When you begin the journey into homeschooling, you soon realize that internet research will only answer so many of your questions. Sometimes, you’ll wish you had someone to talk to who has already walked the road you are on. That’s where homeschooling support groups and co-ops come in. These local and regional support systems exist because homeschooling families thrive best when they can network with others who have experienced the ups and downs of home education. On this page, we will guide you on how to locate your closest local or virtual homeschool group in Virginia, and we will also explore one of the coolest outgrowths of support groups: homeschool cooperatives.
Virginia Homeschool Support Groups
Metropolitan areas, or areas with multiple suburbs, usually have multiple homeschool support groups to choose from. You’ll sometimes find a collective that is faith-based and one that is secular, or even groups focused on specific aspects of homeschooling such as special needs or unschooling. If you live more rurally or in an area with few homeschoolers, finding a support system may be much more difficult. Some families discover that they have to drive a considerable distance to participate in activities with other homeschoolers.
In recent years, most local homeschool groups have moved to using Facebook as their primary means of communication. Therefore, when you begin searching for homeschool support, you’ll probably want to begin there. However, some longstanding or larger homeschool groups may have their own website. If you’ve searched via Facebook and your favorite search engine and still haven’t located an active group, you may have to settle for a virtual homeschool group. Even though it won’t offer organized events, an online homeschool group can at least provide camaraderie and advice.
To help you begin your search, we’ve included a sampling of the homeschool groups VA has to offer:
- Eastern Shore Homeschool Network – ESVA (Facebook)
- Faith Home Educators Homeschool Group (Facebook)
- Hampton Roads Christian Homeschoolers (Facebook)
- Home Educators of Rainbow Forest HERF (Facebook)
- Louisa VA Homeschoolers (Facebook)
- Natural Learners of the Shenandoah Valley (Facebook)
- Page County Homeschoolers
- Richmond Area Homeschoolers (Facebook)
- Right at Home – Loudoun County
- Warren County & Surrounding Areas Homeschool Group (Facebook)
Virginia Homeschool Co-ops
One unique format that a local homeschool group can take is called a cooperative (or co-op). A co-op usually takes shape when a group of families decides that they would like to gather together for structured academic or extracurricular exercises on a regular basis. Co-ops can be ideal for courses like lab science or any other study that requires cooperative effort. Most often, parents take turns as volunteer instructors, but sometimes they charge a higher fee to cover bringing in specialized tutors.
As an example, one of the larger co-op homeschooling groups in Virginia is in Norfolk, and it is called Homeschool Out of the Box. According to the HSOBX website, the mission of the co-op is to provide a “stimulating, supportive, and secular learning environment for homeschooling families in the Hampton Roads area.” HSOBX offers classes in five different age groups and meets together on Tuesdays and Thursdays. They charge a base registration fee plus additional fees per course.
Benefits of Joining a Homeschool Group or Co-op
Obviously, the key benefit of joining a homeschool group or co-op near you is to connect with other families who have made the choice to home educate. But there are many other benefits to networking with a group that you may or may not have considered, such as:
- Homeschool curriculum advice
- Discovering local resources
- Academic groups, clubs, and fairs
- Group discounts on field trips
- Counsel from seasoned homeschoolers
- Park play dates
- Notifications about local educational activities and classes
- A safe place to vent or celebrate
Additional Resources for Homeschooling in Virginia
Have other questions about homeschooling in Virginia? You may find the following pages helpful.