The most important thing for homeschool success is to mingle and socialize with other homeschooling families. Being a member of a support group allows you to share resources and information with them as well as to remind you that you are not alone in your home-teaching journey. Your county support groups can offer you families with common goals and interests to yours.
IMPORTANT:Note: Our information includes both Parent-led Homeschool Support Groups and Private School Satellite Programs (PSPs) formerly known as Independent Study Programs (ISPs).
What’s the difference?
The difference is that typically, the Parent-led Homeschool Support Groups are created by families for families to get together for social activities, such as park days, P.E. activities, organized classes, field trips and other “group” types of endeavors. Some require a general membership fee, but most do not. You can usually show up at a park day and meet the parents and children to see how you like the group.
PSPs or ISPs are private schools, usually small in enrollment, but schools nonetheless. Homeschooling families may enroll and pay tuition, in order to receive the administrative support of a school. This includes record-keeping of attendance, grades, testing and transcripts preparation.
To separate them, we have placed the letters PSP or ISP in the title of such schools.
- Bay Area Homeschool Field Trips [BAHFT] – An e-mail group for homeschoolers in the San Francisco Bay Area. Get information on field trips, classes, and events of interest to homeschoolers. Any member may organize trips, and post events sponsored by other groups.
- Homebuilders – Christian homeschool support group serving Brentwood, Antioch, Oakley, Discovery Bay, Pittsburg and surrounding areas. Contact information: Email Andrea Balderrama or call (925) 516-1145.
- Nature Explorers of the East Bay [NEEB] – Hiking and nature explorations with other homeschoolers in and around the East Bay in the San Francisco Bay area on first and third Tuesdays of the month. There is also a listing on the Google Calendars for NEEB Contact information: Email Kristine Konrad.
- Saint Joseph, Guardian of the Redeemer Chapter – TORCH of the East Bay, Catholic perspective. Contact information: Email Joni Durling or call (925) 757-6896.
- San Francisco Bay Unschooling Network [SFBUN] – SFBUN’s mission is to create and support an unschooling community in the San Francisco Bay Area. All ages are welcome. SFBUN meets for a variety of indoor and outdoor events, video gaming, and other fun outings. Contact information: Email Pam T. or call (510) 527-1119.
- The Homeschool Explorers – A homeschooling group in Contra Costa County providing a variety of social and educational activities, for both children and parents. Serving Brentwood, Discovery Bay, Oakley, Antioch, Pittsburg, and surrounding areas. Contact information: Email Jodie Dale.
- Tri-Valley Explorers Homeschool Support Group [TVE] – An all-inclusive homeschool support group serving the SF East Bay, primarily Alameda and Contra Costa counties. Members plan and coordinate activities, park days, classes, field trips, and co-ops, etc. Contact information: Email Tri-Valley Explorers Homeschool Support Group.
- W. Contra Costa County Home Educators – Contact information: Call Carol Berardi at (510) 724-2888.
Farm Fresh to You – Bringing Fresh Organic Produce to Your Door!
by Emerson Sandow
If you live in California, imagine having farm fresh vegetables delivered right to your home every week! In this age of canned reality via the Internet and T.V., and frozen dinners in the microwave, vegetables are one item that can be had un-canned and un-zapped!
FARM FRESH TO YOU is a dream realized by Kathleen Barsotti and Martin Barnes and ultimately their entire family. Kathy and Martin began organically farming in 1976 at their Capay Organic in Yolo County, California.
Farming organic produce was a struggle in the early years, as the regulations for certifying crops as organic were strict, but such natural farming is a passion and belief, not merely a way to make money and the business grew through Farmers’ Markets and supplying some Bay Area gourmet restaurants with fresh, wholesome fruits and vegetables that provided a “live” flavor and potent nutrition to their patrons.
The offspring of Kathy and Martin grew up with Capay Organic and learned the family business, in addition to other endeavors. In 1992, Kathy began FARM FRESH TO YOU, a farm-to-home/office delivery program that brings fresh, organic fruits and vegetables right to customers’ doors! Kathy’s idea grew well and paid off in expanding business and satisfied customers. As a result, in the past 16 years, her sons and their wives have taken over the farm and FARM FRESH TO YOU, continuing the legacy that Kathy and Martin began 40 years ago.
All who appreciate fresh, organic fruits and vegetables are the beneficiaries of their work and you can enjoy this excellent service too! To become a customer, you simply go to the website type in your Zip Code to see if you are in the FARM FRESH TO YOU delivery range and if you are, you then choose the box size, the content mix and frequency of delivery and place your order. It could not be simpler. You are not locked in to a commitment, either. You can change the contents of your box or suspend delivery to suit a change in your schedule or vacation. If you are a regular partaker of organic produce, you know how delicious these vegetables are and the convenience of having them brought right to your door makes ordering from FARM FRESH TO YOU an easy decision for health and great taste! Please visit the website, peruse their wide selection of seasonal fruits and vegetables and get ready for a wonderful organic experience! E.S.
California Foundation for Agriculture in the Classroom – Free K-12 Teaching Resources
California Foundation for Agriculture in the Classroom provides free K-12 teaching resources available for free downloading at LearnAboutAg.org (lesson plans, fact sheets, student newspapers and more). California educators can request print copies, shipped at no expense.
The Plant Science lesson plans (http://learnaboutag.org/resources/learn_plant.cfm) help students discover what plants need to grow through hands-on lessons and activities: Fun with the Plant Nutrient Team (K-3), What Do Plants Need to Grow? (2-4), Too Much? Too Little? (5-8), and Chemistry, Fertilizer, and the Environment (8-12). All resources are aligned to current California Standards. The organization also provides an annual teacher conference (July 14-15, 2017) and the Imagine this… Story Writing Contest for grades 3-8 (November 1 annual deadline). Learn more and request free resources at LearnAboutAg.org.