We have been personally blessed by participating in homeschool cooperatives. After pondering this and being immersed in planning for our fall homeschool cooperative, I decided to write a week-long series on homeschool co-ops. Join me this week as I share from my heart and experience with homeschool co-ops. Visit each day this week and be sure to enter to win my giveaway of the book,
For the sake of the new homeschooler, I felt it important to define a homeschool cooperative. The word cooperative is defined on dictionary.com as:
1. Working or acting together willingly for a common purpose or benefit.
There are many groups in the homeschooling community that call themselves homeschool cooperatives, or co-ops. They range from a very small group of two families to hundreds of students and families. The point is to join together with others in the process of educating your children and cooperating with each other to accomplish this common goal.
Types of Cooperatives
Most cooperatives fall in to one of two categories
- Academic – setup for the purpose of accomplishing academic studies in a group environment.
- Enrichment-type activities to supplement educational goals set at home. Some examples might be field trips, drama, art, physical education, social activities and/or other activities that enrich the homeschool but are not necessarily academic subjects.
Before you can choose to join or start a co-op, you need to find out what type will meet the needs of your family the best at your current stage of life.
When we first heard about co-ops, we found one local group in our area that met on a weekly basis for activities at the local civic center. We had dance classes, PE/Game time outside, and other enrichment-type activities. My eldest was a preschooler at the time, and this setting helped me meet other homeschooling families and begin to make connections. It met a need I had for fellowship with other moms and allowed my sons time to get to know other homeschoolers. If we had participated in this when my son was older and learning to read, write, etc, it might not have fit in so nicely in our schedule.
Our next experience with co-op was when my boys were in K5 and 4th grade. This was a large co-op with many options for kids of all ages. It met weekly for about 10 weeks each semester. I had a one-year old and a nursery was provided. Each mom was expected to teach or assist for two teaching periods with a break during one period for fellowship.
Our most recent experience has been with a smaller group of about 10 families that grew from a summer writing class. We tried it out over the summer and found that the format pleased us. All of the families worked well together and we wanted to continue the class. Since we were going to get together every two weeks for the writing class, we discussed combining our efforts and doing science together as well. We soon rounded out the time by adding a life skills class for boys and one for girls. This allowed us to spend a half day together and get in enough hours to count as a school day. We added activities for the younger kids and a co-op was born.
No matter what your experience, I hope that you will join me this week as I share with you some of the things we have learned along the way and some of the info I have gleaned from other sources on the topic. Here are some of the resources I have enjoyed that cover homeschool cooperatives.
I am currently reading, Homeschool Co-ops 101 by Karen Lange available in e-book format and paperback from Amazon.com
Karen Lange shares her experience over the years with her three kids participating and leading co-ops. Some of my ideas for this series are gleaned from this resource.
I have heard Debra Bell speak on numerous occasions in person and I am never disappointed in what she has to say. This book is a new homeschooler’s go-to guide and covers almost every topic under the sun including homeschooling cooperatives. A definite must-have for every homeschooler.
This post has been linked to a special five day blog hop from the TOS Review Crew. There are a plethora of topics to peruse if you simply click the graphic below. Grab a cup of coffee or some chocolate and enjoy some great reading!
Don’t forget to enter the giveaway below and come back every day this week for more great discussions on homeschool cooperatives.
Here are some of my bloggy friends who are participating in this week’s blog hop and the topics they will be covering. Please support them and check out what they have to say.
Brittney @ Mom’s Heart ~ What is Relaxed Homeschooling?
Lisa @ A Rup Life ~ Our Favorite Books – Day 1 – Board Books
Melissa @ Life Off the Paved Road ~ Fit From Home
Michelle @ Faith, Family, and Fridays ~ Clearing Out the Clutter in the Home
Jennifer @ Chestnut Grove Academy ~ Educational Apps
Lisa @ Home to 4 Kiddos ~ Celebrating Lent Introduction
Tawnee @ Adventures in Homeschooling ~ Spring Schooling – spring field trips
Crystal @ Crystal Starr Blog ~ Christ-Centered Character Training – How We Do It