Thanks for coming back for Day 2 of my five day series on homeschool cooperatives. Yesterday, we defined homeschool cooperatives and explained the different types of co-ops. We are going to continue our discussion about homeschool cooperatives and how they can enrich your homeschooling experience. Today I would like to talk about the benefits of working together with other homeschoolers.
- Support - While some families are successful going the homeschooling journey alone, most people benefit from support. Joining up with other families has enriched our lives by giving us much needed support from grounded, experienced homeschoolers. We have found this support through relationships we have made at co-op. We have the ability to ask questions and watch other homeschool moms who have gone ahead of us in the journey and can guide us through each new phase of homeschooling. My oldest is completing 6th grade this year and I am charting new territory in the area of middle school, so I was blessed this year by the support from moms who had already “been there, done that”. Support also comes in the form of being able to have help in areas where mom is weak, which leads to my next point:
- Educational Benefits - My kids have enjoyed learning everything from art to writing in our most recent co-op experience. We have greatly benefited from the experience of other moms and dads teaching abilities. I was rather intimidated by the thought of teaching my son to write well. There are so many materials available, I didn’t know where to start. I wanted him well-prepared for the future. Taking a writing class at co-op was just what we needed and it has provided the opportunity for him to learn to write, speak, illustrate and share his thoughts. We have also gained much educationally by doing science classes together. The material seems to come alive when we can do experiments together and have discussions about science in a group. We learn from everyone’s varied perspectives. The opportunity to have feedback from other mom teachers can be invaluable for your child. Assignments with firm deadlines can help mom with accountability and follow-through.
- Friendships – We have formed what I think will be lifelong friendships with families through homeschool cooperatives. We have been able to spend time together and build relationships that are just not possible in other venues. Our kids have been able to form bonds and reach out to kids from all ages and stages of life. It has been a very positive experience for us.
- Financial Savings - Our co-op has the benefit of meeting at a church. We give a donation to the church at the end of each semester to help offset the cost of utilities. This keeps our operating costs down and we usually pool our school supplies, snacks, etc so that we don’t have many fees for the classes. We decide on the topics and curricula we will use early in the year to allow plenty of time to budget for materials. This year we taught Chemistry and Physics at the elementary level and found that by doing many of the experiments together, we could purchase the supplies and spread the cost over the whole group, rather than each individual family conducting the same experiment on their own at home. This was a significant savings for each family.
- Socialization and Fun – Doing things together just sometimes makes things more fun. Our kids love packing lunches and eating outside with friends. Moms make connections and swap stories. Good times are had and memories are made. I believe that most homeschoolers are more socialized than their public school counterparts, but having group interactions with kids their own ages helps relieve mom guilt and grandparent concerns when they are present.
- Unique Opportunities - We took one semester to explore a class we called “Life Skills” and split the boys and girls into separate classes. We rounded up moms and dads with specific skill sets to teach things from pasta and bread making to changing tires and checking the oil in cars. We have had the opportunity to experience history fairs, ministry opportunities such as making parachutes for the purpose of dropping Bibles, radios and Christian literature over guerilla-controlled jungle areas as a homeschool group. We are preparing right now for our first science fair.
I can’t cover all the benefits we have received from participating in co-ops and homeschool group activities over the years. I know that cooperating with others has brought life and encouragement into our homeschool. I hope you gained some fresh ideas and maybe some encouragement today that you don’t have to go at this homeschool journey alone. Even reaching out to one other family and working together on something can make learning more interesting.
Join me tomorrow as we discuss the downside to cooperatives and whether a cooperative is right for your family.
The giveaway ends Friday. We are giving away a copy of Homeschool Co-Ops: How to Start Them, Run Them and Not Burn Out by Carol Topp
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!
Here is a list of some of my bloggy friends who are participating in this week’s blog hop and the topics they will be covering. Please take a minute to support them and check out what they have to say about homeschooling.
Lisa @ A Rup Life ~ Our Favorite Books – Day 2
Melissa @ Life Off the Paved Road ~ Fit From Home
Michelle @ Faith, Family, and Fridays ~ Clearing Out the Clutter in your Head
Jennifer @ Chestnut Grove Academy ~ Educational Apps -Day 2
Lisa @ Home to 4 Kiddos ~ Celebrating Lent
Tawnee @ Adventures in Homeschooling ~ Spring Schooling
Crystal @ Crystal Starr Blog ~ Christ-Centered Character Training – fighting
Brittney @ Mom’s Heart ~ Relaxed Homeschooling – Masterly Inactivity