For a long time (read as 4 years +) we have been talking about starting a Home-Education group nearer to home. There is quite a distance (or it may be that we are just too lazy or financially poor) to attend the nearest groups, and we have often felt that we have missed out on an easy social life due to no longer being involved in the groups.
Having another home-educating family in the village has given the group plan the kick start it needed. It's so much easier to arrange things with another person as a sounding board, don't you think? We arranged a day, a venue, and told everyone. Sadly, as with the best laid plans, things didn't exactly run smoothly. Due to illness the venue had to be changed the night before, but - BUT - it was a positive first meeting.
We wanted it to be a relaxed affair. Just a time to socialise with no pressures. There are groups around with "educational" value, groups that arrange days out, groups for studying for exams etc. All are great and some we still wish to be involved in, but we wanted a group just for making friends and play. Time for the children to just hang out and enjoy each others company. I think we achieved that.
The first meeting was at my house (as said, unexpectedly). Whilst I would have preferred a pre-warning so I could maybe put together an activity or two, it still went without a fuss, and I loved having a house full. The children (10 in all, aged from 4 to 14) all went off and played - the Playstation got good use, there was table football, playdough, various games, dressing up clothes, the trampoline in the garden etc etc. None of the children really knew each other before the meeting, but they all got on very well with each other (or so it seemed), and they needed little intervention from us oldies. Talking of us oldies, it was so nice to be able to talk with other Home Edders. We talked about so many things, our experiences, our methods, plans for future meetings, it was nice and relaxed.
I feel like new friendships are on the verge of being formed, and that's a nice feeling :oD