Illinois Homeschool Groups and Co-ops
Although the idea of educating your child yourself may be a thrilling one, the idea of doing it without a support system probably isn’t. The good news, however, is that because homeschooling has become such a mainstream educational option, new state, regional, and local support systems for homeschoolers are always emerging. Some of them are as simple as a Facebook community where parents can join and exchange questions and advice. Others are more formal and can include regular activities for both parents and students. One of the most popular types of local homeschool support is a homeschool cooperative, where families join together in collaborative learning.
This page will inform you about Illinois’ local homeschool groups and cooperatives that you may want to explore further and why you might want to join one of them.
Illinois Homeschool Support Groups
In today’s Facebook-saturated culture, you probably won’t be surprised to discover that most of the organized local networking between homeschoolers begins with a “Like.” While in years past many homeschool groups had their own websites, it’s more common now to find your closest group by searching your city, county, or region name on Facebook than via search engine. However, that’s not always the case. Older groups that have been around for a while or groups with plenty of resources and activities may still have their own piece of internet real estate.
Below is a list of some local homeschool support groups in Illinois. Use this list as a starting point to find a group close to you.
Be sure to visit Time4Learning’s Illinois parent forum where you’ll be able to connect with other families in The Prairie State and discover additional resources.
Illinois Homeschool Co-ops
Homeschooling families who connect locally are a terrific lifeline for one another. And many times, this connection leads to more organized, scheduled activities, including learning opportunities. Parent-led homeschool groups that meet together for class-type instruction are usually called cooperatives (or co-ops, for short.) If you think you’d be interested in a regular meetup of families who have joined together to create a homeschool co-op, Illinois has plenty to choose from.
As an example, the Community Co-op in the Chicago area is an inclusive co-op made up of all types, styles, and philosophies of homeschool families. They meet on Thursdays during the traditional school year at a leased church facility. Parent volunteers act in all capacities to make the co-op work efficiently. Classes offered might include fine arts, hands-on math study, p.e., or science. Membership fees cover the expenses of running the weekly co-op.
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Benefits of Joining a Homeschool Group or Co-op
When you first begin the journey into homeschooling, local homeschool groups aren’t always on your radar. After all, your situation is unique, right? What could other homeschooling families understand about your individual reasons for homeschooling? You aren’t usually far along the path, however, when you realize that having a seasoned homeschooler to talk to would come in awfully handy. The truth is that whether you’re an accidental homeschooler or have made the definitive choice to educate your child at home, the hurdles that you run into and the challenges that you face are usually pretty universal among homeschoolers. The advice you receive from other families may even provide you with the encouragement to keep homeschooling longer than you had even planned!
In addition to advice, though, there are so many other perks of being involved in a local support community, including:
- group field trips
- park days and/or p.e. days
- organized clubs such as geography club, 4H, chess, robotics, etc.
- book and curriculum exchanges
- dedicated email loops or Facebook groups for sharing information
- organized athletic opportunities
- the opportunity to make new friends!!
Additional Resources for Homeschooling in Illinois
Have other questions about homeschooling in Illinois? You may find the following pages helpful.
- Homeschooling in Illinois
- Illinois Homeschooling Laws
- Illinois Homeschool Associations
- Homeschool Field Trips in Illinois
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