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As a parent new to homeschool programs, the question and decision regarding joining a support group is going to be a very personal one. While joining a homeschool support group is not a requirement of every homeschooling program many experienced homeschool parents will strongly support that you do so.
The first year of homeschool implementation will be full of academic highs and lows; having a support group will provide a sounding board of experience, understanding and empathy. If you are struggling with the idea of committing to a support group, a thorough investigation of your various group options will help to resolve your internal conflict and provide a solution to your confusion. There are many different types of support groups, but it is best to find one that fits your family from the very beginning.
The most common support groups are Christian-based. These groups will often have very specific rules, guidelines and expectations for their members. It is best to evaluate the group dynamics by attending a meeting and observing how parents and children interact with one another. This should be an environment in which you believe you would be comfortable talking about successes and failures.
As you discuss membership with members of the support group, remember to inquire as to any restrictive teaching practices. Many support groups have restrictive teaching methodology requirements, allowing only specific teaching styles to join, such as the structured learning program, the teacher-led classroom and unschooling. It is important to know exactly where you fit in within the social structure of the group before you join.