Understanding Homeschool Co-Ops | Everything Sustainable
While homeschooling may take place without the oversight of a school board and teaching staff, this does not mean parents of homeschoolers need to take on this daunting task alone. By joining a homeschool co-op, homeschooling families can join forces and homeschool several students at one time. The structure, curriculum, and mission of different home school groups can vary greatly, which is why it is important that parents take the time to look into each co-op and make sure their values and learning styles align before making the decision to join.
How Does a Homeschool Co-Op Work?
Homeschool co-ops are essentially a group of several families with homeschooling children that meet together for instruction, projects, field trips, or other activities. Sometimes, these groups involve a very close-knit group of family and friends who have all made the decision to homeschool their children. There are also several national groups that have hundreds of members throughout the country and a larger spending budget.
Another option available to parents in today’s digital world is to join an online co-op. There are hundreds of Facebook groups available to homeschoolers and their parents to connect with like-minded individuals and glean helpful resources. Local groups may even schedule in-person meetups and extracurricular activities using social media.
What Are the Benefits of Joining a Co-Op?
While some parents prefer to pursue their homeschooling journey alone and seek resources as needed, others find solidarity in joining homeschooling groups and enjoy the social aspect these co-ops offer. Parents often receive a significant amount of emotional support and resources by joining a group, and children similarly benefit from having time set aside to interact with other kids their age.
Additionally, parents have complete freedom in choosing a co-op, so they can take the time to pick a group that appeals to them. Parents and kids alike often enjoy a break from the norm of learning from home. By pulling funds together, co-ops can invest in lab equipment, computers, and other supplies that can add to the child’s learning experience. Homeschool groups can also complete extracurricular activities together, such as learning to play an instrument, participating in group physical activity, or developing computer skills.
How Do You Choose a Co-Op?
When considering different homeschool group, it helps for parents to create a list of expectations ahead of time so they can narrow down their search. There are several questions to ask yourself as you browse groups in your area:
- How involved do you as the parent want to be in the co-op?
- Do you want to join a co-op that promotes certain beliefs or lifestyles, such as Christianity or sustainability?
- Do you plan to meet once a month or several times a week?
- Do you want your kids to be taught at the co-op or to just participate in special projects and activities?
- Would you like a group that also provides supplies and curriculum?
It is important to remember that a co-op is a tool for you to use to make homeschooling a better experience for your children and that you have the freedom to find a group that caters to your unique needs. Whether you hope to teach alongside other parents or simply want a support group to enjoy activities with from time to time, there are many options available to consider.