That is the question. Do we join a homeschool co-op? Lots of other families do it. Should we? I’ve been asked to share some schooling with a few friends. Is it worth it? I’m sure some of you have been asked or you know about a local co-op and you wonder if it’s a good idea to join.
There are advantages and disadvantages to being a part of a homeschool co-op. Co-ops provide some extra fun for the kids and a chance for them to interact with other homeschoolers. At our co-op my kids get to learn things they might not do as much here- like being part of a play or doing pioneer crafts for ten whole weeks! The downside to participating in a co-op is they can make you too busy depending on how long it is and your role there at the co-op.They add to your homeschool expense (very important to consider if you have limited funds to work with as it is) and they take away time at home schooling which is a topic I will talk about soon!
As you think about whether a co-op is right for your homeschool, consider the following things.
- How long is the co-op? How much of the day will it cost you? How long per semester?
- How much will the co-op cost? Overall and for individual classes?
- What kinds of classes are taught there? Is it strongly academic or is it extra-curricular focused?
- What is your level of commitment, as an adult, to the co-op once you join? Can you handle what is being asked of you?
- Consider your homeschooling vision. Does this co-op line up with the things you value for your school?
I’m going to be talking about keeping things simple in a future post. As a new homeschooler, it is best to get to know your student before taking them out to a regular commitment. So, I would avoid any co-op that is longer than a couple of hours.
Consider the focus of the co-op. One of the things I love about our homeschooling co-op is that it truly is focused on the extracurricular stuff. Having too many hard core classes going on can begin to shift the home right out of the homeschool! Our chapter leader gently reminds us of that often. I want a co-op to offer my kids some fun along with getting to learn with others.
Co-ops are not a good way to keep things simple in your homeschool! Honestly, my recommendation to is to hold off on joining a co-op until you have a good command of your school. It is difficult enough to get things going in the right direction consistently without adding in extra activities.
Our co-op is two hours long with a 20 minute recess. We meet once a week on Mondays for ten weeks each semester. On the last day we get to enjoy a Co-op Night and see performances and the class showcases. Here’s a peek at ours from this past fall. We offer mostly extra-curricular type classes and the kids all have a great time. I’m not interested in a more formal, longer co-op. I find them unnecessary even though they are very popular.
Make sure what is happening at this co-op is worth your time and make sure it aligns with the vision for your school.
I did a post on our co-op within the last year. You can find out more about the specifics if you’d like.
See you next time!
Be sure to visit these brilliant women in this 10 days adventure between February 7th-18th! We love these ladies and we know you do too.
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