The First Educating Wildflowers Co-op Meeting really was a raging success.
They say to grow you need to continually put yourself in uncomfortable situations. For me I could not think of a more uncomfortable situation than to volunteer to coordinate a meeting for a group of women of which I have no idea who they are or how many will attend. And yet I did coordinate such a meeting, and never before have I felt more seen in a group setting as an adult woman and mother.
I knew when Jason and I decided we were pulling our children out of public education we would start our own cooperative, for there was none in the area. There was no homeschool co-op in the area and if I wanted to try to have a community for our kids I coudn’t wait for someone else to start one, nor would I want to wait. I wanted to create the community for like minded individuals in our area, hoping we would find a community and we did.
I Kept the First Educating Wildflowers Co-op Meeting low key, and winged it. I had no idea really how many families would show up or how many kids would be included in those families. Nor did I know what their expectations would be. My entire vision for the first meeting was to meet, gather, and discuss what our hopes were collectively for the Educating Wildflowers Co-op. In a Pinterest world, simple can go unappreciated. However, the idea is to discuss and have fellowship to showoff.
I chose to supply Rice Crispy Treat snacks, waters, pencils, and coloring sheets and color pencils for the kids who might attend. I didn’t provide anything for the parents because ultimately I felt the hour we would be there was in preparation for how this community would best serve the children.
The meeting started at 10 am and we had 4 mothers show up with kids in tow. I was amazed and really comforted by the speed at which the kids got out of their seats and made friends with each other, found fellowship with like spirited children. The theory that homeschool children are unsocial was just debunked in 30 seconds flat. The children’s ages ranged from 3 to 9 who participated. Fiona told Jason and I, “you guys the kids my age were immature like me”, and Jason was quick to tell her “No Fiona, you were around kids who are free to act their age, you are not immature.” I loved that.
I started the first Educating Wildflowers Co-op meeting giving some back story as to who I was, how I worked as an aid last school year at a local school. I brought up how we had moved to Oklahoma with the desire to homeschool, but after that year with an eagle eye view into our public education system we chose to homeschool immediately this year and for the years to continue. I shared that what I wanted out of this co-op was a place for community for my kids, to have a place that my children can make friendships with other kids who are experiencing learning similar to them. Whose parents value similar learning as theirs do. To have a place where they find identity with others outside of just us. This seemed to really resonate with the women who attended and agreed that is why they wanted to join and attend this first meeting as well. I chose to not overshare, I really wanted to know what the other families were looking for. I wanted to observe and come in with a more firm idea of my intentions of this cooperative in the meetings to come.
We all agreed as well that to make friends as an adult is really difficult. It is really difficult to find parents who share like minded values and beliefs and choices that go against the grain. It sounded to me like a lot of these women and families have bucked the system, or are choosing to buck the system for the first time, and understand the path of divergence is a noble but often time lonely one. The mothers in this group, myself included, need this co-op for a community of support just as much as our children need it.
A lot of the women shared that they had inquired about local co-ops, there was only one other co-op in the area and evidently from what I have heard is that it is a very religious one and is very rule oriented. They were thrilled to see Educating Wildflowers Co-op advertised by our local library. They had each thought of starting one but didn’t want to be the one responsible in organizing it. I am very proud to have fulfilled a need in our community.
I didn’t feel the need to dominate the meeting in everything I hoped for this co-op. I really wanted to hear from the other families what they were looking for and have been looking for in this cooperative. I have my vision for Educating Wildflowers as an online community and for Educating Wildflowers as a local cooperative, and so far the sense of community outside of sports, outside of church, is what is most needed.
There were really great suggestions for the co-op and what activities our kids should participate in. We will be meeting twice a month at least, that was a collective need. I honestly wouldn’t be surprise if we decided to meet more times per month as we all get to know each other more.
Community outreach is something really important to us. To be involved in our community and to be able to better it. I loved that idea shared by one of the mothers. I think that is great. This is absolutely something I will be acting upon this next week in communication with our city and county. I want to bring quite a few possibilities to our next meeting.
I am going to host the next meeting’s activities and I am going to figure out a way to spread the load of financial commitment for different activities. I do believe the idea of finances will come organically and most were open to contributing financially for different activities for their kids which I think was something important to touch on. Every co-op seems to handle things differently and that will be something I touch on with the parents more next time. No one wants to discuss financials but the reality is, it is a necessary discussion.
Group field trips were also something that everyone seemed really interested in. I was very excited by this. Field trips are not something a lot of kids do in school anymore and in my opinion were some of the most fun times when I look back on my early education memories. I would love for my kids to experience some of the these places here in Oklahoma with their friends and with like minded curious minds their age. It makes me so excited to think we actually have a co-op with members to facilitate this idea for them into a reality.
First Educating Wildflowers Co-op Meeting Was A Raging Success
All in all, as I said in the title, I do believe the first Educating Wildflowers Co-op meeting was indeed a raging success. I do believe that the women who came looking for a community feel as though they found one when they left the room that day. Again, I could not be more proud of that.
I am so thankful to our local public library for being willing to facilitate us as a place to meet. Without their help, or their marketing, this first Educating Wildflowers Co-op meeting would not have been nearly as successful. Our library truly believes that being the host for our co-op is to fulfill the duty of the library as a community meeting place. I am so thankful for that, we are very fortunate to have such wonderful people bringing our library to a modern place in our community.
I look forward to the next meeting in August, and of course cannot wait to fill you in on how things are progressing. If you are hesitant to do something, to inspire change, though it be uncomfortable, your friends or peers may be waiting or needing you to be the one to be the change they need to see to change themselves. Think on that.
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