Wednesday, December 12, 2012

The Importance of a Homeschool Group

Recently I did an interview for our local paper. It was nerve racking for me, because I've seen way too many negatively written articles on homeschooling. What she wanted to know about from me was an overview of the homeschool group that I moderate and how many families are joined up. She wanted to know what activities there were and what kind of homeschooling families there are in this area. She wanted to know about resourcefulness and how important it would be to have the support of a local group. 

Groups are very important to us. If I need information on something, there are always parents who can answer within minutes of my online post. Many of the parents get to know the children and the parents and have personal insight as to what things they could share that would be helpful.

Groups provide, support, resources, friendships, socialization, and activities. It takes a village to raise a child and in homeschooling we create our village. This is also why the group that we join needs to a group that we fit in well. If you are Atheist for example, you may not be comfortable attending Christian activities if there is a good deal of religious content being shared in the activities. I am not an Atheist but felt that it was important to have a strong Secular group here. If you don't know what Secular means, it's not catering to any specific group of people. So, a secular group would be open to all people, no matter what they believe. It's more of a general public type of group.

The group I helped to get going again has had many activities. Above is a restaurant tour we had.
 We baked pies and painted.

 We had a Games Day, where we played educational board games. Some activities are well attended and others aren't as much. I find that no matter what it seems to always work out. Sometimes it's nice to only have a few friends there and sometimes it's great to have a crowd. 

 We visited a honey farm.

 We skate, swim, go to the park, and do gymnastics together.

 We share simple things with each other. Here Zoe is learning how to finger knit. I didn't know how to do this. It ended up something that both of my kids did for a long time. HERE is a video to teach you how to finger knit. It's a little different from how we do it, but close. I've noticed that there are different variations on how people do it.

 At our yarn day Austyn learned how to knit. This is something I don't do well. Each parent of a homeschool group has strengths and weaknesses. Kids want to know more than what we can teach them sometimes. Or more than we want to teach them. This is where the group comes in. We share our abilities with other families and they learn something new!

 We had a Halloween Party because we thought that it was a bummer our kids wouldn't experience the party that the other kids have at school. We read a story, did crafts, listened to scary music, had a healthy Halloween snack and just had fun together. 

 Because we have moved so much, we have been in other groups, in other areas. We try to make it to at least one activity with one group each year. They live over an hour away. We attended their Zoo Field Trip. It was great!

I keep in touch with these families online. It was nice to see them again. The turnout to the Zoo trip was huge. I didn't know everyone. There were so many kids! Keeping in contact with other groups enables me to get ideas for our group. The main people from that group keep in contact with me and the group I'm currently am in as well. We share ideas and learn from each other. 

So, it is important to have local support and join a local group that suits your family and it can also be beneficial to keep in touch with other groups outside of your area. Sharing is a big part of homeschooling. I don't know where we'd be today if we had no group.

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