No more Silence!
How To Start Your Own Homeschool Support Group
The best advice available on the net.
It can often take a great deal of time and effort to hook up with a local homeschooling support group in your area. Trust me I sympathize. Our family lives in the California Sierra Mountains, in an area seemingly dominated by church sponsored homeschool groups and charter schools. Independent homeschool groups can really start to feel like social outcasts in a climate such as this.
When it's hard to find a good fit to meet your own homeschooling needs, sometimes it's best to start from scratch and create your own homeschool support group. Of course, nothing prevents you from doing both — you can choose to participate in another, while starting your own too. Just keep in mind that a groups organizer may not appreciate you doing so, with the intent of garnering members for your new group.
Shay Seaborne, Synergy Field offers assistance in choosing a group that fits your families needs:
There are two basic types of homeschool support groups: general, and those with a specific focus. Within these, there are myriad variations. Understanding the variety can help you find the one that is right for you.
If you can't find a good fit, what do you do? Start your own group of course. I could share with you my own personal experience...can you say boring? I am not the socialite of our area to say the very least. In fact, I work from home for a very good reason. Besides wouldn't you rather hear what the experts have to say?
Here is the best advice available on:
How To Start Your Own Local Homeschool Support Group
Starting a group is more fun if you can find one other family to start up with — so that at least you are a "group" from the beginning — but it can be done from scratch, as well. When you start up a group, you need to make some decisions up front. First, you need to decide if your group will be focused on a particular homeschooling approach or religious affiliation, or will it be a "general" support group, open to all interested families.
Don't let starting a support group interfere with teaching, family, church, or other responsibilities. If the support group needs to take the backseat during Christmas, be upfront with your members and tell them you cannot commit to anything during December, but they are welcome to plan events without you during that time. If you have to miss a park day, do it. Keep the number of events minimal. A bi-monthly park day and one outing per month are enough for most groups. Maintain a balance that makes your family and your homeschool group compliment one another.
What Type of Group Should I Start?
More Support Group Advice
Will your support group be Religious, Inclusive, or Secular? - Ultimately that answer will have to come from you. Here are some factors you should consider. Are there other homeschooling support groups in your area? If so, are they Religious, Inclusive, or Secular? What effect might your decision have on relations within the homeschooling community? Ultimately, most importantly, what is the vision God is giving you?
If you have older children, you might prefer a more organised groups with craft activities, or field trips. Or you might like a group so you can study certain topics together, or do projects. If there are some activities which your children would like to do, but which are not easily available locally, this might be possible in a support group. Perhaps they would like to learn another language, or make clay pots, or start an orchestra. Nothing is impossible, but you will need to do some local research to find out what is available.
Shay Seaborne, Synergy Field writes:
We chose a name and began to spread the word. — I made a one-page flier, announcing our group, giving an idea of its "flavor," and providing contact information. The name and contact information are repeated in tear-off tabs along the bottom of the paper. These have proven popular with for busy homeschool parents.
Each month, I take copies of the flier to the library. For greater coverage at slightly more cost, post the fliers at area bulletin boards at community centers, groceries, gymnastics and dance studios, karate dojos, bagel bakeries-any place that be frequented by children. I keep a small stack of fliers-and some tape-in my car, for impromptu postings.
Want to learn how first? Check out this highly recommended book...
One By One: The Homeschool Group Leader's Guide to Motivating Your Members
We were amazed to discover just how many homeschool group leaders agonize over getting their members to become more actively involved in their support groups. A whopping one-third of our readers want to know how to motivate parents to attend events regularly, to share the workload, to keep their word, and to get out of the "give-me" mode. [Learn more...]
More Support Group Resources
- How to Choose a Homeschool Group
- How To Start Your Own Homeschool Group
- All About Support Groups
- Start Your Own Homeschool Group!
- How to Start a Homeschool Support Group
- ClickSchooling! Daily Curriculum Ideas