H.O.M.E. (Home-Oriented, Meaningful Education) is a Madison, Wisconsin-based, secular homeschooling network. Our group was founded in 1984 based on the philosophies of John Holt and the concept of unschooling, a concept for which we are passionately committed to providing support in our community. While H.O.M.E. welcomes everyone regardless of individual educational philosophy, our primary mission is to create a safe space for families who want to embrace unschooling in their own lives.
Here are some sample copies of our newsletter for prospective HOME members to examine to get a flavor of our group:
Please note that HOME is a local support group which seeks to keep its membership localized in the area of Southern Wisconsin. That said, we heartily welcome visitors! Please feel free to contact us to find out if there is an activity planned during the time you will be visiting Madison.
A History of H.O.M.E.
What follows is a brief history of the formation of H.O.M.E., as written by Alison McKee herself, based on her recollection of that time:
The History of HOME
(Home Oriented Meaningful Education)
In September of 1983 David and I moved to Madison, one homeschooler and one toddler in tow. Upon arriving in Madison, I made phone contact with some of the homeschoolers I had been writing to from Minneapolis. One contact put me in touch with the founding member of F.I.S.H. (Families In School at Home) another homeschooling group in Madison. I was invited to attend their meetings.
The support that F.I.S.H. offered me and my family did not meet our family's needs. Members of F.I.S.H. were not "unschooling" their children. I might have found myself at a loss for making connections with homeschoolers other than those involved with FISH had it not been for the fact that, at this time, the Wisconsin legislature was in the process of re-writing Wisconsin's homeschooling law. My family was actively involved in that process. As such, I met more homeschooling families.
After activity at the state capital died down, I continued to keep in phone contact with some of the families I'd met during the process of lobbying for our current homeschool law.
During the course of my phone conversations I suggested having an informal gathering of “unschoolers.” Approximately five families (one from Green Bay!) came to that first gathering.
There was no formal structure for the gathering, simply play time for the children (Christian was the only school-aged child in the group) and talking time for the parents. For the next few months the group continued to meet whenever personal calendars permitted.
As group members got to know one another better we decided on a regular, once a month, meeting date. At those meetings children played and parents socialized. "Membership" increased
little by little. Soon a one-page news letter was being written. All the copying expenses were donated and postage expenses covered by self-addressed stamped envelopes.
Over time, the group experimented with various formats for monthly gatherings. As families expressed a need for more opportunities to gather, the group's offerings expanded. For a
short time parent meetings and activities for the children were held simultaneously. Many of the
activities had to take place during weekday mornings. This left most fathers out of the
picture. In order to facilitate having fathers at meetings, parent meetings were moved to Friday
evenings and were held in member's homes. Over the years, continuing growth of the group,
and the group's need to grow with its expanded membership, have brought about much change;
and thus our current structure which, no doubt, will change as the group changes!
The acronym HOME comes to us from a now defunct organization called HOME - Network
News. That original group was founded to help keep all factions of the homeschooling
community united and informed of pending legislation when our current WI homeschooling law
was being written back in 1984. The founders of that organization encouraged networking and
the formation of support groups among its members. Myself and another homeschooler
were both members of HOME - Network News suggested to the group that it become
the "Madison Chapter" of HOME. Thus we are, still today, HOME.