Joining your local homeschooling community should be the first thing that you should be as a budding homeschooling parent. It will help you in more ways than you can imagine. I would argue that you should join a homeschooling group as soon as you are sure that you’re going to homeschool your children.
If you haven’t had any luck in finding your local homeschooling community, use our tactics outlined in How to Find Your Homeschool Community?
If you’re in a hurry, the only thing that we are going to convince you about starting to Homeschool is to Join a local homeschooling group even before you start actual homeschooling. As a newbie homeschooling parent, you might be having a million questions. So talking to homeschooling parents will release that stress of the unknown.
Homeschooling is a daunting task for first-time homeschooling families. You may feel overwhelmed even at the thought of homeschooling plus all the work and risks you’ll need to undertake. Joining a local homeschooling group will allow you to meet with real homeschoolers from the city.
Types of Homeschooling communities
Homeschooling communities come in all shapes and sizes. There is no clear distinction between the two i.e. one can have one or more elements of the other. But going by the purpose, we can divide them into the following 3 types:
1. Homeschooling Meetups
Homeschooling meetups are generally geared towards homeschooling parents rather than children. In these meetups, homeschooling parents can connect with others in their city. These can be some informal get together of homeschooling parents where they can discuss their opportunities and challenges.
2. Homeschooling Co-ops
These are cooperative groups where homeschooling parents can come together and help each other out in their struggles. More often than not, co-ops hire subject matter experts to teach their children. This helps homeschooling parents to split the bill and at the same time get expert’s help.
Not every Homeschooling co-op will be a good fit for you and your children because some co-ops maybe just be a few steps away from private or public schools while others may be too informal for your taste. So choose carefully. Get in touch with some co-ops from your city and try to find out whether they’ll be a good fit or not.
Also, homeschooling co-ops can have their parent meetups as well.
3. NPOs/For-profit organizations
There are many NPO as well as For-profit organizations running online that can provide services to homeschooling parents. They offer a range of services from counseling to curriculum. They will always have something for your queries.
Some organizations can be willing to even handhold you in the jungle of Homeschooling where newbies are sure to get lost.
Benefits of joining homeschooling communities
Homeschooling is fun! But it can get lonely at times. That is where homeschooling communities come into the picture. Homeschooling communities offer many more opportunities for which a homeschooler is already spoilt. Let’s discuss some unique benefits.
Connect with other homeschooling parents
One of the drawbacks of homeschooling, however, is the concern that your child is not surrounded by peers in the same way that he or she would be in a public/private school system.
Also, as a homeschooling parent, you are dealing with lots of pressure – the quality of your child’s education rests entirely on you, after all – and are probably dealing with many questions of your own. One good way to address this is to make a point of getting together with other homeschooling parents.
In this case, finding a homeschooling parents meetup is the best choice. You can share your experiences and learn from other homeschooling parents’ experiences.
There are many different ways you can get together with other homeschooling parents. One of the best ones is to incorporate it into children’s education.
Another good idea is to suggest a group project to be conducted with another family. If another parent is also teaching a biology unit, for example, you could suggest that the children work on planting a garden together on your property. When studying zoology, a trip to the zoo would be enjoyable and educational for both you and your children when conducted with another family.
Offers opportunities to socialize for your child
Homeschooling co-ops do have some classes where different homeschooling families come together to hire a teacher or expert who can teach according to their requirements. This not only provides your children with different experiences but also offers a feel for actual public or private schooling.
By meeting regularly with other homeschooling parents, you do a service to both you and your child. You will be able to exchange ideas and teaching techniques with other parents. Most importantly, though, your child will get a chance to interact with some of his or her peers. Children at a young age can be very impressionable and concerned with being different. All every child usually wants to do is fit in.
It’s important when homeschooling your child that you acknowledge the fact that not everybody does it. This fact can’t be kept hidden from your child, and at some point, he or she will realize that lots of other kids go to school. That’s why meeting up with other homeschooling parents can be valuable for your child, because they will see that they are not the only ones. The child’s fear of not being “normal” will be eased by seeing and interacting with the other children.
Keep in regular touch with other parents, and if you find yourselves studying/teaching the same subjects at the same time, suggest an appropriate field trip – in this way you can replicate the public and private school experience of combining your children’s educational and social time.
Shared Expenses and Equipment
Homeschooling Co-ops generally hire subject matter experts to conduct classes. This help in splitting the bills among homeschooling families. Equipment, books, and other things can be shared. By joining a homeschooling co-op, you get all the benefits of organized schooling without its downsides.
You can always pick and choose which and how many classes you want your children to attend.
By keeping in regular touch with other homeschooling parents you will do a service for your child’s education and social development. By exchanging ideas with other homeschooling parents you can learn new teaching strategies, and at the same time, your will be teaching your children that they are not alone, and not at all strange.