The Early Bird Catches a Co-op

bird_wormI was reviewing some information I had posted in July about homeschool co-ops and thought I’d send a note about when to inquire about them. NOW is the best time to do that as many co-ops are registering families before the school year ends. I have listed some reasons for and against participating in a co-op since it is important to consider what you are committing your family to participate in for the year.

3 Reasons to Join a Co-op:

  • Co-ops can enrich your academic program. Many co-ops have science labs, art, music, and physical education programs available to students. You may not have the equipment at your home or it can be difficult to do these activities by yourselves.
  • Co-ops provide social interaction opportunities for your child(ren) and you. It is not only important for your child to meet other children, but it is just as important for you to meet with other fellow homeschoolers. You just might meet your best friend at a co-op. 🙂
  • Co-ops support and encourage you. There were quite a few times that I needed some suggestions or a person to discuss matters with in regards to homeschooling. It’s nice to have other women who are on the same journey as you.

3 Reasons to Not Join a Co-op:

  • It is time consuming. You will be away from home for at least half of your school day. Look at your  school calendar and see how you will complete your academic subjects if you join a co-op. You will need to make accommodations to accomplish this, whether it is for your children to do schoolwork before you leave for co-op, or do it when you return home, or do it over the weekend. My boys were early risers so we did a math lesson beforehand.
  • It is a commitment. Once you make the decision to be involved in a co-op you are agreeing to be there for the entire duration of that session. Some co-ops have semester-long classes and some have year-long classes, so be sure and see what that entails before signing up for classes.
  • You will be required to help. A co-op is different than a drop-off program in that you will need to volunteer to help in some way. You may need to teach a class or be a classroom aide, so be sure to check and see what is expected of you.

If you are interested in finding out about co-ops here in the greater Cincinnati area, click HERE for a list of local co-ops. I hope you find a group that works for your family.

If, by chance, you don’t get into a co-op you could organize a small group of your own, but that’s a topic for another day…



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.