Thanks for coming back for Day 5 of our discussion on homeschool cooperatives. We have defined cooperatives (don’t forget to enter my giveaway), discussed the benefits of co-ops, mulled over things to consider before joining a cooperative, and starting your own co-op. Today we will finish up by having a brief discussion about choosing classes.
The first co-op we attended was mainly for enrichment. I define enrichment activities as those things which enhance our homeschool experience but are not necessary and not necessarily a part of my homeschool plan for the year. While some co-ops of this type such as Fine Arts co-ops, Park Days and Field trips fall into this category, if you can’t participate in these, there will not be a big gap in your children’s education. We have found these enrichment activities to benefit our kids especially in the younger years when the pressure to cover necessary material is less. I love the idea of having someone else encourage my kids in art, music, and physical education but as my children are getting older, I find that extracurricular activities are taking a back seat in our educational goals. We found that a purely enrichment co-op once a week was taking too many school hours away from our base curricula. When we changed to a smaller more personal co-op where we had a chance to have more input into the classes, we were much happier.
The co-op that we are currently a part of has about 10 families and we brainstorm together to come up with classes that fit our scope and sequence. We have chosen to have a writing class, a science class and one enrichment class. This last year we did Chemistry and Physics together, reading a textbook at home for two weeks and then meeting to do labs and discussion together. We have been working through the Institute for Excellence in Writing material as a group and have really improved our writing skills. The kids really benefited from the deadlines for poems, papers and reports and they enjoyed reading their work in front of their classmates. We are planning to do some book studies next year and expound on our writing skills with critical thinking exercises, essay question etc. We will study anatomy and physiology and have a geography/art class. This has seemed to be the most balanced combination for our family. I have a student in preschool, elementary and middle school, so the broad range makes it a bit of a challenge. We will carry the anatomy theme from 8th grade down to K5 with the preschool studying the 5 senses. The art/geography class theme will work for K5 to 8th and the preschool will study world cultures. I suggest that if you have a lot of choices at your co-op, try to choose things that will make your course of study at home easier. If you need help with science, look for science related classes and activities. If you are like me and can’t draw stick figures, look for art classes. Make sure that the classes you chose complement what your goals are for your kids in a given year.
Thank you for joining me this week. I hope to do a follow up post next week listing some great resources that we have used or would like to use in our homeschool co-ops.
Today is the last day to enter our giveaway of the book, Homeschool Co-Ops: How to Start Them, Run Them and Not Burn Out by Carol Topp
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.
Crystal @ Crystal Starr Blog ~ Christ-Centered Character Training – complaining
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
Brittney @ Mom’s Heart ~ Relaxed Homeschooling – A Day in the Life
Lisa @ A Rup Life ~ Our Favorite Books – Day 3