Have you thought about looking for a homeschool group for your family? They can be a great source of practical help and encouragement during your homeschool journey. Here, we share ideas for how to find one or more Oregon homeschool groups that fit your family’s needs.
Why Find Oregon Homeschool Groups to Connect With?
Firstly, while independent homeschooling is an exciting journey, you don’t have to do it alone. Whether you have one child or a whole bus full of children, a homeschool group offers several benefits for families:
- A chance for homeschooling parents to connect with each other.
- Help for parents who are looking for classes their kids can sign up for.
- Opportunities for your child(ren) to make other homeschool friends who can relate to the journey.
- Ability to participate in group activities your kids may otherwise miss out on.
- The opportunity for parents to use their gifts, skills, talents, and time to bless other families.
Formal vs. Informal Homeschool Groups in Oregon
Formal homeschool groups offer more of a traditional educational setting. Some of the pros for this type of group are:
- Children learn good habits for a classroom environment.
- It gives children the experience of a traditional setting which may benefit them if they are college bound.
- Students are given the opportunity to learn from someone other than their parent(s).
- Some children thrive on an organized setting in addition to their homeschool setting(s).
Formal homeschool groups may have some cons for some families:
- Some children do not thrive in a formal setting.
- There are some families who have children who aren’t ready to learn in a formal setting (lots of energy).
- Oftentimes a homeschool family has plenty of the formal experience in their personal homeschool setting and they’re looking for something else outside of that.
Informal homeschool groups offer an organized but less structured environment than that of a traditional learning setting. Some pros for this type of informal setting are:
- Children can focus more on activities that allow them to connect and visit with friends.
- These tend to offer more activities like arts, crafts, games, physical education, without the need for formal instruction.
- There may be more of an emphasis on park days and field trips than that of a formal group.
For some families, there may be the following cons to an informal group:
- Having structure at home may be a challenge, so these families may prefer to have a more formal setting to help with that.
- A homeschool may already have plenty of arts and crafts activities and may therefore be looking for more academics.
- Parents may want to find a more formal setting to help them develop good habits and focus for their kids.
Search the Affiliated Support Group Network
While some homeschool groups are found by word-of-mouth, there are several Oregon homeschool groups who are affiliated with OCEANetwork. You can search through our affiliate support group network here.
Finding Oregon Homeschool Groups on Social Media
It’s common for local-to-you homeschool groups to have their group represented on social media. Here are some search tips:
- Join our Homeschooling in Oregon Facebook group, MeWe group, or Homeschool Hub group, to connect with OCEANetwork and other homeschool families in Oregon.
- Search social media under your city’s name and homeschooling.
- Check to see if something pulls up under your county’s name and homeschooling.
- Key words like homeschool group or homeschool co-op may also give you some results near you.
Forming a Group Yourself
There are times when a group may not be near you, they are all full, or you simply haven’t had success finding one that suits your family’s needs. In this case, it’s pretty common for a homeschooling parent to put feelers out in the homeschool community to see if anyone else is interested in the their idea for a group.
Some things to consider when tossing around the idea of starting your own group are:
- What ages is it for?
- How many children minimum and maximum would you like?
- In what ways do you want families to be like-minded?
- How will you set expectations to prevent conflict down the road?
- Will parents rotate and help teach different subjects/classes?
- What kinds of activities would you like to offer?
- Do you want it to be formal or informal?
- Where will you meet?
- When will you meet (how often and at what time)?
- Will you have the students participate in acts of service as a group?
- How will the group communicate with each other? (email, social media, etc.)
Here are some issues that aren’t often considered that you’ll at least want to decide on before starting your group:
- Can you secure a facility and might there be dues paid to the facility?
- Will insurance be something you need to have?
- How will you handle disputes? (They do happen.)
- Is there a minimum requirement for consistent attendance?
- Will you meet for trimesters or quarters?
- How often will your group have breaks and for how long?
- If you meet at a church, does someone in the group leadership need to be a member of the church or a board member?
- Are you hoping to offer your services as a teacher or hire in others to teach? Be sure you explore the implications of the arrangement you are considering before you jump in.
- How will you handle family dues and payments, including requests for prorated payments or installment plans?
What About Charter Schools?
Charter schools are not technically homeschooling, nor or they a homeschool support group. Rather, they are legally a public school option. Find out more about charter schools here >> What About Charter Schools in Oregon?
Support for Homeschool Parents
Remember, a homeschool group cannot replace your important and primary role as the parent and educator of your children. By His wise design, God created you parents to educate and to disciple your children. And He will give you all that you need in order to do this well. So, enjoy the homeschool groups, but remember your important role in your family.
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Free online video course for parents about getting started homeschooling in Oregon.