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VA Homeschoolers Salvage Yahoo! Disaster

Posted: July 27, 2005
By Marjorie Cole

Virginia's eclectic homeschoolers are the greatest! After Yahoogroups vaporized a favorite statewide discussion list, the homeschoolers rallied and recreated a new e-list with a membership of over 325 in three weeks.

"People just won't be denied networking with such a warm and informative bunch of homeschoolers," said Shay Seaborne, who founded the original VaEclecticHomeschool list in 1999.

With time and care, the original VaEclectic list became the largest, most active statewide homeschool discussion list in Virginia. When it disappeared on July 2, 2005, it had almost 1,200 members. VaEclectic was a place where homeschoolers could meet to share support. The list's "links" section was heavily populated with informative, reviewed bookmarks for all things pertaining to home education: state law, curricular materials, educational theory, other forums and much more. VaEclectic's file section included important documents, such as the List Etiquette file that many Yahoogroups owners requested to use as a template for similar files on their own lists.

Shortly after Seaborne informed her co-moderators that their list had disappeared, long-time moderator Susan McGlohn re-started the list with a similar name, VaEclecticHS. "I resurrected the list because it has been an invaluable resource to my family over the years," said McGlohn. "Allowing such a wealth of information and community to die just wasn't an option."

Seaborne observed that over the 6 years VaEclectic had grown, it had become "highly effective." She noted that, "people from a wide variety of backgrounds and beliefs could come together in a congenial way to share ideas, resources, problems, and solutions."

"VaEclectic has been an invaluable gateway to a statewide world of homeschooling support, advice, information and companionship with humor and a civil tone," asserted Tia Murchie-Beyma of Alexandria, Virginia. "Put a question out into the air-share an experience-and you will be overwhelmed with solid information and genuine support in a community where civility rules."

"We're glad to have a chance to get the community going again and preserve that presence that allowed people to discuss so many important aspects of homeschooling in Virginia," said Seaborne.

Jennifer Damashek, who homeschools her 2 children in Burke, VA, said she signed up for the new VaEclectic list right away, because, "I love being connected to an inclusive and supportive community."

The disappearance of the original list meant the loss of valuable resources, but Virginia's homeschool community is intent on rebuilding. "I have no doubt that the group will generate plenty of new resources soon," said Leslie Nathaniel of Springfield, Virginia.

"It's too bad that the old list is gone," Seaborne said, "but this is also a great opportunity for creating additional internet presence for eclectic homeschooling," The Yahoo glitch also deleted Seaborne's homeschool Web site at Geocities-which Yahoo owns. Seaborne has since purchased her own domain name, a step she had only toyed with before. "I'm excited about my new website,, and about the dynamic new lists springing up in response to this challenge," Seaborne enthused. "As usual, good people have a way of making good things happen even when they face difficulty. I'm very grateful to the hundreds of people who have volunteered to become part of the effort to promote eclectic, inclusive homeschooling support online," said Seaborne. "Frankly, Virginia's inclusive homeschool community's web presence is stronger than before, so losing the original VaEclectic was a blessing in disguise."

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Contact: Marjorie Cole