26 Aug 2017 Homeschool moms teaching their kids to be ‘good people’
by Brittany Gilbert
When Lindsay Sublett decided to homeschool her son, like most parents, she worried about the lack of socialization. So, in 2014, she created a group whose sole purpose was to get connected with other homeschool families.
The Sack Lunch Social is an informal group that connects through Facebook and is welcome to anyone. Ages range from toddlers to teenagers, and the goal is simple: socialize and connect with other families who homeschool.
The group originated in Greenbrier but has families that participate from the surrounding area. Meetings take place mainly in Greenbrier and Conway. They plan field trips and lunches once a month. Lindsay is the creator of the group, but other members are welcome to post about trips or events they have created. Someone who is interested in joining the Sack Lunch Social group can find them on Facebook.
There are other homeschool families in the area that offer play groups, and there are co-ops where parents teach classes. The Sack Lunch Social is unique. Many families who take advantage of local co-ops or other play groups also enjoy this group.
Jennifer Meeks and her daughter are part of multiple homeschool groups offered in their community. She enjoys this group because of how it is organized to provide both picnics and field trips for the kids.
Jami Loynachan is the director of the Faulkner County Christian Cooperative, which meets weekly. One experience that pulled her family as well as other members of her co-op to join the Sack Lunch Social was a scavenger hunt. Lindsay, the creator of the group, organized this opportunity where kids were able to solve riddles while learning to read a map and follow directions.
Jami also said they joined the group to participate in a special opportunity with Bethlehem House. “The kids went to Kroger and found the items on their shopping list,” she said. “They used coupons and managed a budget. We then took the groceries and donated them to Bethlehem House and took a tour of the facility.”
As I was talking to Lindsay, it became clear that her group is not just about having picnics and giving both moms and children a time to socialize. Sometimes they meet to simply connect over lunch and play, and sometimes it’s so much more. The first thing she said about her group is she hopes to “teach kids how to be good people.”
Her goal in taking the group to Bethlehem House was to expose them to struggles that others might face and show them how simple it can be to help, even on a limited budget. It was clear that community-based service, or service learning, is something she is interested in for this group. She has also organized other experiences with the police and fire departments to teach the children about safety issues.
Lindsay’s hope is that this group will bring awareness to homeschool families that there is another option for socialization and also an opportunity for families to help the community in which they live.
As a homeschool mom, one of the challenges I have come across is creating experiences like these with just my children. Valentine’s boxes, Christmas parties, scavenger hunts and large-group field trips are difficult to organize and something a lot of homeschool moms feel their children miss out on unless they are involved in a group like the Sack Lunch Social. The 501 is fortunate to have a group like this in our community.
Brittany Gilbert is a former FACS teacher at Maumelle High School. She and her husband, Levi, have two sons and a daughter and live in Conway. Brittany can be reached at [email protected].