If you have chosen to take on the task of starting your own homeschooling group you are to be commended. This is a really great way for home schooled kids to have the opportunity to take trips, and have activities with other children. The way you start to run the group from the beginning will help to determine how well the group will do, and whether or not you are left doing the bulk of the work, or even all of the work. One thing that I have learned over the years as a homeschooling mom is that it takes advance planning. So I thought it would be a good idea to make a list of items that you can use a guide to starting your group.
1. Recruit some help
Starting a group on your own, will be impossible to maintain by yourself. The best thing to do is get some help from the very beginning. You can send out fliers to local homeschooling families letting them know you are planning to start a homeschooling group. Plan to have the first meeting at your home or a central location like the library for any parent interested in participating in the group. At the meeting let the parents know that the homeschooling group will be a group effort not an individual one. This means that everyone participates, and contributes. Also be sure to let everyone know that all ideas are welcome. At the initial meeting you can let them know that once a month, or every two months meetings will be held to plan the next group of activities. Prepare yourself for a few strong personalities in the group, but make it clear that every decision will be voted on and the majority decides. Every adult must agree to this or they will not be able to participate. This helps to make sure that things run as smoothly as possible.
2. Use a newsletter
A newsletter is a great way to remind parents of the upcoming activities that the group has agreed to. Ask if anyone in the group has experience with putting together a simple newsletter, or anyone who would be willing to take on the task. If more than one person volunteers to contribute to the newsletter than just divide up the responsibilities. For example one person could be in charge of writing about upcoming events, and another parent could be in charge of writing up reviews of past events and thanking all who participated. It really is a great way to keep everyone up to date as to what is going on.
3. Limit the number of activities
Planning too many activities in one month can get to be very overwhelming for the group. Especially since you still have to make sure that the kids are covering all of their major subjects. Many homeschooling groups have found it beneficial to plan one activity or trip per month. This keeps everyone from being overwhelmed and ensures that all can still be involved in the group activities.
4. Keep it affordable
Many families who home school have to stick to a very tight budget so don’t plan too many activities that would be a burden to parents. If you want to have classes for different things like music, use someone’s home. It may be a good idea to use a different home each week, so no person feels burdened, or overwhelmed. If you are planning a field trip, to a local museum, or zoo, ask for homeschooling group discounts. Many of these locations offer discounts for groups especially educational groups. You can also plan group fundraisers to cover the cost’s of trips.
5. Set rules for the group
It is a good idea to have the families all decide at the beginning on rules for the group. This helps to keep things neat and organized. For example during all group activities you should require one responsible adult to stay with their child. This way no one is left feeling responsible for someone another person’s child. Let them know that this is not a drop off. If they want their kids to participate in the group, they have to be willing to stay and help out.