You Are Not Alone: The best ways to connect with local homeschoolers

No need for Lone Rangers here...

So you think you want to homeschool. Do you have to go this alone?

Not by a long shot.

What did you do when you were expecting your first child? Did you ask questions? Did you look for those who had survived childbirth and parenthood before you?

Sure you did.

You can do the same for homeschooling.

1. Join a Sonlight Connections Group

Homeschooling can be a challenge... parenting can be an even bigger one. Community support can help. Find camaraderie with other homeschool moms and dads through valuable advice, inspiration, and humor with Sonlight Connections. A place for families to connect with people who share the same educational philosophy with support and encouragement, both online and in person.

Build a community around your homeschool right where you are with the Sonlight Connections Facebook Group and Sonlight Connections In-Person Groups. Collaborate with other homeschool families, get questions answered and discover the depth that the Sonlight community can add to your homeschooling experience.

If you're brand new to Sonlight, we also invite you to join our Sonlight Newbies Group in the Sonlight App. This private group is a year-long membership for parents using Sonlight for the first time. To help you navigate your first year, our team of veteran Sonlight Curriculum Mentors come alongside to provide guidance, advice, and encouragement. Learn how to use the Instructor's Guide to fit your family, schedule your homeschool, organization tips and SO MUCH MORE!

2. Help awaits you in a Homeschool Support Group

Think back to those Lamaze classes. Guess what? Homeschool versions of those very classes are available.

They're called "Local Homeschool Support Groups." Most state homeschool organizations (yes, those exist too!) have multiple local groups that meet on a regular basis.

Just google [name of your state] homeschool support group and you're sure to find a comprehensive list of groups in your area.

So look one up in your area, gather your courage, and go.

Look for the gray hair

Expect to meet lots of welcoming, experienced homeschool moms. I suggest you keep your eye out for someone who's beginning to show a bit of gray in her hair.

Step forward and introduce yourself. Ask her how long she's homeschooled. If that gray hair is any indication, you'll find she has lots to offer. Pick her brain, ask for ideas, and if what she says sounds good, plan on copying what's worked for her.

Flatter her by asking if she would mentor you in your homeschool journey. Chances are, she asked someone those very same questions when she began homeschooling. She'll probably be happy to share what she's learned along the way.

Remember, homeschooling moms like the ones you'll meet at the support group are teachers and mentors at heart.

3. Homeschool Conventions (they're like huge homeschool fiestas)

Another phenomenal resource for getting started is a State Homeschool Convention.

Every year in the spring and summer, most states hold statewide homeschool events. You'll find hundreds of curriculum vendors, top-notch workshop speakers, and hundreds—maybe even thousands—of current and prospective homeschoolers just like you.

What a great way to research and gain support in one exciting weekend! You'll be able to check out curriculum and find special support in those subjects in which you feel a little bit less than capable.

You can sit in as speakers explain the hows and whys of home education.

But best of all, you can meet and greet many homeschoolers who have "been there, done that" many years before you. When this many people get together, all of them excited about their children's education, you're sure to meet some great people, be encouraged, and have a good time.

Click here to view the Homeschool Conventions Sonlight attends.

Don't get overwhelmed; get help

Admittedly, your first convention can be a bit intimidating. What do I bring? How can I save money while I'm there? With 100 vendor booths in the exhibit hall ... where do I start?

Here's a hint: Don't feel pressure to purchase anything at a convention. Browse around. Ask a lot of questions. Skip the impulse buys and the 10% off only if you buy now appeals. –It's much cheaper to make a leisurely choice in the calm of your own home than to try to fight high-pressure sales tactics on the convention floor!

Once you've collected your information, then go home and consider the options at your own speed.