For teens-ish non-schoolers who’d specially like to meet others of similar age.
Update October 2021: We’ve resumed! Only difference since before the pandemic is we now use masks while playing the parachute game – to be welcoming to people with concerns about covid, and just to be on the safe side. So don’t forget your mask. (Unless you’re exempt for disability reasons.)
currently usually a Monday, Wednesday or Friday. Update: could be any day Monday to Friday. (And we try to vary the days, as different people have other commitments on different days.)
Time: 1.30pm to 3.30pm, or up till teatime depending on weather & what everyone’s doing 🙂 Update: now sometimes doing 2pm, as that works better for some people. (Or occasionally we do one which starts in the late morning instead.)
Venue: a Nottingham park.
Age range: Primarily 12 to 17, and see further info.
Frequently Asked Questions
What about 11-year-olds? What about 19-year-olds?
There’s no strict age limit; it’s mostly about wanting the teenager-ish hanging-out flavour. So even a 10-year-old could join in if that’s what they’re looking for.
Can younger siblings tag along?
Yes, that’s fine – it’s just that the focus will be on the older ones, and the younger ones will be expected to not get too much in the way of that.
Is it open to new people?
Yes, any home edders are very welcome, as well as people seriously considering it for their family. Please do come along! It’s a good opportunity to dip your toe into the local networks.
Can teens come along by themselves?
Yes – some have.
Can I drop off my teen(s), go to do errands, and come back later?
Usually that would work fine, yes. Unless your errands take a very long time or the weather gets bad, it’s quite likely that a good number of people would be staying on till whenever you’d be back. Whether you want to do it like that is basically between you and your young person, and any other parents you enlist to keep an eye.
Can parents come along by themselves?
Yes – parents are welcome to drop in with or without their children, and take the opportunity to chat to the other parents. If you’re at the “considering and finding out about home ed” stage, this is a lovely meetup to visit.
What if it rains on the day?
If it’s really wet, we’re quite likely to postpone to another day. If it’s just drizzly, probably some people will still want to go.
How do I find out the date and place?
There’s now an email announcements list which is specifically for organising this and similar events, for Nottingham non-school teens. (It’s only for occasional announcements of practical news – not a discussion list.)
To get on that list, if you’re not already on one of the main lists or groups where local home ed families plan things, please email teensishmeetup at non-school-nottingham dot org dot uk, and introduce yourself.
Would we need to book in advance?
It’s not essential. Typically there’s an announcement of a possible date, and then the event will only be confirmed and go ahead if a reasonable number of people say they’d go. So if you’re pretty sure you’re going this time, it’s useful for the event organisation if you say so. But there are often a few extra people turning up on the day as well.
What should we bring?
Things for being comfortable whatever the weather is 🙂 E.g. water, sun cream, warm &/or cool clothes, snacks, maybe a hot drink in a thermos, waterproof things to sit on, and/or an old towel to wipe any rain off damp benches.
Also, a way to write down other people’s contact details, in case you meet people you want to keep in touch with.
Description of a typical meetup
As of mid-2019, we’ve evolved a pattern along the lines of…
As people arrive, we encourage everyone to wear a name label unless they specially don’t want to, as it helps with learning names and not having to worry about remembering them.
Typically there might be a dozen or so local home edders in the teens-ish age range, as well as maybe a few younger siblings.
There will probably be a mix of people who have met before and people who haven’t. There are usually a few autistic teens (though we can’t guarantee that). We’ll try to be extra friendly if you don’t know anyone!
Soon after the official start time, the young people play a parachute game, where we call out things like “anyone wearing black” or “anyone who likes Harry Potter” or “anyone who owns more than 3 computer games”, and everyone who fit the category runs underneath the parachute and swaps places.
This game is a good one for people who feel shy, as it’s a way of getting to know everyone else a little bit without actually having to say any words.
Then we go for a walk. This usually includes people mingling around a bit and chatting. Some young people get straight to talking with friends old & new; some prefer to walk together with their parent(s) till they settle in. Whatever they feel comfortable with is fine.
Some people leave at the end of the walk, or even part way through if they have to be somewhere else.
Then we find a place that’s comfortable for parents to sit. Some people have brought drinks and food for this stage. Depending on where we are, this could be near a playground. (Yes the teens are not too cool to go on the playground still 🙂 )
Typically some of the young people will sit with their parents for part of the time & join in the general conversation, others will prefer to hang out & chat with each other.
On past occasions, some of us ended up not leaving till about 5pm or 6pm, though some had to go earlier, and in summer, it might even be later.
Access: If you or your child has limited mobility/energy, social/sensory limitations or anything else that would affect your access to the event, feel free to give us a heads-up so we can take your needs into account when planning. Either mention it on the lists/groups where the event’s being discussed, or email privately on teensishmeetup at non-school-nottingham dot org dot uk.