Pros and Cons to Joining a Homeschool Group

by Jimmie

Your local community may have a support group for homeschool families. Should you join? There are pros and cons to joining a homeschool group. Know them before making a decision.

I have homeschooled with a support group and without one. As much as I enjoy my current homeschool group, I can see that it offers both positives and negatives.

What should you know before joining a homeschol support group? Here is the honest truth -- both good and bad.

Is a Homeschool Support Group Right for You?

What You Should Know
Room for You at the Meeting
Room for You at the Meeting

First The Advantages

Of a Homeschool Support Group

Mom Time

Some women find that spending time day in and day out with a house full of children rather draining. They long for the chance for adult conversation. A homeschool support group can be a time for that adult, mom time away from the children.

A Sympathetic Ear

This is where the support in homeschool support group comes in. Other homeschool moms may be the only people who can really understand your struggles, self-doubts, and triumphs. Connect with sympathetic moms at a homeschool support group.

Curriculum Brainstorming

Choosing curriculum can be mind numbing simply because of all the excellent options available. Hearing from other moms about what works and doesn't work (for them, of course) can help you make educated decisions. Maybe some generous moms will even let you borrow a book to preview before you invest in it.

Field Trips

I really value my homeschool support group for the field trips that are set up. It's a relief to have someone else research and arrange a trip. All I have to do is sign up, pay, and show up.

Social Opportunities for Children

Many homeschool groups set up playdates, holiday parties, and craft days for the children just to interact and make friends.

Co-op Experiences

Although a co-op is not the same as a support group, you may have some co-op opportunities through the connections in your support group. Possible learning activies are writing workshops, science fairs, speech competitions, and show & tell.

Testing, Graduation, and other Services

Maybe you want your child to have yearly school photos. Or you'd like your high schooler to have a senior prom. Homeschool support groups, especially large ones, offer many of these types of "extras" that may be important to you.

Mentoring Opportunities

You may find a mentor or you may find mothers that would benefit from your advice as you serve as their mentor.

Online Resources & Staying in the Loop

Some homeschool groups host websites with local information that can help you as a homeschooler. My group has both a classifieds forum and a general chit chat forum. I've bought used curriculum through my homeschool group. And I've often been notified of a neat educational opportunity after someone posted about it through our group.

Homeschool Co-op Versus Homeschool Group?

What is the Difference?

A homeschool support group, the topic of this article, is not the same thing as a homeschool co-op.

Generally speaking, the homeschool support group is geared towards the moms while a co-op is geared towards the children.

A co-op is going to be educational in nature -- classes the children take or learning activities they do together. A support group may have educational activities for the children, but it also hosts fun social or holiday outings.

What Do You Most Hope For in a Homeschool Group?

Now The Negatives

Of a Homeschool Group

Homeschool groups are not all rainbows and unicorns. There can be a darker side to a homeschool group.

Cliques 

If you are new to the area and don't know anyone, you may find it hard to break through the existing cliques in a large homeschool group. Alternatively, your children may face the issue of less than welcoming peers.

Group Politics

It is the nature of any group to have dominant leaders. Sometimes there are power struggles, conflicts, and arguments. 

Differing Philosophies

There may be statements of faith that you find difficult to sign. Or maybe you don't like the principle of a group excluding people based on a system of belief. (I don't.)

You may be the only one of your kind when it comes to homeschool philosophy and feel something of a freak when it comes to discussing curriculum and methods.

The Comparison Game

It can be overwhelming to attend monthly meetings where moms gush about their children's projects and achievements. You may leave each meeting questioning yourself:

 High Expectations of Involvement

Some homeschool groups require a certain level of activity for membership. Depending on the size of the group, that committment may cause burnout. Find out what kind of time committment your local homeschool group requires before you join.

Graded Activities

If you are a mom to many children of varying ages, you may find it difficult to mesh with very grade specific activities. What do you do with your preschooler while the middle schoolers are on a field trip?

Distance

If the homeschool group is based far away, activities may require an entire day once travel is factored in. 

Bottom Line

A homeschool support group should provide support. If you find that a group is not a good fit or that it becomes more of a burden than an uplifting experience, by all means stop attending the group.

You don't need a homeschool group to be an effective and contented homeschooler. 

But consider keeping your membership just to stay in the loop and so that you have the opportunity to participate in specific activies should you desire to. Never burn bridges.

Books to Guide You in Your Homeschool Journey

The Ultimate Guide to Homeschooling
$20.00  $12.96
The Ultimate Guide to Homeschooling T...
$20.00  $12.00
Homeschooler's Book of Lists, The: Mo...
$19.99  $8.00

Homeschool Group Directories

Where to Locate a Homeschool Group

Homeschool World's Groups Directory
This directory includes American states plus many countries.

Homeschool Classifieds
Look on the right side of the header for a section titled Groups and Activities. Click on your state or continent to find a local group.

Homeschool.com's Local Support Group Finder
Choose your state for a listing of local groups.

More Homeschooling Articles

There are things you can do to help your child not be distracted from his homework or homeschool assignments.
My child can narrate, but she mixes in some errors with the facts. How can I help her?
Believe it or not, it's not that hard for homeschoolers to find opportunities to socialize and learn healthy socialization skills!
If you are considering homeschooling your children, there are some factors you should evaluate. If you have these qualities, homeschooling will be easier for you.
Updated: on 02/27/2012, Jimmie
 
Thank you! Would you like to post a comment now?
0

Do You Have a Comment? Leave it Here.


   Login
Aadel on 03/29/2012

I have seen the positives and negatives- and yes I was the unschooling outcast for a while! The key for me (an older, wiser, hopefully more gracious homeschooler) is to stay positive and be patient with the others.

And I only join groups that are inclusive. I like being around people of all kinds and walks. ;0)



Disclosure: This page generates income for authors based on affiliate relationships with our partners, including Amazon, Google and others.
Loading ...
Error!