Striking out on my own to homeschool my children was a bit scary. I only knew of a few people who were doing this and I wasn't certain that their reasons were my reasons. Three years later, I am still searching for more like-minded people in the homeschooling community.
I am a secular homeschooler, but I am not a secular person.
I educate at home in order to provide my children with a solid classical education.
I use curriculum, but I cater to my children's learning styles and interests.
I am a middle-of-the-road type of homeschooling mom.
Let me tell you, it's lonely and a bit scary in the middle of the road.
One of the first things I did when I started out homeschooling was to search for a group where my children could make friends. Being catholic in a predominantly protestant area my entire life has made me cautious about getting too close to the blazing hot, on-fire, religious groups who don't consider me christian. Don't get me wrong, I have a very good friend whom I respect and admire who is positively glowing in her evangelical faith. I just don't think children should have to fiercely defend their faith before they've had a chance to fully form it. I looked for catholic homeschoolers and found no active groups in my area. Most of the catholic families were either sending their children to the nice public schools or the catholic private schools and didn't understand why I would choose to swim against the stream. Already being loaded down with the basic overwhelmed-ness of teaching my children, and adjusting to all of us home all of the time, I didn't have the emotional or physical reserve to start my own support group through my own church.
So I began to associate with a group of eclectic homeschoolers I had known for a while. Their approach was to provide a safe haven for anyone who wanted to homeschool but would not be accepted by other groups because they were "spiritually diverse" or living "alternative lifestyles." I love the idea of accepting people for who they are, beauty marks and all. I wanted my kids to be exposed to people, all sorts of people, and see for themselves that no matter what group you are in there are good and bad and in-between types of people. It was nice for a long time, but it was just as tiring being the most conservative in the group as it has been to be the most liberal. Again, I was the black sheep with odd ideas.
So, here I am again, looking for like minds. But you know what? I am not as alone as I once was. When I started I could think of two families I knew well who homeschooled. Now, I know dozens. Most of these families belong to different groups. Most have the same frustrations I have had with restrictive statements of faith and groups who are too extreme. Most float between events and groups with no one place they call home. Most are a lot like me. There are no group meetings or formal group charters. We often see each other at random events or spontaneous play dates. We commiserate and talk about schooling strategies. It slowly dawned on me (I know, I can be quite dense at times) that I may not have found a group that is a perfect fit, but I am not at all alone.