St. Thomas Aquinas Homeschoolers of the Rochester Area St. Thomas Aquinas Homeschoolers of the Rochester Area
 

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Our mission is to provide information, experiences, and a supportive community for Catholic families who choose to educate their children at home.  St. Thomas Aquinas Homeschoolers of the Rochester Area has as its foundation and as the guiding principle of all its function and activities fidelity to the teachings of the Roman Catholic Church.


If you are already a member, click "Login" in the top right, enter your username and password, and click Secure Login. If you have forgotten your user name or password, click on the appropriate link in that box for further instructions.

The legalities of homeschooling in New York:

Don't let these regulations intimidate you! In practice, they are not as onorous as they may appear at first, and as a member of STAHRA, you will benefit from our collective years of experience with many school districts in the area. 

New York State Homeschooling Regulations 100.10

Homeschooling Q & A from the NYS Board of Ed

  • Members-only website, including directory listing contact information for all STAHRA families.
  • Forums to discuss homeschooling and other pertinent topics, including a Classifieds section for purchase and sale of curriculum.
  • Opportunity to participate in our mentoring program.
  • Opportunity to attend group-sponsored field trips, activities, and events.
  • Group discounts on plays, concerts, and other field trips .
  • Group liability insurance.
  • Membership in a supportive Catholic community.
  • New friends!

Activities and Events are run completely on a volunteer basis and vary year to year.  Here is a sampling of group activities:

SUPPORT FOR MOMS
Mom’s Night Out- a monthly opportunity for prayer and support
Parents of Challenging Children Support Meetings
Annual Mom’s Retreat at Abbey of the Genesee
Mentoring Program for new homeschoolers
IHIP, Quarterly Report Writing Workshop (summer)
Used Curriculum and Book Sale

FAMILY EVENTS
Kick-Off Mass and Pot Luck Picnic
All Saints Day Party
May Crowning
Field Day
Homeschool Expo.  (Science/Art/Talent Fair)
Graduation Mass and Pot Luck Dinner

CLUBS AND ACTIVITIES
Field trips: museums, farms, concerts, children’s theater, local history, nature hikes, Seabreeze, etc.
First Friday Mass, lunch & enrichment co-op for tots-teens in Fairport (October – May)
Lenten Stations of the Cross (Fridays)
Blue Knights (young boys)
Virtues in Practice (young girls)
Teen Dance

FAMILY NEEDS MINISTRY
Provide meals for family during crisis or arrival of new baby

If you are not yet homeschooling, but have children and are considering this educational option, we're happy to have you join us. Whether your children are very young, or in school while you discern whether homeschooling is right for your family, or you are considering bringing only some of your children home from school, you will find support, encouragement, and advice born of experience within our group. If you are not ready to join, you may choose to attend one or two Mom's Nights or other events as a guest while you are looking into homeschooling.

If you do not yet have children, but you are interested in learning more about homeschooling, we can let you know when we are going to have an informational night and can put you in touch with members willing to discuss their experience with you. However, we ask that you do not apply for membership at this time.

If you have special needs children in your family, we have an experienced group within our membership to support you.

If you are not Catholic--While the vast majority of our members are Catholic, neither you, nor your spouse needs to be of our faith to join. If you believe that we can be of assistance to you in either your homeschooling or faith journey, we wholeheartedly welcome you. We do expect that all members be respectful of our intent and mission as a Catholic homeschooling organization. We do not require anyone to sign a statement of faith.

Please feel free to contact us at hsinfostahra@yahoo.com if you need more information before making your decision. 


Security and trust

The purpose of this website is to facilitate gatherings, support, and face-to-face interaction among the members of the “real world” STAHRA group. In other words, STAHRA is not an Internet support group or simply an online forum. We are a real live support group, and as such, we would like to get to know you and vice versa.

In the interest of maintaining the strength and integrity of STAHRA as an organization that provides friendship, encouragement and support for Catholic homeschooling families in the Diocese of Rochester, applicants are required to provide accurate family information, including children's names (nicknames okay) and approximate birthdates in order to determine age groups.

The website is secure, the group is private, and your family's details will be kept secure. Within our membership, we do everything we can to respect and protect each other's privacy. If you have a further concern about Internet safety, please refer to this Homeschool-Life Security document. If you are not comfortable sharing this information within the safe confines of this group, then we may not be the group for you.

St. Thomas Aquinas Homeschoolers of the Rochester Area is a group of over 60 families in Upstate New York who provide support and encouragement to one another.

We are not a school or a co-op. We don't provide curriculum or tutoring, although we can discuss many options with you. We don't promote one homeschooling method or philosophy over another. Our members use a broad range of approaches, including umbrella schools like MODG, Seton, and Kolbe Academy; Catholic curricula programs like Catholic Heritage Curriculum; the Montessori and Charlotte Mason methods; classical curricula, completely eclectic programs, and unschooling. We pretty much run the gamut, and our members are happy to share their insights.

Whether you are new to homeschooling, or an experienced homeschooler recently moved to New York, we look forward to meeting you. We welcome families who are just starting to consider homeschooling, whether they have babies or high school students. You'll find members who can address your questions about withdrawing children from school, or homeschooling some children while others go to school. Others can share their experience with successfully walking their students through the college application process.

We have several families with experience homeschooling children with special needs, both in terms of the legal practicalities, and in the far more important day to day support. If your family includes children with different needs, you will find that the wider STAHRA group is very supportive as well. 

This group has been in existence since 1992, and some of the original members are still here, happy to help as you embark on this adventure.

Saint Thomas Aquinas Homeschoolers of the Rochester Area began under the name Catholic Homeschoolers of Western New York (CHSWNY) in 1992 when a handful of Catholic families gathered at a picnic to support each other in their decision to begin homeschooling.  The group remained small and informal for several years.  Annual picnics were held, a newsletter was published and a few field trips were planned.  Opportunities for shared religious experiences were made available through a Christmas Rosary, Lenten Stations of the Cross and May Crowning.

The group became more formal in 1996 when moms began meeting on a monthly basis for “Mom’s Night Out” and a board of directors was voted in.  As the number of families in the group increased, so too did the scope of activities and events.  In 2001 the board of directors voted that the group would become affiliated with TORCH; Traditions of Roman Catholic Homes, a national support group, to provide us with low-cost liability insurance which was becoming important as we sought to find locations for the numerous events and activities which our members were now planning.  When TORCH lost its insurance coverage, the decision was made to discontinue our membership and to legally incorporate to enable us to purchase our own insurance policy.  We legally incorporated in 2004 under the name Saint Thomas Aquinas Homeschoolers of the Rochester Area choosing the name of the patron saint of Catholic education.