Tuesday, October 07, 2008

Personally secular, socially inclusive

In 2004, I started an inclusive homeschool group near Jackson, MS. There was not (and is not) anything like it anywhere else in the state, but I figured there had to be other homeschooling heathens out there, and damn it, I was going to find them.

We'd been homeschooling for only two years, so I was still hearing plenty of objections from my parents, namely my mother who is a public school teacher. It was difficult to convince concerned family and friends that--despite the fact that my family was not involved in church or another homeschool group or social clubs and regardless of the fact that the only people I knew were from my former husband's professional life (I'd lost touch with my professional contacts by then...funny how that happens when one pulls out of the workforce)--we were perfectly well socialized, thank you very much.

I initially wanted a secular group, and when I started putting PEAK together in my head (and later on paper), it was SPEAK...Secular Parent Educators and Kids. After discussing my idea with a few friends and online acquaintances, I dropped the S in favor of a more inclusive appeal. I reasoned that I would be more likely to find families similar to my own if I cast a wider net.

And I did, but incredibly, the people I have connected with and become closest to are *not* the people I was looking for. If I had stuck with a secular vision, I would have missed out of these relationships.

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