When homeschooling first began many years ago, homeschool support groups were not available. There might have been a few like-minded families that banded together, but there were not organized groups like there now.
Some homeschool support groups are very loosely organized and some have very strict rules. They can provide encouragement, socialization, advice on state requirements, curriculum information, and much more.
1. Do I have enough in common with some of the homeschoolers in this group to be able to feel comfortable here? Do they have a similar philosophy of education?
2. Is there a membership fee or time requirementfor me? What will I need to do to be able to actively participate in this group?
3. When are the meetings? Do they fit in with our schedule?
4. Do they have a good method of communication? How will I find out about group events or meetings?
5. Does everyone participate or do a few people do all the work? How are the jobs distributed among the members?
6. Are there too many, not enough, or just the right amount of activities in this homeschool support group for your family to participate in?
If you ask these questions, you should be able to figure out if a support group is a good fit for your family. Sometimes if you have one or two other homeschool families that you get together with, that can be all the homeschool support you need.
1. Encourage everyone to share the load. Homeschool moms are busy and unless someone is incredibly talented at running a group, everyone in the group should have at least 1 job to make the group run effectively. You will probably find that your group has at least one family that just wants to show up and not do anything. Although some people are more gifted that others, there are plenty of small things that people can do that will benefit the whole group. Some people can plan field trips, others can provide food for an open house, some can organize transportation, and some can watch younger children.
2. Keep your focus. When I get together with other homeschool moms and start talking about what books and curriculum they use, I easily get pulled away from what I am doing and think that I should be doing what they are doing. You may not be like this, but if you are, make sure you don't start curriculum hopping after you go to a support group meeting. I suggest that if you do hear of a wonderful book or curriculum, that you write it down on a list for next year or next semester. If you are really supposed to use it, then it will still be there to use in the future.
3. Watch your children. If you go to a support group meeting or coopwith your children, make sure that someone is watching them or that you check up on them often. You'll want to be aware of what your children are doing so that things don't get broken or people don't get hurt.
4. Be on time. Almost everyone is late at some point in their lives and some lateness just can't be avoided, but if you are consistently late it will affect the whole group. If everyone gets there on time, you can make the most of the time that everyone has set aside for the group. Be considerate of others and be there when you need to be.
Homeschool support groups can really add to your homeschool year and help you enrich your children's learning. They can also help encourage you as a homeschool mom and provide meaningful relationships for you and your children.
Do you want more information about how to get started in homeschooling? Download my free ebook "Getting Started with Homeschooling" and get periodic homeschoool tips from me along with that.
Have you been homeschooling for a while and need some ideas on how to find the best homeschool resources? Download my free ebook "How to Homeschool with the Best Resources". You can also check and subscribe to my blog for more homeschool ideas.
If you don't know any homeschoolers in your area and would like to talk to a homeschool coach, you are welcome to contact me and get some homeschool advice.