If you’ve ever participated in a homeschool group, you know how wonderful they can be for sharing struggles, making friends, and ensuring your children have some different people to hang out with and learn from on occasion. Creating your own local homeschool group can be tough, but there are a few tips to make it easier to manage and something you and other local homeschoolers will benefit from.
Tips For Creating A Local Homeschool Group
There are many reasons to create your own local homeschool group. Whether you are new to an area and there aren’t any groups, or you want to pursue different activities than an existing group, it is a great idea to work toward creating your own homeschool group. It is an undertaking and a lot of responsibility, so think long and hard about what you want this for, and how much you are able to invest into a homeschool group in your community.
Decide on a purpose. What is your reason for wanting a homeschool group? This question is especially important if there are already existing homeschool groups in your area. If you are also going to create and run a group, you need to be able to share with others in the homeschool community why yours is different, better, or worth joining and participating in.
Before you begin advertising, making rules, or enlisting others to participate you really need to know the reason behind your homeschool group. Having a clear direction will help make it easier to attract other active participants.
Suggestions for types of homeschool groups:
- Co-ops for education swaps that include art, physical education, music, or other extra curricular or elective courses.
- Play groups for building relationships with other homeschooling families, parents, and kids in your city or area.
- Field trip groups that only meet for group outings to local educational locations.
Once you know what your ultimate goal for the homeschool group is, you can adjust to your individual and community needs. Creating a great base of connection and growth for your children is vital. Homeschool groups with a clear purpose make this much easier to accomplish.
Create guidelines. Once you decide what kind of homeschool group you want to create in your community, it is time to set up some basic rules and guidelines. While you want to be open and fun, you do need to consider how to handle possible situations that could arise. A few simple rules should be set up from the beginning so there are no questions later down the road.
Suggestions for guidelines to consider for your homeschool group:
- If there is a fee to join, creating a non-profit and separate account to handle all fees transparently is a must.
- Determine requirements or joining the homeschool group. Must be full-time homeshooler? Interested in homeschooling? Only certain grades or ages?
- Group members contact information to be kept private unless otherwise noted or allowed by individual members.
- Regular meeting dates or times.
- Will parents be required to stay for events, or can kids be dropped off?
- Enlisting the help of another administrator to help ease burdens.
- Creating a separate email or contact system for only homeschool group needs.
Utilize social media for advertising. One of the best ways to get the word out about any new homeschool group is to utilize social media. Facebook and the various local groups is usually the best method alongside posting on your own private profiles so your fellow homeschoolers will see and inquire about what you are doing. Ask in groups before posting your group advertisement, and be willing to accept friend requests and answer questions as there will be plenty when you begin a new group for fellow homeschoolers.
Ask your state homeschool liaison for help. Check with your state homeschool division to learn more about what they can offer to make your homeschool group more effective. There are often resources, curriculum, and even contacts to different educational venues around your state that they can share with you as a group administrator. This can make your job much easier, and help you to find out more unique things to cover with your group.
Things to ask your state homeschool liaison:
- Are there behind the scenes tours of educational things like the state government offices, landmarks, National Parks, or museums that they can share?
- Do they have access to information on free curriculum or resources regarding education about your specific state?
- Do they offer funding for field trips,homeschool group equipment, or other needs your group would have?
- Do they offer tutors or other outside education sources to help aid those in your group?
Meet in public places. One important safety tip that shouldn’t be overlooked when creating your own homeschool group is that your meetings should be held in public places. While you may know most of the people joining your group, inviting strangers into your home can be dangerous. While it is rare, there are instances of people faking profiles and information to sneak into situations and gain trust. Be careful about what private information you put out in public forums around your homeschool group. Your family and each child in the group are your priorities to keep safe.
Don’t get discouraged. It can be tough managing your own local homeschool group. It is also a very rewarding experience that can help you and your children to build lifelong friendships as well as give you an outlet when needed. Take time off as needed, and remember the big picture. Also, never hesitate to reach out and ask for help from others in the homeschooling community who may be interested in helping you lead your group.
As you begin considering a local homeschool group, we hope these tips will ease some of our burden and help give you a direction to follow. As with any administrative position, you will have new an unexpected responsibilities. The results of a homeschool group can, however, be one of the best things you can do for yourself and your fellow homeschoolers.