Finding Help and Support
It can be very difficult to exist as an island. As homeschooling parents, we can feel that we are on our own, especially if we are in a community with very few other homeschoolers. But if we need help, where can we look?
Help is often closer than we might think. It doesn’t take much more than a quick conversation between moms to discover all that we have in common. So, sometimes the answer is a simple one: build relationships, one family at a time. Other times, though, we need something a little more “formal” and organized. In those cases, a little bit of research goes a long way toward making connections with a homeschool network or support system.
Points to Ponder
There are several options available to homeschoolers for help and support. Here are a few suggestions.
You can find a wealth of information online. From blogs to message boards, you can find answers to all kinds of questions. Many curriculum companies host blogs with information about their products or have message boards where you can ask questions.
There are also a large number of Facebook pages you can follow or groups you can join. Curriculum companies usually have their own, but most groups are hosted by one or more homeschool parents. Facebook groups are a great place to meet other homeschoolers, ask questions, and both receive and offer support. Be sure to be mindful of online safety precautions, though.
If you live in a large town or city, there is likely to be some form of local support group. The function of these groups varies. Some have actual parent support group meetings, where you can ask questions and offer help to others. There may even be speakers or classes. Other groups meet just for activities and field trips on an occasional basis. Some groups or co-ops meet regularly for classes and even sports events. And there can be various combinations as well.
Keep an eye open also for organizations that may not be homeschool specific yet still open classes, camps, or other programs to homeschool families. Even though participants in these groups or organizations may not be limited to the homeschool community, a great deal of like-minded support can still be garnered from the interaction.
Most states have at least one statewide homeschool group. Many times these groups exist mostly to work with the legal/political system and/or to host homeschool conventions. They are also often a great place to get information on your state’s homeschooling laws and regulations.
In addition to conventions and legislative help, state organizations often have the clout to host or organize events that local co-ops and associations cannot quite put together. For instance, some states organize a homeschool day with the state legislative or judicial branches or ensure that homeschoolers have access to information about serving as legislative pages or participating in other government programs that traditionally schooled students automatically have access to.
A Few More Thoughts
If you can’t find a local homeschool group, try asking at church or your local homeschool library. Homeschoolers regularly frequent both places, and they may be able to help you find a local homeschooling family. And, if you discover that you really are the only homeschooler in your area, remember that you don’t always have to find a fellow homeschooler to find support and encouragement. Non-homeschooling moms go through many of the same experiences you are dealing with, just with slightly different dynamics. Prayerfully seek support, and trust God to bring just the right person into your path!