Having a community for support, fun, organised activities, and friendships is so important when home educating. Many home educators report that having a like-minded community has made the greatest difference in their home education journey. Most regions of NZ have some type of social group whether it is a large regional group, smaller local group, or a collection of families who get together regularly. Groups are set up for a variety of purposes and to meet a range of needs.
Groups meet all kinds of needs. Some are fully inclusive, some have a particular ideology, some are for home educators who follow a specific educational method or philosophy. Creating a national networking group is quite a different process than creating a local support group. A national group will rely heavily on social media to connect, whereas a local group may find that they only occasionally connect online and that the face-to-face interactions are central to the group. This guide offers some best practice ideas for anyone who is planning to set up a local/regional support group or for those who are already operating a group. These suggestions have come from successful and long-standing regional and local groups in New Zealand.
If you have unsuccessfully tried to find a group in your area that meets your needs, consider starting your own group. The chances are that you are not the only one looking. Practically all of the local and regional groups started small, with a few families and a shared goal. Post a notice on the home education group message boards – Facebook, Yahoo Groups, or through NCHENZ – and see who else is keen to join you. It can also be a good idea to put notices up at places such as the library, supermarket, community noticeboards, etc.
The Groups Guide has been compiled by the National Council of Home Educators New Zealand (NCHENZ) with the help of regional and local groups in NZ. Click here to read it.