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Local groups(6 Posts)
Recently I went to our local home ed group meeting for the first time and I ended up coming home quite soon as nobody spoke to me (apart from one person for a little while). Since then I haven't felt like going. Has anyone else found this or was I just extremely unlucky? I don't know how to push my company on anyone but being new there I sort of expected some interest from the others... I get social anxiety very easily in situations like that so the whole thing was like from a nightmare really. Part of me thinks I should try again but I'm not sure I could cope if it happened again.
It's a tricky situation! I'm sorry you didn't feel the group were welcoming.
As a long-term home educator who has gone to lots of groups and is a bit shy myself, I am often on the other side of it, trying to figure out whether the new family want to talk or would rather take their time to get used to the new environment first. I want to make them welcome but not push myself on them. I'm conscious of the fact that some of the new kids will have anxiety and or autism, for example, and may not want some strange woman invading their space. I probably hang back too much, usually assuming that a quick smile and wave will assure them that I'm happy to talk if they want to come over. So maybe the others at the group felt the same as you?
There are also some parents (not including me) who have a lot on their plates and leave the welcoming of newcomers to others. They may be so busy watching their own child for signs of impending crisis that they have no mental energy for anything else, or may have had so little sleep the previous night that they don't even know you're there.
I know that doesn't make it any easier for you though! A few ideas:
Would you want to meet up with one family individually so you will already know someone next time you go to the group?
Would you feel brave enough to say (on Facebook or wherever people in your area communicate) that you plan to come along to the group tomorrow and you're a bit nervous and hope people will look out for you? I know that is hard, but then they will know that you do want them to come talk to you.
Is there a meeting with an activity so there is a focus, giving everyone something to talk about and allowing you to absorb yourself in the activity whenever you are feeling a little awkward? For example, we have ice skating where it's possible to skate round without having to talk to people, and then gradually over a number of sessions you'll get to know others there. I always recommend that for nervous people because it may feel like there is less pressure on.
I do think everyone there was very busy, that's part of the problem as the meetings are always a workshop type of thing and my daughter would not take part in anything. She's still very young so I'm assuming it's possibly something she'll get over.
My husband expected me to go there this week but I chickened out... if I go back there it would be definitely much easier to go with someone. I don't mind if it's just one person of "safety" there as long as I could talk to somebody. I've got this vision of going back there and standing by myself eventually holding back tears and grabbing the kids and running out of there... I so desperately want it to work as it took some effort to get my husband to agree to homeschooling and if he thinks for one moment that our daughter is not getting what she needs he might change his mind. Although in fairness he is very excited about the homeschooling at the moment.
I'm not sure if I have the courage to post on their Facebook like you suggested... there's the worry again what if no one responds although if no one didn't then I would definitely not go back!! I just so wish I could be more outgoing...
I always say to people please take the initiative and speak to people. There are so many people in our local area that I don't know people who have been home educating for years and I admin the local group. I try to speak to people if I know they are new but if I am organising the activity it is hard as I am trying to do a lot. Activities in public areas like parks or trampolining, or that cross over people from different areas I find that I don't know if people are with the group or not, or new or I have just not met. If I know someone is coming for the first time I will watch out and make the effort.
Don't give up. Try different groups and the same one again and be proactive, it is surprising how many home eders (particularly the most vocal online) are really shy.
Definitely post on Facebook btw. If you are too scared to post on list if there is a name you recognise as posting a lot on the group message them for advice. I have had a message off group nearly every day this week off existing or new home eders after advice, reassurance, links, suggestions for activities to attend. I am rubbish face to face (or think I am) but good with time to think and will always find the time to try to make people feel welcome if I know that they are nervous.
I found another local group, it'll be a bit further to travel but I'm going to go try it out and then hopefully if it went a bit better I would get the courage to go back to my nearest group again. I don't think anyone was intentionally ignoring me, they were just really busy. And there was one lovely lady who did speak to me so maybe I'll try search her out either on Facebook or next time I go to the group meeting.
Thank you both for your replies, they have assured me a little that maybe it'll get better. I'm not going to give up yet, I will try to go to them again.