Homeschooling is becoming more and more popular, and with so many people homeschooling, there are oodles of opportunities to get involved with the homeschooling community. This is GREAT news!
Why is this GREAT news? Well, way back when, when my oldest was five, and I began to homeschool, I was doing it all on my own, and I felt so isolated. I wasn’t a part of a formal support group or co-op at the time – heck, I didn’t even know they existed. Gradually, I started to meet other homeschoolers, and we did get together a couple of times a month. It was wonderful associating with like-minded people – and our children enjoyed it too.
Gradually, I started to hear about support groups….then co-ops. These organizations offer everything from picnics to academic fairs; spelling bees to enrichment classes; craft days to sporting events, and more. The co-op I joined met weekly. All the parents divided up the responsibilities, and while one mom taught, others assisted.
If you’re seeking community and support for your homeschooling endeavors, here are a few things to keep in mind:
- Every homeschool is different. This is one of the great things about homeschooling. Embrace the diversity and learn from others, especially if their homeschool looks completely different from yours (you might find out that some of the things they do, work great for your family as well). That said, it’s also OK to seek out homeschoolers with similar beliefs/methods. In fact, many support groups and co-ops are built around shared beliefs and/or homeschool techniques.
- Community has benefits. When I was the only homeschooler I knew, I had a tough time homeschooling – I was always wondering, “Am I doing this right?” When I found other homeschoolers, and was able to share ideas and common experiences, homeschooling became much easier. The ability to share homeschooling highs and lows is very important.
- Realize your value, and what you can add to a group. Every one of us brings something to the table. You don’t need a college degree, or vast work experience to be of value to a support group or co-op. Just showing up is of benefit.
- If there are no support groups in your area, start one. This can be as easy as organizing play dates at a local park. Start small, it will grow. “If you build it, they will come.”
- You’ll benefit from the socialization, as will your kids. You’ll probably become a better homeschooler, the more you interact with, and learn from other homeschoolers. And of course, your kids will enjoy the interactions as well. Your kids will appreciate knowing they’re not the only homeschooled kids in the area.
For these reasons (and more!), I encourage you to seek out others in your area that are homeschooling. This is especially true if you’re new to homeschooling. A homeschooling community is empowering in many, many ways.