Starting A Homeschool Group Part 1
by Lee Wirebaugh
So, you have taken the big leap. Your family is going to homeschool. Now it is time to deal with that inevitable question “What about socialization?” Of course all of us that homeschool know that socialization is not a problem, yet we would like to have contact with other families that share our same beliefs and desires for our family.
Fast forward. You have made the calls to everyone you can think of. Talked to the librarian and she doesn’t know anyone. Now you start to think I can’t be the only person that homeschooling. Most likely you are not. I have been in this position and am now the main organizer of my areas only support group. I am now going to share with you the things that I have found out. I hope these things will help you to avoid some frustration.
I met everyone in our group on the Internet. I cannot think of a better place to find people. Start by going to sites like egroups or smartgroups and run a search for homeschool in your state. I was very surprised to find 4 groups for my state. If you can’t find one start one!! It is very easy to do and great ways to meet other people looking for people near them. Once you find a list introduce yourself and make sure to tell them that you are looking for others in your area. Then keep your ears and eyes open for anyone that is in your area. You may think you will never bump into someone in your own town on the world wide web, but we have members in our group that live with in two blocks of each other and never met until I asked everyone on a state group what area of the state they were in. A simple question can bring you many contacts.
Other than the Internet I would contact any statewide groups and let them know of your intent to start a new group. Ask them to list you as a contact in your area that they can refer others to. Our group has become a local chapter for one of our statewide groups.
Now, you have found a couple people that want to get together as a group. Set a date and meet!!! Remember not everyone will make it to every meeting or activity. This can be hard if you are like me and want to make everything convenient for everyone. It will not happen so do what works for you and the majority of the other families involved. We started with a potluck at the park. That way kids were able to play and parents were able to talk and get to know each other. At this first meeting set up your next meeting!!! Very important, it is much easier to set something up in person than to set it up over the phone or by email.
Congrats you have the starts to a local homeschool group!! This can be a very fun exciting and rewarding experience. So, take a deep breath and get ready for your search for homeschoolers in your area.