While Homeschooling is a terrific, practical, and long-term sustainable way of education, it has a downside too. It can lead to the feeling of isolation for kids and parents alike, especially if yours is the only homeschooling family amongst your relatives or in the neighborhood. The responsibility of educating children at home can be overwhelming for many parents. Add to that all friends, acquaintances, even complete strangers, telling them that their kid might become a social misfit by missing a regular school only makes parents question their ability to homeschool their kids. That is where Homeschooling support groups come in. However, if you are new to Homeschooling, you may have no idea what it is or where to find one.
A Homeschool support group is a group where homeschooling families can find something in common. It is like a tribe with similar ideas and ways of life, where parents can find support and encouragement from other homeschooling parents in similar circumstances. These support groups offer different activities like field trips, play dates, and social gatherings. They could be of a formal variety, with meetings and dues, or it could be a few families getting together for group outings.
Are Homeschool support groups the same as Homeschool co-ops?
People often confuse Homeschool support groups with Homeschool co-ops. While both are fantastic options for homeschooling families, the terms aren't interchangeable. Homeschool co-ops primarily focus on core subjects and academic goals, whereas support groups tend to be more exhaustive. Not limited to textbooks and core curriculum, they encompass broader experiences like field trips, park days, group parties, family events, and more. Co-op is a subset/type.
Why join a homeschool support group?
- You can have all your homeschooling doubts resolved by other members
- You can converse with others who face challenges similar to yours and seek their advice
- An excellent socialization opportunity for kids
- Borrow, share and exchange homeschooling material
- Stay updated on any local law changes to Homeschooling
- Learn new skills and value teamwork through group activities
- Make lifelong friends
Are all Homeschool support groups the same?
Homeschool support groups are of various types and come in all shapes and sizes. From special needs support groups to faith-based groups, from virtual groups to field trip groups, from a local support group to nationally organized ones, there are various types of Homeschool support groups. Whatever your goals are, academic and beyond, there is a group for that. You should choose the support group that fits your needs best.
How do I find a local Homeschool support group?
If you are new to Homeschooling or the neighborhood, try the following to find a Homeschool support group:
Ask Around: The easiest way to find a Homeschool support group is to simply ask. If you know of a Homeschooling family, most will be more than happy to help you with your search. If you know of no such family, ask at places likely to be frequented by Homeschooling families, like the library, church, or community halls.
Social Media: Social media has a substantial prevalence amongst support groups, and most have a presence there. Just search Facebook for "homeschool" and your city name, and you will find dozens of support groups and related pages pertaining to your locality.
The Internet: The internet is a know-it-all place to find anything if you ask the right question. An excellent place to start is the Homeschool Legal Defense page, where you can find state-wise homeschool support groups across the United States.
How to start a Homeschool support group?
Finding the right Homeschool support group can take time. However, instead of getting frustrated and waiting to find "your type," it is possible to start a group of your own.
- Find a place to meet
One of the significant challenges to starting a homeschool support group is finding a physical space to conduct the gatherings. Explore all possible options, from old bookstores and coffee houses to churches or homes of members. To name a few—restaurants, community meeting rooms, gymnasiums, and recreation centers are other possible locations.
- Get the word out
It is critical to find people with similar interests to make your group a success. Besides word of mouth, you could advertise at community bulletin boards, state support group's newsletter or website, local parents' groups, and social media.
- Plan events
Planning and executing regular events is key to the success of a homeschool support group. There are tons of ideas to explore for homeschool support groups, like organizing field trips, play dates for children, game nights, sports days, etc.
Finding a community of like-minded homeschoolers nearby can be the difference between feeling drained & isolated and feeling encouraged & empowered. So don't homeschool in isolation. Instead, make time for a homeschool support group to build your encouragement network for the road ahead!
If you are facing challenges in homeschooling your kids, seek professional advice. Cuemath offers Live Online Math classes for kids from KG to 12th grade, and their curriculum is entirely compliant with the US Common Core plus accredited by STEM.org. Cuemath has over 10,000 expert tutors who curate personalized learning plans for kids. Book a Free online demo with them to kickstart this journey by experiencing their adaptive Math-Tech approach.
-By Abhishek Deswal
Abhishek is an engineer with a math-focus outlook on life. Through his writing at Cuemath, he puts forward his belief that life makes more sense when seen through numbers. A former analytics professional, he enjoys theatre, football, and long runs.