It is easy to feel that we are alone in how we think and feel, especially if our thoughts don’t fit the ‘norm’. Our dreams for a different way of doing things can easily stay in our hearts as mere wishes that never materialise.
When my partner and I decided we wanted to ‘unschool’ our daughter we knew that if felt right but we also wanted a community to do it with, for us all to have friendships and a sense of belonging outside of the family unit. We were relatively new to the area and still finding our feet and, being older parents most of our friends had been there done the family thing so we were kind of starting a fresh.
After months of wrangling with the idea I finally put a message on Facebook and called a meeting. I booked a small room in Lewes and, feeling rather apprehensive, I went along to see who would respond. I was pleasantly surprised when 15 families turned up. We had a great discussion and discovered that, like us most people were feeling despondent about the system and looking for alternative ways to go forward. Not everybody chose to home educate but everybody enjoyed meeting likeminded people that they could bounce ideas off. From that meeting we formed a small group that went on to unschool together. Eleven years later the group is a strong community, it has gained and lost members and all our needs have changed over the years but it has remained a solid foundation to share, support and celebrate together and we have made many special memories along the way.
I am grateful to this day for the post I put out and the response received. We can easily feel we are we are different in our ways of thinking, bury our opinions or feel isolated and ‘go it alone’ However we need community for our sense of well being and happiness and, being with likeminded people open us up to opportunities that enrich our lives.
I would encourage anybody to reach out when they are feeling that they want to do something new, whatever it is, it could be you feel a desire to make changes at the school your child attends, or to live an alternative lifestyle in a place you feel is very ‘mainstream’ or, ‘that project’ you would love to get off the ground but just don’t know how. Whatever it is, if it is important to you, chances are it will be important to someone else. Take a deep breath and put it out there, who knows what you will start! Find your tribe and create the life you want to live.
Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it's the only thing that ever has. - Margaret Mead