An idea for Quaker Homeschooling

I have an idea for creating a community for homeschooling among Friends and I want to float it here for consideration and constructive critique in the Light.  This is essentially what I proposed to the Meeting we attend years ago with the idea that it would be under the care of that Meeting.  The proposal was not accepted but I wonder now if it could be done outside of any existing Monthly Meeting and perhaps developing as an entity – a Monthly Meeting – of its own.

In Maryland, where we live, homeschoolers have a choice of  being “supervised” by their school district or by a distance/correspondence school or group “operated by a bona fide church organization.”  Whichever is chosen by the family, the organization must review the student’s program of study twice a year to assess whether or not the student is receiving “regular and thorough” instruction in the usual school subjects. “Regular and thorough” can mean a lot of different things from unschooling to a very school-like distance learning program.  The state or district cannot prescribe what approach the family should take.  Many Maryland homeschooling families sign up with an “umbrella” group which vouches to the state and district for the “regular and thorough” instruction of the student and the family then meets with the umbrella group’s representative rather than the person from the public school district.  The most prominent of these is a non-denominational “bona fide church organization” (http://www.tlci.us).  The point here is that the required “supervision” in Maryland can range from the very minimal two brief meetings a year of the parent with the school district representative, to a very much richer and more supportive community relationship. I don’t know how it might mesh with other states’ laws, but I imagine it wouldn’t violate them.

So, the idea I propose is a Monthly Meeting for worship with a concern for homeschooling which would opperate like any other Meeting for Worship with a concern for business, but members might raise issues troubling them or inspiring them, committees might be convened and then report for things like field trips or foreign language, Quaker studies, college planning, or Quaker life at home.  The group might have weekly meetings for worship or members might belong to regular monthly meetings in addition to the home schooling one or they might not.  Students might present individual projects to the group, they might get together for shared concerns or interests, dare I say pot-lucks?  I imagine local monthly groups, which could connect in regional quarterly groups with a session at their yearly meeting or parallel to it, and even connections at a national (international?) level.

What do you think?

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8 Comments

  1. September 3, 2008 at 11:44 pm

    Hey Kristin,

    Glad to see you’re posting again! I hope your health issues are improving.

    I think your idea sounds wonderful. In our state (Texas), we are considered private schools, and we don’t have to report to anyone. It is truly a blessing. But in the sense of having a Friends spiritual community that supported our efforts in homeschooling, that would be something I would love to be a part of.

  2. Jan Lyn said,

    September 27, 2008 at 9:00 pm

    This is quite an interesting concept. I’m not able to attend Meeting consistantly due to some health issues, but I think having the support of Friends Community would be beneficial, for sure. I wish I lived nearby and we’d form a group! In our state, the hs laws are very relaxed, yet orginally being a teacher (speech therapist,) in the schools I am very careful and try to be extremely accountable.

  3. naturalmom said,

    November 7, 2008 at 10:22 pm

    What an intriguing idea. I wonder if you have looked into how many and which states require some kind of accountability that could be fulfilled by a group such as you describe? I’m in Michigan, which, like Jennifer’s Texas, has no reporting requirement. A Quaker support group might be nice, but for now, we Quaker homeschoolers all belong to the same inclusive homeschool group, so we support each other that way.

    A potential challenge is the very local nature of a monthly meeting. There may only be a very few Quaker homeschooling families within a reasonable range. Or are you thinking of involving non-Quaker families that might wish to use the Meeting as their umbrella group? If you want to serve primarily Quaker families, it might make sense to do so on a Quarterly Meeting level which could focus on delivering both what families need and what the state in question requires.

  4. Tom Smith said,

    November 21, 2008 at 1:56 am

    Having worked in several Friends Schools and in sympathy with finding alternatives for students, I wonder if a “virtual” (national?) Friends School might be a viable option. I know there are “virtual” schools which are approved in various states. With the advent of social networks, “Skype,” etc. the opportunity might be available for a wonderful exchange of ideas, cooperation on study projects, cooperative “homework,” even possibly some lessons from guest teachers who might provide assistance.

    Just an idea. Friends Council on Education may provide some assistance.

  5. kristinsk said,

    June 17, 2011 at 4:23 pm

    Hi all,
    I think it is time to give this idea a go. I have the paper work from the state of Maryland to begin the process of becoming an official supervisory organization for homeschooling. I’ve made contact with the Friends Council of Education about what the process would be to become a member there. Could I get a sense from anyone who reads this whether you’d like to be part of it in some way?
    Thanks!
    K

  6. kristinsk said,

    July 20, 2011 at 4:27 pm

    Ok! We have come to the point in developing this idea where we need a name for the entity which will become a YM? QM? MM? With a concern for learning? Education? School? Which will meet in person and virtually, operate using Quaker process, involve home schoolers and folks from brick and mortar bastions of learning anywhere in the world, of all ages. Suggestions?

    • lori martin said,

      September 23, 2011 at 5:56 pm

      Hi, I just found this posting. We HS and would be very interested in joining the group. We are in CT and are not required to be under an umbrella- but I would like to be.
      Lori

  7. kristinsk said,

    November 2, 2011 at 5:57 pm

    And we’re up and running! Learning Monthly Meeting is what we ended up calling it, and you can find our web presence at http://learningmonthlymeeting.wordpress.com/ and on Face Book (just put Learning Monthly Meeting into the search box on FB and our page will come up). We have a clerk: me, and 4 trustees, all are Friends, all are homeschooling parents. At the moment we are forming the usual committees you’d find in any Monthly Meeting, nominating to take place at our next meeting for business, at the end of November, at which a blog/newsletter will also get underway. We will figure out how to make our monthly meeting accessible for members at a distance too. We are not connected to any Yearly Meeting yet. Welcome to the world Learning Monthly Meeting!


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