A Homeschool Vent

Something has bothered me for years and I need to let it out.  If fact, I’ve probably let it out before, but it’s still happening so I need to vent again.  It’s a little annoyance, really, but it stems from lack of thinking, courtesy or respect for others and their time.  It’s so little in fact, that as soon as I take my eyes off of it, it is forgotten.  However, the next time I open my email, chances are I am face-to-face with this issue again and the annoyance rises up.  So here goes…

I belong to a statewide homeschool email list.  There are almost 2,000 members and it is a place to post and discuss not just all things homeschool, but also homeschooling in this state.  Each state has it’s own laws regarding homeschooling that we all must meet and sometimes a county or school district unintentionally misinterprets those laws when putting them into practice.  It’s wonderful to have advocates and experienced parents to discuss and help.

My issue is with members who post about a class/event/activity to a statewide group without listing the city or town it’s taking place in at the top of the post or even at all! It’s even in the etiquette of posting rules that is shared once a month: : “WHEN POSTING AN EVENT: Include the location in parentheses (City or Town) first, name of the event, and date in the subject line…”  In the subject line.  That would be lovely if locations were in the subject line, so I could scan through the email titles to see if there are any activities in our area that would interest B.  But they aren’t.  And finding the city or town anywhere in an email can be rare.  I find street addresses, names of housing developments, community centers and franchised karate studios, but no city or town.

Lots of emails are forwards of activities.  For example, say Jane is on the email list of her local library and they sent out an email on a free Science class next month.  Since the email was sent only to people who signed up to receive notifications from that library, there may or may not be a full address in the email.  It may only have “Main Street Library” or “Andrew Jackson Library” on it (I just made up those library names).  Jane thinks the Science class on this email looks awesome and wants to share.  She forwards to this statewide group and shares in her message the wonderful experiences her children have had with past Science classes at this library and how much she recommends classes here.  So I have to read through all of her comments and get no town or city.  Then I read through the forwarded message to learn the details of this great Science class and get excited because it’s perfect for my child and the day and time works for our schedule.  But I still have no idea where it is because I have not heard of the library.  So I Google it and find that it is a couple of hours away and with rush hour traffic, tack on more hours to get there and back.  Not worth it and I’ve wasted my time researching this.

Some of you may say, “Well, why didn’t you stop when you didn’t recognize the library name?  That should have told you it was out of your area.”  Believe it or not, there are more libraries in this country than McDonald’s and just because we homeschool doesn’t mean we have the names of all the ones within a 100 mile radius of us memorized.  😉  I can’t even remember my own personal schedule, let alone the names of all the libraries in my and the surrounding counties.

And this happens all the time.  Sometimes there are dozens of emails a month, sometimes hundreds.  That time invested and disappointment add up.  I don’t think any homeschooler is intentionally withholding location information from emails.  They are just really busy with their own lives, but want to share something with the rest of us, and send something short and quick.  I just wish they’d remember how busy the rest of us are, too, and took 3 seconds to add a city to the subject line.

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