Last night we went to a celebration at the property of a home educating family. This family are very involved in the local home ed community and there were lots of other families there who are as well. We only went for a couple of hours (the mosquitoes! We are all covered in bites this morning despite using repellent)but I really enjoyed the time we spent there.
It's nice to feel part of something. To see faces I may not have seen in months and to catch up and chat. To see lots of Dads there as well. To see the girls delight in other kids who's company they enjoy. And because the property we went to is huge and the party outdoors I loved watching kids climbing trees, bouncing together on the big trampolines and having heaps of space to stretch out and play without parents interfering. Not to mention watching some of the older kids doing fire twirling, juggling and parkour !
I loved talking to a woman with adult children who had never been to school and hearing her stories of when they were little and how she never regretted not sending them. I loved talking to a woman who has children a few years older than mine who learned to read at different ages but who are very capable now. I loved seeing all the teens and their friendships with each other as well as their relationships with their parents. I loved watching the big kids make room and help out the younger kids. I loved watching my kids try out new things and make new friends.
Community is so important. I think a lot of home educating families can forget this. It's nice to have a place to go to feel at home and for your kids to be the normal ones for a change :)