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Copyright 2005 Julie Shepherd Knapp
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The Homeschool Diner's Guide to
Homeschooling Basics
Finding Support

Helpful Tips about Yahoo! Homeschool Groups:

by Julie Shepherd Knapp, copyright 2006

Finding a Group

There are thousands of homeschool groups that use the free Yahoo! Groups service.  To find a
group near you, begin at the Yahoo!
Groups Home Page .  You will use the Search box to search for
homeschool groups in your area.

You have to be very thorough in your search.  The Yahoo! Groups search engine isn't very
accommodating -- it will only list for you groups that mention on their home pages
exactly the words
you have entered in the Search box.  

First you should try your city with the word "homeschool" (such as, Birmingham homeschool).  Then
try substituting with the words "home-school", "homeschooling", "homeschoolers", and "home
educators".  If you don't find any groups for your city, try your county, your state, and your region,
such as Southern Ohio or Panhandle Florida... but also try these regions without spaces in the words
(such as southernohio) in case the region is only mentioned in the e-mail address of the group.

Remember what an ordeal it is to search for a group, so that if you should decide to start up your own
Yahoo! Group --  you will remember to include all of the possible words people might search for (all
the regional names and all the variations of the word homeschool) in your description or as a separate
list of "keywords" at the bottom of your group description, to help people find your group ;-)

Besides local and state groups, you can also search for national groups that focus on a particular
homeschooling approach, curriculum, or topic.  For example, search for "unschooling", "Charlotte
Mason", "classical homeschooling", "gifted homeschooling", "homeschool science", "Sonlight", "K12",
"liberal homeschoolers", conservative homeschoolers", "Catholic homeschoolers", "Buddhist
homeschoolers", etc., etc., etc..  ;-)  

How to Join a Yahoo! Group

You will need to have a Yahoo! ID (an e-mail address that ends in "@yahoo.com") to join a Yahoo!
Group.  You can get one for free at the
Yahoo! Sign-In and Registration page.  

When you sign up, you will receive a free e-mail box to go with your ID.  You can use this to receive
and keep track of all your e-mail or just e-mail from your Yahoo! Groups, or you can decide not to use
the mailbox at all.  

When you sign up, you will be asked to create an ID name, which will be combined with "@yahoo.com"
to become your Yahoo e-mail address, so pick whatever ID you want -- it can be something humorous,
such as "borntohomeschool" or some form of your name or initials, such as "jsmith" ... whatever you
want.   The sign-up screen will tell you if an ID has already been taken, and you will have to modify it
and try again.  If you are signing up for Yahoo *paid* features, too, such as a larger e-mail box, you
will need to give them your credit card info... but you will not need a credit card to get the free ID and
basic mailbox.

So, just follow the on-screen directions and help menus to get signed up!

Finding Yahoo! Groups to Join

Just go to the Yahoo! Groups Home page, and enter the word "homeschool" (without the quotation
marks ;-) in the search box located at the top of the page.  Click on SEARCH.  Thousands of groups
will come up, and you can browse thru them.  Click on those that sound interesting to read more of
their descriptions.  

If you want to join, click on "Join this Group" and follow the directions :-)

Managing the Volume of Group E-mails

When you join a Yahoo! Group you will have the option of choosing how to receive the group's posted
messages.  If you don't choose otherwise, e-mails will come to whatever e-mail box you list on the
join-up page.  

This may be fine if you belong to smaller groups, of if your group doesn't "chat" much... but some
people have trouble with their mailboxes filling up faster than they can look at or delete e-mails.  Some
of the larger, busier groups can generate 50 or more e-mails in a single day!  Even if you only join
small groups, if you join several of them, you may still get too many e-mails for you to comfortably

If you find that you can't manage the volume of e-mails, but don't want to leave groups that are giving
you helpful information and support -- you have several options that will ease the load on your mailbox.

If you already belong to a group, you will need to change the e-mail settings on your group
membership page.  You may change your group e-mail settings at any time -- just go to the group
Home page and click on "Edit Membership" at the top of the page.  If you are joining a new group, you
can choose your e-mail options at that time.

Here are the options for your group e-mail settings:

Receive Individual e-Mails:
If you like getting the group e-mails in your e-mail box as they are sent
to the group - choose the option "Receive Individual e-Mails".  This is the default setting, so, probably
what was selected when you joined, if you didn't choose to change it.

If you get overwhelmed by lots of e-mails... or if your e-mail box fills up easily, and you can't keep up
with the volume... or if you are annoyed by reading other people's conversations (even though you
can just Delete what you don't want to read ;-)...  then choose a different option.  

Daily Digest: This takes all the messages that were sent to the group during a single day, and lists
them all, one after the other, in a single, long e-mail, which is then sent to your e-mail box once a day.  
This option may also be helpful if you have Dail-Up service and find that it takes too long for each
individual e-mail to open up after you click on it.  However, it can be annoying to have to scroll down
through all the posts and untrimmed post "remains" (when someone replies to a message, but doesn't
delete the previous messages below the current one) to read the few topics that interest you.  But
some people find it quicker in the long run, especially if your e-group only occassionally has busy
days with lots of messages.  

One draw-back to Daily Digests - you do not learn about what is going on as quickly as when you
receive individual e-mails.  You may miss out on last minute activities or conversations that you would
have liked to join while they were going on.  You can still reply to any message that you choose.  You
can always try this (or any) option, and change back, if you don't like it.

Special Notices:  This option isn't used by all groups -- if you really only want this option, ask the
group moderator, before or after you join,  if she ever sends special notices.   It is usually intended
more for groups that send periodic newsletters and group-wide special announcements.

No e-Mail - I'll read messages at the website:  This is a very efficient way of using Yahoo Groups.  
If you choose this option, you will not receive any group e-mails in your mailbox.  Instead, you will go to
the group website Home Page, at your convenience, and read the messages as they are listed on the
website.  This option works well for those on either  Broadband or Dial-up, and can save you a lot of
time, because you can see what the subject of each message is, and can decide whether or not to
even open and read it.  You can quickly scan what was posted, by whom, at any time of the day or
night (whenever you choose to check), and reply whenever you wish.  

I recommend saving the group Home page (or Messages) page as a "Favorite" on your computer or
make a "Bookmark" of the page so you can keep a list of all your groups in one spot.  Then, when you
have time, you can click thru each group and see what's going on. :-)

Did you know that The Homeschool Diner has a Yahoo! Group?  To find out more to
Homeschool Diner Conversations  :-)
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Copyright 2005-2012 by Julie Shepherd Knapp,
unless otherwise noted.

To request permission to republish, reprint, make multiple
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Searching is half the fun:
life is much more manageable
when thought of as a scavenger hunt
as opposed to a surprise party.
-- Jimmy Buffett