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Creating community

May 24, 2022 | Ideas, Socialisation

The socialisation question

How do we ensure our children are part of a vibrant community with plenty of opportunities to build meaningful relationships? It’s a question often posed to home educating families, and one that I think all of us ponder a lot.

Some responses seem to centre on the fact that home educated children are interacting with lots of different people as part of their daily life, such as librarians, shop assistants and so on. Is this valuable? Yes. Is it sufficient? No. Children need to see peers (and adults) regularly, and spend enough time together to develop relationships.

Where to find your tribe

Of course, depending on your area, you may already be part of a dynamic home educating scene with a range of clubs, co-ops or informal meet ups with
local families. Our families live rurally and struggled to find enough options that fitted this need. What can you do in this situation? Create the opportunities yourselves!

Between us we have set up a:

  • A weekly forest school
  • A weekly home education co-op
  • A weekly home education enrichment club with outside facilitators and trips

How to get started

You don’t need any particular qualifications or experience to start a new home ed group (unless you’re planning to run a group where parents drop their children off).

To decide what kind of group to start you will want to consider:

  • Who you want to come (the number of children and the age range you are aiming for)
  • What you want to do (freeplay, parent led activities, tutor/coach led activities, or a mixture)
  • Check out our shop for ready made unit studies that are tried and tested on groups at our homeschool co-op
  • The logistics (where the group will take place, day/time, frequency, cost)

 

Once you’ve determined the key details, you can put out feelers to find interested families. One approach is to start very small by joining up with just one or two other families that you already know. This is how our co-op began. Another option is to post on your local home-ed facebook groups. You will probably be surprised by how much interest there is. Although this may dwindle a little once the group starts meeting as families decide whether it’s a good fit for them, you will hopefully end up with some committed families.

What worked for us

Case study 1

I started our enrichment group by holding a weekly meet at a park in the largest nearby town, aimed at children within a four year age range. It was super simple to set up (a post on Facebook) and had no costs involved. Ten families were interested and the children loved getting to know each other. Since its beginning, this group has organised trips, music sessions run by a local musician, sports sessions run by a community recreation organisation, and indoor sessions with a STEAM focus.

Case study 2

When my daughter was younger I ran a Waldorf inspired parent and toddler group. Again, I advertised on Facebook. I held it at my mum’s house and led the two hour sessions myself. I asked for a £5 donation per family to cover resources. In each session I planned:

  • Bread baking (I made the dough in advance)
  • Free play with optional craft
  • Circle time
  • Snack of bread and fruit
  • Outside walk and play
  • A puppet show

Case study 3

Our co-op began with just our two families, but has grown since then and we now have several families on the waiting list. We meet weekly from 2pm-5pm ending with a bring and share supper. We run five or six week blocks which include:

  • A circle time including lots of songs, games and fingerplays (visit the shop to purchase our circle time collections). 
  • Parent facilitated session A 
  • Freeplay
  • Parent facilitated session B

Our parent led units have included lots of STEAM (science, technology, engineering, art and maths) topics such as seeds, buildings around the world, and human biology. We have also covered story telling, fibre arts, and an adventure to South America. We are in the process of uploading all our unit guides to our shop. These will provide easy to implement, fun and engaging activities for your group.

Step by step guide to starting a home education group

If you want to find out more, sign up for our free resources which will include more details on:

  • How our different groups work
  • Planning activities for your group
  • Working with other parents
  • What to do with younger siblings
  • How to handle tricky situations
  • And other top tips for creating a group that works for you and your children

Kindle your child’s spark for learning today

Kindle your child’s spark for learning today