For the past five years, we’ve been a part of a smaller homeschooling co-op. It’s actually the third co-op we’ve joined, and it’s the one we’ve been able to stick with. But not all homeschoolers are part of a co-op, and that’s okay too.
Homeschooling Co-op #1
We joined our first co-op when my oldest was just in third grade and my youngest was not even a year old. The group met at a church about 30 minutes from our house, which doesn’t sound like much, unless you have four children ages seven and younger. We participated for just a semester. While the classes were good, they were covering topics I could easily teach at home. And because we were also part of a weekly playgroup, the children weren’t missing the social interaction. So one semester was enough.
Homeschooling Co-op #2
We did everything at home the next year, then joined another co-op a friend was starting much closer to our home. It was a Classical Conversations co-op, and it was one of the few in our area. It was a good year, but I found that we had to really stick with the Classical Conversations curriculum to make it work, and I’ve always liked using a variety of curricula. Some of the other members ended up joining larger co-ops the following year that were farther away, so we were back at home. And it was good.
Homeschooling Co-op #3
When my oldest was about to enter eighth grade, I started searching for a co-op again. He was going to be taking Algebra and Physical Science, and while those are subjects I could still help him with, I knew it was going to be more challenging. My youngest was starting kindergarten, so all four would need my attention. I knew I would need the help.
We’re still at that co-op. It has about sixty families, and every parent is required to volunteer in some way, whether teaching a class, making copies, or cleaning up after lunch. Elementary classes are once-a-week enrichment classes such as art and PE, while academic classes are available to middle and high school students. These classes meet once or twice a week, and students have assignments to do every day at home.
This homeschooling co-op is a good fit us for where we are today. It’s only about 20 minutes from our house, and the cost of the classes is something we can afford. Because I’ve worked as a teacher, I’ve gotten to know almost all of the students there. I know my children’s friends and their families. And my older children have been able to take classes that I would have struggled with trying to teach them.
We have friends in other co-ops, and we have friends who have never joined one. All of their children are doing well. While being members of a co-op isn’t a necessary part of homeschooling, it’s nice to know the option is out there.
Does your family belong to a homeschooling co-op? If so, what do you think is the biggest benefit?