Starting a home school Group | Everything Sustainable
Many parents who make the choice to home school their kids do so hoping to offer their children a more personalized, in-depth education than they may receive in a one-size-fits-all public education system. However, families often find that taking on this journey alone can be very difficult, especially when parents have gaps in their expertise when it comes to specific subjects.
For this reason, many home school parents opt to join a home school group or co-op where they can team up with other like-minded individuals for both emotional support and instructional participation. While there are often a number of co-ops in a given area that are already established, parents may form smaller home-schooling groups with family or friends or want to start a group that focuses on a specific curriculum or certain learning styles. When embarking on the journey of creating your own co-op, here are some of the items to check off your startup list.
Determine Your Mission and Purpose
People who start a co-op often have a clear vision in mind of what they hope to accomplish with the home school group. Whether you wish to incorporate various religious elements, plan to make sustainability curriculum a focal point, or simply want more control over the lesson plans, determine the ultimate mission of the group and then communicate that purpose with others who are interested in joining.
Choose Your Team
The most successful home school groups are often those with a strong leadership team that has similar values and unique strengths. Be careful in choosing who you want to join your team, making sure every potential candidate has a clear understanding of what the vision of the group is and the expectations of the role. Identify the needs of your co-op, including what tasks need to be taken ownership of, and delegate these duties to the best-suited individuals.
Create a Group Budget
While you may have many great ideas, it helps to first lay out a budget with all leadership team memberships to determine what the group can reasonably accomplish. The following list identifies a few of the areas you should keep in mind when allocating available funds:
- Curriculum and teaching materials
- Desks and teaching space
- Extracurricular activities and field trips
- Special guests and teachers
As you examine your budget and consider your needs, look for areas where you can incorporate more sustainable methods into the logistics of creating your group. A few ways to accomplish this include borrowing, renting, or buying used supplies and books wherever you can. Avoid overuse of paper products by incorporating whiteboards, tablets, or other reusable devices that do not require loose-leaf paper. When sending out forms and correspondence to families, attempt to digitize as much as possible. Not only are these methods better for the environment, but they are kinder to your wallet, too.
Get the Word Out
Once you have a plan in place, understand state laws, and have your group’s core values nailed down, the next step is to find families interested in joining your group. Reach out to family friends, use social media, find organizations you can partner with, or advertise at a church or community to build your sustainable group.