In 1993/1994 a number of local homeschooling families decided to get together to organize some group field trips and meetings for the purpose of mutual support in their homeschooling endeavours. Initially the group, known as the ‘Guelph and Area Homeschool Group’, met in members’ homes or rented room in the Dublin Street United Church and soon after began inviting speakers to their meetings to speak on various topics.
In the summer of 2000, a second homeschool support group, the ‘Centre-Wellington Homeschool Group’, was set up for Guelph and the area surrounding Guelph. Some homeschoolers made an effort to participate in both groups. Over time, it became apparent that the two groups had much in common. In the spring of 2002, the two groups joined together.
The amalgamated group prides itself on its diversity and benefits from a number of sub-groups. In 2003, the group created a Yahoo! e-group to facilitate communication between the growing number of members, who were attempting to coordinate field trips and provide support for one another. By 2005, the group name was shortened to the ‘Guelph Homeschool Group’. In 2007, this, our official website, was created to facilitate and coordinate our group’s activities even further.
Our group is volunteer member-driven and members are encouraged to contribute where possible to the group’s continued success.
Over the last few years our group has offered support in the following ways:
- a dedicated, members only egroup for exchanging information
- regular parent support meetings
- parent’s show and share meetings (mostly based on resources)
- park days
- field trips
- discovery kits (containing books, games, posters, teacher materials. activity guides etc on a number of topics. We have about 25 of these on topics such as Birds, Geometry, Elections, Music, Weather, etc)
- A fairly extensive dedicated library
- Scholastic book orders discounted and group options for local theatre and music performances
- A roots and shoots program
- skating and swimming lessons for homeschoolers offered through the City of Guelph, and discounted arts programs run through a few local art schools.
- We’ve had a member offer dance and gymnastic lessons for our members as well.
- group camping
- nature programming
- seasonal parties and activities
- scientist in the schools programs
- co-op programs – both formal and informal
- Grandpals program (pairing homeschoolers with residents of a local retirement community)
Future plans depend on the interests and support from our members. We currently have members working on organizing a drama program, social outreach, library outreach programmes, games programs etc.
Our members are also welcome (and encouraged) to meet their support needs by joining or starting their own subgroups. Over the years we have had Charlotte Mason, Christian Mothers, Well Trained Mind and Unschoolers sub groups operating in a variety of formats to provide our members with support from like-minded homeschoolers.
The Unschoolers, for example, plan unschooler’s park get togethers, unschooler’s parent support/discussion meeting, unschooler’s organized hikes and other types of events.
Each member is expected to contribute to the success of the group through offering support for one of our activities or programs (ie organizing a field trip, assisting with a meeting, serving on a committee).