again or how have you done it differently since then?  Not sure, it went pretty well while it lasted.

What were the pros and cons? Pros was a group of friends for my kids, they enjoyed the activities, I enjoyed teaching them.  Cons was I spent more money that I took in for supplies, it was a lot of work, I tend to be unable to sleep the night before I teach something going over it in my head.

Were you surprised by anything? I was actually kind of surprised about how good of a response I got.

What was predictable about any aspect of it?

 

Another secondary question is what was your personal situation when you provided the opportunity?  Not sure what you mean by this?  I was a stay-at-home mom to two kids and a teenager.

 

About how long had you been homeschooling when you provided this opportunity?  Depends on when you start counting.  I start when ds "graduated" from EI and we started teaching at home.  So this was about 2 years after we started.

How many kids did you have at the time you provided the opportunity?  3

What age rage were your children? (Infant/toddler, preschooler, elementary, middle school, high school)  When we started - 4, 6 and 17.

Are you an introvert, extrovert or a mix that leans more one direction?  very definitely an introvert.  I do okay when I'm teaching and have a plan.  Free-style chit-chat causes me stress.

 

Anything else related to this list or you think should've been included on this list.

 

 

My club ended because I had to go back to work full time and a Tuesday at 1pm activity didn't work anymore.   While I was working, I started a 4-H STEM club that meets in the evening so wasn't just for homeschoolers, but I have 5 or 6 homeschoolers not counting my kids.

 

I'm hoping to start a Pokemon club, start teaching Robotics classes, and possibly science classes for homeschoolers.  Probably not until next year except Pokemon and Robotics.

 

  Honestly, I"m not doing any of this as a service to the homeschool community.  Most of it I'm doing for my kids and because I like to teach kids about science.   The Science classes I would also be doing for the extra money, since there seems to be a need there.  :001_smile:

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

I've run various co-ops - a couple of years with a Tapestry of Grace co-op - one year co-ordinating activities to go along with the program and the second year leading a dialectic discussion with a bunch of tweens/ early teens.  I helped to start a full functioning homeschool support group with by-laws and leadership that was consistent and was in leadership with that for 3 years.  I started a Classical Conversations group to specifically help  people who were either starting to homeschool or just needed extra support to keep consistent.  What happened with that one is that the majority of people who joined were already homeschooling well.  Recently, I tried starting a homeschool group for those who were on the fringe of really needing help being consistent with homeschooling and just keeping at it - helping them to make sure that their children were educated (whatever that meant to the parent).  That one flopped. To me, it seems if you are on the fringe of not educating your child, you don't know to make the extra effort.  I have found in my own experience that the people who join support groups are the ones who are homeschooling successfully.  

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Over 15 years of homeschooling, I've done a lot of things. I've coordinated our used curriculum sale for years, have served as a guest speaker, have helped with end-of-the-year "Tag" (talent show/academic fair/graduation) ceremonies, served on the steering committee, helped run our local spelling bee that feeds into the regional and national bees, been a facility liaison, was a yahoo-loop coordinator, have provided in-home help/encouragement, taught a co-op class...

 

Our group doesn't ask anything of new members the first year, but does ask returning members to find an area in which to serve. There are areas of service that require very little time/effort, and those that require more. It's not that hard to get involved, but some things will take more time and/or effort than others. My youngest was 4 or 5 the first year I served in any capacity, and I have served at all other ages/stages of homeschooling. My husband has been disabled for all this time as well. I'd encourage everyone to do something, but not to over commit and do too much. If everyone did one thing to serve their local homeschool community, their local group would be rich and have a lot to offer without anyone feeling over-taxed. 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Before I respond, I want to say that I think that there are different seasons in our lives. At some points in our lives, we might be the receivers. At others, we might be the supporters. I do not believe that every person has an obligation to serve or offer anything. I know I didn't decide to homeschool for any people other than my family. They were, are, and will always be the primary focus of my homeschooling endeavors. I do reach out and help others b/c that is something I want to do. If others do not have the same opportunities or desires b/c of their responsibilities to their families, I am glad they know their own priorities.

 

I skimmed the other thread to understand the context. I would NEVER invite a large group of people into my home. I am a very private person.

 

I do reach out to other homeschoolers and offer to help all of the time. I have answered questions on here for yrs. I have written books in attempt to answer in greater detail the questions I have been asked that can't be answered in posts. I am in the process of writing a 3rd. All of my books are meant to empower homeschoolers to do things at home by themselves vs. needing more of my products or needing to outsource to experts.

 

I meet with friends and help them design courses or put together plans that help them leave preplanned curriculum behind.

 

I offer homeschool to college seminars. I speak about planning high school courses, course descriptions, transcripts, counselor letters, school profiles, the college search, the application process, financial aid, scholarships, etc. And then I answer questions. I have been doing this for free. I am going to continue offering the seminars for free, but I am going to start charging consulting fees for in-depth assistance except for my friends. It is time consuming and takes away from my family.

Edited by 8FillTheHeart
  • Like 8
Link to comment
Share on other sites

What was the activity/event/opportunity?

A) 2 different co-ops (one purely enrichment; one with some homework)

 

B) Book Clubs for ds & friends (started as discuss book and watch the movie; changed to book and unit study activities like food, art, etc.)

 

C) Chemistry class taught in my home

What was the age/ability range?
A) Preschool-12th grade

 

B) has increase with age as ds has aged (started 3rd-5th, now 6th-9th)

 

C) High school

 

Where was it? (Local, more than an hour travel time, out of state, out of country)
Local for all

 

What was the financial cost to participants?
A) church donation and supplies for teachers

 

B) church donation and supplies for projects

 

C) I can't remember, but I think $10 per lesson per student (met every other week for a 2 hour review and lab)

 

 

What kind of coordinating/planning tasks did you do?
A) Most of it (schedules for the classes and all the moms working in classes; forms; Facebook group announcements, etc.)

 

B) All of it (chose books and planned activities)

 

C) Taught the class 

 

What kind of prep or participation was required of the student and parents who participated?
A) Lead teachers had to prepare lessons; some classes have homework

 

B) Students read book, parents helped bring supplies and lead activities as I directed

 

C) Do the chapters at home

 

How many homeschooling families were invited?

A) Both have ended up just over 20 families and around 60 kids; Someone in the group has to know them (not open to public)

 

B) About 10-12 families; some years it was open through our support group, this year is just friends invited because changed the location to someone's house

 

C) Had 7 students

 

How many showed up and participated?

A) see numbers above

 

B) I usually have 10-15 kids in a group

 

C) see number above

 

 

What advice would pass on to someone else considering a similar event?

Make sure you enjoy working with all kinds of parents and that you like planning and being in charge. Don't take it personal if someone doesn't like what your group has to offer. 

Would you do something differently if you could do it over again or how have you done it differently since then?  
I'm doing it all now, so I guess I've taken care of those things as I've gone.

 

What were the pros and cons?

You give up some of your own time to help others which is a pro and a con. My own child is in the classes, so he's benefiting in many ways. 

 

Were you surprised by anything?
Some people amaze me how they think we should bend over backwards to do what they want when our co-op doesn't really cost anything. It's not like they are paying tuition. If you don't like what we have to offer, then leave. We go with what the majority wants. 

 

What was predictable about any aspect of it?

When one person is sick, it takes out the whole family. Have more families than you need, so there's always help to cover those out. 

You'll never make everyone happy. 

 

 

About how long had you been homeschooling when you provided this opportunity?

I had been homeschooling 5 years when I started my first co-op. I worked in a hybrid school for 4 years, too, before homeschooling. 

How many kids did you have at the time you provided the opportunity?

2

 

What age rage were your children? (Infant/toddler, preschooler, elementary, middle school, high school)
elementary-middle

 

Are you an introvert, extrovert or a mix that leans more one direction?

Mix that leans extrovert

 

 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I firmly believe that in the vast majority of cases, public OR private (incl charters online etc) are a better option for most people than actually homeschooling.

Stick around long enough and some of us might change your mind. I know without doubt that no school could offer my kids what we do at home. :)

Edited by 8FillTheHeart
  • Like 16
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Hmm, over the years I've done a lot.

Not to "serve" other homeschoolers, but to be sure there was stuff for my kids to go to, I admit, & only a few other moms were stepping up to offer it.

 

Let's see- started a homeschool 4 H group with another mom. I bailed after a few years, she's still at it, 10-11 years later.

Started another 4 H group, only lasted one year.

 

Started a co op with another mom & ran that for 4-5 years, taught classes at it almost every meeting. Lots of work, not very much co op in our co op.

 

Ran our local newsletter for a few years.

Set up some field trips (but my kids hate them, so only a few)

Helped plan group camping trips & park/ beach days, & year end/ year beginning picnics.

Set up monthly social activities for our teen group.

Offered "new homeschoolers support group" a few times.

 

Try to answer questions on our local fb group, mostly the ones about how to homeschool kids with IEPs.

 

Been at this 11 years now in our location.

I'm not running or setting things up anymore, other than teen socials.

 

The things I did do- the Co op was the biggest time & energy commitment & I did it with newborns (we Foster) and a medically fragile child who was mostly bedridden, often inpatient. So, I don't have a lot of understanding for moms with just 1-2 kids who say they can't plan or teach a co op class because "it's just too much for them". I had to hire a nurse to stay with my kid to be able to come to co op or shop for the supplies for classes I taught.

And if due to medical emergencies, I couldn't attend that day, I made sure to get my class supplies & instructions to another mom to cover for me so the kids would still have a class that day.

Pet peeve for me that if your kid has the sniffles, you cancel your co op class & all the kids attending that day have to be watched by someone else (as leaders, we tried to have last minute craft class plans ready each week)

 

Ok, I still have some resentment about that one, obviously.

 

But- since a couple of us quit running stuff, a few new people have started new stuff up. That was nice to see. We have not participated, too busy with high school, DE, extracurriculars, but others are. So, great.

Edited by Hilltopmom
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Which means we have been officially homeschooling since only about August. So, for that reason, I am not sure I have a lot of experience to contribute. .... I firmly believe that in the vast majority of cases, public OR private (incl charters online etc) are a better option for most people than actually homeschooling.

I'm not sure what the above information has to do with the OP's question, but I'd like to address it. It's a pretty strong opinion to have on a subject you admit you have little experience in. What makes you believe that?

  • Like 5
Link to comment
Share on other sites

That's a lot of questions!

 

I have started a bookclub. I have organised many one off or infrequent events (the most recent was Shakespeare in the park - annual, now I'm working on starting an orienteering group, there was maths circle and group music class for a while)

 

I attend excursions and meetups when I say I will - and make sure my kids behave.

 

I have had many many people over to chat about homeschooling, loaned and given many many books. I've let people shadow or join us. I have hosted groups and meetings in my tiny tiny house.

 

I have been a leader in a hs group, which required me to basically sort out the messes that other leaders made. Most of the kids are elem/middle school age with a few teens and a few who have graduated kids.

 

I'm about to start my 7th year of homeschooling. Just getting into middle school the last year or so.

 

I'm a pretty severe introvert, I could easily be a hermit. I actually like to organise, then I know that the event will be worth leaving the house for ;)

 

For events like book club, we had about 10+ families participate. Some of the kids were younger than I would have preferred, but we just split the groups from the second meeting. All of the kids/families were adequately prepared and participated quite well.

 

Shakespeare was invite only/word of mouth (I prefer it this way!), everyone showed and most were well prepared. It was super fun! We had about 8 kids aged from 8-11 performing together.

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Sorry for not answering your questions directly - but a lot! I have the attitude if I want something, I can create it. Sometimes that means talking to the right people or learning how to do it myself. I have done everything from: hosting a school in my house, tutoring, starting homeschool classes at the art center (still going on), hosting a book club, leading a nature study group that included anyone including lots of public school kids, teaching at a hybrid, teaching enrichment classes, starting and teaching a cotillion for homeschool and non-homeschool kids, mentor new parents about homeschooling, more tutoring, Girl Scout troop, organizing a book sale, joining a support group, speaking at a support group, getting the dance studio to start a homeschool class, organizing field trips both locally and to DC, Space Camp, and Sea Turtle Camp, attending conferences, leading high-school students in literary discussions at coffee shops.... no wonder I am tired!

 

I think I have proven (at least in my community) that there are enough people to support a good idea. In general, others can tell that I am genuine in trying to improve x, y, or z opportunities for the kids. 

 

My advice is to determine a need and go for it! All you can do is ask. I have been told 'no' and then was told 'yes' a day later. It takes time for a program to grow; it takes networking to find good teachers; it takes decent people to make a program great. All of it takes hard work, but it is rewarding. 

  • Like 4
Link to comment
Share on other sites

I led a classical homeschooler's support group for moms for a period of time.  I considered it a once-a-month in-service for homeschool teachers.

 

I set local politicians straight on state homeschool law.

 

I answer questions - though as others have mentioned on the other thread, I'm shocked at how little research people do on their own and how much they want spoonfed them.

 

For a period of time, we met with a homeschool meet-up group.  We hosted at our home a couple of times but the other family was 100% child led and after some of my furniture and belongings were broken by their children who used our living room as their gymnasium and the mom praised them because they were "following their bliss", I stopped hosting.  I don't feel guilty at all.  If the make up of the group had been different, I most likely would have kept hosting at times. 

 

I organized and had kids put on two different historical plays. Most people who signed up to do them flaked at the last minute.

 

When my kids were little, yet another homeschool family and I met once a week for a little mini co-op day.  It was fine but I don't really feel like I was serving any greater good.  It suited both of us, we had kids the same age, we enjoyed each other and we got together.

 

I feel no duty to the homeschooling community.  In fact, the homeschooling community is so large that I'm not really sure that you can call it a community as such.  All of the activities that were child oriented were done to provide activities and opportunities for my own children.  If others benefited from them, then it was a win-win. 

 

Once my kids were in middle school and up, they had social circles that no longer revolved around homeschooling and we stopped doing anything with homeschoolers.  It made no sense to interrupt our own studies to add in more outside activities.  And we found that the shrinking homeschool group of teens were not ones that really hit it off with my teens. 

Edited by Jean in Newcastle
  • Like 3
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Wow, that's a lot of questions! You'll have to accept the cliff notes version. I tend to go by the "if you build it, they will come" motto. So far, that's been pretty much right on.

 

I've organized a number of one-time field trips. Those are easy and my biggest suggestion would be to be clear and firm on the guidelines and payment deadlines.

 

I started a co-op that morphed over the years from offering art and science classes to hosting Odyssey of the Mind teams. When I started it, I cast the net wide, but over time we figured out what worked for our group and what didn't. For example, the first semester we had an art class with 30 kids ranging from 3 to 12. That did NOT work. My biggest suggestion is to find a leadership team asap because it's way too much for one person. 

 

I also started a homeschool research fair, which is probably my favorite thing I've launched, because it's a huge payoff for a relatively small amount of effort. I folded the fair in with the co-op, so the leadership team leads both now.

 

I'm also on the leadership team for our local homeschool support group. That amounts to almost zero effort on my part. I help process memberships and welcome new members. Easy-peasy.

 

I don't think anyone is obligated to contribute to the hs community, but I do think my efforts have added to our homeschool lives. We are part of a thriving community, and I helped to build it.

 

 

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Wow, over the years a lot. But that is a lot of questions, and I need to read to my kids and get ready for the study hour I have planned for this afternoon in my home with two other families to whom I teach Latin once a week at co-op and prep for the NLE's in my home on another day of the week (and register them and set up the actual testing.) 

 

What are all of these questions for? A paper or something?

 

I'm trying to figure out what factors play into someone volunteering to do something for the homeschooling community and someone not volunteering anymore or at all.

 

If they do, is it a phase of life that makes people more likely to contribute to others? Do they feel compelled to give to others because someone gave to them in the past?  Is it only to fill a gap for their own children? What particular kind of opportunities do most people provide at each stage of life? 

 

If not is it because they were burned when they contributed in the past? Do they feel no obligation to reciprocate at all, ever?  

 

I'm trying to get a better sense of whether or not my personal observations about who contributes is generally true or if it's more characteristic of the people I'm seeing first hand. I'm part of a group and know of others that require contributions of members.  I've been part of groups that didn't.  I want to compare that to what the hive members are doing.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Most of the things I did were were offered freely by me to others.  My children and I benefited from them.  Others could benefit from them if they wanted to.  I never asked others to reciprocate.  It's what you do for friends. 

 

I never participated in for-pay groups.  I didn't have the money.  And when my kids were little, I didn't have transportation unless I got up early to drop dh off at work so that I could have the car and then went to pick him up afterward.  Offering free things at my house solved my transportation problem. 

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Sadie, I've never been about the "homeschooling community" as some kind of an inclusive group.  I've been about friends.  When my kids were really young, all sorts of people came to our events.  They revolved around my personal homeschooling goals but a mix of homeschooled, public schooled and private schooled kids came if they happened to be free.  Some events were on weekends.  Some were on holidays.  And some were on school days.  If people could come, great.  If not, that was ok too.  As my kids got older, the group that could come to those events became more and more homeschoolers because they were the ones free to come.  But it was never designed to be "homeschooler events". 

 

The only homeschool exclusive thing I did was the homeschooling support group.  But that too was about friends with a commonality who supported each other and learned from each other.  There was no greater goal to promote homeschooling or to serve it's community. 

 

So I am about community - of friends. 

  • Like 5
Link to comment
Share on other sites

I'm trying to figure out what factors play into someone volunteering to do something for the homeschooling community and someone not volunteering anymore or at all.

 

If they do, is it a phase of life that makes people more likely to contribute to others? Do they feel compelled to give to others because someone gave to them in the past?  Is it only to fill a gap for their own children? What particular kind of opportunities do most people provide at each stage of life? 

 

If not is it because they were burned when they contributed in the past? Do they feel no obligation to reciprocate at all, ever?  

 

I'm trying to get a better sense of whether or not my personal observations about who contributes is generally true or if it's more characteristic of the people I'm seeing first hand. I'm part of a group and know of others that require contributions of members.  I've been part of groups that didn't.  I want to compare that to what the hive members are doing.

 

 

Be careful not to conflate generosity and a volunteer spirit with homeschool community involvement, though. Lots of homeschooling parents (including my DH and me) tend to "leave it all on the field" in some other arena of life, whether church or sports or scouts or humanitarian efforts, where we see a legitimate need for our skills, talents, and time.

 

We don't behave the same toward homeschooling because homeschooling is primarily just something we do with our own children. If we're not co-op types, or don't live in a thriving hs'ing community, or are of different ideology than local hs'ers, most of our interaction with hs'ers may be online. Our IRL activity may all be centered around hs'ing politics, except for times when local hs'ers cross our paths and we can help one another without taking it to the co-op status.

 

So not being Homeschool Mom Extraordinaire in the community should not be interpreted as being a selfish loner in life, or being a person who can't be bothered to work hard for the benefit of their fellow man in gratitude for the help they've received in life. You didn't use any of those expressions, of course, but if you're trying to develop some sort of character analysis of the homeschool mother, this is a major sticky wicket.

  • Like 18
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Be careful not to conflate generosity and a volunteer spirit with homeschool community involvement, though. Lots of homeschooling parents (including my DH and me) tend to "leave it all on the field" in some other arena of life, whether church or sports or scouts or humanitarian efforts, where we see a legitimate need for our skills, talents, and time.

 

We don't behave the same toward homeschooling because homeschooling is primarily just something we do with our own children. If we're not co-op types, or don't live in a thriving hs'ing community, or are of different ideology than local hs'ers, most of our interaction with hs'ers may be online. Our IRL activity may all be centered around hs'ing politics, except for times when local hs'ers cross our paths and we can help one another without taking it to the co-op status.

 

So not being Homeschool Mom Extraordinaire in the community should not be interpreted as being a selfish loner in life, or being a person who can't be bothered to work hard for the benefit of their fellow man in gratitude for the help they've received in life. You didn't use any of those expressions, of course, but if you're trying to develop some sort of character analysis of the homeschool mother, this is a major sticky wicket.

I totally agree with this.

 

You will not find me volunteering or attending field trips 99.9% of the time.

You will never find me in a co-op as either teacher or my children as participants.

You won't find me offering to organize playgroups, etc.

You won't see me at nearly any event that occurs during the school day. (We are at home doing school.)

 

But that doesn't mean I don't want to help homeschoolers or that I am not friendly with other homeschoolers. It doesn't mean I don't volunteer for other things. It really boils down different priorities and different places in life. (And we are busy at home doing school. I don't have the mentality that bc we homeschool we can do whatever we want during the day.)

  • Like 10
Link to comment
Share on other sites

I've done various things over the years. I ran a Shakespeare program that people still ask me to revive. And I mod a local list (though mostly I just approve members). I organize the fall not-back-to-school picnic. I have coached Destination Imagination. We're in a co-op but it's a small family co-op that is really not like the kind that offers lots of classes, so it involves a lot of helping from all the parents, but it's not the same as having specific tasks or teaching a class. I've also lobbied on behalf of homeschoolers at the city council (this is like lobbying at the state legislature since I'm not in a state and the buck stops at the city council in terms of education laws).

 

I've done all these things since my kids started homeschooling, so for a variety of ages.

 

I'm trying to figure out what factors play into someone volunteering to do something for the homeschooling community and someone not volunteering anymore or at all.

If they do, is it a phase of life that makes people more likely to contribute to others? Do they feel compelled to give to others because someone gave to them in the past?  Is it only to fill a gap for their own children? What particular kind of opportunities do most people provide at each stage of life? 

If not is it because they were burned when they contributed in the past? Do they feel no obligation to reciprocate at all, ever?  

I'm trying to get a better sense of whether or not my personal observations about who contributes is generally true or if it's more characteristic of the people I'm seeing first hand. I'm part of a group and know of others that require contributions of members.  I've been part of groups that didn't.  I want to compare that to what the hive members are doing.

 

I see people get burned out on doing for their fellow homeschoolers a lot. For one thing, it's time consuming and hard work - and while I generally have felt appreciated and thanked, I know not everyone does. There's no money in it. And you don't get much back a lot of the time. I see a lot of people dip in and out of doing things.

 

There's a large co-op that started up here a couple of years ago. They asked me over and over to bring my Shakespeare program there. And at first, I was going to. But then I realized I just couldn't make myself do it. It was a passion project for myself and our friends in the community - and I made new friends doing it too. I never tried to make money on it, but I also tried not to lose too much money doing it. When I worked with theaters, I fought to keep the costs low for everyone and took no or almost no salary. If I had taken the program to the co-op, I would have been working my rear off AND I would have had to pay for the pleasure of doing it - the hundreds in co-op fees and the money for my kids to take classes there. And there would have still been no budget for the production because the class fees ALSO go to pay for the space and aren't given to the teacher for the class. So I probably would have lost my own money again or had to charge for doing it. I just couldn't make myself do that. It was so disheartening to think about shelling out $400 so I could do all that work. I get that space is extremely expensive here, but I couldn't do it.

 

Basically, I feel like many groups want that. It's not just that they want your time - they want your time, your money, and they have lots of rules and you have to deal with politics and so forth and it's just not worth it.

  • Like 5
Link to comment
Share on other sites

I'm trying to figure out what factors play into someone volunteering to do something for the homeschooling community and someone not volunteering anymore or at all.

 

If they do, is it a phase of life that makes people more likely to contribute to others? Do they feel compelled to give to others because someone gave to them in the past?  Is it only to fill a gap for their own children? What particular kind of opportunities do most people provide at each stage of life? 

 

If not is it because they were burned when they contributed in the past? Do they feel no obligation to reciprocate at all, ever?  

 

I'm trying to get a better sense of whether or not my personal observations about who contributes is generally true or if it's more characteristic of the people I'm seeing first hand. I'm part of a group and know of others that require contributions of members.  I've been part of groups that didn't.  I want to compare that to what the hive members are doing.

 

Just my observations from my little neck of the woods ;) :

 

Volunteering overall -- I think volunteering has a great deal to do with each individual's:

- specific personality

- level of commitment/need/enjoyment to that group

 

Beyond that very broad generality, specifically for homeschooling I really think we're into a 4th "wave" or generation of homeschoolers which seems to have a "flow" to it about volunteering:

 

#1 = 1980s-mid 1990s -- the pioneers or "stepping stone" generation

small in number, little to no homeschool materials, grateful when they ran across another homeschooling family, had to pull together to make things happen -- so, large amounts of volunteering; a bit like the early colonists in this country who saw themselves as "stepping stones" (intentional sacrifice, receiving very modest benefit for themselves, but knowingly pouring out much for those who would come after them to reap greater harvest)

 

#2 = mid 1990s-mid 2000s -- the builders

building on the foundation laid by the pioneers, and acutely aware they were coming after the "stepping stone generation", an explosion of creating homeschool materials and support organizations; lots of volunteering to honor/follow the example "stepping stone" generation as well as build up homeschooling as a strong and diverse option

 

#3 = mid 2000s to mid 2010s -- the buffet-ers

the explosion of curricula providers is added to with a new explosion of delivery methods -- CD rom, DVD, virtual charters, and esp. online classes, streaming videos, and other instant media resources; all of this allowed homeschoolers even more ability to "pick and choose" how to do homeschooling (as if at a buffet), which allowed staying at home to school with supports or outsourcing more of a possibility and the need to get outside the home less necessary -- leading to less need or push to volunteer or even participate in local homeschool options

 

#4 = 2010 to present -- mainstream

more traditional options become increasingly popular: university model schools (traditional teacher 2-3 days/week, parent oversees homework) and Classical Conversation (all subjects taught by a "tutor" 1 day a week); and public/private schools start jumping on the band wagon, offering more options to homeschoolers; homeschooling is largely accepted at this point and the many many options "compete" for homeschooler $$ by offering more services, this, combined with the 4th wave of homeschoolers so far removed from "the pioneers" when volunteering was critical to make things happen if you wanted certain types of experiences or outside helps, means less of a need or desire to volunteer

 

 

Don't get me wrong -- I think there are still a ton of homeschoolers out there who do a ton of volunteering. I just think the homeschool community has evolved over the decades to start looking a bit more like overall volunteering trends with any kind of movement, coupled with seasons where it works for individuals and other seasons where it doesn't.

Edited by Lori D.
  • Like 6
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Hmm.  I'm actually not that heavily involved in the homeschooling community - I don't attend many of their functions or classes with my kids.  I used to go to a discussion group for parents run by another boardie here.

 

So as far as my participation - I taught a class for kids doing Song School Latin.  Most of the people attended were from my church, and some were in ps, but I did invite tpeople through the homeschool board - we only got one outside family though.

 

I gave a workshop on Charlotte Mason through our church as well, perhaps that might count in an indirect sort of way.  It was really directed more to the idea of Anglican education.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I've done a lot of things, mostly in association with the co-op I belong to. I have done some things since early on in my hsing.

 

Early things I did: hosted a playgroup for 6yo girls (though I did not start it); started a small hsing support group, but it fizzled out (though I met one of my best friends through that group); used to alternate hosting a cookie bake day every year before Christmas - this was in the local newspaper one year; I aided at the co-op in various capacities; I taught photography and art classes. I planned park days from time to time.

 

Midway things I did: I hosted a monthly support group through my co-op; I aided or taught other classes at co-op; helped at field day. I taught photography and art. For two years, I was a board member at co-op and was in charge of planning all the classes, securing the teachers, and creating the schedule. Also went to monthly board meetings and helped with whatever issues we had to work out.

 

Recently, I have aided and taught at co-op. I aide in a chorus class, but my role is more like assistant teacher as I have an active role in teaching or conducting singing parts or rounds and attend the outside-of-co-op performances. I have taught photography, jewelry-making and will be doing scrapbooking this spring.

 

That whole spiel makes me seem like I do a lot, but it never seemed like so much except when I was on the board. :) At that time, I was hsing two, had one in private school, and was attending college myself, plus assisting DH with his businesses part time. In retrospect, I was spread a bit thin for a while there.

 

I am an introvert. I don't like a lot of commotion and don't really like to leave my house a lot, but that's part of why my particular co-op meets my needs so well. It's 2 semesters of 10 weeks each per year (so there's a break), and then I'm not driving all over the county trying to piece in a P.E. activity, an art class, a music, etc. Plus, it is a way for my kids (and myself!) to make friends and socialize with others, but without making me drive all over or have kids at my house all the time. I can "pretend" I'm an extrovert when the situation calls for it, such as when I was hosting the support meetings. Despite being an introvert, I like to meet new people; I always think I want to pay it forward and help a newbie get acclimated.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I'm trying to figure out what factors play into someone volunteering to do something for the homeschooling community and someone not volunteering anymore or at all.

 

If they do, is it a phase of life that makes people more likely to contribute to others? Do they feel compelled to give to others because someone gave to them in the past?  Is it only to fill a gap for their own children? What particular kind of opportunities do most people provide at each stage of life? 

 

If not is it because they were burned when they contributed in the past? Do they feel no obligation to reciprocate at all, ever?  

 

I'm trying to get a better sense of whether or not my personal observations about who contributes is generally true or if it's more characteristic of the people I'm seeing first hand. I'm part of a group and know of others that require contributions of members.  I've been part of groups that didn't.  I want to compare that to what the hive members are doing.

Ok- that answers more. 

I have volunteered in almost anything my kids have ever been in. So if they joined a book club (we have) I took my turn hosting and being prepared. I had them prepared by reading the book and contributed however necessary with $ when asked, things I could lend that would help with the lesson, snacks, showing up when we said for things, etc.  When they joined a Robotics team I did all of the above and helped fill in gaps like being the one to set up field trips that I thought would be helpful. I have made costumes for recitals, programs at church, you name it. I have been a girl scout leader in some form for about 8 years, at times to levels and ages of girls that aren't my own anymore. That is not just a homeschool activity of course. 

 

For homeschoolers, I have volunteered at our state convention for years. I do get a reduced or free entry for doing so. I have gone to the Capital and met with representatives, delivered cookies and hsing packets, etc. as set up by our state organization. 

 

At co-ops I have taught multiple classes for years, not always ones that my kids were in. At times this wasn't good. I didn't have the mental capacity to do it well and had too much on my plate. But I was always honest when I was in that position and couldn't prepare lessons as well as I would have hoped. Usually it was a case where there wasn't anyone else available at that time, my kids were doing something else that hour and being served by someone else, and people were just thankful someone was stepping in. I have helped at my church's VBS for years and am now in leadership there, even though my kids have long outgrown VBS. I teach children's church. My youngest is just now old enough to go. I did it even when I didn't have kids in there. Again not for homeschoolers, but an example of where and how I try to serve. For several years I have offered a Latin Club for the kids in our co-op who want to study for and take the National Latin exams. Many students are only taking a language for their high school credit and just want to get through it quickly. But we have met several families over the years that have been interested in going deeper with us and appreciate the effort that I will put in to helping them get ready. I could just study with my kids. But we like having a group.

 

i have served as a judge in a Robotics competition just because someone I know needed judges, even when my kids were no longer in it. That friend has served as an administrator to give my kids the Latin exams, even though her kids are no longer in latin classes, when I needed someone not their teacher to give it. 

 

Technically I am an introvert. I am not shy though. I am a leader. I am a public speaker. But I recharge alone. So like most introverts, at the end of the day after a busy time I need quiet alone time, even from my own kiddos.  But I am a take charge, friendly person, so I am a weird type of introvert. I don't get super tired out from activities I care about. But small talk will kill me slowly sometimes. I am happy to be in a situation I like and not talk to anyone and sit alone. I am not feeling left out. I just enjoy doing what I went there to do all by myself if I am not in charge of something. Don't know if this makes any sense. If I am enjoying the subject though, you won't get me to shut up. (but that is in a group situation or class discussion. If it is after class and people are just chatting about nothing, and it doesn't accomplish anything for me like setting up a playdate or something, then I probably won't be saying much.)  

 

Most things I have gotten involved in have started out because it was something that we were doing for my family. Getting involved is usually necessary in groups for them to run smoothly and for everyone to get the best out of it. It can't be all on one person;s shoulders. There were seasons I had to be honest and say that i couldn't do things. When I had a newborn, I didn't take my kids out selling cookies in front of Walmart in February. But we picked it back up the next year. I have stayed in groups and helped out in things that we are still a part of but that no longer benefit my kids straight out because I enjoy them and I am now part of that community (scouts, church, homeschool events of all kinds, etc.) 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Nothing. We are busy doing school.  I never understood the "field trips and lectures" thing ( I could have added it to the Homeschooling things you just don't get thread over on the chat board) so I definitely won't be the one heading them up. Educational travel and cultural visits are things good parents usually want to do for their kids, to whatever extent their circumstances make them capable. Our homeschool schedule makes more opportunities possible but that isn't the --same-- thing as "doing school".

 

 We are at a pretty busy phase in life with 4 kids 8 and under and another one the way (yikes that scares me to see it written!) but we do volunteer in other areas. DH uses his professional skills as needed around the community and I teach a Montessori based catechism class one night each week, plus attend training in the summer. We live in an intentional community actually, so there are more things going on but not as easy to detail. 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

As far as wanting to contribute, and why I might or might not:  Part of my feeling is that because I am not all that involved myself, I don't have a great feel for what people want or need.  I'm probably not going to help out in things we aren't interested in participating in.  Other times its been logistics.

 

Sometimes it seems too like something might be stepping on toes.  I was interested in the idea of a more serious science fair - the one that is unn aleady is very low-key (which is nice in many ways ) but doesn't take kids to provincials with schooled kids.  And, it doesn't allow projects that would create religious controversy, even though TEC people are actually not a big group around here.  But - it really seemed like it might be a little rude.

 

A lot of homeschoolers here just don't seem interested in the same ideas I am.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I feel like this thread is searching for excuses to judge.  

 

I'm really involved in lots of things because I enjoy being involved.  Others are not involved in the same way or the same programs, because that's the way they like to roll.  I don't feel that one version of doing life is better than the other.

  • Like 4
Link to comment
Share on other sites

I'm not sure what that means. Being disappointed or feeling taken for granted doesnt equal 'policing anyone'. My groups have always been open to all, unlike many on offer, and asking that members of a group make some contribution to that group or the community at some point in time is just a reasonable expectation in any community, not 'policing'.

The reason I said what I did about policing the homeschool community:

 

On the one hand, we're supposed to be policing 'our community' for neglect,

.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Oh my goodness.  A lot.

 

In the beginning I took one family's six year old for science and took her to library storytime and the park b/c her older sister's (3 of them) needed to school, she and my son got along well and I knew my friend felt badly that she didn't do the little kid things b/c of schooling hte olders  She would take my son for writing club once a week or so.(I had 3 6 and under when this started)

 

After we moved, we joined a teeny co-op that met during a Bible Study at church (5? families maybe) I taught writing once a month.

 

Then I started a 25 family co-op. Oh, my word!  I am great at organizing and delegating but do not love all that responsibility at all. But no one else was doing it and I felt that if I wanted it for my kids, I needed to do it. I had 4 10 and under when this started.

 

But I got burned out completely, especially by the parents who were takers.  Maybe I shouldn't have let them get me down, but I finally decided that I kept compromising what would work for us to make it work for others.  And spent a lot of time making it work.  After a really hard year, where we had had a major conflict which had major fall out, as well as my sons ninth grade year which had been really, really hard emotionally and he'd fallen far behind, I looked at the returning surveys and realized almost every high school parent had written that they'd only come back depending on what we offered.  "We" were a small co-op (10 high schoolers, maybe 8 at the time) so what "we" offered was what "we" were willing to offer.  I realized that I just wasn't willing to bend over backwards to make it work anymore.  And "mama" wasn't happy, so no one was "happy".

 

So, a couple of friends and I left and are doing a small 3-5 family Tapestry co-op where we do just what works for our family in a relaxed manner.  We are no stress.

 

Oh, and I have my friends littles (the 6,7 and 8th of 9) over for a science club once a week so my youngest ( youngest by 4 years) has fun activities and I'm more likely to do it if other kids are coming.

 

I also host mother's meetings at least once a year, organized the "how to homeschool" meeting for a couple of years and now have one teen meeting at my house. Oh, and I'll post that we are going to the park.

 

I don't organize field trips for anyone other than us and our best friends. And I never, ever, ever will. Not ever.

 

I know I haven't answered all your questions.  Mostly my motivations have been what I want for my kids.  I also have enjoyed mother's meetings so I like to host one to keep them going.  I do get disappointed that others aren't hosting and that few people are even hosting teen events this year.  But I am a firm believer in letting things die if they aren't generally wanted and others aren't willing to step in.  Sometimes I am willing to do more than my share, but I try to make sure that I can do it without resentment. 

 

Oddly, my biggest years were when my oldest was 10 until he was 14.  Those were the years my youngest was 1 until she was  6.  Now that I have teens, I don't know, maybe I'm more tired, maybe I don't want to host mother's meetings b/c I'm not as enthusiastic and I feel I know less than I did before. . . .  I don't really know what I'm doing parenting my teens right now.  I am fairly confident in schooling them, but maybe less confident in being any kind of expert that might influence someone one way or another about homeschooling.  It's not really that I think we are making a mistake, more like I just can't be a leader right now.  Ack, that makes no sense, I know.

 

My biggest advice to newbies is if you want it, make it happen.  And don't judge the parents of teens if they pull back.  Some are tired some have put in a lot of time, some have no time to give.

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

I'm trying to reconcile what looks to me like a disconnect when homeschoolers openly complain and I'm trying to figure out what happened and how to fix it. What exactly are the expectations on both sides? I think we have fewer group opportunities per capita because a decreasing percentage overall are volunteering.  How do you get more people to volunteer to do something?  How do you respond to the complaints that there aren't enough opportunities or that the opportunities that exist aren't a good fit?

I hear about these kinds of scenarios many times a year and have for years:

People seek out and join homeschooling groups of some sort because they want to participate in some sort of social, enrichment or academic activity for their kids outside of their home .  (I'm not talking about the people who aren't involved at all with other homeschoolers and keep entirely to themselves.) Then a small minority of people in the group volunteer to help with the activities in some way.  They get burned out.  They take a sabbatical.  Then some people, whose kids have participated in the past,  openly complain to leaders in the group that there isn't enough currently going on; many of them people who didn't volunteer to help shoulder the burdens.

How should the leaders of the group respond?

Homeschoolers post and talk about not being able to connect and interact on a small scale (1 host family and 1 invited family) with homeschoolers they meet. (Come over for the afternoon, we'll have coffee while the kids play in the back yard.)   When asked if they were the ones who invited the other family to do something in their home or at another venue, they say no. 

How should the homeschooler listening to the complaint respond?

One homeschooler complains to another homeschooler that the group/activity options aren't meeting their particular needs (target age range, focus, content,class size.)  They have complained to the existing group/activity provider but the existing group/activity provider has said that the group is currently meeting the as much of the group's needs as they can and won't be changing.

How should the homeschooler listening to the complaint respond?

More groups are requiring members to volunteer to help (usually there's a list of things to choose from and members can make suggestions that aren't on the list too) within a certain period of time.  If the deadline isn't met (usually the first year) membership is revoked or denied the next year. Some people who knew that when they signed up complain about it when they're no longer allowed membership because they didn't volunteer.

How is the leadership supposed to respond to the complaint?

Edited by Homeschool Mom in AZ
  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

I'm trying to reconcile what looks to me like a disconnect when homeschoolers openly complain and I'm trying to figure out what happened and how to fix it. What exactly are the expectations on both sides? I think we have fewer group opportunities per capita because a decreasing percentage overall are volunteering.  How do you get more people to volunteer to do something?  How do you respond to the complaints that there aren't enough opportunities or that the opportunities that exist aren't a good fit?

 

I hear about these kinds of scenarios many times a year and have for years:

 

People seek out and join homeschooling groups of some sort because they want to participate in some sort of social, enrichment or academic activity for their kids outside of their home .  (I'm not talking about the people who aren't involved at all with other homeschoolers and keep entirely to themselves.) Then a small minority of people in the group volunteer to help with the activities in some way.  They get burned out.  They take a sabbatical.  Then some people, whose kids have participated in the past,  openly complain to leaders in the group that there isn't enough currently going on; many of them people who didn't volunteer to help shoulder the burdens.

 

How should the leaders of the group respond?

 

Homeschoolers post and talk about not being able to connect and interact on a small scale (1 host family and 1 invited family) with homeschoolers they meet. (Come over for the afternoon, we'll have coffee while the kids play in the back yard.)   When asked if they were the ones who invited the other family to do something in their home or at another venue, they say no. 

 

How should the homeschooler listening to the complaint respond?

 

One homeschooler complains to another homeschooler that the group/activity options aren't meeting their particular needs (target age range, focus, content,class size.)  They have complained to the existing group/activity provider but the existing group/activity provider has said that the group is currently meeting the group's needs and won't be changing.

 

How should the homeschooler listening to the complaint respond?

 

More groups are requiring members to volunteer to help (usually there's a list of things to choose from and members can make suggestions that aren't on the list too) within a certain period of time.  If the deadline isn't met (usually the first year) membership is revoked or denied the next year. Some people who knew that when they signed up complain about it when they're no longer allowed membership because they didn't volunteer.

 

How is the leadership supposed to respond to the complaint?

 

?

 

I feel as if you are making this too difficult. :)

 

Tell all complainers in all scenarios to stop whining, and be the change they want to see in the world. Why be ruled by complainers, whiners, and takers, or bend over backwards to instruct, appease or even help them? I don't get it.

 

Or is this why nobody ever asks me to start a co-op?

 

 

  • Like 10
Link to comment
Share on other sites

?

 

I feel as if you are making this too difficult. :)

 

Tell all complainers in all scenarios to stop whining, and be the change they want to see in the world. Why be ruled by complainers, whiners, and takers, or bend over backwards to instruct, appease or even help them? I don't get it.

 

Or is this why nobody ever asks me to start a co-op?

No, I think the same exact thing and I did start a co-op.

 

I just couldn't keep it up b/c I let them get to me too much.  If I could have felt this way and remained emotionally detached, all would have been good.

 

I think.

 

OP: you can't make anyone volunteer.  You can empower them, require them and encourage them.  You can call them on selfish attitudes and educate them on how the group works. But there will always be folks like that. Always.

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

I'm trying to figure out what factors play into someone volunteering to do something for the homeschooling community and someone not volunteering anymore or at all.

 

If they do, is it a phase of life that makes people more likely to contribute to others? Do they feel compelled to give to others because someone gave to them in the past?  Is it only to fill a gap for their own children? What particular kind of opportunities do most people provide at each stage of life? 

 

If not is it because they were burned when they contributed in the past? Do they feel no obligation to reciprocate at all, ever?  

 

I'm trying to get a better sense of whether or not my personal observations about who contributes is generally true or if it's more characteristic of the people I'm seeing first hand. I'm part of a group and know of others that require contributions of members.  I've been part of groups that didn't.  I want to compare that to what the hive members are doing.

 

This part of your question I can answer:  I don't volunteer because I have health challenges that prevent me from being reliable.  And, of course, I don't have enough energy to do most things that need to be done.

  • Like 6
Link to comment
Share on other sites

?

 

I feel as if you are making this too difficult. :)

 

Tell all complainers in all scenarios to stop whining, and be the change they want to see in the world. Why be ruled by complainers, whiners, and takers, or bend over backwards to instruct, appease or even help them? I don't get it.

 

Or is this why nobody ever asks me to start a co-op?

I agree. But only if I am specifically asked. I don't feel the need to fix people's social lives or to change their attitudes. Most people are complaining without wanting a real answer. The people who really want change will think things through and will ask genuine questions about how to change things.

 

 

Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

  • Like 2
Link to comment
Share on other sites

?

 

I feel as if you are making this too difficult. :)

 

Tell all complainers in all scenarios to stop whining, and be the change they want to see in the world. Why be ruled by complainers, whiners, and takers, or bend over backwards to instruct, appease or even help them? I don't get it.

 

Or is this why nobody ever asks me to start a co-op?

 

I didn't say anyone was bending over backwards or appeasing.  I was simply asking a wider group of people what they think the response should be in those particular scenarios.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I'm trying to figure out what factors play into someone volunteering to do something for the homeschooling community and someone not volunteering anymore or at all.

 

If they do, is it a phase of life that makes people more likely to contribute to others? Do they feel compelled to give to others because someone gave to them in the past?  Is it only to fill a gap for their own children? What particular kind of opportunities do most people provide at each stage of life? 

 

If not is it because they were burned when they contributed in the past? Do they feel no obligation to reciprocate at all, ever?  

 

Two simple reasons I did not volunteer more in my homeschool community:

1. I have a job and work during the day, and thus I am not available for daytime activities (with the exception of the weekly playgroup for which I have arranged my work schedule). If I have time available during the day, it is spent on schooling. We don't do random mid-morning activities, that is school time.

 

2. None of the families in our group share my educational goals and philosophies; educational activities that would be chosen by the others would mostly not meet my children's educational needs.

 

We were still part of the community and participated in a social group that did not require leaders or volunteers - we met once a week in a public location to hang out. 

 

I feel no obligation to organize things, because I have never found other families interested in the things I would have liked to organize for my kids. I am the only person in my IRL homeschool circle who homeschools for academic reasons.

Edited by regentrude
  • Like 5
Link to comment
Share on other sites

I've never really thought of us as part of a "homeschooling community."  Homeschooling is just what we do for school.  I have spent time over the years talking to other people about homeschooling and passing on the information that I've accumulated, but that's it.  Oh, and I have made donations to public entities that offer free or low-cost classes to homeschoolers.

 

As far as volunteering goes, I do a lot of volunteer work in both my neighborhood and my religious community.  In general, most of the organizations I've been involved in have operated on the assumption if you say "We should do X" then you have just volunteered to spearhead the X effort.  

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

My posts in another thread about what you don't get about homeschooling/homeschoolers seem to be derailing it, so I'm posting the heart of the matter here with related sub categories. 

 

The primary question is what have you done to serve the/a homeschooling community.  This means you took responsibility or shared responsibility with (an)other(s) to provide an academic, enrichment or social activity/event/opportunity that included (an)other homeschooler(s) in addition to your own children.  Anything from co-ops, playdates, inviting someone over for dinner, service activities, projects, classes, coordinating simple meet ups in a building or outdoors, trips, field trips, inviting guest speakers, being a guest speaker, disseminating useful homeschooling information, anything at all.

 

What was the activity/event/opportunity?

  1. Started science clubs, history clubs, book clubs/literature clubs for each of my kids (with another homeschool mom or two)
  2. Co-organized a high school chemistry class with another homeschool mom.  She taught the class since she worked as a chemist, but I coordinated the space. 
  3. Organized a "homeschool showcase" where homeschoolers could show what they had done during the year. 
  4. Organized a curriculum share night
  5. Organized a curriculum sale
  6. Organized a "homeschooling high school" panel
  7. Gave talks at a local homeschooling conference on a variety of topics with another homeschool mom (Raising a Reader, How to's on Hand's on Science, 21st Century Research techniques for High Schoolers)

What was the age/ability range?

  1. Science clubs were for my kids ages, starting in elementary years and up until 8th grade science.  History clubs were starting in first grade up through 7th or 8th grade.  Book clubs starting in 4th grade up to 8th.  Did more of a Literature club/co-op with 9th - 11th so far.
  2. High School.
  3. All ages. 
  4. Parents
  5. Parents
  6. Parents
  7. Parents and teens

Where was it? (Local, more than an hour travel time, out of state, out of country)

  1. Local - mostly rotated parent leaders and homes
  2. Local
  3. -6 all local

    7.  Within an hour travel time

What was the financial cost to participants?

  1. Science and history clubs were cost of materials.  Lit clubs were no cost (except for acquiring books.)
  2. Cost of the chemistry kit  - $150 or so(split between 2 kids) and cost of renting the room about $90 per person. 
  3. Free
  4. Free
  5. Free
  6. Free
  7. Don't remember.  I can't remember the cost of the conference to participants but I was paid in vendor hall space.

What kind of coordinating/planning tasks did you do?

  1. Advertised to local homeschoolers, approached desired families, set up meetings, helped research materials, coordinated parents meeting to come up with a schedule for rotating houses/topics, took my turn leading the meeting/activity.
  2. Advertised the class.  Worked with the teacher (fellow homeschool mom) to select the lab curriculum and lab kit.  Worked with the teacher to secure a space.  Taught the other teacher's daughter history with my daughter.
  3. Coordinated with the library to secure free space.  Advertised to local homeschool communities. 
  4. Coordinated with the library to secure the space.  Advertised to local homeschool communities.
  5. Advertised to local homeschool communities.  Cleaned off my driveway :-).
  6. Coordinated with the library to secure the space.  Asked other experienced homeschooolers to be on the panel.  Created an agenda.  Printed off copies of my transcript/course descriptions.  Worked with other panelist to create a list of resources.
  7. Submitted proposals for workshops to the conference organizers.  Researched my topic and created an outline and handouts.  Organized visual aids for my topics.  Gave the talk.

What kind of prep or participation was required of the student and parents who participated?

  1. For science clubs ... student and parents were responsible for reading up on the topic and learning the objectives set up at the parent meeting.  Parents were required to help their students if necessary during the event ... either with writing up the lab (age appropriate reports) or just behavior management.  Each parent had to lead their share of meetings, providing hands-on activities to demonstrate the topic or organize a field trip.

    For History clubs ... student and parents were responsible for reading up on the topic (and when we used the History Portfolio - do the assigned homework.)  Each parent had to lead their share of meetings. 

    For book clubs  (elementary and middle school) ... each parent and student read the selected book and prepared a few discussion questions.  For literature clubs ... each parent and student read the book, prepare their literature circle role, prepare for discussion. 

  2. (Chemistry lab class) Read up on the subject matter and study the lab prior to class. 
  3. (Showcase) Each parent and student put together a display on something they chose to share for the event. 
  4. (Curriculum share)  Each attendee needed to RSVP and bring materials that they liked to play "show and tell."  (Or just attend if they were new.)
  5. (sale) - RSVP to reserve a space,  Bring stuff to sell already priced and handle their own transactions.
  6. (High School panel) RSVP
  7. (worshops) Register for the conference and workshops.

     

How many homeschooling families were invited?

 

  1. Science/History/Lit clubs - about 4-6 families.
  2. - 6 - Advertised to several groups reaching about 50 - 100 families.

    7,  (worshops) At least 100 families attended the conference.

  3.  

How many showed up and participated?

  1. Science/History/Lit clubs - about 4-6 families.
  2. (Chemistry lab class) 10 students. 
  3. (Showcase) Reached out to several communities - about 8 participated. 
  4. (Curriculum share)  about 10 families participated
  5. (sale) - about 8 participated - maybe 10 more came to shop (rain storm cut it short).
  6. (High School panel) 10 parents came
  7. (worshops) Register for the conference and workshops. (anywhere from 10 - 25 participated.)

One secondary question is what is  your perspective on providing that/those opportunities now that you can look back on it.  What should someone new to providing opportunities to a/the community need to know before doing it so their expectations are realistic?

 

Organizing homeschoolers is like herding cats.  I never fit into the "Christian" groups because I was the wrong kind of Christian in their eyes.  So, I hung out with a wonderful inclusive, eclectic group.  But, these groups tended to be more independent have very strong ideas of what they wanted for their families, which didn't always mesh with what I wanted.  I had to hand-pick the families who wanted to get on the same bus heading in the same direction as our family  That is why I chose to do single subject "co-op" clubs.  I usually picked one or two moms who wanted the same thing I wanted (with some compromise) and come up with a plan, then we invited others to join us.  The could get on our bus or start one themselves. 

 

What advice would pass on to someone else considering a similar event?

Choose the people you do things with carefully and have a clear idea of what you want.  I would look for people who had similar goals and who want to be collaborative.  I have met people who wanted to me to do all the work and always had a reason why they couldn't hold up their end.  If I was going to help someone like that out, I would not expect anything in return and be prepared to be gracious about that help.  I've had my share of takers try to take advantage of my generosity.  Lay out expectations very clearly ... involvement from parents, student expectations. 

 

Would you do something differently if you could do it over again or how have you done it differently since then?  

For the events I set up, I wish I had identified specific individuals who had contacts in other communities to give a wider audience.  I was in my groove and not joining newer groups, so I was not in touch with other communities. 

What were the pros and cons?

I did things I wanted for myself and my family. 

For the clubs I started and classes I organized,

Pros: it gave me and my family a sense of community.  Also, it helped us stay on track and keep moving forward.

Cons:  Frustration of dealing with people who weren't "all in",  who had different standards and goals, or who wanted to commandeer the bus and go in a different direction.

Were you surprised by anything?

What was predictable about any aspect of it?

The flakiness of other homeschoolers.  It still happens every time. 

Another secondary question is what was your personal situation when you provided the opportunity?

 

About how long had you been homeschooling when you provided this opportunity?

For the clubs I started, I had only been homeschooling for a few years (meaning my oldest was early elementary age.)  The leader of the homeschool support group I belonged to had a philosophy ... there should be no heirarchy and that "if you build it, they will come."  She empowered everyone to make things happen. 

For the workshops and other activities ... I had been homeschooling about 5 years to start with.  I had gotten one child into college when I did the college workshops (about 10 years.)

How many kids did you have at the time you provided the opportunity?

3 children

What age rage were your children? (Infant/toddler, preschooler, elementary, middle school, high school)

When I began, my oldest was early elementary and I had a preschooler and a toddler. 

Are you an introvert, extrovert or a mix that leans more one direction?

I am a mix.  I crave relationships, but I also find lots of people exhausting and need time to recover.  The longer I have to wear the extrovert suit, the longer I need to be in "introvert cave" later.

Anything else related to this list or you think should've been included on this list.

 

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

I like Lori's list. But bc of what she points out, I think what is wanted from other homeschoolers or groups has morphed over time. Back in the early or even the late 90s, the idea of wanting someone else to teach your kids was not a sentiment I ever remember encountering. The first time I remember those types of conversations becoming some sort of norm was probably around 2003-2004. In 2017 the number who teach their kids at home feels like it is outnumbered by the people who outsource to co-ops or CC.

 

That focus shifts what a group does. Instead of meeting socially to talk and encourage and share ideas about how to teach whatever, many homeschoolers are simply asking where can I sign up for x.

 

With that shift in focus, the wants and needs of those 2 groups of moms are very different. When you have different individuals with very different goals, you have less cohesive community.

 

Maybe that is what you are seeing?

  • Like 15
Link to comment
Share on other sites

...I think what is wanted from other homeschoolers or groups has morphed over time. Back in the early or even the late 90s, the idea of wanting someone else to teach your kids was not a sentiment I ever remember encountering. The first time I remember those types of conversations becoming some sort of norm was probably around 2003-2004. In 2017 the number who teach their kids at home feels like it is outnumbered by the people who outsource to co-ops or CC.

 

That focus shifts what a group does. Instead of meeting socially to talk and encourage and share ideas about how to teach whatever, many homeschoolers are simply asking where can I sign up for x.

 

With that shift in focus, the wants and needs of those 2 groups of moms are very different. When you have different individuals with very different goals, you have less cohesive community.

 

Yes, I definitely think this is a component to the "volunteer equation" in homeschooling circles.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I like Lori's list. But bc of what she points out, I think what is wanted from other homeschoolers or groups has morphed over time. Back in the early or even the late 90s, the idea of wanting someone else to teach your kids was not a sentiment I ever remember encountering. The first time I remember those types of conversations becoming some sort of norm was probably around 2003-2004. In 2017 the number who teach their kids at home feels like it is outnumbered by the people who outsource to co-ops or CC.

 

That focus shifts what a group does. Instead of meeting socially to talk and encourage and share ideas about how to teach whatever, many homeschoolers are simply asking where can I sign up for x.

 

With that shift in focus, the wants and needs of those 2 groups of moms are very different. When you have different individuals with very different goals, you have less cohesive community.

 

Maybe that is what you are seeing?

 

 

 

Agreeing here.   Lori's list is well done in describing homeschool trends. 

 

I'm in the first group of homeschoolers that Lori describes.  I'm a stepping stone who is blessed to know our homeschool pioneers and to have worked with them and learned from them first hand.  They are amazing people.

 

While I've begun many programs and served in many capacities, I hesitate to say that I've served our homeschool community because most of the groups or activities I've started have been for my children's  benefit.   I've done just about everything except start an umbrella school.   It wasn't that I was superwoman.  It was that we wanted experiences that didn't exist at that time.  I was also younger with lots of energy and a burning desire to educate our children well at home.  

 

As for directly serving the homeschool community, our family always volunteered with our state organization's curriculum fair, monitored legislation, and oversaw the "phone trees."  How may of us remember phone trees?   I do have to say that I worked hard to gain admittance for homeschoolers to venues such as the theater, art museums, and science centers which back then only allowed public or private school groups to attend certain functions.  I've always made time for new homeschooling moms and those who needed help. 

 

Homeschooling has changed a lot in the past two decades.  Some of the changes are good and some are not so good.  I'm not okay with a lot of the changes, but I guess it's because I miss the camaraderie and challenges of those first  years.    What I am not okay with is that as my generation of homeschool moms is retiring, few are stepping up to continue programs, but lots are complaining that programs are ending.  Maybe we older moms have made a mistake by continuing to serve for so long.  Maybe we should have passed the torch off sooner.  

  • Like 3
Link to comment
Share on other sites

I don't think I do anything for a "community". I do things for people though! gave away quite a few landry credits (so much for that) and paid for a week of some sort of local camp (while convincing the family it was a scholarship)--I don't think they know. Other small things like this.

This doesn't compare to things other people do for ME, such as all the field trips organized or my friend that tutors my kid in chemistry...I know her hourly rate and she just won't take my money. â¤ï¸

Edited by madteaparty
  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

I did a good bit with and for a local homeschool group when my kids were younger-things like helping organize field trips, mom's night out events, reaching out to new homeschoolers, etc... Even though I am an introvert by nature my kids, particularly my oldest, are major extroverts. I did it to meet their needs. As they got older it felt like the group stopped meeting their needs (it was geared more towards the littles). I tried to get a teen/tween subgroup going for social activities but the response was underwhelming. I realized most of the teens/tweens had left the homeschool group and were in a local co-op.

 

So we followed suit and joined the once a week local co-op (non academic/strictly extra curricular) and my kids love it. But I work part time in the evenings and I can't commit to teaching a class each week as my schedule is unpredictable. Before with the regular homeschool group, I could contribute here or there as my schedule permitted, but I never had to do something every week. So I am one of the 'takers' now.

 

My kids are older, our life is super busy with a ton of extra curricular and I work and I homeschool. I honestly would just rather pay more in co-op fees and lose the 'homeschool mom who doesn't contribute guilt'. I know that is not the point of a co-op. But I only know of one or two other working homeschool moms in my community, so I don't think most of them get it really. I am not a stay at home mom. I work 30 hours a week after homeschooling and then I fit in extra curriculars, cleaning, cooking,etc... Time is a luxury of which I have very little. If I did find any I would much rather spend it on myself at this point, as I am getting really burnt out and neglecting my own self care (unused gym membership-I am looking at you!)

 

One other point is that I feel like the co-op has less variety in ways to serve. Almost everything is 'teach a class' but that is not really my thing. I can't think of a single thing I would like/want/be good at teaching. I would much rather host a mom's night out or a social night for the teens or ANYTHING but teaching a class. I can barely handle teaching my own kids and there are only 2 of them!

 

I am currently trying to talk my husband into adjusting his schedule and teaching a class one semester to get me off the hook for a while. 😃 I do tell all the organizers and teachers how appreciated they are and how much my kids love it. I was thinking about maybe giving them a gift certificate at the end of the semester to go out for dinner and take a little time for themselves after all they put into the co-op for us. I think a lot of people who volunteer just really feel under appreciated. Just saying thank you really is something and I can at least do that much!

Edited by CoffeeMama11
  • Like 2
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

 Share

×
×
  • Create New...