Home school support groups are a vital part of your home school experience. A home school group will give you a sense of community and camaraderie that will constantly remind you that you are neither alone nor crazy in your decision to home school your children. Just as no home schooling families are alike; neither is any home schooling group. It is very important to choose a home schooling group that is a good fit for your values, goals, and needs. Use these steps to find and join a home school support group.
- Find the local home school support groups in your area. You can find this information at Home School Legal Defense Association (see link) or at your local library, and through internet searches for "(your city, state) homeschool support group".
- Get a copy of the bylaws, values statement (if they have one) and mission statement.
- Read this information and decide if the group's standards, rules, and mission matches your ideals. Look at:
- Group size
- Religious inclusiveness or exclusiveness (will you be required to sign a faith statement, and are you OK with that?)
- Activities offered (such as field trips and group classes)
- Amount of parental involvement required
Find out when the groups you are interested in meet.
Attend meeting of the groups in which you're interested.
While attending the meeting, you need to be aware of and ask yourself the following:
- Are the people in this group welcoming to strangers or cliquish?
- Do the people in this group accept different home schooling approaches or do they all have the same approach?
- Does the overall home schooling approach of the group fit my preferred home schooling approach?
- Is this group cohesive, or are there personality issues or hostility among members?
- Are children allowed at the meeting, and do I approve of the overall behavior and discipline of children at the meeting?
You will want to choose two or three of these groups to start attending. Try to pick a general group (with members from different background and beliefs) and a specific focus group (a group that shares your religious values, educational or activity methods and goals).
After attending several meetings, speak to the members about officially joining the group if you feel comfortable. You will want to be added to the email list, pay necessary fees, and sign the faith statement (if required). If you do not feel comfortable joining at least one of the groups you found, you would need to start back at step 1. The good news is, this time; you will have a better idea of what you are looking for.