Understanding and Finding Local Homeschool Groups
What Are Homeschool Groups?
There are two basic kinds of homeschool groups in which you might want to participate: informal or formal.
Informal Homeschool Groups
An informal homeschool group is usually just a group of friends or acquaintances who share advice and resources without having a formal structure in place. The functions of such a group ebb and flow with times and the people currently involved. Tasks such as planning a field trip are usually shared, but there isn't a requirement that each person perform some role. Usually, one person will just take the lead for an activity and will make it available to others. The usually unsaid and unenforced expectation is that others will return the favor at some point.
Informal homeschool groups have several benefits. The biggest is that such groups are usually composed of people who are already friends so relationships among the group members are already established. And because of these friendships, group interactions are pleasant and comfortable. Again, because the relationships of the participants are already established, it is likely that they have lots in common so that activities planned for the group will likely have broad appeal. Participating in an informal group provides lots of flexibility because you won't have formal commitments over a long period of time.
This kind of group does have some disadvantages as well. Because there aren't any formal requirements for everyone to contribute, it is possible that the load won't be evenly shared. If the group consists of some people who tend not to want to take responsibility for projects, it is likely that those who are willing will take on a larger share of the work. An informal group, by its nature, isn't committed to providing you with anything in particular so you can't really count on specific things from the group. And the group's benefits to and requirements of you can vary over time. Also, because these groups tend to be formed by people who are already connected, the experiences, interests, contacts, and capabilities of those in the group will tend to be similar as well, which can be limiting.
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Reproduced from Absolute Beginner's Guide to Homeschooling, by Brad Miser, by permission of Pearson Education. Copyright © 2005 by Que Publishing. Please visit http://www.informit.com/store/product.aspx?isbn=0789732777 to order your own copy.