Educational Cooperatives: Do I Join?

As a home school mom I found that I needed a community of people with whom I could share this amazing adventure called home schooling. I found that being a part of a  co-op was a lifeline for me and my children; it not only helped with academics, but the support I received from the women there was a blessing. Our family has developed lifelong friendships as a result of our  involvement.

My reasons for joining were:

  • having my children take classes from those who had an interest,excitement, and expertise in offered classes
  • preferring not to teach certain classes
  • that some classes are better in a group setting
  • opportunities for my children to be exposed to different teachers and teaching styles
  • having my children be accountable to teachers for assignments and deadlines (especially during jr/sr high years)
  • interaction with other home school children (Dare I say- socializing?!)
  • friendships for my children and me

I must say that while every class was not exactly what we wanted, many exceeded my expectations. I truly believe that the classes were more than they would have experienced had they stayed at home (art in particular!). This also provided me with an outlet for me to teach more than just my two children- once a teacher, always a teacher! 🙂

Should you join a co-op? I canna’ say, (Scottish for cannot) but here are some things to consider:

  • What are my reasons for wanting to join a co-op?
  • Does it fit our schedule?
  • How much preparation will it involve? (teaching class, getting ready, making lunches,etc.)
  • What are the costs? (classes, gas, lunches, extra fees for supplies, etc.)
  • How many weeks does the co-op meet?
  • Will I be able to honor the time commitment that I will make to this co-op?

I can tell you from our experience that my children and I enjoyed being a part of a large home school community. I enjoyed meeting weekly and hanging out with home school moms in our Chew N’ Chat room.

If you are unsure of whether you should join, call the contact person and speak with them; they can help you with questions you may have about joining. Also, stop by for a visit. This will give you an idea of how things are run and whether it will be a good fit for you and your family.

A word of caution- don’t over commit. The idea of a co-op is in its name; you will be required to help in some manner. Many co-ops have a half-day option. Guard your time and plan out your schedule if you decide to join. Your own school takes precedence over any other activities.

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