Thursday, February 27, 2014

Back in the homeschool classroom: Support group versus co-op

Encore article from 2010....

As a member of the SWAC area homeschool support group for 10 years, I watched as other homeschoolers around the state started co-op groups and some eventually lost their support groups as a result. It was a concern at the time because each provided something different for the families involved.

A friend in the PEACH (Parent Educators of Augusta County Homes) group sent over the following from this month's newsletter because it mentioned that while president of PEACH, I advocated the importance of preserving the support group. It seems that is still relevant today:
A Bit from the Board

The other day, I received a phone call from a homeschool mom in Fluvanna County. She was inquiring about PEACH Skate and was anxious to be able to attend with her children. They had re-located from North Carolina several years prior and were still missing all the benefits of their support group back home. In the course of our conversation, not only did I learn that there is no skating rink in the Charlottesville area, but that it’s also lacking a homeschool support group.

I was flabbergasted. After the initial shock, a mix of sympathy and gratefulness sprung up within me. Sympathy for the home educators of Charlottesville and surrounding counties and a sense of gratitude for what we’ve been blessed with here.

I recalled what a former PEACH president, Lynn Mitchell, had passionately written about in her newsletter address to PEACH members more than once. She urged us all to support our support group and to not let our dedication be trumped by our participation in a co-op.

I felt that to be a timely reminder for this day as well. As you peruse through our needs for volunteers and coordinators on the front page, please remember the mom in Fluvanna county. Without the many hands of PEACH members making light the workload, we would be in her shoes. --Kim, PEACH Newsletter Editor
The reasons are all still there why it is good to have support groups in addition to co-ops. While co-ops offer a structured learning environment, support groups provide a less-structured social network for parents and students.

Many thanks to all the homeschool parents who volunteer their time for the good of the group. Without them nothing would run, nothing would be provided, nothing would be available. Without volunteers, PEACH would not exist.

The homeschool community is a special group of friends and I thank them for inviting me to be their keynote speaker at the recent PEACH Senior Banquet. More about that in a follow-up post.
Lynn Mitchell educated her children at home for 16 years and was part of leadership in North Carolina's Iredell County Home Educators (ICHE) and Virginia's Parent Educators of Augusta County Homes (PEACH). Her son graduated from Harrisonburg's James Madison University (JMU) in 2007 with a BS in Computer Science and a minor in Creative Writing. Her daughter graduated from Staunton's Mary Baldwin College in 2012 with a BS in Sustainable Business and Marketing. Lynn and her husband live in Augusta County located in the beautiful Shenandoah Valley of Virginia. The story of how she began her homeschool journey can be found here.

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