Today I visited the Illawarra homeschoolers in a local park in Corrimal after I was invited to the gathering by one of the ladies running the Illawarra homeschoolers Facebook page.
I walked into the gate and scanned the area. Soon I saw about five or six ladies, mostly in their late twenties and early thirties, gathered around a table with lots of junk food everyone shared with the group. This food was periodically being eaten by their offspring who ran up to the table between bouts of climbed through the brightly coloured train and other play equipment.
The ladies were thoroughly welcoming and lovely - especially as this was a group I'd never attendedf. I asked them all why they chose to homeschool. They said their reasons included the following:
- I got bullied at school myself
- I wasn't ready for him to go to school
- homeschooling reflects real life more closely
- I don't think school should start as early as it does...and I'm a teacher!
- you can work towards your future more effectively and start a career or tertiary education sooner as a homeschooler.
In addition, they said:
- I know what school is like because I'm a teacher
- I was confident to homeschool because I have relatives who homeschooled
The topic of socialisation came up (as it frequently does!). Parents seemed frustrated that homeschoolers were often labelled as socially awkward, yet the same label was not routinely applied to an awkward public school child. Many of these parents insisted this was grossly unfair.
After I revealed that I, myself, was homeschooled, the mothers said the proof was in the pudding because I was homeschooled, yet I had introduced myself and was socialising with them! They also said it was nice to meet a graduate homeschooler as many didn't know any adult homeschoolers.
Although we were interrupted frequently (especially by a cute five-year-old who thought I owned the chocolate), we all managed to have an informative and interesting conversion. I am very keen to go back and get to know these lovely women better.
If you're thinking about coming to these meetings, all I can say is I thoroughly recommend them. Come and meet the lovely homeschooling families of the Illawarrra!