Everyone craves community. Homeschooling families more so, not just for the companionship for our kids and possibly for the adults, but for the resources such friendships can provide.
For example, I love writing and portrait painting. My husband is a math wiz and an avid tennis player, and my ex-husband a wonderful guitar player and agriculturalist. All we were missing to complete our homeschooling team was a science aficionado. But where to find this person? None of us were willing to take on teaching science- which luck would have it, be our son’s favorite subject!
This is one of the needs a homeschooling co-op fulfills. Families share the homeschooling experience on every level. The adults share the teaching, research and facilitating responsibility and everyone benefits from the social interaction.
We decided this was our best bet and started our own homeschooling co-op. It was important to us that families be similar to ours in beliefs, make-up and parenting style. Although many families responded to our online ads, after meeting with each, we asked only three families with children close in age to ours to join us.
We called our first few meetings to develop a simple and flexible plan. We would take turns using our homes in a rotating fashion once a week for five hours. After coming up with a curriculum, we made sure each of us would be facilitating our specialties, with hands on activities for twenty-five minutes. We would also meet once a month at a park to discuss issues, ideas etc.
I know my son looked forward to our Friday co-op and made good friends, but the co-op success was clear when we realized how much all the children were learning about things we had not been able to teach them ourselves.
– keep it small and simple
– be clear on goals
– discipline your child only
– commonality breeds harmony
If you are looking for more structure, search local groups in your area open to everyone. For an example of this, check out this successful homeschooling co-op: www.home4homeschoolers.com.
Article By Nuria Almeida
Picture By Salim Virji