A good homeschool community will help encourage you in your journey. When our family looked into homeschooling, my first goal was to find a group to homeschool with. My initial concern wasn’t how we would homeschool, but who we would homeschool with. To this day, I don’t know where we would be without the amazing group we do life with. Going it alone, you will miss out on friendship, accountability, learn-sharing and fun. Here are some ways that homeschool families find community that meets their family’s needs.
A co-op consists of a group of families who get together and offer instructional classes. Groups can be based around just about anything, from a specific homeschool style, common goal or religious affiliation. The classes might be led by parents, or outside teachers or professionals. Typically all parents share responsibilities of running the co-op. If you can’t find a group that meets your needs, find local interest and start one yourself!
Cost: Can vary based on instructors skill levels
Pro: Can be an inexpensive way to have community and specialized classes
Cons: Not all groups are created equal. Make sure to visit the community to see how it runs and if it meets your specific needs (social and financial) before committing!
Find a Co-op: Do an online search and/or ask local homeschooling families. Often there are more than one near you, depending on your area.
CC groups can be found all over the world. They are a full-curriculum programs, led by trained parents, that meets weekly for 24-30 weeks throughout the year. At easy meeting, students and parents engage in learning new material in 7 subjects, as well as a science project/experiment, fine arts project and review games. Students will also have weekly presentations to practice speaking and presenting skills.Middle and Highschool students have more involved curriculum they work through together.
Cost: Can range from a few hundred dollars a year to a few thousand, depending on age level and how many children you have in the program.
Pro: Full curriculum, accountability and community.
Con: Price (Parents can offset by training to help tutor/direct classes)
Hybrid homeschools typically meet part-time at home, and part-time in a private-school classroom. Classrooms are typically small and children are sent home with pre-planned work to do on their days at home. The programs are full-curriculum (typically 2 days a week), and students have 3 days a week learning at home with their parents, under the guidance of trained teachers.
Cost: The most expensive option, in the several thousand dollar range.
Pro: The benefit of teacher experience and plans, but also the benefit of homeschool time
Con: Cost, although cheeper than private school!
Find a Hybrid School: Hybrid schools are popping up everywhere now, thanks to COVID! Be aware that many public and private school systems have adopted a hybrid plan, and can make your search a little harder.
Many homeschool families will create a local group of like-minded home educators to simply do life with, outside of their day-to-day learning. These groups meet together for play days, field trips and to celebrate holidays together. The local support groups near us will put on county-wide events like Homeschool Rollerskating, Fall Festivals, Prom and Graduation. This is a great way to have community with a diverse group that may not share all your educational philosophies.
Many areas have regional homeschool groups that meet together for extracurricular activities, for things like sports teams, social clubs (ie, scouts) STEM groups, 4-H, Fine Arts class and the like. A good way to start up homeschool classes is to contact local businesses and ask for classes for homeschoolers! Good businesses to start with would be your local YMCA, Music Store (that does lessons), Gymnastics Gym, Dance Studio, Art Studio, Upward Sports, etc.
When you can’t meet in person, especially in today’s climate, virtual groups provide an outlet and accountability for homeschool families. Video-based platforms, like Zoom, Marco Polo and Google Workspace, make it possible for families to find and create coops with other homeschool students across the world. Social media groups can be a good outlet for homeschool parents to build relationships with other parents for accountability, ideas and commiseration!