A crucial element for successful homeschooling is a good support system. I know I would not have continued homeschooling without the advice, guidance, and support of more experienced homeschooling families. Networking with other homeschoolers also gives your kids the opportunity to meet other homeschooled children and participate in group activities.
Don't be discouraged if you can't find a like-minded support group immediately. When I was starting out, I participated in lots of activities sponsored by a variety of religious and secular groups. My girls gravitated towards children close to their age and with similar interests. I then invited those families over for playdates, and friendships blossomed. Rarely do other homeschooling families come to you networking is essential, and it's up to you to reach out and expand your circle. Homeschoolers, as a group, are very receptive to those new to learning at home and offer help and guidance willingly. Use the Internet to find a local support group.
You may also find other homeschool families by posting messages on your community, library, or place of worship bulletin boards. La Leche League (www.laleche.org) often has homeschooling members, as well as your local food co-op or natural foods store. I often approach families that I meet in parks or playgrounds during school hours and ask if they homeschool. Starting your own group may involve nothing more than deciding to meet every Friday afternoon in a certain park or playground. Advertise in a few of the aforementioned locations. You'll be amazed at how quickly your group will grow!
Stop by your local library. Be sure each family member has a library card and uses it regularly.
Use Family Education Network's vast K-12 educational resources. Research any subject or grade to find free games and activities that make learning fun.
- Homeschooling, subject-by-subject toolkits
- Grade-by-grade skill-builders
- Factmonster information tool
Most importantly, remember why you decided to homeschool. Be flexible and open to new ways of doing things. Observe your children and discover how they learn and what they love to do. Nobody knows your kids like you do, and no one is better qualified to help them choose the course of study that suits them best. Happy homeschooling!