Where we usually live, in our community on the beautiful Gaspé peninsula - with mountains, rivers, and outdoors aplenty - there no other homeschoolers, that we know of.
Notice how I started off with what I love about where I live? Because that's why we live there.
We didn't move there for the homeschool community.
In our six months of living there - helping to start a buying club, shopping at the health food store, attending a few church services, skiing at the local hill, visiting the library, going to free community events (places you might meet homeschoolers) we've met none.
I was expecting that there wouldn't be very many homeschoolers. I wasn't expecting none. Perhaps we'll start a movement. Or at the very least offer support to families who want to get started.
But for now, we're lone rangers. This is mostly ok. I'm at a stage in my parenting and homeschooling where I'm pretty secure with what we're doing and where we're going. I don't need other people telling me "it's ok to homeschool" to keep going with homeschooling. This is the path we are committed to walking, regardless if anyone else around us is doing it. But it sure would be nice to have some support now and again.
I seek that support where I can. Mostly online. But this month in Montréal we're able to meet with real, live homeschoolers.
This was one of the reasons we wanted to visit the city this month. For our kids to connect with other homeschoolers.
Yesterday we met with the Montréal Homelearners. For a city as large as Montréal it's a small group, but a fantastic group nonetheless. Homeschooling is very fringe in Québec. Which I find interesting since in some ways Québec is quite progressive. (The bureaucracy here though, oh... don't get me started.)
We gathered at the group's community center - Centre Communidée. We talked and talked and talked. Ok, I talked and talked and talked.
The kids played, helped build lunch, made cork boats to race in the nearby canal, read, did a bit of crafting, played some more. Met other homeschooled kids.
The group of families we met were amazing. Montréal is a very cosmopolitan city and the group reflected that feel.
A lot of places I go I feel a bit weird. Weirdness is ok with me. But sometimes you just want to feel normal. Yesterday I felt normal.
I felt normal with the Isreali family moving back to Isreal this month. And the Russian/Canadian family who (get this) camp all summer in the Gaspé. I felt normal with the South African family who has lived in Ireland, Germany, somewhere else I forget, and now here.
I felt normal with the unschoolers and "sometimes we do lessons" homeschoolers. I felt normal with the artists, mothers, fathers (yes there were fathers at this group, a new for me also) and world travelers who choose to homeschool their kids.
My own complicated story - where I'm from and where I live - didn't set me apart. I fit.
I think the kids enjoyed it too! I didn't press too much for details but Céine met girls her age. Homeschooled girls. Girls who love to read, hang out with their families, and are world travelers. Now these are girls that Céline can relate to. She wants to go back later this month. We'll have to anyway because she borrowed a book from their English(!) library.
Brienne and Laurent found their place in the throng of kids their age.
The kids were engaged from the moment we arrived till when we left five hours later and I didn't really see much of them during our whole time there. I was too busy talking with the parents. Finding my tribe.
Damien brought his computer along and used the center wi-fi to work. This work wherever you get internet is a good gig.
Being in the city for a month was just what our family needed. Funny how being homeless for a month has turned into the most wonderful opportunity.
Today at Simple Homeschool I'm sharing about Small Space Homeschooling. Which is even that much more appealing when you have access to a group like this. I invite you to pop on over to Simple Homeschool today if you want to be a part of that discussion.
As far as other homeschooling plans for this month - we are living and learning in the city.
There's a few museums on my "things I want to do" list. Damien is doing activities with the kids also which I hope to share someday (my family is getting into role playing games and I'm totally out of the loop on that). Céline is continuing her computer programming course and Laurent will be starting a online reading program. More on that later.
That's our homeschool plans while living in Montréal this month.