If you’ve been around the homeschool scene for any length of time, you’ve probably heard of a homeschool co-op. For those of you who may not be familiar with exactly what a homeschool co-op is, let me give you a quick rundown:
What is a Homeschool Co-op?
A homeschool co-op is a group of homeschooling families who work cooperatively toward a common goal. Because we don’t all have the very same goals, homeschool co-ops can look vastly different from one group to another. But the basic premise is, parents, decide what they want out of the co-op (extra academics, social time, arts, activities or a combination of all of these) and work together to make it happen. The parents may do the teaching or pitch in together to hire teachers. Co-ops may meet once a week during the regular school year or once a month all year long, depending on what the parents decide.
Why You Should Join One
Because homeschool co-ops can vary so much from group to group, it’s important to know what you’re wanting out of a co-op before joining. But no matter what it is you’re hoping to gain from joining, there are basic reasons why I think joining one is a good idea!
Gives kids the opportunity to make friends
No, I’m not going to talk about the “socialization” issue here. But allowing our kids a safe environment to make some new friends is a really good thing. They’ll be surrounded by kids of parents who have similar ideas and goals for their kids as you do. You’ll have the opportunity to get to know the other kids and be aware of who your kids are spending time with. And there’s the added bonus of building friendships with the moms of those kids.
Allows kids to learn from others
Ever wondered how your kids would respond to someone else teaching them? Would they be respectful? Listen quietly? Interact and respond to questions? Co-op is an excellent opportunity for your kids to learn under someone else’s tutelage. They’ll also be able to connect with other adults who can pour into them and play a role in their future successes.
Offers classes that wouldn’t be taken otherwise
Maybe you aren’t the crafty type. Or music is not your forte. Maybe your kids are interested in drama, but putting together a play with just a couple of siblings is not ideal. Your co-op may offer things like shop class, violin lessons, art, and drama. There may be a higher level class that you aren’t equipped to teach your child or a subject that you dread tackling every day. Let another mom -one who enjoys the topic- tackle it for you!
Builds a community for moms
Let’s face it, homeschooling can be a little lonely for a mom. At a co-op, you’ll find plenty of like-minded moms who want to get to know you just as much as you’d like to get to know them. Many co-ops will have time during the day to meet in small groups for prayer and encouragement just between moms. They’ll often plan moms nights, too!
Homeschool co-op can be enjoyed for a season or for the life of your homeschool
Joining a homeschool co-op doesn’t mean you’re committing for life. Give it a try and see if it is a good fit for your family. If not, finish out the session and then call it quits. If you fall in love with it, stick with it for as long as life allows. One thing is for sure: you won’t regret giving it a try!