Homeschool Resources - Ideas So You Don't Have To Go It Alone
As homeschool teachers we often try to go at it alone with nothing but a handful of curriculum catalogues and a few how to books to guide us. Most classroom teachers will tell you they would not be nearly as successful without their colleagues. Fellow teachers share ideas and brainstorm solutions to academic and behavior issues they are facing in their classroom. This networking provides a constant stream of new ideas and insures instruction does not grow stagnant. If they mention they need a creative way to teach adjectives they are sure to leave the teacher’s lounge with a dozen new ideas.
While we might not have a physical teacher’s lounge we certainly have a virtual one. The Internet is packed with resources that will help an isolated homeschooling parent connect with others homeschool teachers. There are also some wonderful local homeschool groups out there. Let’s look at some of the best ways to connect and share ideas.
A good homeschooling group can be an absolute lifesaver to both veteran homeschool parents and those that are new to homeschooling. Most have monthly meetings to keep members abreast of any changes or political issues in regards to homeschooling. They will usually provide you with all of the national and local homeschool requirements as well as the necessary forms you will need to submit or keep track of during the year. They are also great for keeping up to date with new and trusted homeschool resources.
Besides the practical benefits there are wonderful social benefits to belonging to one of these groups as well. Homeschooling groups are often the best way to connect with other local families. If you live in a big city you may want to shop around a bit to find just the right fit. Smaller cities may have limited choices or you may find you have to drive to drive a little ways to find one. Most homeschool groups have a small membership fee to cover administrative costs. They often focus on either field-trips or a learning co-op, but many offer both.
- Field-Trip based groups usually have several field trips planned each month to choose from. They usually receive a group discount so this can be a much more economical way to visit different places. There are often many free trips to community places like the fire station or a local farm as well. Community service projects may also be offered.
- Homeschool co-ops usually meet once a week for group academic or extra-curricular teaching. Often the parents or volunteers from the community teach the classes the groups have decided upon for the semester. Any costs are usually just to cover supplies. Some co-ops have permanent teachers, but are a little more pricey as they have to pay them. Co-ops are an excellent way to expose your children to subjects that you might not have time for or the resources for at home. Each homeschool co-op is different, but classes are usually both challenging and fun like Lego-engineering, a foreign language, chess, cooking, sculpture etc.
Education Sites Are Great for Accessing Homeschool Resources
If you are looking for help with lesson plans or just need some inspiration there are numerous home education websites available. While many of those aimed at traditional education are quite suitable; those specifically designed with the homeschooling family in mind address the unique circumstances involved with home education. What do these sites offer? Many educational sites offer worksheets, but the best sites will offer completed unit studies as well as any necessary reproducibles you will need. There are plenty of good free sites, but it is often well worth it to pay a small annual fee for yearly membership to a site that meets all of your needs. A good website will save you precious hours each week in planning and searching the Internet for resources.
Homeschooling is like parenting. You can do it alone, but a network of friends can greatly reduce your stress. You probably do not have time to meet friends for coffee on a daily basis to chat about schooling, but blogs offer a good alternative. Blogs are a great way to get connected with other homeschooling families. You can chat with other moms around the globe and get fresh ideas and feedback when you have a question or need some help. Sometimes it is just nice to know another parent is struggling with getting their child to take the time to form their letters properly.
Homeschool blogs are also a great way to learn about all the available homeschool resources out there, all the different kinds of homeschool curriculum, and helpful websites. You get honest feedback about these resources from other parents on blogs. There are thousands of blogs out there, so search around a bit until you find one that really ‘clicks’ with your views on homeschooling as well as your personality.
How you choose to connect with other homeschooling families is up to you, but I hope whichever you choose enriches your homeschool experience and makes your life just a little bit simpler!