Although I have always known that homeschooling is the best fit for my family, I found myself dealing with a truckload of self-doubt when my eldest child was due to start kindergarten. My husband and I had a clear plan in place, we were enthusiastic about starting to homeschool in earnest (after years of gently warming up through homeschooling preschool), and my daughter was ready to go. We were fully prepared. And then I made the mistake of going to our local country school’s kindergarten roundup.
All of my daughter’s friends were there, all of my own friends were there, and as the children played on the play structure I had a chance to meet with the newly hired kindergarten teacher. Unfortunately, she was amazing – warm, attentive, considerate, thoughtful and intelligent. I found myself doubting years of planning and imagining how my little girl might thrive in a classroom environment. After all, she had been friends with some of these children since they were just a few months old. Before I knew it, I was weaving a new web of reasons why it might benefit our family to at least try public school.
In the midst of making this enormous decision, I realized that a critical piece was missing from our homeschool puzzle: community. We had found no other homeschooling families in our five years in Portland. I had scoured the internet to no avail, and in our small town neck-of-the-woods where the local school is the social gathering place, everyone revered the school community and did their utmost to keep it thriving. Why couldn’t I do the same, I began to wonder?
And so our daughter began kindergarten at the local school. During the two weeks that she attended, many of our theoretical misgivings about public school became actualized. The children were pushed to learn reading and writing at an anxiety-producing pace, the teacher gave the children candy as a reward for remembering math concepts, and my little girl came home repeating things along the lines of, “All boys are gross, Mama.” Suffice it to say, public school was clearly not a good fit for our family.
When our daughter began waking up with tears in her eyes about the prospect of spending another morning in the kindergarten class, we knew it was time to pull her out of school. That very same day, we also decided to make it a priority to create / discover / manifest a strong, supportive community of local homeschooling families to share our homeschooling journey with. And that is how Homeschool PDX was born.
Within just a few weeks, our membership blossomed. I could hardly believe just how many people homeschool in Portland and how easy it was to find them using the meetup.com platform. Despite all of my initial dead-end investigations into the local world of home educators, it turns out that Portland is a homeschooling metropolis! I had definitely not been looking in the right places.
Now, just five months later, with nearly one hundred members and well over one hundred meetups under our belt, I’d like to welcome you to http://www.homeschoolpdx.com. This is a homeschool community project – a place where parents like you and me can first and foremost find each other, then share anything from curriculum ideas to personal stories about our homeschooling journeys. This site will also include links to local resources (including the many Portland homeschooling groups that I have since discovered!), relevant blogs and books, ideas for teaching various topics, and much more.
Please feel comfortable to comment, suggest or contribute content, and/or contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org with any questions or ideas you may have. Also, if you’re interested in receiving email notifications of member posts, please subscribe using the “Follow Us” button at the top of the page.
Founder / Organizer Homeschool PDX