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?