While the idea of educating your child yourself may be an exhilarating 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 cropping up almost weekly. Some of them are as simple as a Facebook community where parents can join and swap questions and advice. Others are more formal and may even include regular meetings for both parents and students. One of the most sophisticated types of local homeschool support is a homeschool cooperative, where families join together in collaborative learning.
This page will inform you about New York local homeschool groups and cooperatives that you may want to explore further and why you might want to become a part of one of them.
New York Homeschool Support Groups
Connecting with other homeschooling families can make the home education experience richer for both parents and students. A local support group is often a hub of homeschool-related activities for families including field trips, group meetings, park days, continuing education, volunteer opportunities, and so much more. It is also one of the best sources of information for new homeschoolers who have questions about how to get started homeschooling.
It’s important to note that homeschool support groups can often cater to a specific demographic or homeschool approach. Some groups are specifically geared to Christian homeschoolers or to secular homeschoolers, some are aimed at unschoolers or classical homeschoolers, and some are designed for specific age levels such as elementary homeschoolers or high school homeschoolers. There are plenty of groups, however, that are inclusive and welcome homeschoolers of all belief systems, types, approaches, and ages.
When looking for a local support group near you, you can utilize your favorite search engine, ask other homeschooling families you know, or search by your town or region on Facebook. Below is a list of some local homeschool support groups in New York. Use this list as a starting point to find a group close to you.
- Buffalo Southtowns Homeschoolers (Facebook)
- Chautauqua County Homeschoolers (Facebook)
- FLIGHT – Families of Long Island Getting Homeschoolers Together (Facebook)
- Home Learners Association of Central NY
- Hudson Valley Homeschoolers (Facebook)
- New York Capital District Homeschoolers (Facebook)
- New York City Home Educators Alliance (NYCHEA)
- PCC LEAH
- Rochester Area Homeschoolers
- Saratoga LEAH
After doing your research, if you are still unable to find a local or regional support group near your NYS area, then you might consider a virtual homeschool group. Forums such as Time4Learning’s New York State homeschool support forum are a way to connect with other families in the state who are in very similar circumstances. Online support is extremely helpful when you simply need advice from other parents who have “been there and done that!”
Time4Learning Parent Forum
Have homeschooling or Time4learning questions? Want to ask others about homeschool groups in the New York area?
New York Co-op Homeschooling Groups
Along with providing resources, networking, and advice for parents, homeschool support groups provide opportunities for students, as well. Homeschool cooperatives (often called co-ops) are a common outgrowth of support groups. These are structured learning opportunities for students that take advantage of shared teaching from parents or outside instructors. Homeschool co-ops provide a source of inspiration, encouragement, challenge, socialization, shared responsibility, and even experience in group learning. They can provide a means to experience a class that a parent might find difficult to teach at home or that works better with collaborative effort. Participating in a co-op can enrich the overall experience of the homeschool family.
Benefits of Joining a Homeschool Group or Co-op
When you ask long-time homeschoolers what has most influenced their decision to continue with homeschooling, they will often reply with a one-word answer: “support!” It’s often said that success doesn’t occur in a vacuum, and that’s certainly true for teaching a child at home. New homeschoolers, in particular, need to seek out experienced guidance from other parents in their state or local area who have already carved a path in the homeschooling world. These experienced parents can both encourage them in their efforts and caution them of some of the potential pitfalls.
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 Related to Homeschooling in New York
Have other questions about homeschooling in New York? You may find the following pages helpful.
- Homeschooling in New York
- New York Homeschool Laws
- New York Homeschool Associations
- Homeschool Field Trips in New York
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