It’s not uncommon for a homeschooling family to be the only ones in the area and/or the only members of an extended family that have chosen this educational option. While this can be overwhelming and isolating, being a part of one of the numerous support groups throughout Alberta can offer insight and knowledge from other homeschoolers happy to encourage you along the way.
What is a homeschool support group?
Homeschool support groups are an association of independent homeschoolers organized for the purpose of assisting and encouraging each other as they educate their children. Whether they connect online or in-person, parents or guardians are able to discuss topics pertaining to homeschooling, such as curriculum options, school board options, learning methods, and family
They may be formal (meetings and dues) or informal (a few families gathering periodically), and can connect either online or in-person. Families of any faith, method, philosophy or interest are always welcome. There are also support groups specifically set up to support families with high school children and children with special needs. Some groups may be as simple as a Facebook page for discussion and sharing, or as complex as a well-developed group established to benefit homeschoolers utilizing a particular curriculum, method of teaching, philosophy or other commonality.
Why join a homeschool support group?
There are a multitude of reasons why homeschoolers join support groups. The following are a few of the most common.
- Friendship: Groups offer the opportunity for both parents and children to make new friends. This is particularly important for children who have left friends behind in public school.
- Resource sharing and exchange: Textbooks and supplies can be expensive! Homeschool support groups allow parents to share resources. You might borrow a microscope for your science unit, purchase a used textbook or share art supplies.
- Sharing of advice and experience: Membership in a group often provides the opportunity to learn from others about new curricula, ways of handling learning difficulties, ideas regarding scheduling, techniques for homeschooling with babies/toddlers present and other practical tips.
- Socialization: Most homeschool groups provide opportunities for the development of social skills through events such as field trips, birthday parties, holiday celebrations, park days, clubs, sports, shared lessons and even graduation ceremonies.
How do I find a homeschool group in my area?
The best way to learn more about homeschooling support groups in your area is to visit Facebook, other social networks, or just search on the internet to find a support group suited to your homeschooling needs. Search Facebook using your city’s/town’s name and the tag “homeschool.” The Alberta Home Education Association has an online listing of homeschool groups in Alberta with websites, phone numbers and email addresses.
If you’re new to homeschooling, you’re feeling isolated or overwhelmed by the task of educating your children, and/or you need more social contact, consider joining a homeschool support group. Numerous groups, dedicated to helping families successfully homeschool their children, are located throughout Alberta. They offer insights, knowledge, experience and encouragement to all who gather.
In the meantime, Centre for Learning@Home has supported homeschooling families in Alberta for nearly thirty years, and we encourage parents to set a curriculum that they and their children are comfortable with. Choose a teacher-directed online or a parent-directed home education approach. Following a home education program is a great opportunity for you to build a deeper relationship with your child. Call us at (403) 938-4119 or our toll-free number 1-800-659-1945 to learn more about getting your family set up for homeschooling.