Homeschool Support Groups in Miami
Luz, a new homeschooling mom I met a few days ago, asked me how long we’ve been homeschooling in our family. “This is our second year” I said. “Oh! You are a homeschooling veteran now then” she replied smiling. Well, while not quite the veteran, I was able to answer some of Luz’s questions. I figured, there may well be some more families here in Miami wanting the same answers, so here are the juicy details:
Luz wanted to know about local support groups or homeschooling coops. I know of three popular groups here in Miami. I know too, there are more groups than these, but I’m listing the ones I’ve had either a direct experience or heard about a lot from other families.
1. Parents Association for Teaching at Home – PATH. This was the first group I joined back in September 2011 when we first started homeschooling. They offer enrichment classes on Thursdays from 11 am to 2 pm. Most classes begin at noon. They also get together at Evelyn Greer Park in Pinecrest, every Thursday at about 3pm. Bring a fold-up chair or a blanket for you mom, and bikes, scooters, roller skates/blades or other park games for your children. I have met some amazing women through PATH who have become my friends. I love the eagerness the group has in sharing wonderful bits and tips on curricula, extra curricular activities or other social events. Katie Gonzalez, the true veteran, has been such a great support during our first year and continues to be so during our second year. Super Hero always looks forward to going on Thursdays to the classes (Katie’s science class among them) and to the park to play with the other children.
2. Homeschoolers of Miami Enrichment – HOME. HOME offers a wide selection of fun classes every Tuesday mornings from 9 am to 2 pm in Miami Beach. They also have park days on Mondays. We just started attending HOME classes this September, so we’re fairly new to the group. Since it’s a bit far for us, we haven’t made it to the Monday park days. However, they started going to the park right after classes on Tuesdays also so it really works out well for us. We love going to Miami Beach on Tuesdays. Each time we cross the Julia Tuttle Causeway, I can’t help but falling in love with the view, the water, the beautiful mansions, the blue sky and the luscious green all over again. I guess if it weren’t for HOME we wouldn’t go that often (it’s kind of a drive for us). And I of course also love to be part of HOME. Here too, I’ve met a lot of moms and dads from whom I’ve learned a great deal. Super Hero has loved the classes he’s taken and has met many kids too. Dee Dee and Jannet, the leaders of the group, aside from managing all the operations and all that that entails, offer constant support and guidance to everybody. So yes, HOME really is like HOME 🙂
3. Homeschooling Miami Enrichment – PACE. PACE of Miami is a support group for Christian homeschoolers. We have not been involved with PACE at all, but many families who come to PATH or HOME also frequent PACE. They offer enrichment classes every Friday morning in West Kendall.
Aside from the support groups, Luz also wanted to know about the testing that is done at the end of the school year. Testing is one of the options we have as homeschoolers for proper documentation. The other options are an evaluation by a Miami Dade County certified teacher, or a portfolio review also performed by a Miami Dade County certified teacher. For our first year we chose to take the IOWA Test. We took it through PATH. PATH took care of everything for us. We just needed to pay the fee, show up and take the test. Again, Katie Gonzalez was instrumental in the entire process. And there are absolutely no worries should the child not perform “well” in the test. Katie can do an evaluation about it and you get to send that instead.