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Alberta Home Education Association

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One of the BEST Support Group ideas I have ever heard!

Smile - I still haven't had time to type up the great ideas from the Support Group Session at AHEA (I might save them for August and have them ready and current for Support Group Leaders in the fall!), but I did just apply one of the ideas I heard about at that session.

One wonderful Support Group Leader shared that her Support Group had 3 email lists.  One for encouragement and sharing, one for activities and announcements, and one for sale items.

I loved the idea of the sale list (I like the others, too, but I just created a sale / give away list for our area today!)

I think Albertan Home Schoolers, with all the funding we have, sometimes have problems moving unused or unwanted curriculum.  Hopefully the list I created will help the home educators in our area.

If you are interested in seeing that list (for ideas on how to set up a similiar list in your area or even to join - if you are willing to pay postage), go to Share and Sell HS

Happy Home Schooling!{jcomments off}

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Ever had to answer the question "What about Socialization"?

Smile.    When I first started home schooling, I didn't know what people meant when they said that question.  I can remember Gregg Harris saying that, and then following that question with, "If he had a dollar for each time he was asked that...."  smile  (Have you come to that conclusion yourself?)

I saw a MUST READ ARTICLE on a study of Socializaton of Home Schooled and Public Schooled Children with some interesting results.  Why not read it today?

It WILL encourage you (esp. the results of Dr. Brian Ray's study - also mentioned!){jcomments off}

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Not sure about Home Schooling Your Children?

I just know that there are some parents out there *today* wondering about home schooling their children in the fall (or even *next week*).  But you wonder if you can do.  If you are patient enough.  If you can live on one income.  Perhaps you are wondering if you are smart enough, too?

You know why you want to bring your children home.  Perhaps because of academic struggles, bullying, or wanting to be with your children more....

Right now, I want to encourage you about home educating your children.  You can do this.  You can try it out for a few months or a year.  You can live on less money.  Yes, you are smart enough.  Yes, it is worth it all to home school your children. 

I saw this great article earlier today that made me think of this - God Doesn't Always Call the Most Equipped - Sometimes He just calls those who love their children and will do what it takes. 

For whatever question you have, God has an answer for it. 

Will Home Schooling be easy?  Perhaps not. 

Will it be worth it?  Definitely. 

If God is calling you to Home Educate your children, He will help you do it and equip you as you start out on this journey of home schooling your children.  Need more support?  Find a local Home School Support Group.  Need more information?  Read some books or do a search online on how to Home School.  Check out the Home School Boards , also known as Supervising Agencies and decide who you want to notify with for next year. 

It is an awfully big decision, but you are thinking about it for such good reasons - your children.  They are worth all the effort, sacrifices and time it will take, and Home Schooling is worth it!{jcomments off}

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Support Group Leader - Stephanie Fehler from Hinton Shares!

I"m the support group leader for Hinton.
 
What works for us is the annual potlucks - we do one around Christmas usually, in the spring, and at the end of the school year.  Not all three every year, but a few every year.  This seems to work well for most families as it is a minimal commitment.   We all bring something to share, and meet in a church basement :) - We have a table to show projects/ student work/whatever they'd like.  Usually we have a little program, too, where little people can play their piano pieces or say a poem they memorized, if they want.
 
Challenges - we are a *very* small group, with the whole range of ages (toddlers to high schoolers), so co-ops haven't taken off.  What we've done instead is join community efforts - for instance, the children's choir has four homeschool *families* in it :)...  We also try to attend their performances in the arts festival...
I think in our community, people tend to be pretty self sufficient, so there is not a huge enthusiasm for the regular support group type thing, although we did have Saturday mornings at McDonald's for awhile - not hugely attended...  
 
We do have a facebook page (Hinton Home Educators) and a blog (www.hintonhomeed.blogspot.com) - and people do seem to use them, but not post much on them...
stephanie fehler in Hinton :){jcomments off}
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Home School Support Group Ideas - (Guest Maureen Schmidt from Grande Prairie shares!)

(Hi all, I hosted the Support Group Session at the AHEA Convention this year and sent out an email to Support Group Leaders to attend.  I encouraged those who couldn't attend to share what works for their Support Group by email.  Maureen did so, and I am pleased to have her share here as a guest.  Enjoy reading her tips below!  Terry)

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I am the coordinator of the Grande Prairie and Area Homeschool Fieldtrip Group. We are open to families registered with any homeschool district. When I started with the group around 7 years ago, there was a list of around 30 families who were interested in arranging fieldtrips to gather the children together to do. Now we are a list of 140 families and I have been able to establish a vision with this group which is three-fold:
1. to connect families by taking time to build relationships
2. to provide opportunities to educate our children in different environments by different individuals
3. to expose our children to events, jobs, and learning opportunities in our community

This vision helps me as a coordinator know which information should or should not go out to our group (eg. I would send out a firehall fieldtrip notice, but not a business opportunity to join) At this time, our group has agreed that they don't want their email in-boxes overloaded with peripheral things, so I try to only send out material that I feels fits what we have set as our vision. I wrote the vision myself...because trying to do that with many people is often very difficult and we have over 30 people at our once a year meeting. Then as we went through it at the meeting, there was discussion and we refined it to what the group could agree on. I believe it is best to come to a meeting with some things already brainstormed on paper.

We meet once a year in early Sept. Our people don't want more meetings than that. I plan a get- to-know-you activity to help people try to connect with each other, we discuss any business and then we plan. After this meeting, all communication is through email. If anyone has information to get out, it comes to me, I edit it if needed and then send it out to the group. In our group, parents organize activities and then put the into out to the group for others to join in. If parents didn't volunteer to plan activities, nothing would happen. We have everything from monthly art classes, track meets, science fairs, swimming lessons, weekly ice skating, tours of museums, stores, clinics, departments, used curriculum sales, ski days, money management courses, robotics classes, wood carving, bowling, wall climbing, and much more. At the beginning, most events were for younger children. Now, we have events for all ages of school children (some specific to Sr. High. even).

This started with a few parents who wanted to connect now and then with other homeschoolers. It has grown considerably and people are grateful for the opportunities available. It is common now to have between 3 and 5 events planned per month for families to choose from. I suggest starting with one a month and growing as the group grows. The most popular events....well that's a hard one because it depends which needs are needing to be met in each family. Our largest turnout is always track and field day in May with over 100 kids participating. For events that meet in smaller spaces, we cap the number allowed to come and it is first come first served. Some events are multi-aged, which works well for HS families, and others are aimed at a particular age group becuz of safety, or material appropriateness.

The only struggle I can think of is that some parents have different ideas about what I should be forwarding on to the group, and what I should be policing. I have brought this to the group and the group voted that they didn't want more emails that weren't directly related to our vision, so I use my best discretion. Occasionally, I have a parent who makes a comment, but I have more parents who affirm me regularly for sticking to this agreement. So I guess my advice is....to the group coordinator.....stay true to what your vision is. It will help you deal with those few others who have different ideas for what they want to see happen with the group. Explain as best you can, don't worry about it or take it personally, and then let it go. When you have lots of people together, there will always be one or two that think a little differently, but you have to go with the majority. Be kind, but don't give in....and you can bring it to the group again when you meet for further direction and support.

I hope this is helpful for you to get a glimpse into our group.

Maureen Schmidt  {jcomments off}

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