Homeschool Co-Op


This school year, we've added something new to our homeschool plans - a homeschool co-op. 

What is a co-op? It's a cooperative, a chance for homeschooling families to get together to share some of the schooling. The idea is to get together one morning per week for 10-13 weeks per semester and supplement the schooling you're already doing at home. 

I heard about a co-op in our area over a year ago, but due to our own family crisis, I decided it wouldn't work for us last year. This year, I decided to go for it, to see how it would fit with what we already do for school. So far, it's been great! 

First, our co-op is made up of Christian families. There are many things about our co-op that make it distinctly Christian - we meet at a church, we open in prayer each week, we spend a few minutes worshiping together, and each mom spends 1 of the 4 class hours of the day in a prayer group with other moms. I like that a lot and it adds a much deeper dynamic to the group than would be there otherwise. 

My daughter is old enough to get to choose from a variety of electives for the 4 classes she takes. This semester she is taking Ballet, American Girl Book Study, US Geography, and Space Camp. Other options included: Cooking, Martial Arts, Sign Language, Wars, Missionary Studies and more that I can't even remember. These electives will be different for each co-op and each semester, as they depend on what interests the children have and what the moms can teach.

My son is in PreSchool, so he doesn't have electives to choose from but has a wonderful former Preschool teacher for his class who runs the show just like a formal Preschool. His biggest adjustment has been not having me in the room with him. He enjoys himself each week, but still is uncomfortable with me leaving the room each time. 

Of course, the idea behind a co-op is that there is give and take. So in addition to my kids enjoying great classes, I am teaching one class and assisting in others. US Geography / States and Capitals is my class. I like geography, so it was an easy choice for me. 

Our co-op has 50 families taking part, which equates to about 200 people. The leaders have organized it so well - everyone knows where they are to, what their role is, and everyone seems to enjoy themselves.

There are many benefits of a co-op. There are new friends to be made - for the kids and for the moms. Kids can do group games and gym time in a way that simply cannot happen with our small family at home. There's a greater opportunity for expanded learning - since we're not limited to only what I know or can teach (foreign language is a great example... my kids aren't limited to only what I can teach them, since other moms within the co-op know other languages and are willing to teach them). The co-op isn't meant to replace the learning that takes place at home, which is still the core and the basics (math, reading, writing, etc). It's meant to supplement the at-home learning and provide some of the benefits of traditional group-learning settings, without having to enroll in public school. 

We're 3 weeks into the fall semester of our co-op. My kids and I agree that it's been great, adding a fun new dynamic to our school weeks. 


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