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We have a wonderful group of homeschool mums in town. Several years ago I began a home educator’s network. I purposefully called this a network as I had the idea of career minded, professional people and how they network. You walk down the city streets on Friday afternoon and you see people ‘netoworking’ for hours. You go to business functions and people network. When you network you make connections with people that may come in handy later on. That was the idea of our home educator’s network – we would get together, and make connections with other mums, and those connections may come in handy to our own family later on.
There are several aspects of our network now:
- Quarterly Network meetings where the mums touch base with each others highs, lows, discoveries and solutions. The older children generally look after the younger ones with planned activities giving the mums a couple of hours of talking time. Our focus with these meetings is two fold
- To network with each other (make connections)
- To learn more about being a homeschool mum
- Monthly co-op meetings (except for the months we have the Network meeting). These times are focused on the children and their learning, their co-operative learning (learning with other kids). We have three sections to our morning
- Character Session – we divide into two age specific groups to introduce and discuss a character trait. Then we get together to learn a poem and actions that helps us remember that trait. Many of the families then work on this same trait throughout the month.
- Oral Sessions – once again divided by age (over/under 10). The under 10’s have a show and tell type of oral sessions – maybe some book reports etc. The older ones give more prepared speeches.
- Activity – this is only for 1-1 ½ hours where we geneally get together for some purposeful activity. It maybe have a learning focus or a relational focus.
- Small groups – this is the highlight of the group in my eyes as it is the outworking of networking. Throughout the month you will find small groups getting together; these small groups are made up of two or three families who have a shared need, interest or relationship getting together for learning experiences. Some times these get-togethers are just for the duration of a unit study, other times a term, or for the year.
- Online Social Network – this is the virtual aspect of networking. On our webspace we share resources, ask questions, and organize group activities.
At all times our focus is relationships – we are not a professional group of teachers sharing resources and linking with each other – we are a group of mums who share the same lifestyle and within that need support and can give support.