Many homeschooling families join together for support, recreation and encouragement, creating co-ops. While co-ops are a wonderful way for homeschoolers to connect with one another, a home school association offers far more benefits to the families and handles issues at a higher level. Here’s what you need to know about home school associations and how they can assist you and your family.
Types of Home School Associations
There are quite a few different organizations that could be referred to as home school associations, but all are groups of homeschoolers or supporters of homeschooling and are created to serve homeschooling families in a variety of ways.
Some organizations operate on a national level, holding the ability to serve homeschooling families nationwide. Others are regional or local, and their presence and purpose remains within a designated area. Your family could become members of associations that operate at both levels, though a local group can suffice in many instances. Regional and local groups are able to educate you on the laws that pertain to your area and they typically schedule events that your family may be interested in becoming involved in.
Some home school associations are faith based and some are secular, but either can be utilized regardless of religion or lack of religion practiced.
Most of the home school associations will have a website, as well as a magazine or newsletter to keep members informed and up to date on news pertaining to homeschooling, legal matters and resources.
The American Homeschool Association and HSLDA (Home School Legal Defense Association) are two all inclusive home school associations that strive to advocate for homeschooling families across the United States.
HSLDA is a nonprofit organization that is run by Christians who aim to protect the freedom that families have to teach their children at home, yet it does not prohibit anyone from joining because of their personal beliefs or teaching methods. HSLDA works with individual homeschooling families as well as groups/co-ops of homeschoolers. Membership discounts may be offered when joining through a group. HSLDA advocates legally, in state legislatures, at Capitol Hill and in the media and have made a major impact on the homeschooling movement.
There are also home school associations that focus on serving families that have chosen a specific teaching method, such as unschooling.
Benefits to Becoming a Home School Association Member
There are many benefits to having your family join forces with any of the hundreds of home school associations.
Stay up to date on topics in the news that may affect you and your
Low cost membership fees
Financial assistance in times of struggle
Assistance setting up your homeschool
Used curriculum and discounted curriculum
Networking with other homeschooling families
National legal assistance, counsel and defense
Peace of mind while teaching your children from home, with no worries about government interference because of regulations and compliance issues
Understanding the exact purpose and services of a particular association will help you to determine which you might be most interested in joining. So know what you are looking for in a home school association and do your research before paying your dues.