One of the first things I did when I began thinking about homeschooling my boys was to find some homeschool e-mail groups around this area.
I think anyone who homeschools can benefit from signing up for one or more of these groups. From them I have learned about different programs, classes, group meetings, park days, and general legal advice regarding homeschooling. They also offer support whenever a homeschooling mom or dad needs information or encouragement.
I have also learned from these groups and from reading about homeschooling in general that every family who chooses this lifestyle approaches it differently, and that there are also many different reasons that people choose to homeschool.
Some people assume that all families who homeschool do so because of religious reasons, but this is not true.
Though I’ve heard of groups who make people sign a “declaration of faith,” I have not encountered this myself. There are many secular homeschoolers too. Other reasons for homeschooling include but are not limited to: school environment, quality of education, a special needs child, and a desire for greater flexibility.
If you are going to homeschool, you may like to find other homeschoolers who you share something in common with so that you’ll have a support system throughout your children’s formative years. These lists can help you do that. It may take some time, and you may need to participate with a number of different groups before you find the people you connect with the best, but it is well worth the effort. Though I do not participate in many events or contribute much to the topics yet, I feel much closer to the homeschooling community by following these lists.
With that said, I thought I would list a few of the groups that I have found in Barrow County and in the surrounding areas. Each site will give you a brief description of the group, and then you will have to sign up and be approved by a monitor to receive the messages. I suggest clicking on the option to receive a “daily digest.” Otherwise your inbox will fill up very quickly!
This is not an exhaustive list, and if you do not live in this area, you will more than likely be able to find groups near you. Just go on the Internet and do a search for “homeschool groups” with your town and state.
Barrow County Homeschoolers - http://groups.yahoo.com/group/barrowcountyhomeschoolers/ – Due to the work of homeschooling mom, Jamica Bell, this is a newly formed group in Barrow County. It has 23 members and growing.
Athens GA Homeschooling - http://groups.yahoo.com/group/AthensGAHomeschooling/
Walton County Homeschoolers - http://groups.yahoo.com/group/WaltonCoHomeschoolers/
PEACH Homeschool Network (Parent Educators Association for Children at Home) - http://groups.yahoo.com/group/PEACHHomeschool/ -- Primarily Gwinnett County (742 members)
CHE North Georgia (Creative Home Educators) - http://groups.yahoo.com/group/CreativeHomeEducators-NorthGeorgia/ -- This is a very active group of eclectic homeschoolers, and it offers a diverse membership. (379 members)
Secular Homeschoolers of Georgia - http://groups.yahoo.com/group/SecularHomeschoolersofGeorgia/ (454 members)
Shelli Bond Pabis is a Winder resident and columnist for the Barrow Journal. You can reach her at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Great resource Shelli. Thank you so much for sharing your thoughts and experiences with the rest of us. I believe your column will go a long way in providing support to both new and veteran home educators.