Every homeschooling family has a different way of educating their children. This will include the method they teach such as unschooling, relaxed, classical, eclectic, and so on. There are many articles and blog posts out on the world wide web about all the teaching techniques and methods to use but today I want to focus on the activities and groups that have supported my family over the past 8 years.
First and foremost was my original parent support group. I called the director of this group way back when Grace was still attending public school in the beginning of second grade. This woman was so supportive and gave me the confidence that I could pull my daughter out of public school and teach her at home. For many years this support group was our families main stay for activities like field trips, geography and science fairs, parent support meetings, and so much more. We made lots of fellow homeschooling families through this ministry and many are still close friends to this day. This support group filled a huge place in our life and hearts from 2nd - 8th grade. We decided not to sign up with this group again for Grace's 9th grade year simply because we have so many other outside interests that we weren't really connecting with many of these families through the group anymore but still on our own through other adventures and activities. I will always treasure the support they showed me in the beginning of our homeschooling adventure and how welcoming they were to our family.
Second on my list would have to be a local teacher that owns an art studio and teaches multiple types of classes for homeschool students. This woman is great and the kids love her and are always eager to please her. Over the last few years Grace has taken writing classes, art classes, summer camps, and is currently taking a speech class. The classes offered are priced budget friendly and gives the kids another teacher to learn from in the community. The other added plus is having some peers in a class setting with you if for nothing else but to socialize and have a little fun.
Third would have to be our current Cooperative. With me being one of the co-directors of the cooperative, it has become a huge part of our lives over the past two years. We have meet so many wonderful families and Grace has developed some great friendships. Attending classes at a cooperative gives the student so many opportunities to classes you might not teach at home. You never know when one of these classes might be a gateway to a great passion for your child. Over the past two years our cooperative has offered classes in: drama, choir, music, art, science, history, creative writing, stage makeup and costuming, and yearbook. We have so many more planned for the next semester. The students all love each other so much and enjoy spending time together. It is definitely worth all the hard work to build such a great program for our homeschooling families to attend in the local community. In this case I wanted a cooperative for Grace to attend but there wasn't one in our small community. So myself and a friend spear headed putting the program together. It has grown every semester in families attending and number of classes being taught.
The last item I would like to discuss is small groups. We currently attend two small groups. One small group has 7 homeschool families from a church in the area. This group is for the mothers and children to attend and meets twice a month on Monday afternoons. The other small group we attend is a branch off from our own church. Grace and another teenage girl are the only children/youth that attend with all the other members being our age and older. She enjoys attending a group with mostly adults and getting to participate. This small group meets every Sunday evening.
I write this post basically to say there are many avenues of support out there for the homeschooling family, especially mother and child. Without these outside activities and support systems my job would definitely be harder at home. I have many friends and confidants I can bounce ideas off of or simply will give me words of encouragement when I have had a bad day. This is important for stay at home moms. I strongly encourage mothers to seek out opportunities in your community to offer you support as you travel through this adventure of homeschooling.