Fall Semester 2020 & General Updates

TL/DL: We are still an active group, but will not be hosting in-perosn meetups during the fall semester this year for the safety and well-being of our families due to Covid-19’s on-going threat. We are currently planning on hosting online, elective classes for enrichment (not core subjects) during the fall semester and will hopefully resume in-person meetups in the Spring. For the latest, most accurate information on Triangle Homeschoolers’ plans and activities, please join the ‘TH Secular Homeschool Chat’ group on Facebook. 

 

So welcome to 2020, I guess? 

Honestly, we’re not even sure how to begin this post; this year has been such a trip. For many of you, homeschooling is a welcome change; a challenge that you and your family have been looking forward to and planning for a while (or are jumping into feet-first with relish), but for many others this year, being thrown into homeschooling is a big, scary, frustrating, last-minute option that you were hoping to avoid. We can sympathize with both points of view, and welcome you, whatever your situation.

The fact is, homeschooling is not for everyone; not by choice, and even seasoned homeschooling families are struggling with the limitations we’re all working with during the pandemic. But despite the circumstance, it CAN work for your family, and that’s what groups like this one are for – to help you find the path that will work best for your particular family. Every family is different; there is no one ‘right’ way to homeschool; no one ‘right’ path or curriculum or schedule or philosophy… and honestly, that’s the beauty of it. We hope that whatever your circumstance, we can help you figure out how to make homeschooling work within your family’s situation this year.

If you’re totally new, then we have a couple of resources that might help in the very beginning stages. Our Guide to Getting Started is in four parts, and covers many of the concerns and questions new homeschooling parents have. It covers four areas; getting started including the legal requirements for homeschooling in Texas, methods and curriculum, scheduling and record keeping, and finally, socialization and things like planning for high school. We also have a chat group on Facebook that is open to parents so they can connect with other homeschooling families and ask questions not covered in our guide, or to get other perspectives with a personal touch. If it’s been a while since you’ve read through it, there may be something that hits you differently now that you’ve got some experience under your belt. Either way, we recommend giving it a once-over before the school year starts, just as a refresher. And, as always, chatting in the group with other parents is a good way to see what works for other people that you can tweak for your own family.

As of this writing, we are two(ish) weeks out from the usual start of the school year for our group, and we have decided that with the information we have now, we’re not hosting any in-person meetups for the fall semester. BISD, which is our local school district, is hosting online classes for the first four weeks of school, with the possibility of continuing that through the first nine weeks of the school year. If the local school openings go well and classes resume without any issues, we may revisit that decision, but by and large, the individual families in our group have been quite conservative with social exposure; most of our families have been in at least semi-quarantine since March, so we’re mostly anticipating continued social distancing for the fall semester.

Depending on circumstances, we hope to resume hosting some of our group’s most popular in-person activities (like our co-ops and Zombie School, and weekly field trips), and even graduation at the end of the year, at some point this school year. In the mean time, we’re working on planning some parent-hosted, online/virtual, opt-in, enrichment classes that will at least offer some student v. student interaction while keeping risk of illness low. When we’ve finalized those plans, you’ll be able to find out more about that on our Facebook group.

So, with that, welcome to homeschooling in 2020! However rough the start this year, we’re happy to have you with us.
Cheers!
TH

January 2019 Update

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Hello homeschoolers! It’s been a while since we’ve updated for this group, and though we’ve been somewhat less active, we’re still alive and kicking. As previously noted, Hurricane Harvey brought a ton of changes to Southeast Texas, and it’s not unexpected that the homeschooling community will have changed as well. Though our group has recovered in many ways, some of the changes in the community have shifted our group as well. Once of the most noticeable changes is the creation of the inclusive L.I.F.E. Homeschool group in Beaumont. Their format is quite different, and many of Triangle Homeschoolers families have taken an active part in participation.

It’s been so great to see how different homeschooling groups can work in tandem to meet the needs of the very large homeschooling community in Southeast Texas. Each group individually meets specific needs of individual families, and we really feel like the more resources and options open to homeschooling families, the better. L.I.F.E. has been a welcome addition to the area, with opt-in, open classes and events for all ages, and opportunities for parents to share their specific interests and talents with a larger student population. Some things are harder to plan and organize (and sustain) in smaller groups, so having a large, diverse group affords more/different opportunities to students.

That said, Triangle Homeschoolers has been happy to maintain our smaller, active group of families with a secular focus. Though regular at-home homeschooling and other events and activities have filled the week for many of us, our group is still meeting on our regular Wednesdays, with field trips and meet-ups throughout the month. Our Elementary Co-op is in their second year of classes, with plans to continue through May of this year. Though our High School co-op elected to remain on hiatus for now, we are proud to have four graduating seniors in our group this year, one of whom will be starting college later in January, while the rest of our teens have taken a more active part in L.I.F.E. Homeschool Group’s Teen Council and social events.

Here are a few pictures from various events from the Fall 2018 semester.

Not Back to School FroYou at Orange Leaf:

 

Teen Social Brunch at IHOP

Stark Museum of Art

 

Beaumont Police Museum

 

2018 Christmas Party

 

and a few images from the fall semester of our THINK Elementary Co-op

We’re currently into our Spring 2018 session, and looking forward to having your family join us!

If you’d like to be part of our group, please join the TH Secular Homeschool Chat group on Facebook and look under the EVENTS tab for our next meet&greet event (FroYo at Orange Leaf January 30, 2019). If you have any questions, you’re welcome to message us through our Facebook Page, or use our contact form to send an email.

TH

 

Off to a Late Start – January 2018

Normally, we start our school year the last week or so of August; about the time that the public schools in our area begin their fall semester. This year, however, I was out of town the week we’d originally scheduled our annual ‘Not Back to School’ Party (which is the first official Triangle Homeschoolers event for the new school year), and we’d planned on having it the following week. Little did I know I would be returning home right into Hurricane Harvey’s path.

We have three main organizers who plan events for our group. Heather Thomas  (that’s me) is the administrator and oversees most of the group’s day to day operations, including facilitating the discussion groups on Facebook, interacting with new and interested families,  and (occasionally) updating this website; Kandi Champion plans and hosts events for bigs, and Heather Mullin plans and hosts events for the littles. All three of us lost our homes and virtually everything our families own in the flooding during Hurricane Harvey. For all intents and purposes, Triangle Homeschoolers was closed for the fall semester of the 2017-2018 school year.

After much discussion between the three of us and the other members of our meet-up group, we decided that a good target for possible back-to-normal(ish) operations would be January 2018, but that was honestly a shot in the dark. The recovery process is far from over; in addition to the losses to our three families, several other members of our group suffered damage up to and including losing their homes as well. Those who didn’t suffer any damage had their hands full with the cessation of city services in the weeks following the hurricane, and then helping friends and family with their recovery efforts.

It’s been a very long few months, but we are happy to report that our January target wasn’t too far off the mark. We’d originally planned for our big Meet-&-Greet Park Day to be last week, but the unexpected (second!!) snowfall, ice, and week of frozen temperatures pushed it to this week. We had a respectable showing from our regular members and are happy to welcome a handful of new families to our group as well.

We are still not quite back up to our normal weekly schedule, but we’re getting there. Our High School co-op started the second week of January, and orchestra class resumed the same week. We have a Teen Social and Mom’s Night Out planned, and are working on getting the weekly events on the calendar. With today’s discussion, we’ve also added the possibility of a Middle School co-op, and there was interest in planning another Elementary co-op session soon. Things are slowly getting back to normal, despite our late start!

If you are interested in joining our group, but weren’t able to make it to our event this afternoon, we’ll be hosting another Park Day that is open to the public in February. You can join our discussion group on Facebook to find out details.

Happy Homeschooling!
TH

Visiting Julie Roger’s Theater

Wednesday, December 2, 2015, TH Homeschoolers joined hundreds of public schoolers for a break from study to enjoy the ballet.  The theater presented  Babes in Toyland with dancers from across Southeast Texas.  As children of all ages began to fill the theater, they were greeted with small ballet dancers dressed as elves passing out programs.  The place was filled with festive decor and holiday music.

Upon the start time, four teens and lead dancers introduced themselves and their accomplishments.  The cheers were explosive when each one announced their city of residence.  The ballet opened with the introduction of fairy tale characters from Little Bo Peep to Mother Goose.  Jane and Alan, the main characters of the ballet eluded their Uncle Barnaby at their stops in The Magical Forest, Ice Mountain, Toymaker’s Workshop, and Candy Shop as they ventured towards Toyland, where their fortune awaited.  Barnaby sought to oust them so that he may have this fortune.  They met many interesting and helpful characters, as they journeyed onward.  Eventually, Uncle Barnaby succumbs to the spirit of Christmas, and the family members made amends and celebrated their joyous occasion in Toyland.

This ballet was a nice break from regular homeschool activities and a great first event to get us all pumped up for the holiday season.

11046332_10206324992096642_4189571316656716557_nOur group happily waiting for the show to start

Social Studies Club – Japan

Every month, our group hosts a social studies club, focused on a single country or region. For the month of December, our country of focus was Japan. The kids all do a project of their choice. I love this format, because it means that all the kids can participate; it’s not limited to any grade level or ability. They also get to choose whatever area of study they want to work in, so the projects can be whatever strikes their fancy, from history, to current events, culture, politics, daily life – whatever they’re interested in.

In addition to their project and presentation, we also bring food from that culture. Today, we had several really great recipes, including: rice bowls with chicken breast and bell peppers in oyster sauce, rice noodles with spring veggies, nama chocolate maccha,  and sunomono (cucumber salad). Yum!

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Making Scarves for the Homeless – Dec. 2015

SETX AHHH

Each year, Triangle Homeschoolers chooses a charity to volunteer with. This year, our charity is Southeast Texas Atheists Helping the Homeless.

In preparation for the SETX AHH December event, which will take place this Sunday at Weiss Park in downtown Beaumont, our students got together to make fleece scarves, using a couple of simple designs that even our youngest members were able to help make.  TH families will be in attendance on Sunday to help provide warm clothing items and other necessities to those in need.

For more information about TH, please contact us. For more information about SETX AHH, you can visit their website or Facebook page.

 

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Homeschool Teen Book Club – Nov/Dec 2015

teen book clubEach month during the school year, our local library system hosts a homeschool book club. It’s broken into two days, with three different age-groups. Since my boys are older, we participate in the ‘teen’ book club, which includes kids from 12 and up. The great thing about our library system (and our librarian, Ms. Robin) is the flexibility. Not only are younger siblings welcome, they’re encouraged to be part of the group.

The format of the club is great. Rather than a traditional, single monthly selection, Ms. Robin chooses several books, one from each of several different categories, including historical, best seller, award winner, classic, etc. The kids are also allowed to choose any book from the College Board Recommended Reading List… but if that fails, any book your student has read can be adapted for discussion.

The kids have a list of questions to consider regarding their book, and to make recommendations to the other students for that book, or others that they’ve read. It’s great listening to the observations and thoughts the students have about the books they’re reading.

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One of the selections for December’s discussion was ‘The Hiding Place’ by Corrie Ten Boom. It’s about a girl who, among other things,  survived a Nazi concentration camp. One of the moms in our group is a descendant of a survivor, and brought a rock from the Dachau Concentration Camp that’s been in their family since 1965.

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