What EHE Is
Evanston Home Educators is a group of homeschooling parents in and around Evanston who gather together to help each other create learning and social opportunities for their children. EHE provides support, ideas, information, and opportunities for group classes and field trips . A member of the umbrella group H.O.U.S.E. (Home-Oriented Unique Schooling Experience), our group is non-sectarian, and our members have many different approaches to and reasons for homeschooling.
Because EHE members are very diverse, members are reminded to remain respectful and noncritical of one another's philosophies and homeschooling practices, at meetings and events, and on the listserve.
EHE Parents Meetings are open to anyone interested in homeschooling. The meetings consist of three parts: sharing of activities and information, socializing and snacking, and topic discussions, which are followed by a business meeting for members only. To meet the needs of both veteran homeschoolers and newcomers, we offer two separate topic discussion groups.
If you are considering homeschooling, beginning homeschooling, or are the parent of preschool children, you may join an experienced homeschooler in the newcomers group to discuss topics such as legal issues, homeschooling styles, and how to begin. The discussion leader will answer your questions, guide you to resources, and share his or her personal experiences. In a separate group, veteran homeschoolers discuss topics such as getting ready for high school, multi-age teaching, and children with special needs. Both groups meet together for topics of general interest such as our annual resource sharing night.
Following the Parents Meeting is the EHE Business Meeting, which is open to members only, and deals with Policy and Procedure, Budget, Bylaws, and other operational aspects of the group. We use a consensus-based approach of honoring all points of view as we work together to craft resolutions that the whole group can support.
Class and Field Trip Offerings
There is no set roster of classes or activities in this group. Nearly all the activities/opportunities offered to EHE members have been created by one or two parents who wanted an activity for their kid(s), were willing to work to make that happen, and had the energy to share with other homeschool parents/kids. Parents organize events and classes around guest teachers, parents with skills to share, learning co-ops, theater events, beach days, museum and nature center offerings, and open gym classes. Get creative! Be proactive!
All members are welcome and wholeheartedly encouraged to set up classes, field trips, social events, etc. and announce them at the monthly meetings. The logistics of sign-up and any payment are determined by that parent and the needs of the particular event. If there is a need you or your children have for a group activity, many of us will be happy to share our experience.
Unless otherwise specified, payment for these activities is required at the time of sign-up. Often the parent doing the sign-up is responsible for the payment, so your payment in advance lessens the burden. If your child cannot attend an activity for which you have signed up, please notify the contact person as soon as possible. Refunds are not always possible.
When you have an event to announce, fill out an announcement form at the beginning of the meeting and give it to the meeting facilitator. You will be called on to explain your event. Then the information will be circulated via the listserve in the monthly minutes. You are encouraged to send your announcements individually via the listserve as well. Interested people can respond to the organizer. Sign-up sheets, class flyers, and other such information can be displayed on tables at the monthly meetings. When proposing a class, it is a good idea to come prepared with the following information: dates, times, place, cost, your contact information, age level(s) at which the event is targeted, and a brief description of the event.
Announcements of community classes, events of interest but not specifically geared to homeschoolers, and charitable events can be made via the listserve or by putting information on the activities tables at the monthly meetings. While our group members are involved in many worthwhile endeavors, please keep in mind that items posted during our meetings are to inform members of homeschooling activities only. In addition, if you are not a homeschooler but wish to market a service to the group, you may do so by invitation only.
The Business of EHE
EHE is a leaderless group run by a consensus process. The group is operated by all members, not by a board. There is not a hierarchy of jobs. The workings of the group — policies, structure, logistics, etc. — are determined at business meetings held monthly. All members are encouraged to submit proposals, attend business meetings, and add their voices to the consensus process. Business meetings provide the format for respectful conversations about group structure and members' needs.
Proposals for changes or additions to group policies are submitted to the Business Facilitator in time to be announced one month before the business meeting. Proposals can be submitted anonymously. All policies and business meeting minutes are filed in The Blue Book. The Blue Book can be found on the EHE table at the monthly meetings.
On the website, there is a list of volunteer positions that allow EHE to operate. Jobs turn over every two years and all members new and old are encouraged to volunteer. Each job is a necessary but busy-parent-sized part of the group's logistics — many hands make light work. Volunteering is a great way to meet other members.
Why Become a Member?
Membership in Evanston Home Educators is required for participation in some classes and the business meetings, and for inclusion in the listserve and the directory. All of these activities are great ways to make friends and get homeschooling support at the same time.
Annual dues cover rental of meeting space, H.O.U.S.E. dues, an annual social event or events, and insurance.