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ECHO
Eclectic Community of
Homeschooling Opportunities

 

The ECHO Support Group Network

The main goal of ECHO is to bring homeschoolers together, especially homeschoolers with young children, and build a strong homeschooling community long before the school-age years arrive. ECHO could be viewed as an umbrella group or a clearinghouse for homeschoolers. It is through this larger group that we all stay connected.

The smaller support groups are the heart of ECHO. Each one has its own flavor and can provide you with more individual nurturing and support on your homeschooling journey. 

By combining these smaller support groups into a larger network, we are all able to enjoy and support activities we might otherwise not be able to coordinate or afford. Some of the benefits of being part of the ECHO Support Group Network include:

Quarterly Meetings: ECHO coordinates four meetings each year on topics ranging from the law to homeschooling philosophies. By combining the efforts of several ECHO support groups, we are able to offer workshops, special speakers and events that individual groups might not be able to accomplish. We encourage all ECHO support groups to voice their ideas about what kinds of speakers they would like to hear and topics they would like to see addressed.

Curriculum fairs
: Join other ECHO support groups to examine some of the many curricula available. Our combined effort will give us the chance to see a broad range of material.

Group Events: ECHO will coordinate various group activities at discounted prices including theater and music events, museum field trips and family picnics.

Community Support: ECHO is not a membership organization but we firmly believe that homeschooling is strengthened by cooperative efforts. Should our homeschool rights be threatened by legislative process, our partnership will enable us to act quickly and present our position effectively.
 

Starting an ECHO Support Group

Finding a support group or starting your own can be an overwhelming task.  It can take a year or more for support group members to feel comfortable with each other and for the group to find its direction, especially a group with younger children. We hope to give new support groups more time to focus on building friendships by providing some general information to get them off to a strong start. We are not looking to define each new ECHO group but rather give the group a framework in which to operate. ECHO provides several services for newly forming support groups. We help set up and facilitate the group's first meeting and we provide new ECHO support groups with a start-up packet, which includes the following information:

  • A sample mission statement

  • An example of support group policies (parent meeting attendance, sick child guidelines, group rules for children's activities, etc.)

  • A sample copy of a meeting agenda and minutes.

  • A sample of possible support group volunteer positions and their descriptions.

  • A list of typical group activities.

  • Information about setting up an email communication group for your support group.

Please contact ECHO at echo-mn@earthlink.net for information about starting a support group in your area.  

What is the BEST homeschooling advice you have received?

Give yourself a year to figure out what works for you and your child(ren).          --Anne 

1. Trust your gut.
2. Just because a homeschooling book/method/curriculum works great for one
family doesn't mean it's perfect for your child. --Karen

The best advice I received when starting kindergarten was that kids can learning in an hour at home what it takes 3 hours to learn at school. Therefore, I should not try to fill 3 hours. --Leslie

Don't tell the school district more than they ask for.--Nan

I think the most important advice I've received was this:
When it comes to homeschooling, never use absolutes such as "never" or
"always". You have no way of knowing what tomorrow, next week, or next year will bring. All you can do is give it your best effort today and plan for
the future as best you can. This has been valuable advice for me to live
by. It keeps me from thinking that I am a total failure on any given day. If I can stay focused on the big picture and look at life from this
perspective, I can clearly see that I am making the best choices for my family.

That leads me to another thought...I think it's really important for us as homeschooling parents (moms in particular, because it is usually the moms at home with the kids day in and day out) to help each other realize that a bad day is just that and a really good day is truly something to celebrate. It is so critical for us to have the support of other homeschooling families and to be able to share the ups and downs and know that we are all experiencing the same issues at one time or another. Surround yourself with supportive friends and you will have done more for your family and your children's education than any curriculum can ever do.      
--Jennifer

RELAX and enjoy your children. You know them best and have their best interest at the heart of what you're doing.
STRIKE A BALANCE in all that you do. Don't get overly worked up
about not following a totally structured program. That is the time we get ourselves the most stressed and that leads to stress ultimately to our kids. That is the beauty of homeschooling: the flexibility to spontaneously choose to do something that your kids initiate because of their interest.
ABOVE ALL LOVE your children. They will never be this age again
and the time is so fleeting. --Laurie

1. - RELAX! Due to your own dedication to and knowledge of your kids, any way you end up teaching will probably be better for your kids than the experience they would have in most public schools.
2. - GET INVOLVED with a support group. I don't think I would still be
homeschooling if I had not found ECHO.
3. - Have fun and enjoy your children! Don't get so wrapped up in the
academics and preparation that you forget to treasure them. Leave time to explore their questions as they come up. --Tania

 

 

 

ECHO-MN Support Group Information 

Currently, ECHO-MN supports several homeschooling support groups in the metro area and we are working to establish new groups all the time. For more information about a group in your area, please email us at:  echo-mn@earthlink.net.


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2007 Eclectic Community of Homeschooling Opportunities in Minnesota