Extracurriculars–Co-op: TOS 5 Days of Homeschool Blog Hop

If you homeschool, there may come a day when you decide you don’t want to go it alone.  You’d like to join a few other families and learn together in a co-op.

We’ve joined three different co-ops during our homeschool tenure thus far, and we’ve learned quite a bit about how co-ops do and don’t fit into our homeschool.  If you’re thinking of joining a co-op, here are some things to consider:

Is this a mainly academic co-op?  Some co-ops are strictly academic, and you will likely have to set aside your own homeschooling to complete all of the assignments required of the co-op.  Some families love this and find that having a co-op to attend motivates them and gets them more excited to learn.  For our family, we found these types of co-ops restrictive.  We much prefer doing our learning independent of a co-op.  We like to choose what subjects to study and what materials to use.

Is this a mainly extracurricular co-op?  In these co-ops, families gather to do fun activities together.  We belonged to a co-op like this and really enjoyed it.  The girls took dance and art; Bookworm took street hockey and magnetic experiments.  We did our own academic work at home, and one day a week we met for co-op and fun extracurriculars.  Some families may not like this type of co-op because they may see it as a drag on school time.

What are the rules of the co-op?  Of the three co-ops we have attended, one was VERY strict.  Everything was spelled out in a 30+ page handbook, and there were even uniforms required.  Another had a mid-level number of rules, and the third did not have very many rules at all.  I preferred the mid-level co-op because there were enough rules to maintain order and structure, but not so many that I felt micromanaged.

What is your responsibility as a parent?  Co-ops vary in their parental responsibility.  Some co-ops require that the parent volunteers to teach one class; other co-ops do not require parents volunteer.  In each of the co-ops we attended, parents were required to volunteer in some capacity.  I’ve done everything from teaching preschoolers to teaching high school literature and composition.  Remember when you join a co-op that your own requirement will take time to plan and execute.  I often found that the preparation I needed for volunteering at the co-op took several hours time away from my own family and homeschooling.

A co-op can be a great addition to the homeschool day IF you choose the right co-op for your family’s learning style and you are aware of the time commitment on both yourself as a volunteer and your children.

If you homeschool, are you part of a co-op?

This post is part of the 5 Days of Homeschool Blog Hop.  To read more, click below:



Comments

  1. I tried to get my children interested in co-ops over the years, but they always refused to do anything even remotely like public school – that is how much they hated those couple of years! We did like park days and homeschool day meetups and field trips though and when my kids were younger we participated in quite a number of those.

  2. We used to be. This is actually our first year homeschooling without a co-op and do you know what I miss the most? The other moms 🙂 🙂

  3. We used to do a short-term co-op that was mostly extra-curricular. It was great for when the kids were young and we wanted some art or hands-on science or whatever as an add-on to what we were already doing.

    In the coming school year, we are going back to a co-op – this time it will go all school year and it’s high school level classes. In fact, I’m teaching one of them. We couldn’t have fit this kind of thing into our schedule before, but as we’ve grown up in our homeschool, our needs have changed and so we’re excited to do this!

    I think you’ve hit it on the head with the questions you need to ask before committing to a co-op – know what you’re getting into and consider whether it fills needs in your homeschool or if it’s going to add to your stress level!

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