Game Day - Modesto Homeschooling
How to Choose a Homeschool Group
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.
These represent the wide world of homeschooling. They include members from diverse backgrounds and beliefs, using a variety of homeschooling styles. Members of these groups believe that there is no "one right way" or "one right reason" to homeschool.
These national, state and local groups may be structured, loosely structured, a network or an eGroup (see below).
Specific Focus Groups
Specific Focus Groups are national, state and local homeschooling groups that have a particular bent, whether it be beliefs, method, or activity--or any combination thereof. These groups may be structured, loosely structured, a network, or an eGroup (see below). Under Specific Focus Groups there are:
- Method Groups: focus on a particular homeschooling method, such as Unschooling or child-led method, Classical or Trivium method, Unit Studies, Charlotte Mason, Eclectic, Montessori, or Waldorf.
- Activity Groups: which may focus on sports, drama, field trips, or other particular activities.
- CO-OP Groups: in which members cooperatively teach courses to groups of children.
- Curriculum Groups: focus on a particular curriculum, such as Charlotte Mason, or Calvert.
- Religious Groups which include:
- Religious Based Groups: members largely belong to a particular faith, although the group welcomes people from other belief systems. Meetings and activities may begin with prayer, and there might be a statement of faith (SOF) for leaders, officers and coordinators. Some religious oriented groups call themselves "inclusive," because they accept members from outside their religion.
- Religious Limited Groups: require a statement of faith (SOF) for all members.
- Closed Religious Limited: many church-based groups are open only to members of the particular church.
- Some religious groups may require membership in the Home School Legal Defense Association (HSLDA), an advocacy group that has a religious and political agenda way beyond homeschooling.
In addition, there is a variety of
- Structured: in which there are bylaws, positions, elections, dues, and a newsletter, or some combination of these elements.
- Loosely Structured: in which there may be a few basic rules or requests, perhaps a modest membership fee, and a calendar of events, newsletter, or Web newsletter--or a variation of these elements.
- A Network: that has no rules, officers, and offers few offical activities, other than an opportunity for homeschoolers to meet and plan what they will.
- An eGroup: a discussion group, offering an on-line exchange of ideas, information and support, and in which members may not know each other "in real life" (IRL).
How to Choose a Group that Suits Your Family
As one can imagine, there are many possible combinations of the above. In seeking a support group, it is good to have in mind what type you believe would best suit your family. When speaking- or writing to a support group contact, you might ask questions to get a feel for the nature of the group:
- Is this a general homeschooling group, or does it have a particular focus?
- What are the basic rules and requirements?
- Is there a membership fee, and if so, how much?
- What are the benefits of membership?
- Are there particular rules for those serving in positions?
- Is there a newsletter or calendar of events?
- What is the group's structure?
- If the group has officers or a board, are they selected by open election or are they appointed?
If you cannot find a comfy support group in your area, take heart! It can be easy--and fun--to start your own group. Find resources at Local Homeschool.
Copyright 2002-2009, Shay Seaborne, All rights reserved.