Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Unable to Commit

Long, long ago, in a faraway place...

This week's home school connection question deals with whether or not we are in homeschool groups.

I am not.

But I was.

And here is the story:

When I was a mother of three, but not four, and the offspring were quite a bit younger, we were part of a home schooling group. About 50% were cousins, and the other 50% were random home schoolers. (we picked them up off the street, you know?)

Our goal was to meet once a month, and study a topic corresponding with a letter of the alphabet. We started with airplanes for A, which included a visit to a private air strip, and a ride in a private plane. Churning butter was the activity for B. We toured a cheese farm for C, and a fire station for F, and ink factory for I and a radish farm for something.

It was great fun, and it was interesting. It was wonderful to just spend time together too. We learned new things, and all had a good time.

There was just one continual issue-no commitment. No one was willing to say, "I will be at our group meeting every time unless there is a major catastrophe in my life."

We aimed to hold our field trips on a regular day of the month, generally the second Thursday. But no matter what the day, we could not get hardly anyone to commit to coming, more than a day or two in advance. There was no concept of, "I can't do that other thing on this date, because I already have plans-i.e. the field trip." Which is rather a problem when you need a head count for rates and such.

I am really not sure what the hold up was.

I wonder if this lack of commitment is a hallmark of my generation, or of this day and age. But I don't think it is a good trend. Not for young people, or Christians, adults or home schoolers.

It is not polite to refuse to commit to something because some better offer may come down the pike. And, sometimes being an adult means saying, "I'm sorry, I have a previous standing Tuesday engagement. I can't do _____." Commitment means giving your word and sticking by it, even if sacrifices are involved.

Time is a precious commodity-for all of us. I am willing to make a regular commitment, and to stand committed to it. I do it for many other areas of life: Bible study, dinner with the BFF, dates with Mr. Hippie, Bible club, church, etc.. Sickness, death and being out of town are the only things that get me out of commitments.

So, for ill or nil, our home school group petered out well before Z. It was too hard to organize something and wonder if anyone would show up. I figured I could take my own kids to museums and such by ourselves with a whole lot less fuss.

But also a whole lot less community and support and practical friendship.

I haven't been involved in a group since.

I am not opposed to home school groups, whether with a formal field trip planned or simply as a time to informally hang out. I would love to have a time to learn together or just hang out and chat as moms together. My heart and soul needs that.

But I also need people to be committed to coming. If they aren't, I may as well plan on staying home. It's easier. Some may call it cynical, I call it practical. And kind of sad.

What has been your experience with home school groups? Was it better than mine? How do you foster commitment in your group? I'd love to hear some good ideas.

For much more positive outlooks at home school groups, check out