Austin Area Homeschoolers
Newcomers' Guide
Basics
Why We Homeschool
Homeschooling is just one of many ways for parents to meet the educational needs of their children. Some Austin Area Homeschoolers families have always taught their children at home, while others tried public and/or private schools first. Other parents have one or more children learning at home at the same time another child attends a public school or institutional private school. Our diverse AAH families cite the following as some of the advantages of homeschooling.

Freedom from a School Schedule. Families with a parent whose job requires travel appreciate the flexibility that homeschooling offers. The entire family can travel together without worrying about the affect of missed school days. They can use their travels as part of their schooling. Other homeschoolers enjoy scheduling field trips or family vacations for the off-season to avoid the crowds.

More Efficient Use of Time. Many homeschooling parents find that they can cover more material in less time than a traditional school, because one-on-one tutoring is more efficient. They can focus their time on the areas where the student really needs help, and they can accelerate studies when the material is easy for the student. 

Ability to Build an Individualized Curriculum. Children with special needs and interests can have a custom-tailored curriculum. If a student has a time-consuming hobby, sport, or job, that activity can be built into their program of study. Parents can choose the type of curriculum that best fits their children's needs and the parents' educational philosophy.

Improved Socialization. Most homeschoolers interact with a variety of adults and children by participating in Sports groups, Scout groups, Campfire groups, homeschooling support groups, churches, and community service opportunities. Since homeschoolers spend a great deal of time with their parents and other adults, they can learn social skills from persons who are more mature than they are, rather than exclusively from their peers. 

Better Family Relationships. Many parents find their relationships with their children improve once the children have been withdrawn from school. Perhaps it is because they spend more time together, or maybe it is because the children have less stress now that they are out of school. Many parents say that the best thing about homeschooling is that you get to spend a lot of time with your children.
 

About Support Groups
You don't have to join an organization in order to school your children at home; however, homeschool support groups can be very helpful, especially for beginners. There are several different groups in the Austin, Texas area. Some families choose to be associated with only one group, while others join several groups. Some support groups have membership requirements, while others are open to all homeschoolers. Inquire about all groups if you are unsure which is best for your family.

Austin Area Homeschoolers is an inclusive group that is open to all homeschoolers. AAH is a secular group. The organization is comprised of families with children of all ages. We have social activities for children, field trips, co-op classes, park days, graduation, dances, etc. Detailed information about AAH is found in the next section of this guide.  While the most up to date info can be found on the Subscribers Website on the AAH-Announce list.

We are are a support group and just want to help you homeschool. That is why other support groups are listed here even though we may not be listed on their site.  For example there are many homeschoolers on the Austin Area Homeschoolers list who are Christain, but they choose to associate with homeschoolers who may not be Christains.  But if you're more comfortable with only associating with other Christains, this may not be the list for you.

CHEACT. If you are homeschooling primarily for fundamentalist Christian religious reasons, or if you want a support group that requires members to sign a Christian statement of faith, you might want to look into Christian Home Education Association of Central Texas (CHEACT). This organization is very large, so there are many smaller support groups and coops that are affiliated with CHEACT. CHEACT charges $25 per year dues, which entitles you to the monthly newsletter. https://www.homeschool-life.com/tx/cheact/

Holy Family Homeschoolers is a support group that serves Catholic homeschoolers, although non-Catholics are also welcome to join. They offer a monthly newsletter, field trips, play days, and religious celebrations. http://groups.yahoo.com/group/hfhlist/

The Roadrunners is an inclusive group that meets in Georgetown and surrounding areas. They have no dues and are a pay-as-you-go group. They have activities and outings for all ages, including regularly scheduled park days at San Gabriel Park at the grapevine tables on the 2nd and 4th Fridays of the month. Everyone is welcome and invited to suggest & organize field trips and get-togethers. Support and respect are their mottos. For more information, contact Susan Simon (nonetfarm@aol.com, 512-259-1825), Ann Maria Umholtz (umholtzent@earthlink.net), or Kathi Lunny (ktex_98@yahoo.com)

Bastrop County Homeschoolers for Bastrop/Elgin/Smithville area.
http://groups.yahoo.com/group/Bastropcountyhomeschoolers
Welcomes all homeschooling families in Bastrop County.  There are no religious requirements in order to join. There are no requirements of other memberships in order to join.  We welcome all races, ethnic groups and religions. Parents of children of all learning styles and abilities/disabilities are welcome.

Smoothing the Way. A support group for new homeschoolers. Contact Mary James, 707-9116 or maryjames@smoothingtheway.com, dedicated to serving first-year homeschooling mothers.  Each month a topic of specific interest to the new homeschooler is offered.  Veteran homeschooling moms and guest speakers are available to inform and encourage those who have decided to take on the exciting, yet sometimes daunting, task of educating their own children.  This Christian group is open to all, its focus being on helping new homeschoolers get started.  Fees are involved.

If you live outside our area, you can find a list of open-membership support groups in Home Education Magazine (www.homeedmag.com), or on the T.A.F.F.I.E. site at http://jsoft.com/archive/taffie/index.html. If you cannot locate any group in your area, think of starting one yourself. It doesn't take any particular expertise, just a little publicity. Plan an organizational meeting, advertise it in your local paper, and see who shows up. Austin Area Homeschoolers started this way many years ago. While you are trying to find a local group, you might be interested in joining an online email list for homeschoolers. See the "Online Resources" section for details. 

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