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Today I am grateful for homeschool groups!
Since we began homeschooling in 2007, we have joined different support groups near where we lived. Some have been formal with leadership and dues. Others have been rather informal with a Yahoo group for people to connect and share upcoming events.
In Ohio, there was a group of homeschoolers in our town that gathered one Friday night each month for a potluck and game night. If the weather was agreeable, the kids would be playing in the park areas outside of the building rented from Parks and Rec for the occasion. Otherwise, the kids would find spots throughout the room to play games brought by the families. P was introduced to Settlers of Cataan there and it’s been on his wishlist for a while. While the kids played, the adults could chat. We ended up doing a small co-op study of Story of the World Vol. 1 with another family just starting their homeschooling adventures. The boys still talk about that time.
We also joined other groups in Ohio. One was more structured with monthly support meetings, online connections and dues. The others were informal groups of Catholic homeschoolers. It was with one of those groups that we were introduced to family adoration. After an hour spent with the Blessed Sacrament, the families went to a different room for dinner, conversation and games for the kids. We still miss some of our homeschool friends from that group and occasionally visited with them when we were back in Ohio.
Upon learning of our move to Maryland, I reserached online for local support groups. I found a LARGE Christian one ~ Tri-State – (formal with dues, etc.) just over the border in Delaware, a Catholic group in Delaware, a Catholic group (formal with dues) in the county south of our new home, and a few informal ones for our county plus over the border in Delaware. I joined the Yahoo Groups for the groups I could and soon joined the others after we arrived. Each had something different to offer.
Queen of Peace was the one we connected with quickly, having signed the boys up for their Nativity play before we even arrived in town. Through the Lumen Christi chapter of TORCH we had a phenomenal co-op experience with several TORCH members. As much as P grumbled about the work, he will still say how much he enjoyed it overall and how much he learned that year in history, literature and science.
Coming to Alaska, I did the same research ahead of time. However, I did not find as many options up here, even though so many people DO homeschool. Whether it is due to fewer people overall or just everyone keeping things so local, I can not say for certainty. Yet, we did connect with FREE at Home, the group for people affiliated with JBER. They had a co-op starting up shortly after we got here and the boys got signed up. They had fun and did co-op for part of the fall this year.
This year I also joined ERCHA, the largest Christian group in Alaska that also happens to meet just a few minutes up the road from where we live. And, I took on the challenge of getting the homeschoolers in our local parish connected.
That last task needs some attention and ideally I’d like to have a Yahoo group for the greater Anchorage area. After the great experience with Queen of Peace, I really miss having special celebrations for Holy Days, Saint Days, or even just events to reinforce our faith with other homeschoolers that believe the same as we do.