How to Find a Homeschooling
BY KATHARINE HOUK
Independent, marching to a different drummer, following their hearts and minds, people who have chosen to educate their children at home and in the wider world tend toward self-sufficiency. Some people feel they don’t need or want to get together with other homeschooling families on a regular basis, but as social beings there is much we can gain from associating with one another. None of us is as smart as all of us.
Homeschooling support groups are everywhere and they are enormously diverse. What varies? Many things, including the philosophies they espouse, the activities they undertake, the services they provide, the extent of political activity, the number and ages of people attending,, the means of communication with the group, and more. Because groups are diverse, you may need to shop around to find one that feels right for your family.
In my experience, homeschooling support groups offer:
- Guidance in getting started with homeschooling.
- Accurate up-to-date information about home instruction laws and regulations, which vary from state to state
- A means of organizing enriching events for both adults and children – workshops, field trips, classes, volunteer work, and other learning adventures.
- Communication – through meetings, newsletters, calendars of events, online bulletin boards, phone trees.
- A place to share information about which learning experiences and resources have been helpful.
- An environment where children (and adults) feel they “belong” and are accepted.
- A jumping-off point for the creation of a learning center or parent cooperative, to provide frequent and ongoing learning experiences throughout the year.
- Support! There are occasions when we need the encouragement and good company of one another, especially in times of conflict with school officials or other people, or within our families or ourselves.
So how does a beginner find one of these groups? Even if you are in a rural area, you should be able to find one within a reasonable distance. Start with your state homeschooling organization. National homeschooling organizations often have lists, too. Check online – more and more listings and discussion groups related to homeschooling are appearing on the Internet.
To Find a Homeschooling Support Group, Think Local
Because homeschoolers tend to frequent their public libraries, a librarian may be able to help you connect with local homeschoolers. You have the option of posting a message on a library or community center bulletin board. Your church may be a good place to start, or if you are involved in La Leche League, a food co-op or community-supported agriculture you will find alternative-minded people who may know of homeschooling families or groups. Sometimes an ad in the newspaper or online is a way of finding others.
Those of us who have been involved in homeschooling for many years have created ongoing supportive communities through our groups, learning and resource centers and conferences. You, too, can reap the benefits by finding and becoming involved in a support group or learning center in your area. And if you can’t find one, create yet another opportunity for homeschooling families to support one another.
Learn more about Katharine Houk by visiting her website, Sanctuary without Walls.