My number one fear or concern with homeschooling has always been "Can I really do this?"I just found this quote and I plan on using it whenever faced with opposition. The answer to that question is NO, not alone. I've gone this journey alone thus far and it's a bit well, lonely. I'm not saying you can't do it alone or without groups. You totally can, I mean we all have the Wonderful World Wide Web to pull amazing resources from but interaction with other people, face-to-face/voice-to-voice is equally just as important. Blogs are a even a great way to see what other families are doing and try to see if it works for you.
How to find one?
Go Online. To find a group by state visit www.home-school.com. Google and I are bff's!! Type in your state and homeschool (with or without a space). If you were like me you'll be flooded with more than you can handle. Unfortunately, since the move further out of town two years ago I've not been able to find a group to join that is near me. We are about 45 miles from our church but still attend at least once a week and I'm so excited to say that the process to create such a group at my church is in progress. This pleases my heart and gives me so much comfort. Not just for myself but for the support of other homeschooling families in that community.
For those homeschooling or wanting to homeschool check out www.oklahomahomeschool.com created by Cindy Downes. This was and is a great resource for finding free sites, curriculum, info on starting out, just about everything I needed to know in one place. She has two fan pages on facebook, How To Homeschool Today and Oklahoma Homeschool.
What exactly is a Homeschool Co-op?
There are so many new terms and definitions to learn. Homeschool co-op or cooperative was one of them for me. Definition of COOPERATIVE noun: an enterprise or organization owned by and operated for the benefit of those using its services.
Usually you'd think of a farm co-op, but homeschooling co-ops aren't that different. It's a place where more than one family can come together for the benefits and thoughts and teachings that each families offers, such as...
- Project/Small Groups
- Field Trips
- Skill Building (sewing or knitting)
- Extra Curriculum
My church serves as a sort of co-op when teaching my children about Jesus and the Bible. I can't possibly do the teachings they receive from them justice at home. At church there are colorful lights, songs, music, friends, just a great enthusiasm. We still relate to lessons about God throughout the day but there is something magical about the time my kids spend in their age specific classes and I love that! Co-ops have a specialty that you yourself provide or need.
Staying compliant with state laws is another great reason to find a group in your area or state. In Oklahoma there are sites like www.ochec.com educating home educators in the laws that concern them.
Oklahoma seems to be an easier state to homeschool in, at least that's what I keep hearing from moms that have moved here form other states. They were required to track daily attendance and agendas. I personally see some states overstepping their boundaries and that is why I love the HSLDA: Home School Legal Defense Association (established to defend and advance the constitutional right of parents to direct the education of their children and to protect family freedoms) who've also founded HSF: Home School Foundation (helping families homeschool through hard times) and Patrick Henry College (a college that provides academically excellent baccalaureate level higher education with a biblical world view).
I urge you if you can to find a support group or co-op that isn't too far away that you can attend no less than once a month. If you can't find one create one, 1-2 family groups are great too. You can share curriculum, expenses, resources, and supplies. I can foresee an extra cost for high school books, and more advance curriculum needed to teach the higher grades. For now we have been super blessed with buying used or receiving donations from other homeschoolers, garage sales, and friends.
As I continue to share and document my homeschooling journey, my hope is to help those who are just starting out and feeling a bit overwhelmed. That was me and still is some days. Push through, fall forward, and you'll be amazed how your children blossom and shine.