So, what exactly is a home school co-op? It is a rather baffling idea for someone new to the homeschooling world. Well, let me answer that question as simply as possible, a home school co-op is a group of people who gather together to make homeschooling a bit more easy for each other. It is similar in concept to a support group, yet in some cases works as a shared teaching time. Truthfully, a co-op can be many things.
Homeschool Co-ops Have Requirements
In a homeschool co-op families are completely involved. It is a totally different concept from school. Parents never just drop off their children. In fact, parents are typically required to actively participate in some aspect of the co-op. The fundamental idea is that parents are cooperating together to better educate their children.
To many, homeschool co-ops provide a source of inspiration, encouragement, challenge, socialization, shared responsibility, and even experience in group learning. Every co-op is different, and if you are looking for one in your area, start by googling it for your area. You may find several that you could visit and see which one fits your homeschooling style.
Homeschool co-ops inspire and encourage parents and children who feel isolated in the task of homeschooling. Usually once a week they can get together and see a whole bunch of other people who live and work just like they do. Parents have the opportunity to share experiences and even ask questions enriching their homeschool experience.
Homeschool Co-ops Challenge
Co-ops can be an excellent source of challenge for a homeschool that feels as if they’ve hit a plateau. Within the co-op system parents share the “teaching” responsibilities for various classes. Through this means, a student may be able to be challenged by someone other than their parent. This is a great way to get a fresh outlook in a particularly troublesome subject.
Homeschool Co-ops Provide Socialization
Homeschool groups in the co-op setting are also a great place to get socialization. This is a setting of people who are very similar and typically homeschoolers find friends of a lifetime within their homeschool co-op. The co-op will often hold social events, dances, and even proms for the high school homeschooler.
Homeschool Co-ops Enrich The Learning Experience
The homeschool co-op also provides a means with which a student can participate in classes which are difficult to teach at home. For example, you may have a science teacher as one of the parents in your co-op. It would make sense for him/her to teach the science co-op course. The co-op also provides a means for students to participate in costly classes when a group takes them together. A great example of this are science labs. Labs are usually pretty costly to replicate at home, however, when you have a group to share the financial burden it becomes affordable.
So, in summary the homeschool co-op is a place of cooperation for parents and student to enrich their homeschooling experience. If you are interested in joining a co-op, don’t delay. Check out this listing and see if you can find a homeschool group in your area!
Jamie Gaddy, B.S., M.Ed., Ed.D. has been an education professor for over 17 years. She is also a pastor’s wife, freelance writer, and entrepreneur who now homeschools four of her six children (ages 9-15) in a sweet tea sippin’, wrap around porch sittin’, sweet southern Georgia town. Jamie is also a contributing author at Online Education for Kids and MomSCHOOL