Now is the time of year when you begin seeing signs and hearing all about Homeschool Co-ops. Homeschool Co-ops can be a great thing! But, for some they are overwhelming, and another thing to “mark off” the schedule.
Before committing to a homeschool co-op it is important to weigh the pros and cons.
Pros of Homeschool co-ops
- Socialization-This is a given and the reason many families choose to participate in co-ops. Homeschool co-ops allow your children to meet with the same kids week after week which encourages friendships to be built.
- A school like experience– One thing I hear often is “how will the kids operate in the real world”, while I don’t believe school is “real life” I know many parents want their children to experience a school like environment. Homeschool co-ops can offer this.
- Takes care of the extras– Homeschool co-ops allow you to “mark off” the extras like music, art, and PE.
- Allow children to learn new things-Homeschool co-ops allow children to learn from other parents, subjects that maybe you aren’t the most experienced at. Messy science experiments, calculus, finance and many other subjects can be taught at homeschool co-ops.
Cons of Homeschool co-ops
- Time– Time running to class, time coming home, time at class, time to prepare lessons (if you teach), are all things to consider. Especially if you are short on time BEFORE signing up for a homeschool co-op.
- A school like experience- Yes, this is a pro and a con. Many parents homeschool because they do not want their children to learn from others, or have the public school experience. If this is why you homeschool, then a homeschool co-op may not be the best choice.
- Commitment– Homeschool co-ops require a commitment, this can be financial (co-ops often cost), a time commitment (you will often need to commit to the length of the co-op ranging from weeks to months), or a teaching commitment (many co-ops require parents to teach, help or work in another capacity during co-op).
In addition to evaluating the pros and cons, I also suggest you talk to the homeschool group leader, ask what will be required of you. Go over the classes with your children; make sure they WANT to make the commitment that a homeschool co-op requires. You do NOT want to be dragging them a few weeks in when they don’t even want to be there.
Before agreeing to a homeschool co-op it is important to know all the pros and cons. Hopefully, this list will help you decide if a homeschool co-op is a good fit for your family.
Author Bio: Misty Bailey and her husband have been married for over a decade and have three beautiful children. She shares her struggles with time management, becoming unglued, homeschooling and finding joy in the everyday moments on her blog Joy in the Journey.