Beginning the journey as a first-time homeschooler is often fraught with anxiety and insecurity. You wonder if you can handle the responsibilities of teaching your child or even if you should. While no one can answer that for you, you can gain much more clarity on your decision by talking with other families who have chosen to homeschool. It can be even more helpful if those families live in proximity to you and understand how to navigate the laws and specifics of homeschooling in your state and local region. That’s where homeschool support groups come in.
On this page, we’ll introduce you to some of the popular homeschool support groups and co-ops around the state of Pennsylvania.
Pennsylvania Homeschool Support Groups
In recent years, homeschool support groups tend to organize where the homeschoolers themselves are: on Facebook. Some longstanding or large support groups will have their own website that you can search for, but for the most part, local and regional homeschool support groups are most easily searched via Facebook.
Typing in your city name, county, name, or region of the state with words like “homeschool” or “home education” usually bring up the most accurate results. If you search far and wide and still cannot find a support group near you, don’t despair; plenty of virtual online support is available, such as the Pennsylvania Parents Forum at Time4Learning.
To help kick off your search, here is a list of some of the active Facebook communities for homeschoolers in Pennsylvania.
- Berks County Homeschool Association
- Chester County (PA) Homeschool Group
- Harrisburg Area Homeschoolers Association
- HSBG-Valley Homeschoolers
- Homeschoolers of Eastern Montgomery County PA
- Homeschooling Connections of Erie, PA
- Homeschooling in York, PA
- Homeschool Moms of the Lehigh Valley
- Philadelphia Homeschoolers
- Pittsburgh Homeschoolers
Pennsylvania Homeschool Co-ops
One of the unique outgrowths of some homeschool support groups is called a cooperative (or co-op). Homeschool co-ops fulfill the desire that many homeschool families have for group learning — particularly for subjects like p.e., music, and lab science, where cooperative activities can enhance the experience.
In general, a co-op comes into being when a group of parents decides to work together to organize specific regularly scheduled classes, clubs, or activities that member families can participate in. Co-ops will have a wide range of operation styles, goals, and worldviews, so be sure to explore all your options before deciding to join a specific one.
An example of a co-op in Pennsylvania is the Homeschool Co-op of Pittsburgh. Membership includes participation in classes, field trips, and other activities that the co-op organizes. Courses such as foreign language, art, and music are offered as well as tutoring in specific subjects.
Benefits of Joining a Homeschool Group or Co-op
Not only can a homeschool group be a great source of support and advice for parents, but children often enjoy the opportunity to socialize with others who are learning from home. Connecting with a group, even if only for occasional outings, reminds families that they aren’t alone on this unique educational journey.
Is a homeschool group or homeschool cooperative the right fit for your family? Explore the benefits of each in the chart below to help you decide if seeking out this type of local network would meet your needs.
- homeschoolers can meet other students who are schooling the way they are
- pre-scheduled group activities such as field trips, clubs, spelling bees, and P.E. bring variety to the homeschool week
- parents will have opportunities to ask questions of other veteran homeschooling families
- most groups have an online presence such as an email chain or Facebook group where you can easily search for information
- leveraging the talents of other parents means access to courses and subjects you might not have been able to teach at home
- regular interactions with the same group of students weekly leads to friendships and camaraderie between homeschoolers
- exposure to different teaching styles helps homeschoolers prepare for later school/college experiences
Additional Resources for Homeschooling in Pennsylvania
Have other questions about homeschooling in Pennsylvania? You may find the following pages helpful.