My daughter and I are going on a field trip today, arranged by one of the moms at our coop. We are traveling to Mackinaw City, right at the tip of the Michigan hand. (Hold up your left hand, palm away. We’ll be at the the left side of your middle finger.) I am having a fair bit of anxiety about this trip. I will sleep in a room with people I don’t know all that well. What if I snore, or fart in my sleep? Plus, no electronic gadgets are allowed. No cell phone, iPod or laptop. What will we talk about? Too much pressure.

On the upside, we’ll do some snowshoeing, my favorite winter activity. I lack the necessary coordination for cross-county skiing, but snowshoeing is just like fast walking. Also on tap is stargazing, an after dark bonfire with a storyteller and a trip to a historic lighthouse.

Homeschooling has forced me out of my comfort zone in ways I never could have anticipated. Without the enforced proximity of the public school community, we had to find a new group. After some trial and error, we finally found a group of families with our same values and ideals.

Even homeschool groups who bill themselves as non-denominational or “accepting of all faiths” often exclude families with gay parents. I refuse to participate in a group that excludes anyone; participation implies acceptance of those restrictions. Consequently, we drive an hour each way to meet our secular coop once a week. The drawback to a secular community is that it’s too easy to “worship” at the altar of education.  I was asked what I had to offer to the group, what skills I could bring. I love learning and don’t regret any university or community college class that I took, but they do not define me.  Our first semester at the new coop, I was a helper in a kindergarten biology class. When I told one of the other moms which class I was helping in she said, “And are you a biologist?” Well, no, but I think I might be able to stay a few steps ahead of six-year-olds.

I’ll say it again: there’s nothing wrong with a little moderation.