For the last two days we have been talking about homeschool cooperatives and how they can benefit the homeschooling family. We defined co-ops and talked about the benefits of cooperatives. Today I want to talk about the things to consider before joining a cooperative. How do you know if a co-op will be a good fit for your family?
The most important thing to do is ask questions. Talk to the director and moms who have been involved with the co-op. Get as many details up front as possible. Consider the following details:
- Distance – figure travel time and gas cost into your decision
- Curriculum – will the things offered at co-op be extras or things that will complement your curriculum choices for the upcoming year.
- Cost – figure in materials, lunches, gas, etc.
- Parent participation – Do all parent’s teach classes or assist? Will you be required to provide supplies or plan lessons? Do you have time for that at this stage in your life?
- What age/grades does the co-op serve. Will there be something for each child in your family?
- Start and end times – If you have babies, all day co-ops may be hard on the little ones nap schedules. If they start too early in the morning, think about whether you can get out the door on time each time the classes meet.
- Will taking time away from your planned curriculum cause stress- Will you be missing one math lesson a week? Will this cause you to get behind so that you can’t complete a whole year of material. I chose to have my kids get up early on co-op day and do a math lesson before co-op. All of my other things I have adapted to a four day schedule so that on co-op day we are free to have the classes count as our entire schooling for the day.
Consider Your Season of Life
Is this the right season for participation?
There are lots of different seasons in life. If you have lots of toddlers, are caring for elderly parents, are dealing with family illnesses or have special needs children that are requiring lots of extra time and attention, you may find that cooperatives only increase the stress in your life. Make sure that you consider your schedule, extracurricular activities, church responsibilities, etc before you commit to a cooperative. You can still have a successful homeschool without participation in a cooperative. If one of the above situations describes your season right now, let yourself off the hook. DON”T feel guilty. Your kids will still be socialized. While cooperatives can be great, they are just a tool and are not the reason we decided to homeschool our kids in the first place. Look at the ages of your kids, take stock of your families’ needs and goals and make an informed decision. Never forget the home in homeschool!
Don’t forget to register to win the book Homeschool Co-ops: How to Start Them, Run Them and Not Burn Out by Carol Topp. The giveaway ends Friday!
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.
Michelle @ Faith, Family, and Fridays ~ Clearing Out the Clutter in your Heart
Jennifer @ Chestnut Grove Academy ~ Educational Apps – Day 3
Lisa @ Home to 4 Kiddos ~ Celebrating Lent – crafts
Tawnee @ Adventures in Homeschooling ~ Spring Schooling
Crystal @ Crystal Starr Blog ~ Christ-Centered Character Training – complaining
Brittney @ Mom’s Heart ~ Relaxed Homeschooling – A Day in the Life
Lisa @ A Rup Life ~ Our Favorite Books – Day 3