Homeschool Support Group Definitions
The support group listings on the AFHE website are limited to homeschool
groups that exist for the specific purpose of supporting parents teaching
their children at home in accordance with Arizona Revised Statutes 15-802, which defines a homeschool as nonpublic instruction provided primarily by the parent or legal guardian, or nonpublic instruction provided in the child's home.
Please note, virtual charter school students and ESA (Empowerment Scholarship Account) contract students are not considered homeschooled students as defined by state statutes and by the programs themselves. Each individual support group's leadership must determine whether to include these virtual school or ESA families in their group activities, but AFHE's support group listings will focus on those groups whose primary focus is on supporting parent-led, family-funded home education as defined in our state law.
Groups on this list include the following categories:
INDEPENDENT SUPPORT GROUP
An Independent Support Group (ISG) is an association of volunteers organized and operated by independent homeschoolers for the purpose of assisting and encouraging each other as well as those pursuing the choice of homeschooling for the education of their children.
The ISG is driven by some form of leadership, depending upon group consensus. Group policies, practices and procedures may or may not be written in the form of by-laws, depending upon the size, structure and functions of the group.
The ISG holds regular meetings, whether they are park days or other types.
An Independent Support Group is not a business. Therefore, it does not exist to produce goods or services for sale to those outside their group as a regular practice (i.e. magazine subscriptions, books, classes, I.D. cards, testing services, advertising services). Single-event fundraising is an exception.
An ISG is not operated by a for-profit business, nor is it operated by or affiliated with a government agency or public or private school. An ISG does not function as a substitute for the parent-teacher role or responsibility in any of the subject areas assigned by law (reading, grammar, math, science and social studies). In other words, an ISG stops being an ISG when it attempts to be a school.
A Homeschool Club/Association is a group that is run by homeschoolers and/or caters specifically to homeschoolers as it relates to a specific subject.
Homeschool Clubs or Associations are similar to ISGs in that they support homeschooling families, they meet regularly and they are comprised of homeschoolers. The difference is that a Homeschool Club or Association focuses on a specific area of study, exploration or recreation while an ISG is geared more toward all aspects of homeschooling. Sporting organizations would fall into the category of Homeschool Club or Association as would any other group whose focus is on one area in particular (i.e. Chess Club, Astronomy Club, 4-H).
There may be similar clubs operating within an Independent Support Group.
These clubs may be listed separately under the category of Homeschool
Club or Association if they are open to all homeschoolers and not limited
only to members of that particular ISG.
A Homeschool Co-op is a group of private homeschooling families that facilitate group academic or extra-curricular teaching. A homeschool co-op should be a supplement to the family homeschool and not a replacement for parent-led teaching of core subjects in the home, especially for the primary grades. A homeschool co-op is not a business, and is a collaboration of effort between homeschooling families to enjoy a group experience rather than the product of one individual's industry. Size, frequency of meeting, cost, subject matter, and choice of instructor all combine to influence the group's nature as either a co-op or something more like a private school.
HOMESCHOOL INTERNET-BASED GROUP
A Homeschool Internet-Based Group is a group run by an individual or group that is geared specifically for homeschoolers and takes place primarily online, such as a Yahoo group, Facebook group, or email network.. A Homeschool Internet-based group is not itself a for-profit business nor run by a for-profit business. An Internet-based group or online forum may be established by an individual or group for the benefit of other homeschoolers utilizing a particular curriculum, resource, method of teaching, philosophy, or that share some other commonality specific to homeschooling.
When an e-mail loop or newsletter is offered to all homeschoolers, whether in a particular geographical area or statewide, it is considered a Homeschool E-mail Network.
Independent Support Groups may offer an e-mail loop, newsletter, or online forum for their members, but this would be considered a benefit of membership in that particular ISG and rather than a a stand-alone Internet-based group for the purposes of classification on the AFHE website..
HOMESCHOOL PARK DAY
A Homeschool Park Day is a group that meets regularly at a park with the purpose of providing an opportunity for homeschoolers to be encouraged and edified and to fellowship with one another.
If a park day is only open to the members of a specific ISG or other group, then it would be a benefit of membership in that group, but not categorized as a Homeschool Park Day for this list .
HOMESCHOOL RESOURCE CENTER
A Homeschool Resource Center is a privately funded organization
which offers services exclusively to the homeschool community. These services
may include book and teaching material loans, equipment rentals, acting
as a clearinghouse for private in-home tutorial services, space rentals
and counseling. Unlike ISG's these organizations may be run by non-homeschooling
individuals and/or be focused on distributing products and services to
the homeschool community at large. A Homeschool Resource Center may operate
as either a for-profit business or a non-profit corporation.
A Homeschool Resource Center is supportive of parent-led education and functions as separate "executors" of the parent's educational goals. Should an organization, through its leadership or programs, prescribe rather than simply support the parent's educational goals, it is functioning more as a school than a resource center.
Classes offered should not interfere with the requirements of A.R.S. 15-802.
Use of a Homeschool Resource Center should not obligate homeschoolers to state or federal regulations applicable to public or private schools because of their participation in the Resource Center's programs.