One of the most important resources for any parents trying to homeschool their children is a local support group. If you’re not a part of one already, this is a good year to join.
A support group is just that — an organization, either large or small, made up of homeschooling families. Although every family is different, many face the same challenges in raising and schooling their children. A support group may meet once a week or once a month, bringing parents together to encourage and help one another.
Some support groups are more formal, bringing in speakers to their meetings, while others are more of a gathering of moms. Some meet during the day so the kids can also get together, while others are reserved just for the parents in the evening. Some might be more in the form of a playgroup, while others might develop more as an online discussion group.
What can you gain from being in a support group? You’ll have access to the wisdom of those who have been schooling longer than you have, as well as those whose children have already gone through the developmental stages your child is just now beginning. You’ll be able to talk with others about their methods of schooling, what worked for them, and what didn’t. You’ll gain good advice about parenting issues, family issues, discipline issues, work issues, health issues — all from those with practical experience. You’ll find people to encourage you when you want to give up, as well as people to help if your family is in crisis. Many support groups also organize holiday parties, field trips, activities, and yearbooks. Sometimes there’s a small cost involved in joining, but often it’s free.
You’ll also be surprised, however, at how much you can give. Even if you are new to homeschooling, you have skills and talents to offer to others. You can watch someone’s child if she has to go to a doctor’s appointment or cook a meal for a sick friend. You can offer your home as the place for a play date, or organize a field trip to the post office. You could start a sewing class, a woodworking class, or a hiking class. You could have just the right advice for someone else who’s struggling.
So be sure to look for a support group in your area. Internet sites such as Home-school.com and HomeschoolCentral.com provide information about a number of area support groups. A Google search with the word “homeschool” and the names of your city and state will give you even more results. Ask other homeschoolers you know if they belong to a group, and if so, which one. Once you locate a group, get plugged in, and you’ll find the support you need.
Guest Blogger: Samantha Bell
Photo from ShelahD
Homeschooling Curriculum by SmartTutor.com