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The Benefits of Joining a Homeschool Group
We have been involved in homeschool groups from the very beginning of our homeschool journey. Even now four years later, we are still involved and still get tremendous benefit from being in a homeschool group. There are many reasons why homeschool groups are great for homeschoolers.
First, connecting with other people who are also home educating their children is vital. Sometimes I have felt so isolated and alone as the only homeschooler anywhere near me. Having a group and meeting up with other families is always wonderful. Talking to other moms about curriculum and any problems I might be having is such a big help.
There is also the socialization factor for the kids. I think homeschooling is great and if you can get your children involved in a group and classes, then socialization should not be an issue, contrary to what many people think. I know that when people have questioned me about that, saying that the kids take classes and are part of a group usually shuts people up pretty quickly. Aside from this issue (which for us has really not been an issue), kids just want to be around other kids. Homeschoolers are great at including everyone, regardless of age (something that can't be said for public school kids). Being part of a homeschool group usually gives plenty of opportunity for kids to play with other kids, something they all love doing.
You can take some great field trips and tours if you are part of a group. Groups in my area have planned some wonderful trips to places that we would never be able to go to if we weren't part of a group. Behind the scenes tours are typically only available to groups, and the six people in my family just don't qualify. You can also get discounted rates by going places in groups making many expensive places within financial reach for families.
All the homeschool groups I have been in have curriculum swaps or sales each year. This is a great way to get good products for cheap or even free. I have gotten so many great resources from these curriculum swaps and it has really benefited my family. My kids have had the opportunity to take some great homeschool classes over the past few years. These classes were always organized by homeschool groups. When a place sees a group wanting a class they are more likely to organize it for you, than if your family requested a class. Again you get group rates and sometimes even further discounts for homeschoolers.
Homeschooling has been great for us and one of the reasons it has been so successful over the years is because we have been involved in great groups. If you don't have a group near you, you could always try to start one. Groups will be what you make it. You can be as involved as you want, but the more involved you are the more you get out of it. Good luck and I hope you have a group that works for you.