Using the Internet to locate a homeschool groups can be challenging. There are so many resources available; it can be difficult to pin down exactly the information you need, when you need it. Use the information below to locate the type of homeschooling group you need to support educating your child at home.
The importance of homeschool support groups
Homeschooling groups are important for the homeschool community on many different levels. At the local level, they provide you with an opportunity to develop personal relationships with other homeschool families. At a state level, these groups provide advocacy for homeschooling laws that will effect you as a homeschool parent; and at the national level, the different groups provide organizations and associations that connect you with other homeschool families with similar challenges and lifestyles.
The homeschool support groups are there to clarify and monitor laws and legislation at all levels. They bring awareness of homeschooling philosophies and principals and educate the public through the use of media on what homeschooling is. By building this understanding, it helps to bring traditional and homeschools closer together. Finally, homeschool support groups give homeschool families a way to connect with other families who are going through the same experiences, allowing them to share concerns, goals, and successes.
Your local homeschool group
There is just about one homeschool group in every community. If you don’t have one in your town, check at the county level. Some communities have several, but all serve the same purpose: to provide information and support for homeschoolers and to serve as a gathering place for homeschool families. Some groups may have specific religious affiliations, so if this is something that you are looking for, check with local churches to find out what homeschool support is available. There are also groups that are open to all and do not have any religious affiliations. A good place to start looking for such a group is with your local school district, charter schools, or county education office and find out what homeschool support is available.
Homeschooling groups at the local level communicate through monthly newsletters and use the local media to convey information about homeschooling in your area. These local groups can also provide an information hotline to answer your homeschool questions or help to arrange field trips and other events for homeschooled children. They hold curriculum fairs, classes for parents, and may provide theatrical or musical productions that your homeschool children can be involved in. Local homeschooling groups are a great resource for socialization for both the children and parents.
State homeschooling groups
The main goals of the state homeschool groups are to provide homeschooling families with information on state laws, be aware of proposed changes to laws that effect homeschooling in the state, advocate for homeschooling, and work with state legislators on homeschooling laws. Some states produce guides that help answer frequently asked questions on homeschooling and newsletters that are distributed to local groups. Another nice feature of state homeschool support groups is that they provide conferences, curriculum fairs, and workshops for homeschool families, making this a great way to learn new information and get resources to support your homeschool work. Finally, these state level groups collect data and statistics about homeschooling information, and some provide databases of support personnel for homeschool parents, such as certified teachers, testers, psychologists, and special-needs therapists.
To find information about your local and state homeschooling groups, visit the directory of homeschool support groups.
National homeschool associations
National organizations on homeschooling are more specific in their focus and generally focus on concerns for a particular population or area. Like homeschooling groups at the state and local levels, some national groups are affiliated with a particular religion. Some national homeschool organizations include:
- Home School Legal Defense Association
- National Challenged Homeschoolers is a Christian family network for families of special needs children. Within this national organization, there are many state and local groups for parents of children with physical, mental, developmental or learning disabled.
- National Black Home Educators is a non-profit national organization of families who are actively involved in their children’s education.
- American Homeschool Association serves homeschooling families with advocacy, support, information, and networking.
The main purpose for a national homeschool association is to provide a point of contact for state groups. These groups also provide news, resources, and statistical information about homeschooling at the national level.
Finding and connecting with homeschool groups will ease the stress of homeschooling your child. By being part of one of these groups, you will have a network of support for your homeschooling needs and a place to help others who might be struggling with different aspects of homeschooling.