The decision to homeschool is rarely made lightly. Often parents will do hours and hours of research about homeschooling, discuss it at length with each other, and earnestly pray for guidance before making the final decision to homeschool.
But there's another step that is just as essential to ensuring success —and preventing burnout. Finding support.
Now I'm not talking about support from your husband—that's basically a no-brainer. I'm sure we all know that having support from your husband is important.
What I mean is establishing a personal support network with other homeschoolers, preferably locally. Although homeschooling can be very enjoyable, it can also be extremely challenging. So to prevent burnout it's important to get connected with other homeschooling moms for support, whether this is your first year homeschooling or your tenth.
1. Find a local support group
To find a local group you can simply Google "homeschool support group" for your area, but the following websites might simplify your search a bit. With the popularity of homeschooling growing every year, it's likely you can find a group that's close by.
- Home School Legal Defense Association (HSLDA) has an excellent listing of support groups nationwide.
- About.com lists some support groups.
- Local HS has a clickable map to find local homeschooling groups
- Homeschool.com lets you search by region.
2. Join a Yahoo!Group dedicated to homeschooling.
If you subscribe to a particular method of homeschooling such as Charlotte Mason, Ruth Beechick, Classical Method, or Unschooling, you can even find a group dedicated to issues specifically related to that method. There are even Yahoo!Groups specific to curriculum such as TruthQuest History and Apologia Elementary Science.
Members of these Yahoo!Groups post tips, questions, and suggestion related to the theme of the group, then other members respond to the post with their own comments. You are sure to find a wealth of information and support in these groups.
To find a Yahoo!Group about homeschooling or in your particular area of interest, simply visit Yahoo!Group's home page and enter whatever search term you choose (such as homeschooling, unschooling, Konos, etc.)
3. Start your own local "support" group.
Starting your own homeschool support group doesn't have to mean incorporating as a nonprofit organization. It simply means finding other homeschoolers in your area and setting up a regular time to get together.
This is something I have done in my own home town. I joined a county-wide homeschooling association, but that group didn't meet regularly since it was mainly intended for online support. But through that membership I discovered that there were dozens of homeschoolers within a five-mile radius of my house.
Using my association's online forum I was able to spread the word about my desire to start a "social group" close to my home. Numerous families expressed interest, so we started meeting together for an hour and a half once a week at our local library.
Not long afterward our group became the official homeschooling outreach for our library; we even had use of the city's community center for our meetings free of charge.
Since the main goal of our group was socialization (for both the kids and the moms), it took very little effort to organize. This group was such a blessing to my family.
4. Find some quality homeschooling blogs—then read and comment.
This is a great way to find support from veteran homeschoolers. Blogging homeschool moms are eager to share their experience with others.
Here are a few great blogs to start with. (Note that not all of them may blog solely about homeschooling.)
- The Happy Housewife (Homeschools)
- Weird Unsocialized Homeschoolers
- Jimmie's Collage
- Homeschool Creations
- Smockity Frocks
Once you get to a homeschooling blog, just take a peek in their blogroll (if they have one) and you'll likely find links to dozens more great blogs! You can also just Google "homeschool blogs" and you'll find plenty there as well.
What are some ways you've already found support in your homeschooling journey?