How To Find UK Homeschooling Support Groups
When you start homeschooling, whether you have deregistered your child from school or have always known you would take the home education path, you will quickly realise that homeschooling support groups are essential to the success and sustainability of homeschooling. This article will explain how to find UK homeschooling support groups and what the benefits are; personally I have found it invaluable to have a strong support network of likeminded families and I couldn’t be without them!
Homeschooling support groups in the UK vary from online Facebook groups to organised regular meet-ups and casual friendship groups. My biggest support in our homeschooling journey comes from other friends who are also home educating their own children and with whom we meet up regularly for play dates, and occasionally for (adults only!) drinks and dinner.
These people- these women, usually- are the people who will actually understand from a first hand perspective what it is like to homeschool. They understand the 24/7 commitment, the seemingly unending quest to keep the kids fed, the too-often scrutiny from strangers, the occasional overwhelm that you feel as you start to type “maybe school is the answer?” into a Whatsapp message.
If you don’t live near other homeschoolers, the Facebook support groups for UK homeschoolers can be a lifesaver. At the tap of a few buttons you can get help, advice, support and empathy from thousands of other people going through a similar experience to you, and this is absolutely invaluable. I consider some people I have met on these support groups to be genuine friends even though I have never met them; we share the same values and lifestyles and that bonds people whether they are in physically proximity or not.
Aside from the “how on EARTH do you keep your houses tidy while homeschooling?” and the “anyone know any good YouTube channels for a space-lover?”, UK homeschooling support groups provide a safe and knowledgeable space where home educating parents can ask for help regarding more serious issues- whether that is regarding homeschooling law, relationship problems or mental health.
Knowing that you can go and ask more experienced homeschoolers for help and support is, in my opinion, invaluable and the homeschooling support groups are an essential tool in any parent’s home education toolbox!
How To Find UK Homeschooling Support Groups On Facebook
To find your local UK homeschooling support group, type in “homeschooling XYZ” into the Facebook search bar (where XYZ is your local area- if nothing comes up try your county). This will pull up groups with other homeschoolers who live near to you, and reaching out to people in this group to ask about meet ups or seeing if anyone wants a play date, is a great way to start growing your homeschooling social circle and support network.
National groups are also invaluable, both for finding resources that other parents may be using and connecting with other homeschooling families. These are groups that I belong to or have been recommended to me by other home educating families:
Home Education UK. This is the largest UK home educators’ Facebook group with plenty of activity; questions about homeschooling styles, resources, law and more.
Home Schooling UK. This is currently the second largest Facebook group for homeschoolers in the UK and within its files are excellent and long lists of local groups by district in England, Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales. There are also lists of groups for special interests such as crafting, cookery and photography, as well as links to groups for children with special education needs.
Homeschooling UK is another group with over 5000 members where people post questions and recommendations for homeschool parents.
London Homeschooling Groups
Obviously London, being the capital of the UK, has a vast number of homeschoolers and plenty of London homeschool support groups, both casual and academic. Groups for home educators in London include:
How To Find UK Homeschooling Support Groups Close To You
If you’re not on Facebook I really recommend you join even for a short while to connect with other homeschooling families; it is simply the quickest and easiest way to find other home educators. Once you have done that you can find nearby meet-ups and start getting to know people in real life, and support circles often naturally emerge from there- home educators tend to know other home educators, it’s a small(ish) world!
If you don’t want Facebook at all, check in your local area to see if there are libraries, museums or other attractions that host homeschool sessions (a local art shop in our area runs one, for example) and go along to them to meet other homeschoolers.
Creating Your Own Homeschool Support Group
Just as important as meeting up with other homeschoolers for day to day socialisation and activities, is carving out time when home educating parents can connect on an adult level and offer each other deeper emotional support. Homeschooling obviously means that we are with our children most of the time, and having evenings when you can enjoy a meal and talk about careers, relationships, dreams and struggles is really very important for homeschooling parents just as it is for any parent.
Our local group of homeschool parents regularly meets up for meals and getting into this habit is a really good and valuable idea. You could take turns meeting at each others’ homes every 6 weeks or so, or book a table for drinks or dinner- however you do it, make the effort to connect with other home educating parents on a deeper level than just your child’s friend’s parent. There are very few people who fully understand what homeschooling is like so these relationships are priceless!
I hope this post has given you some ideas for finding UK homeschool support groups; the chances are that no matter what you are going through, someone else will be going through it too so sharing your highs and lows really is beneficial for everyone.