Whether you are just starting off on the journey of homeschooling or are a few years into it, may I encourage you to surround yourself with other homeschool families? One way to do this is to get involved in or even start a support group (SG) in your area.
A support group provides an organized way for homeschoolers to meet and encourage each other as they home educate their children.
Support groups come in all shapes and sizes, depending on what is important to that group. They often offer activities such as mom’s gatherings, teen groups, play dates, holiday parties for the younger kids, field trips, curriculum swaps or sales, science fairs, service opportunities, spelling bees and more!
Typically, SGs are run by a governing board, have a set of policies or by-laws, collect dues, and hold regularly scheduled meetings to set an agenda for the school year.
There are some common goals for all support groups, so let’s take a brief look at some of the benefits:
There are some wonderful days when you homeschool—days when you are so thankful for the privilege of homeschooling your children. Seeing the lightbulb come on after teaching a new concept, getting to explore God’s creation, and building strong relationships as a family are special moments.
Then…there are the difficult days. Days when you feel you keep butting your head up against the wall after going over multiplication tables for the 10,000th time or thinking your child will never learn how to read. Maybe you’ve had days when you question “Am I teaching my child enough?” Maybe you wonder if you will ever get everything done (laundry, cooking, cleaning, errands, lesson plans, teaching, grading…). It is on these kinds of days where having a network of other homeschooling families will be your life-line. Being able to reach out to a group of moms for encouragement, advice, and prayer will be just what you need to keep homeschooling another day.
As I mentioned earlier, there are many possibilities for support groups. Participating in SG activities can enrich your school days. It is these experiences that my own kids remember the most about the years we homeschooled—things they learned at a museum, experiences they had visiting a farm, and friendships that they made with others are treasures that fill their hearts!
And speaking of friends they made, developing amazing friendships is a perk for mommas too! The ladies you will meet in a support group bring such blessings to your life daily. You might have friends from church or college, but no one “gets” you like a fellow homeschool mom. SGs will draw you into building relationships for both you and your children.
Questions abound when you are homeschooling. You may want guidance concerning curriculum, transcripts, teaching a special learner, working with multiple ages, and so on. If you get involved in a support group, chances are someone will have experienced just what you are wondering about (or know someone to refer you to for answers). You may even find that after you get a few years under your belt, you have a lot of wisdom to pass down to those just getting started!
As you can see, there are many benefits to belonging to a support group: encouragement, extracurricular activities, friendships, the wisdom of others, and more! The IAHE would love to come alongside you to help you find groups in your area. If there isn’t a support group near you, perhaps you can start one yourself (we’d love to help you get one started!). Email firstname.lastname@example.org for help.
Whether you join a support group or not, the important thing is to know that you are not alone. Finding like-minded friends and support in some form may be just the thing that will help you finish this incredible journey stronger and better than when you began.