Even if you are just beginning your research into homeschooling in Alabama, you’ve probably already had questions swirling in your head that you wish you could ask someone. Do I need to notify anyone when I start homeschooling my child? What are the best homeschool programs? Does Alabama offer any tax credits to homeschoolers? Wouldn’t it be nice if you could just turn to a seasoned homeschooler and ask these and any other questions that come to mind?
Local homeschool groups and cooperatives offer a way to get all your questions answered as well as to network with other homeschooling families for outings, clubs, classes, and more. On this page, we will share some of the homeschool groups in AL that you need to know about, define what homeschool co-ops are, and share with you some of the benefits you might gain by joining one or both of those types of support system.
Alabama Homeschool Support Groups
You won’t be far along in your homeschooling adventure before you confirm the old saying, “many hands make light work.” A network of families who’ve all made the similar choice to take their child’s education into their own hands can be not only a support system for one another but an outlet for activities and fellowship during the homeschool week.
In recent years, because of the cost and time required to maintain a website, the homeschool support system in many cities, counties, and regions has moved primarily to Facebook. Although some older or larger groups may still have a presence on the web, it’s often a good idea to begin your search for local support on social media. Your children’s librarian will often have good leads on local support resources as well, since so many homeschoolers make frequent use of library services.
With some dedicated search effort, you should be able to locate a group to connect with. To get you started, here is a sampling of Alabama homeschool support organizations around the state. A2ZHomeschooling has a list of even more Alabama support groups for your reference.
- Alabama SHINE (Centre) – Facebook
- Baldwin County Homeschoolers – Facebook
- Cullman Homeschool Cooperative
- East Alabama Homeschool Community – Facebook
- Elmore County Homeschool Organization
- Freedom Homeschoolers (Phenix City)
- HSVHomeschool (Huntsville) – Facebook
- Secular Homeschool Encouragement Birmingham – Facebook
- South Alabama Homeschoolers – Facebook
- Wiregrass Homeschoolers – Facebook
Alabama Homeschool Co-ops
A common outgrowth of an organized support group is a homeschool cooperative (also called a “co-op”). The idea behind a co-op is to create a regular educational opportunity where homeschoolers can participate in group learning. A co-op has the benefit of a collaborative learning environment without the confinements of a school setting. Most often, cooperatives are steered by parents, who take turns volunteering to teach classes or organize events. Class content offered depends on the expertise of the parent group and their willingness to teach a particular subject.
As an example, Academy Days Homeschool Co-op, in the Millbrook, AL area, meets on Tuesdays during the school year. They work together to teach subjects that may be more difficult to lead at home such as P.E., lab science, or computer programming. It is open to any homeschooler in AL who is covered under a church school in the state. Because it is a volunteer-operated cooperative, parental participation is a mandatory requirement for co-op membership.
Benefits of Joining a Homeschool Group or Co-op
If you don’t think of yourself as a “joiner,” it can be hard to see the benefit of joining a homeschool support group or cooperative. Certainly, a homeschool can function without being connected to local support. There may be some benefits to participation in a local or regional homeschool organization that you haven’t considered yet, though, such as:
- Club enrichment opportunities in activities such as chess, band instruments, 4-H, or geography
- Mom’s Night Out events where moms can chat about homeschool (or not!) with others who understand what they are experiencing
- A Facebook group or email chain where you get to share questions and concerns any time of day as they arise
- Group discounts to local educational offerings in your area
- Field trip opportunities with other families
Even if a local support group isn’t something you feel like you want to join right now, you can still get answers to your Alabama homeschool questions. Time4Learning’s virtual support group for AL homeschoolers is available to access any time of day or night.
Additional Resources for Homeschooling in Alabama
Have other questions about homeschooling in Alabama? You may find the following pages helpful.