Thursday, January 16, 2014

Finding a Home Education Group

Hello there lovely Classroom Free Readers.

I'm Debbie, I'm a 27 year old, married mum to a 4 year old boy who we like to call Nibsy. You can find me blogging fairly frequently over at Educating Nibsy. We made the decision to Home Educate our son when was 2 years old, he has never attended nursery or been registered with a school.

I know Christmas is gone but this is our most recent family photo!
Last July we made the big (for us) move from Derby to Glasgow for my husbands work. Prior to the move I had been working outside the home part time while my husband worked from home and cared for Nibsy so when we moved to Glasgow we had a role reversal. He now works outside the home for part of the week while I stay home.

A view of Glasgow on a sunny Autumn afternoon.

When I found out we were moving to Glasgow I was keen to learn about the Home Educating community here and was lucky to discover via the wonders of Google search and Facebook that it's actually quite large, in fact so large that we had a choice of groups to meet up with. We didn't even wait to unpack our belongings properly before we were off and meeting with the first group. It was the largest and seemingly most organised group in the area which met at one of 4 different venues each week. The people we met were lovely, the group was quite diverse - so diverse that there were only a couple of Scottish people in it, the rest having come from all over the world - and the locations where they met were perfect for letting the children have space to run around and be free. However, for my personality the group was just a touch too large. I found myself being quite reticent and having trouble starting conversations, I'm definitely the type of person who enjoys one to one meet ups to begin with.

That brings us to the second group I discovered through Facebook. This was a fairly new group and based about a 40 minute train journey away from Glasgow. Travel isn't a big issue for us, we enjoy it, we thought it would be fun to see a new area of Scotland as well as meet some other Home Educators so off we went to their next meetup. This group was much smaller and allowed us to get to know the people there a lot quicker, I instantly liked and felt comfortable with this group of people.

Through this second group we found out about a Home Education Camp taking place in August and some new friends were kind enough to help us out with transport so we could attend, sometimes being a no car family can be quite tricky. The camp was absolutely fantastic, we stayed in some chalets on private land right next to a small stream. The children paddled down the water on surf boards and took out a little boat with adult supervision. We enjoyed BBQs in a sheltered area when the rain came and the children were kitted out in waterproofs so they could continue with their fun - this is Scotland, it rains, a lot! It was just amazing to see this group of children of varying ages play and learn together.

Home Education Camp, Kilmacolm 2013

Through this camp we found out about the third group. Based a 10 minutes train journey from Glasgow it has become the group we most frequently attend. It had been active a year or so ago but various factors meant they hadn't met in a while until someone suggested a meetup last September. Since then we have been meeting every Thursday. We've visited the abbey on numerous occasions, attended a Viking Festival, celebrated Home school Spirit week together, toured fire stations, visited a Lego exhibition and so much
more.

Meet Viking Bill, he dressed up as a Viking for the festival in Largs.

Enjoying BBQ at Finlaystone Country Park.

There's absolutely no denying that our Home Ed groups have been a huge factor in how how well we have settled in to our new city and how much we love living here. They've been an invaluable source of information, filling us in on great places to visit, educational events happening, what certain Scots words mean for this ignorant English lady as well as just being thoroughly brilliant people to spend our time with. Nibsy has a large group of friends who he enjoys seeing and exploring his world with and the older ones are amazingly good at keeping an eye out for him and the other little ones and making sure their games run smoothly without too many 4 year old strops.

We've been super lucky to have so many different groups to attend and that we have found not one but two that suit us so well. I think the key with groups is not to give up, if the first one you attend doesn't feel like a good fit for you or for your children then give another one a go. Some groups like to have their meetups with a more structured, activity based approach while others are more free and easy social events where children and adults meet to chat and hang out together. Some like to meet in the same places each week, others like to move their meet ups around. Can't find a group that you enjoy or there isn't one in your area? Why not try setting up one of your own. Why not try canvassing people on the large Facebook Home Education groups for people in your area, see if they would like to meet up, you never know - amazing things could happen!

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