Apr 07

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Homeschool Cooperatives – Defined plus a Giveaway!

Homeschool Co-opsWe 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,

HS Co-ops by Carol Topp

Homeschool Co-Ops: How to Start Them, Run Them and Not Burn Out by Carol Topp

Cooperatives Defined

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.

2.  Demonstrating a willingness to cooperate.

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.

Homeschool Co-ops  101



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.




guide to homeschooling



The Ultimate Guide to Homeschooling by Debra Bell

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!

April Blog Hop

 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

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Permanent link to this article: http://conversaving.com/2014/04/07/homeschool-cooperatives-day-1-defining-a-cooperative-plus-a-giveaway/


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  1. Michele @ Family, Faith and Fridays

    Would love to help our new co op grow!

    1. Jennifer

      I will talk more about this in upcoming posts.

  2. Lisa R @ A Rup Life

    I would love to win this book! I’ve been thinking about *possibly* starting a coop for the fall – just for enrichment..

    1. Jennifer

      Good luck!

  3. Brittney @ Mom's Heart

    I love our current co-op, but sometimes I wish we had one that was smaller and more personal, in order to meet our current goals.

    1. Jennifer

      We have definitely liked the smaller group setting over the large group we were previously involved in.

  4. Jennifer Altman

    Love it! I have started several of my own co-ops over the years, now that we are back in MD I plan to join up with a great one we were part of once before! It’s great info though, b/c they are not always available.

    1. Jennifer

      Thanks for reading. I am not an expert, but love to research and share my stories.

  5. Crystal H

    I’ve launched a new co-op this year. It has been quite the experience. Thank you for the book recommendations!

    1. Jennifer

      I am reading through several right now. It takes a lot of work to make a co-op a success, but it is so much easier to work together.

  6. Carol Topp

    I hope my book is helpful to the winner! I recently updated it with a new cover and replaced some dead websites, but 90% of the content is unchanged.
    My website homeschoolcpa.com has articles and more books on “advanced ” topics like money and the IRS.
    I’m also creating audio podcasts and videos!
    Carol Topp

    1. Jennifer

      I am so excited you stopped by Carol. Thanks for commenting!

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