Someone asked my opinion of homeschool groups, which is a very good question, so I thought I'd devote a post to it. (thanks, Kelli) I haven't been a homeschooler very long, so I can only share my short term experience. My need for a homeschooling support group is limited, but I decided to participate in my local group. If someone is interested in finding a group local to themselves, here is a good easy to use link: http://www.homeschool.com/supportgroups/ When I was researching homeschooling I talked to several people about it and found out that there are alot more homeschoolers around me than I realized.
I got invited to a meeting this summer. It was a pool party, which you can see a post and a picture about further down in my blog. Most of the people there were experienced homeschoolers, so I got to ask them all my questions. That, to me, is a great reason to attend homeschool meetings, if for no other. It was also a relief to meet some girls and boys ages 17-20 who had been homeschooled and were respectful, intelligent, and were either pursuing college or beginning a career. It boosted my confidence that I could successfully homeschool my children to adulthood. This group also holds monthly prayer meetings, but I haven't been to another one yet.
My husband, Daniel, went to the first official meeting of the school year. He paid $20 dues for the whole year, which I think is reasonable to help with group expenses. They email us and let us know about upcoming homeschooling events like book fairs and such. They gave us a card, with their group logo on it, that I signed and we use it to get the teacher's discount at several stores. That has been my favorite thing so far! They offer a couple of 8 week co-op classes that the parents share teaching different subjects. I don't feel like my girls are ready for that yet since the age range is kind of wide. It costs an extra fee, and would require me to help each week for a few hours. Daniel and I don't want to sign up for any extra responsibilities this first year of homeschooling. We want to focus on our family. We will consider it next year, though. This group has been around for a looong time, so I feel confident that they'll still be there.
A really good reason to find a local support group is to simply have someone to talk to about homeschooling. I talk about our homeschool online some, and sometimes get comments on this blog, but speaking to another homeschooler face to face helps so much. A fellow homeschooling mom, Betsy, just the other day invited us over, taught Danya how to bake bread, and let me see her homeschooling materials and filing system. I was able to get some great ideas from her and breathe a big sigh of relief that her system wasn't so different from mine.
Homeschooling groups can be a positive thing, so I'd recommend them as long as they share your views, create a positive supportive environment, and don't overwhelm you and take time away from your family's needs.