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Beginning a homeschool program is an exciting learning adventure for parents and children alike. During the first year, it is not unrealistic to expect the homeschool program to be both challenging and satisfying as your family home transitions into an academic environment. Do not become discouraged as you encounter challenges that at first seem insurmountable, many other homeschool parents have met these same problems when they first began homeschooling. Joining a local homeschool support group that can mentor your family unit as you begin your first year of homeschooling is a great way to prevent obstacles from overtaking you. A homeschool support group will provide valuable resources, ideas on how others have faced similar challenges within their own homeschool programs and a social outlet for the entire family.
Before you join a group, research the different types of homeschoolingprograms in your area. Take time to investigate the different support groups and co-ops that you find interesting. Attending a meeting or two for each of the different groups will allow you an opportunity to see which group is right for your and your family. Remember that this is a family commitment so be sure everyone is involved in the decision making process. During your initial visits, allow yourself time to observe the members of each group, evaluating honestly how they conduct group and individual discussions and their approach in conflict resolution and problem solving. Once you join a group, it is likely that you will remain in the same group for many years. The relationships that you make in this group may become a lifelong support system as you continue working toward accomplishing your homeschool goals. It is important to make sure that the support group you join is filled with people you not only enjoy spending time with, but who share similar beliefs, values and opinions .
|Jennifer Mathes, Ph.D.|