How to Start a Homeschool Support Group

Homeschool support is an extremely important part of your homeschool. Support groups of many types exist across Canada. There might be one or more near you! If so, join one! But what happens if there isn’t a group in your area, or there isn’t one that meets your needs? You can start a homeschool support group yourself!

Image for How to Start a Homeschool Support Group of a seedling being planted in the ground,

Steps for Starting a Homeschool Support Group

Step One: Find People

For a homeschool support group to be created, its obvious that you are going to need people to join! Don’t worry if you don’t find many people at first. I first started my group with only a few families. We met together and over time, the group grew. One way the group grew was that sometimes people would ask about my homeschooling and then mention that they knew someone who homeschooled. I would give out our group contact info (we chose a Facebook group). Over the years our group has grown so big that I don’t know all the people in it. The group itself has made sub-groups that meet up for specific needs and specific reasons. Here are some ideas on where to find people to join you!

Start With Who You Know

This might be fairly simple if you already know some homeschoolers. If you already know some people who would be willing to form a homeschool group with you, move on to Step Two!


However, you might not know other homeschoolers. You might be new to a community, new to homeschooling, or you haven’t found anyone interested in getting together. What can you do then?

Tell Others

Let people know that you are looking to start a homeschooling support group and ask if they know of anyone local who homeschools. If you are a frequent library user, the library is a good place to ask about other homeschool families. I remember reaching out to the library staff to please give my contact info to anyone that they knew that homeschooled. The first time we met up we met at (where else?) the library! And it turned into a homeschool contact that lasted many years. If you attend a church, that is another community of people. Ask around and see if anyone there homeschools, or perhaps they know someone who does! Ask at any groups that you belong to. You never know if someone knows someone who homeschools.

Look Around You

This idea might not appeal to everyone. If you go out during the day and see other families with school-aged children out and about (and its not a PD Day or Snow Day!) smile and say “just curious are you homeschoolers, or is today a day off school?” Perhaps you see other kids biking or walking past your house during the school day or at the park. Making connections is an important part of starting a homeschool support group!

Photo of many hands together to show group working together.

Advertise

Consider Posting on a local Facebook Mom’s group or making a poster to put on the library bulletin board! Ask if anyone in the area homeschools and let them know you are hoping to start a local homeschool support group.

Step Two:

Choose a Way to Communicate Information About Your Group

Image of cell phone and laptop computer.

You will need a simple, easy and effective way for everyone to know about group meet-ups and to connect for support. Facebook groups are great for this because they are searchable to others who may want to join your group. Email, texting or using group chats on messenger are other ways, but they limit the group’s growth except by word of mouth because they are not searchable to others for example to someone new to the area. If you decide on creating a Facebook support group, create it even if you haven’t found any people yet. This way, if someone new decides to start homeschooling or moves to the area, they might search your group and ask to join.

Choose a Group Name

When starting a new homeschool support group, your name should be simple like “Your city/town and Area Homeschoolers/Homeschooling”. If you want the group to grow, you’re going to need to choose something people might search for. Don’t use acronyms or group names that don’t very obviously have to do with the city/town and homeschooling. I have seen some pretty odd names out there! Calling the group “home learners” or “learning community” might sound neat but it is a less common search term. People are less likely to find it.

If your group is only for a specific age group or other specifics, make that obvious in the name. For example, “your city/town Homeschool Little Ones” or “your city/town Unschoolers”. However, consider that depending on the size of your community and how specific you are, you might not find as many homeschool families to join your group if you are too particular.

Step Three: Organize Your First Meet Up

Once you have a few other families in your group, organize your first meet-up! Consider letting others join in who are curious about homeschooling in a few years (they might have babies, toddlers or preschoolers.) Simple, fun and easy meet-up ideas are key when organizing.

Tips for Organizing a Meet Up

Consider No Money-Collecting Needed

In my opinion it’s best to avoid events where you are collecting money from others. You’re probably a busy homeschool parent with lots on the go. Therefore I would highly recommend staying away from organizing events where you have to collect the money upfront and pay for the group! It can be very stressful- been there done that! Who wants to chase down others to pay up?

Plan Your Meet Up With Two or More Other Families

When you first start a homeschool support group, the numbers of people in your group will probably be small. I found that it is important when planning an outing to find a date and time that works for two other families, then invite the rest of the group. This way you have two other families to do the meet up with if others don’t join. If one family has to back out, you have at least one other family joining you!

Keep it Simple!!!

Some ideas for simple, fun outings for your new homeschool group include playgrounds, the beach, the pool, sledding and hikes. Keep in mind the age group of the kids who will be attending. For example, if there are lots of littles, a hike might be harder unless the parents have baby carriers or the trail is stroller-friendly. If there is a wide range of kids in the group, consider varying the types of activities each meet-up so that there is something for everyone.

Photo of playground

Some other ideas that might be a bit more involved include: field trips, visits to a museum or art gallery (ask if they do school programming and would be willing to host a homeschool group. Often these places accept payment from individuals who go the day of instead of collecting payment ahead of time, or are free). Other ideas include nature study groups, playing a sport together like soccer, soccer baseball, basketball or volleyball, and getting together to do some art at a park.

Step Four: Be Willing to Initiate

This is a hard one. I would rather show up to things than plan and initiate them. But starting a new homeschool support group requires you to put yourself out there. You can do it! If you want a homeschool group for you and your kids, be aware that a lot of people do not want to plan and initiate. If you keep things simple it won’t be overwhelming to plan activities and you can still have a support group for you and your kids.

Step Five: Consider Adding Some Parent Support Times

Consider also planning some simple homeschool outings for parents. Usually this means the main homeschool parent would attend as often someone has to stay home with the kids! A coffee night for homeschool parents is a nice idea and often helps parents connect. It gives parents a time to connect without kids. Sometimes when there are a lot of kids around it’s hard to finish a sentence before someone is needed!

Final Thoughts

I hope this guide on how to start and run a homeschool support group has given you inspiration and ideas to get out there and start a group! Be sure to let us know if you start a new homeschool support group on Facebook so we can add it to our list of Canadian Homeschool Support Groups on Facebook. If you’re looking for information on how to start a homeschool co-op, we also have a post about that. It includes a downloadable workbook to help you plan your group! Remember, keep things simple and let your group numbers grow over time. Connecting with other homeschoolers is worth the time and energy you put into creating a new group!

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Alaina
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