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Socialising ideas that cost nothing

(17 Posts)
brokemum Mon 15-Aug-11 12:23:46

WWYD if your were home educating a 7 year old but had no money to travel to groups or pay for local non-HE activities like beavers etc? How would you ensure your child got to meet & play with other children and make friends (HE or schooled)?

Up until now my son has been happy with his own company and the odd play date with the children on our road. But in the last few weeks he's started saying he's lonely sad and I'm struggling to come up with ideas to give him more of a social life as we literally have no cash to spare. I have even suggested school but he's adamant he doesn't want to!

nelehluap Mon 15-Aug-11 13:42:01

where abouts do you live?

nelehluap Mon 15-Aug-11 13:42:13

where do you live?

Marjoriew Mon 15-Aug-11 13:43:54

Is there a park near you where you could combine him meeting other children with some nature study if he's interested.
I am sure the others here will have some more suggestions for you.

TimeWasting Mon 15-Aug-11 13:48:08

Do you have any 'education budget' that could double up? Eg. swimming/sports classes, chess club.

If you aren't already, you could make contact with other local HE-ing families, as even if you can't go to the paying activities, you could arrange playdates or meet-ups at the park etc.

brokemum Mon 15-Aug-11 14:08:25

There's loads going on in our general area HE-wise...but all of it is just too far away. I've not found anything that's closer than a 30 drive or minimum 2 buses or bus+train away and we can't afford the extra petrol/ticket fairs. There is one family that I know of in the next town...but I'm too embarrassed to make contact now I've no cash to actually get to them sad

No education budget at all - unless you count paying the the bills and eating as an education

TimeWasting Mon 15-Aug-11 14:51:59

Make contact, invite them over to you.

Please don't be embarrassed, lots of people have tight budgets. smile

Smudged Mon 15-Aug-11 15:02:08

When I was a Brownie leader/helper (about 8 years ago) there were funds available that could be used to exempt people from subs or reduce the subs down to an affordable level. It was also written onto any trip letter e.g., pantomime etc. not to say no just because of cost but to come to speak to one of the leaders (or write to us) and we would see what we could do. It was all done very discreetly and without judgement, lots of people have small budgets - especially people with children! I would expect that some Beaver packs have similar arrangements and that the leaders (all volunteers) wouldn't want your son to miss out just because of money.

Jamillalliamilli Mon 15-Aug-11 15:51:11

Hi, broke here to. Lot's of h/e folk are a bit strapped, some of us are just downright skint. smile
What I've done as part of a bigger plan is ring fenced child benefit to directly additionally benefit the child, rather than allowing it to be generally absorbed on their behalf iyswim.
We made small savings all over the place to manage this and are rigorous about where it’s re allocated to. (value pasta 19p - rather than own brand £1 = 81p clawed back into that pot, etc) It boils down to re prioritising and being merciless about what really matters to you, and I've found writing household accounts down has helped me see the whole situation better, even if it's boring.

We've also found church groups to be an excellent free and willing social resource. (You don't need to be religious, just open minded.)
If you’ve a library, talk to the librarian, going when others are using it may make contacts.

There are also people out there in need of extra friends who can afford to travel to have them and don't mind. Being straight about what your problem is, may bring them out.

Saracen Mon 15-Aug-11 16:03:43

Another vote for inviting families to you. There will be people who don't mind travelling to you; in fact some may even prefer it. For example their house might be too small to receive visitors or they may find it hard to keep it clean and tidy, or their kids may be too territorial, or they may have an unpredictable alcoholic partner, or they may just like a change of scene.

I'd contact the family you already know of, and also post on a local email list to say you can't travel but would love to invite others to your home or local park.

pointydog Mon 15-Aug-11 16:12:34

One of the best things we did was move to an estate with lots of grassy areas and a park. All the kids meet up and play and organise their social lives from about age 6 or 7 onwards.

Saracen Mon 15-Aug-11 16:16:55

If you hang out at a local park at a regular time (eg every Tuesday at 3:30) you may eventually make friends with the kids who come there regularly.

In my area there are lots and lots of kids' activities which, though not totally free, are very cheap (50p or £1 a week). There are also a few free things. You may have to do a lot of networking to find these opportunities. Ask everyone you know, post on your local HE email list, post on the local boards of parenting websites. Approach the leaders of any activities your son fancies to ask whether there is a reduced rate for families on low incomes.

I agree with JustGettingOnWithIt that you may need to reprioritise in order to make money available for this purpose. Perhaps you can't wave a magic wand and create an extra £20 a week, but maybe you could raise £2 if you saw your son's social opportunities as really essential to his happiness. What would happen if you paid out for the Scouts or sports before you do the food shopping?

Jamillalliamilli Mon 15-Aug-11 17:02:00

I should clarify we didn’t get to ring fencing £20 overnight, far from it, I think I managed about £3 at first, and even now it gets borrowed from at times.

northernmumto3 Mon 15-Aug-11 20:50:14

Could you invite other home educators over to your house?

Wiifitmama Mon 15-Aug-11 21:06:08

Check with your local library if they run a book club. Ours is part of a naional scheme called Chatterbooks. Totally free and very social. I think the yungest age was 8 as you drop your child off for it, but I was able to start my son at 7 but stayed in the library during the club. if they don't run one, ask them to start one! We moved on to running our own home ed book club which has been great. No cost at all. You can borrow the books from the library and we meet in our library for the club.

musicposy Sun 21-Aug-11 10:11:08

We have a great facebook group for home educators in our county. It was started by just one person (who lives quite a long way from me), and it was set up so that any member could add any other home educating member. Within months it spiralled and there are now nearly 150 members on there. Anyone can post an event.

If you know even one other home educating family, you could start such a thing, invite them to join, and get them to invite others. The key is to make it a closed group but make everyone an admin member. Then anyone can add anyone else.

Once you have even one or two people, start posting events. This can be "picnic at brokemum's house" or if your son is interested in something like art, "painting day at brokemums house". Send out an event invite to all the members of the group. Most won't come, sometimes maybe no one will come, but keep going. If the group grows you only need one or two people to turn up and you've done what you wanted. if you have anything you're good at you can offer - book club, art club, music hour, drama session, you'll tend to pull in lots of people who don't feel confident with those things themselves.

In our group it's acceptable to ask a small amount of money (50p - £1, maybe) to cover your costs, particularly if you are supplying art materials etc. Get people to bring their own food - one thing I like about home ed is that you can invite masses of people over for the day and no one expects you to feed them! Make sure you keep any costs to visitors as low as possible, because you'll find lots of home edders are like you and will be put off if it is too much.

It's a bit of effort but well worth it. The lady who started our group did so for very similar reasons to you - she was fed up with taking her children to the park alone. Now she posts park meetups about 3 times a week and always seems to have a crowd going, and there ar about 5 events a week on there, posted by lots of different people.

MyDadWasADesertRat Sun 21-Aug-11 22:50:14

my dd goes to 'badgers' (which is St Johns Ambulance for 5-10yrs old) and thats only 50p a week! You dont have to buy the uniform either, you can rent it.

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