What is Homeschooling?
How to Start Homeschooling
The Internet & Homeschooling
Online Networking & Support
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Finding Homeschool Support on the IRC Channels
The IRC channels are a great way to find support, make new friends, & get instant feedback form others. People who are on Compuserve, & AOL are familiar with this form of communication. There are a few things that you should keep in mind, though:
1) Homeschoolers are a varied lot. Most of us tend to be very independent. Please respect the opinions of others & treat people as you would like to be treated.
2) Learn the basic IRC commands as quickly as possible. For instance, the /ignore command can come in handy if someone is being disagreeable. Many times, these people are looking for attention and if they are kicked, they will only come back and continue the harassment. Some servers have rules about when a person is allowed to be kicked/banned & the ops may not be able to kick people who may be staying in these guidelines but are getting on your nerves. By using the ignore command, the harassers feel they are being heard and you don't have to deal with them.
Now, down to the good stuff. You are probably wondering how do I get there? Do I need special software? The answer is yes. If you are running Windows, mIRC is the way to go. Make sure that if you are using Windows 3.x, you download the 16 bit software. If you are running Windows 95, download the 32 bit software. If you are running a Mac, ircle is the most popular irc client software. Both of these areas come with install directions that you may want to check out while you are downloading them. Just clicK on the above links to get to their download pages.
If you are on Prodigy, you are provided with Globalchat, which is an IRC client, but does not support all of the commands/options of mIRC or Ircle. If you are accessing with the Win 95 dialer, you can download mIRC & use it instead of Globalchat if you want to.
The program is download & installed, now what? It is really very simple. Just connect to the internet in your usual way & start your IRC client software. Fill in the Real Name, e-mail address, a nickname you want to use & an alternate nickname in case that one is taken. If you just want to cruise & find others, pick a server from the server list (this is an automatic pop-up on mIRC) & click on the connect button. You can then choose the "list rooms" button (6th from the left on mIRC) & in the box at the top, (match text) type in any keywords - home, school, or homeschool are your best bets for finding a homeschool room. Then choose apply or get list. On large servers, such as Dalnet, you can end up with a list of thousands of rooms, so don't forget the keyword! When you find one, you can either double-click on the name of the room or, if you want to follow proper etiquette, minimize the list & type /names #roomname & hit enter. This will tell you who is in the room. You can then DCC someone by choosing the button that says DCC & has a phone pictured (in the case of mIRC), & typing the name of a person in the room (preferably one with a @ in front, i.e. @nickname, since these people are known as ops & are in charge of the room). Then hit OK. This will ask them if they want to chat & when connection is established, simply ask permission to enter. This is unnecessary on most boards, but if you don't know anyone there, better to err on the side of caution rather than offend someone.
You may also want to read up on some common IRC abbreviations
Regular Homeschool IRC Channels
Homeschooling Message Board Live Chat Room is on Acronet. Follow the link for directions on how to get there! While your at it, you can also check out the message board.
Kristi's Homeschooling Site has information on a room called #homeschooling on Undernet.
#homeschool is a room found on the Efnet server.
#learningathome is a new channel on Dalnet. To avoid splitting on the channel, try to come on on irc.dal.net. For more info, send e-mail to Marie Ann.
HOMESCHOOLING IN TODAY'S WORLD is on Thursdays only from 9:00-10:00 p.m. EST #Parentsroom. This chat, like the Parent's Soup chat, is a scheduled event on a special server. The server name is Starchat. The server address is polaris.starchat.net & the port is 6667 or 7000 (You must use 7000 if you are coming in from AOL).
Parent's Soup is a site aimed at families. They DO have a homeschooling message board & IRC chats. To access either of these, you must join Parent's Place. Simply fill out Join Parent Soup & fill in your name, a nickname, your e-mail address, & a password. You nickname is the name you will be known as in the discussion groups & IRC chats. Then choose chat. For info on the server, choose Click here for the skinny on chat at Parent Soup. Click on Thursday to find out the info on the time of the Schooltime at Home chat.
Topical Homeschooling Chat This chat meets weekly with various guest speakers. There is also a scheduled kids chat. To get more info and to get the list of upcoming chats, just click on the link above & explain your interest & that you are new to this. She will provide all the info needed to get there.
#Mom's_Retreat is a Christian homeschool chat on Espirit. To access the chat, choose Espirit for the IRC server. When you get there, the main room is #Mom's_Retreat.
#Homewood is another chat on Anothernet. It is run by the woman who has the Homewood Prep School website.
Teen Homeschoolers for info on this chat, choose chatting off of the menu bar on the left.
If you know of any others, would like to add your favorites here, or have any problems getting into the IRC channels, just e-mail me!
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