Monday, May 4, 2015

Homeschool Support Groups: Part One

(by Joanna Wert originally posted on her blog, Fifty Something, as the Letter C of the ABC’s of Homeschooling)

Joanna and Tom Wert
Today's topic for the ABCs of homeschooling concerns community. Community equals support, ideas, mentoring, a sense of belonging, and pooled resources.

During your first few years of homeschooling, read more
community is vital. Though you may have family, friends, or neighbors who wholeheartedly believe in what you are doing, I would be very surprised if you don't have some naysayers, or, at the very least, skeptical spectators.

A homeschool support group will cheer you on in times of doubt, fear, and uncertainty. When you discuss concerns about your child's progress or behavior, you will find you most definitely are not alone. Someone may be able to share how she overcame the hurdle, or at the very least confess to the same problem.

When you get together as a group, ideas are shared. It may be about a field trip that could be taken. It may be about a project. It may be about a collective interest, such as choir, that can only be done as a group. Perhaps, someone will give you a creative idea for your portfolio. Another may suggest addressing a need in the community.

One important area that can be addressed through a support group is mentoring. Surely, any meeting is going to have homeschool moms who have some experience under their belts. Usually, you will recognize them by their more relaxed demeanor. They've come to understand that homeschooling is a lifestyle. Perhaps, they've already graduated some children and they can help you through the maze of high school at home, or at least point you to the right person or resource.

Belonging to a homeschool group is like getting together with other mothers of preschoolers if you have a preschooler, or other pregnant ladies, if you are pregnant. You will "compare notes", laugh, complain a little, and hopefully, go home feeling more confident, relaxed, and "normal." Your kids will also have the opportunity to play, learn, and interact with other homeschool kids, thus normalizing their experience, too. During the times between meetings, you will know just who to call when you have a question or dilemma. You will probably find yourself gravitating towards one or more other women with whom you may end up forming a strong bond that may last the rest of your homeschool days and beyond.

Lastly, pooled resources are an important benefit of finding a local group. We actually bought some of the best books on homeschooling out there, and created a small lending library. We also prepared an informational packet which included, among other things, an explanation of the homeschool law in Pennsylvania. (to be continued next time)

No comments:

Post a Comment