No Labels

Oh friends (all 25 of you still reading this sporadic blog), I have so many posts in the draft queue. Posts that I have begun and then thought, No, too personal/negative/whiny/earnest/controversial. And so the blog sits looking unloved and untended, when really the gardener is indoors with the seedlings, which may move to the garden when they are ready.

Speaking of gardening metaphors, I am preparing to put down roots. I think I have chosen a parish, coincidentally the first Catholic church I attended when we lived here long ago and I was pregnant with Violet. I only went a few times, but it was a wonderful place, and I think it still is. So I think we will fill out the forms and check out the kids’ formation programs and choirs and plant ourselves there for a while. But I’m not volunteering for Anything yet.

I’ve also finally started reaching out to local homeschool groups, trying to find some nearby friends. What I find difficult with some homeschool groups is that everyone wants to caucus with others just like them: Christian (which means a particular kind of Christian), secular (which means you can be Christian if you keep your trap shut), unschooling (which means . . . I have no idea anymore), progressive (ditto).

Today when I requested to join a local e-mail list for a unschooling/relaxed homeschooling group, I couldn’t quite get the words out. I don’t believe in unschooling — not that I’m opposed to it, but I don’t believe it exists except as an idea. So even though we do less formal curriculum than some who call themselves unschoolers, I couldn’t claim that title.

And relaxed? I’m not a relaxed anything.

What could I tell them to let them know I could be one of them? We aren’t vegetarians anymore, so that’s not helpful. I’m Catholic, which really doesn’t go over well in any group, including with other Catholics! We were Attachment Parents, but once we were done with family bed and breastfeeding that label didn’t mean much anymore either. How ’bout, I voted for Obama and I don’t shave my legs?


And so, in my 200-character description of why I wanted to join the group, I said “No Labels” and “We like hanging out with interesting people.” And if the group is too committed to the purity of the unschool/”very relaxed homeschool” label to let us in, how interesting could they be?


Filed under Our Philosophy (such as it is), Socialization

9 responses to “No Labels

  1. Hah! Very funny!

    I’d love to hear ” too personal/negative/whiny/earnest/controversial”

    Good for you for putting down roots. That is a great step. The Church sounds lovely.

    I hope you find your interesting people. I am looking for some local interesting people too.

  2. Oh my God, it’s like I’ve found a soul mate!

    I could have written this post about homeschooling groups and not really fitting perfectly anywhere so far. (We are also Catholic and we aren’t unschoolers, but I’m not sure what the heck we are. Eclectic rolls off the tongue well.)

    Anyway, thanks for making me chuckle today. I really thought we were the only ones.

  3. Molly

    Laughing so hard about how saying you’re Catholic doesn’t go over well in any group, including other Catholics. 🙂 Been there, done that.

    It takes courage to put down roots, so I commend you. Merry Christmas and Happy New Roots to you.

  4. Right there with ya. We’re secular, but the only groups, both online and offline, that work for us are the inclusive ones. I prefer the ones where everyone can be who they are and be it loud and clear if they so choose.

    Unfortunately, there do tend to be cliques in inclusive groups, but it’s natural for humans to huddle together with like-minded people. Perhaps that’s why I never can quite find “my” group.

    Good luck to you in finding a welcoming and comfortable group to hang out with!


  5. Mariposa

    I laughed and chuckled.

  6. I love this post, and the earlier one that you link to in it. I do pretty much consider myself an unschooler, but honestly I’m too lazy (or busy, or both) to figure out what that really means. I haven’t read a single book on it, though when I first started homeschooling (part-time, over two years ago) I read about it on a couple of websites and I liked the way it sounded. I guess I just use it to mean that I hardly use any actual text books or follow any curricula (except for math). He learns best/most by reading, stuff he’s interested in. Every once in awhile I insist that he read something I want him to, but mostly I let him go with what he wants–because he is interested in so many things. (Let me say I don’t think this approach would work for or with all kids–it would never, ever work with my stepson, for example. He would only ch0ose books about Star Wars! And I don’t know if I’ll continue this approach forever, but it works very well for us for now.) I don’t know how much that differs from other “eclectic” styles of homeschooling–maybe not at all. In any case, hope you find a group that you love!

    PS–Why *are* you Catholic? Just kidding!!!! 🙂 But if we ever meet in person I’d love to gab about theology with you (I’m Episcopalian, so not too far off!)

  7. lapazfarm

    Boy does this sound familiar! Something makes me think we’d get along well.

  8. I am right there too. We do some subjects in an unschooly way, we use some curriculum. We’re Episcopalian so we’re neither secular nor do we fit into evangelical/fundamentalist groups. And relaxed couldn’t possible describe my personality 🙂 It’s very hard to find our niche in the homeschool community.

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