Home school groups come in many shapes and sizes. Therefore, home educators need to understand the types of groups available to find one that best aligns with their goals.
All home school groups on our list seek to serve families who meet the definition of home schooling. This means their children participate in the group, but the group will not attempt to become an authority over the student’s education, per the definition of home schooling.
The following is a non-exhaustive list that home school group leaders can use to categorize their group or organization.
THSC Home School Group Definitions
- Local Support Group
- Home School Extracurricular Association
- Home School Virtual Group
- Home School Co-op
- Home School Play Group or Field Trip Group
- Special Needs Support Group
- Home School Resource Center
- Group Class Communities
- Regional Groups
Local Support Group
- A Support Group (SG) is an association of independent home schoolers organized for the purpose of assisting and encouraging each other as they pursue home education for their children.
- SGs are driven by some form of leadership, typically dependent on group consensus.
- Policies, practices and procedures are typically found in bylaws, depending on the size, structure and functions of the group.
- Many hold regular meetings, whether park days or other types of meetings.
- SGs facilitate special events to encourage and support home school families. These include field trips, workshops, curriculum swaps, performances, science fairs, spelling bees, clubs and more. They also facilitate graduation ceremonies
- SGs are a nonprofit operation.
Home School Extracurricular Association
- A Home School Extracurricular Association (HSEA) is a support group for home schooling families.
- HSEAs are run by a group that caters specifically to home schoolers.
- The association focuses on a specific area of study, exploration or recreation. This includes chess club, astronomy club, 4-H, Boy Scouts, band, choir, theater and athletic groups.
Home School Virtual Group
- A Home School Virtual Group (HSVG) is an Internet-based support group for home schoolers.
- HSVGs are run by an individual or group that is designed specifically for home school families.
- The group is typically established to benefit other home schoolers utilizing a particular curriculum, resource, method of teaching, philosophy or some other commonality.
Home School Co-op
- A Home School Co-op is a support group of home schooling families.
- Co-ops facilitate group academic or extracurricular teaching.
- The group brings in outside teachers or private contractors for instruction, the classes are led by families within the group, or co-ops feature a combination of both.
Home School Play Group or Field Trip Group
- A Home School Play Group or Field Trip Group is a support group for home schooling families.
- The group meets regularly at a park or other designated place for learning.
- The group also schedules field trips to provide home schoolers with additional opportunities for learning, encouragement and edification with each other.
Special Needs Support Group
- A Special Needs Support Group (SNSG) serves families of children with special needs.
We especially care about families who are home schooling students with special needs. If there is not a special needs support group in your area, we invite you to visit THSC’s Special Needs page and communicate with other families in this virtual special needs support group, which is a THSC Partner Group, SPED Homeschool.
Home School Resource Center
- A Home School Resource Center (HSRC) is a privately funded organization that offers services exclusively to the home school community.
- These services include book and teaching material loans, equipment rentals, acting as a clearinghouse for private and in-home tutorial services, space rentals, and counseling.
- Unlike most support groups, these organizations are typically run by non-home schooling individuals. They may also be focused on distributing products and services to the larger home school community.
- HSRCs are supportive of parent-led education and function as a separate “executor” of the parent’s educational goals.
Group Class Communities
- A Group Class Community (GCC) is typically a type of support group for home schooling families.
- GCCs are similar in structure to a co-op or private school, although it is designed to encourage more parental involvement than a traditional private school.
- Communities typically meet once or more per week and have a rigid schedule.
- Students complete some work at home under parental supervision.
- Teachers typically use a form of standardized grading system.
- Teachers are typically contracted or hired through an application process. They might be group members or contracted from outside group membership and paid by the group or parents.
- GCCs are supportive of parent-led education and function as a separate “executor” of the parent’s educational goals.
- A Regional Group (RG) functions as the hub for several other home school groups and support organizations.
- RGs generally consist of a Board of Directors, full constitution and/or bylaws.
- The group’s primary focus is to connect, encourage and serve support groups in its region.
- The group typically sponsors events and activities that are best accomplished by several groups working together. This includes book fairs, seminars, leadership training, debate tournaments and other events.
- The parent is responsible for preparing the student’s transcript, determining the requirements for graduation and issuing a diploma.
- Additional information and details on Regional Groups can be found at the THSC Regional Groups page.