Starting A Homeschool Support Group
Support groups can be important when you home school. Starting a homeschool support group? This article contains information on what to consider when creating a homeschooling support group that will suit your situation and needs.
People begin homeschool support groups for various reasons. Sometimes they are the first in their community to begin homeschooling. Other times, they cannot find an existing homeschool support group that meets their particular needs. In considering starting a homeschool support group, it is well to begin with a consideration of what you have to offer and what you wish to receive from the group.
Do you wish to found this group by yourself and then invite people, or do you want to have the founding of it be part of a group process where multiple people contribute to the decisions? If you are the first homeschooler in your area, you may not have much choice here, but it is worth thinking about if the alternatives exist.
Ask yourself, “What will the homeschool support group be about?” Do you wish to have discussions that focus on a particular age child, a particular curriculum or method, a particular faith, or how to adapt materials to suit oneself, whatever one’s outlook and approach? Or do you want more than that • perhaps a place where the homeschooled children also have social interaction or a cooperative that buys supplies and textbooks jointly in order to cut costs? Whatever focus you choose, you may wish to try to capture it in the group’s name and write a statement of purpose to help guide the homeschool support group’s development.
Means of Connection
How will the homeschool support group interact? Do you want a group that meets in person, or would your situation make an on-line, e-mail, bulletin-board, or blogging community more practical? If the latter, you may need to establish a website or an e-mail account for the group.
Do you want to find members by advertising? If so, how far and wide do you wish to publish the homeschool support group’s existence, and by what means? Or do you wish to broaden your group by word of mouth, to help ensure that you get like-minded participants? Or do you maybe just want to stick with 3 friends who homeschool whom you already know?
Formal or Informal Homeschool Support Group
If you will meet in person, do you wish to have a casual group that • even if it meets regularly • is an informal structure? Will there be a group leader, or will the group act (inasmuch as group action is part of its goal) by consensus? Do you want a formal organization to the point where you wish to set up a non-profit homeschool association? If the latter, you may need to seek legal advice
Meeting Structure of Homeschool Support Group
If you plan to meet in person, how do you imagine the meeting progressing? Do you want to include a time for greetings and anecdotes? A time for snacks or a potluck meal? Perhaps you’re imagining a focus for the group like "successful homeschooling" or "homeschooling and the working mom". Even with a focus, you may wish to set meeting topics to shape part of each meeting, so that certain material is covered by the group.
Location Of Homeschool Support Group
Your focus and meeting structure will help you decide on an appropriate meeting location for your homeschool support group. Do you anticipate an adults-only meeting on Tuesdays at noon for lunch or at the diner downtown? Or do you imagine the setting being your backyard, with all participants bringing their children for activities?
Frequency of Meetings
How often do you want to meet or be in touch? Keep in mind that the two are not necessarily the same thing. Some homeschool support groups have a newsletter. Some members use phone calls to stay connected between meetings. Think about how much contact will be desirable for your particular situation and that of other group members.
How to Start a Homeschool Support Group Resources
Written by Mary Elizabeth