Friday, October 17, 2008

Homeschool Groups - the Good and the Bad

I joined a homeschool group today. You might wonder why I'm just now joining one since this is our 15th year homeschooling. The truth is that I HAVE been a part of homeschool groups (plural) before. There are differing reasons as to why we weren't in one for the past few years but a few more obvious reasons override the less obvious. Here's what I've learned over the years concerning a good homeschool support group versus the bad ones:

The Good Groups

Everyone has an equal opportunity to give an opinion as to how the group should do things.

The children are given ample time to play in addition to the time they spend in "organized activity."

Parents do more than put their time in working with other folks' kids. They are a true support group working together and enjoying one another's company. They feel free to share what's really on their hearts.

Field trips are a part of a good group's "curriculum." Everyone needs a time out and about, learning and growing in the real world.

The Bad Groups

A bad homeschool group is one in which one or two people "run the show." These people tailor the group activities to what they want to accomplish with their own children. They have no regard for anybody else's needs and they don't care to hear anyone's opinions other than their own.

The children are kept so busy in classrooms they have no time to make friends and just play. Fun is not a good word in a bad homeschool group.

Nobody cares how isolated you feel as a homeschool mom. If you're feeling overwhelmed or depressed, it's your fault for not putting your all into the group. There's no support here!

Field trips? What field trips? We're the next best thing to public school, don't you know? We have a mini school going on right here and YOU have no control over what we teach!

Okay, there you have an inkling as to why some of the other groups we've been part of haven't worked out for us. The most important quality of a good homeschool support group is that word in the middle - support. We lacked it in every other group and I'm praying this one will be different.


bethanyrae said...

Hey, I hope this works out well for you all! We had a group for ages that was a good one. There were a lot of families who came and went, but a good core who stayed over the years. Lots of relationships for everyone. But you're right, in that it doesn't take many to make it miserable for the rest.

homeschool support said...

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