Thursday, January 23, 2014
Are Homeschool Groups Right for You? | Lone Star Signers
This is our second year homeschooling, and our first year participating in two different homeschool groups. We meet with our Classical Conversations Foundations community on Monday mornings and our science co-op on Thursdays. We are having some excellent experiences getting to know other homeschooling families in our city.
If you are considering joining a homechool group, here are some questions to consider:
1. Does this group fit my child's (and my) personality and values?
Every homeschooling family chooses to do so for their own reasons. One of our reasons is to help our young daughters learn public behaviors we think are important, and it can be tricky to find a group that matches up sometimes. While I am "stricter" with my own children than some parents are with theirs, I totally respect that different families have different rules. However, it can be difficult to explain that to a five-year-old, and I am cautious about the behaviors that she is exposed to.
2. Is the time commitment something that we can handle?
The time spent at group meetings means less time for schooling at home. And if the parent has any teaching responsibilities in the group, don't forget to include planning time in your considerations. Thankfully, our Kindergarten curriculum choices allow us to double-up or skip the occasional math or phonics lesson in favor of other learning opportunities. We've tried doing three weekly groups, but that adds too much stress into our week...which leads to questions 3.
3. Does the group increase stress or enhance our lives?
Both of our groups include science, which is one of my weaker areas for teaching. My daughter also has weekly presentations/show and tell requirements--something that we can't do as well at home. I enjoy watching both girls play with their peers after our lesson time, and I get a chance to visit with other moms.
The greatest benefit is being with my daughter while she learns from another mom-teacher. She is SO precious to me, but I know that she has much to learn from a variety of adults in her community--it's good for me to watch her eyes light up when she learns something new from someone that isn't me.
4. How does the group affect my older/younger children?
Somebody who means well once told me that my younger daughter was missing out on time with me because her older sister wasn't away at school. Ouch. My hope is that my girls will grow up to be great friends and that is happening here at home. Not to mention the fact that the little one is learning right along with her big sister (she can count well past 30 and knows all of her letters, shapes, and colors at 28 months old).On Monday mornings, she goes to a nursery class with other 2-year-olds while the Kindergartner and I do our group lessons together. On Thursdays, she and I hang out together in another room while her sister learns at science co-op. It really is the best of both worlds.
We are so thankful for the wide variety of homeschool groups in San Antonio--what a sweet way to enrich our family education!
Can you think of any other questions I forgot to mention?