Friday, June 19, 2009

Think Local, Act Local


Homeschooling is a very private endeavor - a decision by a family to take a path less traveled, one chosen by about 1.5 million in the US to be exact. This choice is selected for a myriad of reasons that according to research includes concern about quality of education, school environment or the desire to include moral and religious training as part of a child's curriculum. However, it is also one that takes a village to figure out the maze of rules, requirements and resources applicable to each of our great 50 states. So where does one begin?

There are some great homeschool resource guides available online such as this one, Welcome to Homeschooling Guide (download it now). This guide has a good overview but the bottomline is that you need to start local. Because every state has different requirements and guidelines you should start your search locally. Yahoo Groups is a great place to start with over 6,700 homeschool groups and most of them containing several thousand members each. Search under homeschool and your state or city.

Other places you can look for local homeschool networking groups include Facebook (over 1,000 groups but mostly very small - search home school and homeschool plus your city/state). Conducting a people search on Twitter reveals about 30 Tweeps with Homeschool in their name - but few have more than a thousand followers. However a Twitter Search for Homeschool plus your city or state is a great way to find out the absolute lastest Tweets and topics on the subject. Once you find a great resource you can normally sign up for an RSS feed to have the latest posts sent to your RSS reader or inbox. Other online resources include numerous Blogs and both free and paid resource directories that can easily be accessed using Google. Here's a site that comes up when you input local homeschool laws: Home School Legal Defense Association.

Another new resource that has just been added to the Homeschool map can be found at Time4Learning.com. Just added to the site is a new Homeschool State Representative resource directory designed to put you in touch with the local network and local information specific to your state. In addition there are forums and links that should be enough for anyone to get off on the right foot as you traverse new ground right in your back yard.

If you think you would like to become a Homeschool State Representative for Time4Learning and help others who come after you, you can find a form to get started online. We can all use a little help along the way and once we have arrived it is always good to reach back and repay the favor.


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