Many veteran homeschoolers advise other homeschoolers to join a homeschool support group. They can provide encouragement, support, advice on state standards, and socialization. There are so many support groups available, chances are there is one meeting in your area. Before you join a homeschool support group you will want to ask a few questions to make sure this group is a good fit for your family.
1. When are the meetings held and how are they run? Do the meetings fit in with your schedule? Are they meeting during a nap time or when your husband doesn’t want you to be gone? Are they regularly scheduled or just as needed? Do they meet too often, more than you have time to attend or just about the right amount?
2. What is required of me? Is there a membership fee or required time commitment? Do I need to sign a statement of faith or is anyone allowed to participate?
3. Do most of the homeschoolers have the same philosophy of homeschooling that I do or is there a variety? Do I have enough in common with the members of this group to feel comfortable or benefit from their input?
4. Do they have someone you can contact if you are new to homeschooling or need help along the way?
5. Do they communicate well? Is there a phone or e-mail system set up to relay messages about group events?
6. Are there enough/too many activities for you to participate in? If a group is not active in meeting or planning activities, you might not get the help or support you need. On the other hand, if the group is too active and make you feel that you need to be at most of the activities it, may hinder your homeschool year and cause you to burn out.
7. Is everyone doing their share or are just a few people doing all the work? If everyone does at least a little bit and contributes their special talent, then you’ll find that the group and leadership are well run and satisfied.
As with anything in life, balance is the key to finding the right support group for your family. You need to know what you want and what you are willing to give to a support group. If you decide that this is not the right time in your life to join a support group, then don’t let anyone make you feel guilty for making that decision. Sometimes one or two homeschool friends that you can call on for support or advice may be all that you need. If you desire to join a homeschool support group, then these questions should help you find a group that will meet your needs.