25 January 2010

Using Yahoo! Groups

An important responsibility of homeschooling is making the effort to find like-minded friends for your children to play with. Because homeschooling is centered on the family, an effort must be made to find others outside the family unit to socialize with. While the kids play, the parents get to discuss all the things that help them- upcoming events, parenting issues, educational struggles, and the stomach-bug stories.

One helpful tool for the homeschool family is the Yahoo! group. A Yahoo! group is an online forum dedicated to a certain population group. Like groups that meet together in physical locations, each one has its own strengths and weaknesses. The best way to find out if a group is a good fit is to join one!

In order to join a Yahoo! group, you submit a request to a group's moderator. Many groups ask you to mention during the request process why you would like to join. I'll use two groups I participate in for examples. For a huge group such as Austin Area Homeschoolers (AAH), the answer could be as simple as "I am hoping to meet other parents of preschoolers who plan on homeschooling." Each group has its own focus and that focus will help the moderator decide whether to allow you to join their group. For a more selective population segment like Christian boys interested in scouting activities from the Round Rock area, a better fit could be a Yahoo! group called Contenders For the Faith.

After your request to join is received and approved, you will begin getting group emails. Depending on how many members a group has and how active the group is, you may decide to change your email settings to Daily Digest, which means you will get one condensed email of all the prior day's activity.

Each group has a listing of helpful links to websites that would be helpful to the group, a member database, files with lists of clubs or recurring activities, and a calendar. Usually any group member can post events or questions or links, although some moderators choose to preview and approve each post.

With groups for almost every method homeschooling and all walks of faith, for every extra activity you are sure to find a group of people here in the Austin area that will be a good fit for your family.

I'm so pleased you are reading Higher Education!
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Teresa (Tracy) Dear

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