When I began looking for a homeschool co-op for our family, the first thing I learned was there were many different kinds.
During my “research”, I attended a few open houses, talked to other homeschooling moms, and stalked our current group for an entire school year. Can you tell I was a little hesitant about committing to a group?
I knew what I wanted from a homeschool co-op, I just had to find the right one.
What is a homeschool co-op?
First, what is a homeschool co-op anyway? Just like anything with homeschooling, co-ops can be formed for a myriad of reasons. I found some groups are extremely structured, requiring you to follow a certain curriculum or adhere to lengthy group guidelines. Other groups are a little more laid back and meet for extra curricular and social purposes.
I was looking for group B.
Because we were happy with our curriculum choices, there was no reason to make unnecessary changes just to be a part of a group. I sort of like doing my own thing. That’s we homeschool.
We joined our co-op at the beginning of the school year, and it’s been a positive addition to our homeschooling routine! In fact, it’s been surprisingly more awesome than I thought it would be!
What does homeschool co-op look like for us?
Our group meets every Friday morning at a local church. There are about 40 families and the children range in ages from newborn to high school!
The day goes something like this…
9:10-9:30 Morning devotional and prayer
9:30-10:30 class A
10:30-11:30 class B
11:30-12:30 class C
After classes we usually grab lunch, head to a park, and let the kids run wild!
During the first semester my oldest (9th grade) took Engineering/Robotics, Speech and Debate, and World Missions. This semester he’s taking Economics, Speech and Debate (part 2), and Civil War.
My youngest (3rd grade) took Famous Artists, Marine Discovery, and The Birth of Our Country during the first semester. This semester he’s taking Flying Creatures, Traveling to London, and Entrepreneurship.
Most of the classes are geared towards electives or special areas of study. Parents work together to teach in the subjects and grades they feel most equipped. My children attend all three blocks, so I’m required to teach/help two of those hours. I teach a science class for 3rd-6th graders, and assist another mom during my second hour. Then, the third hour is my “mom break”. Yes, please!
Why do I love it?
High School Support
Homeschooling high school can be overwhelming! Within our group there are several moms who have gone before me on this journey. I can pick their brains about high school transcripts, college prep, and see first hand that homeschooling through high school is very possible.
Sense of Community
There’s a strong sense of community within our group and we all work together to make the classroom experiences positive for the kids. All of the parents are passionate about their homeschooling mission and it’s just so encouraging to know we’re not alone.
Yeah, I went there. The “S” word is a hot button in the homeschooling community. Homeschooling parents spend a lot of time convincing the rest of the world that our kids get plenty of interaction with other kids, but if I’m being totally honest, my boys are home bodies. They don’t have schedules jammed packed with sports or extra curricular activities. Our homeschool co-op has allowed them to make some wonderful friendships and they look forward to Friday every week!
Teachers that aren’t me!
Economics will never excite me. Ever. But this semester my son is taking a class with a financial advisor (and grandfather to some of the kids in our group. Don’t you love that?). It is such a blessing to sign my kids up for subjects I don’t necessarily want to teach. They get to learn from like minded parents who truly love the subjects they’re teaching.
Other homeschooling moms can be a little intimidating, but stepping out of my comfort zone and opening up my heart and mind to new people has been a welcome growing experience for me. Learning about other families and listening to their own homeschooling stories has been inspiring. There’s such a mix of homeschooling styles and personalities within our group and I love that! Getting to know everyone has been such a blessing to all of us.
What do the boys think?
My youngest: “I like my classes. I like to see my friends, going to the park, and getting Crazy Bread!”
Is your family part of a homeschool co-op? What do you love about it?
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