A Homeschool co-op is a group of like-minded homeschoolers that join together for the purpose of enhancing the education of their children.
There are many reasons to join a homeschool co-op – more than five – but five are mentioned below-
1. Co-ops help you teach. Maybe your kids want to learn something, and you know nothing about the subject. Sure, you can google and try your best to teach a subject you know nothing about, but if you belong to a co-op, your co-op might have an expert teaching the subject . Co-ops give you a break from teaching each and every subject, and let you focus on the subjects you enjoy. So, joining a co-op can actually make homeschooling easier for you.
2. Your kids can take “messy” classes at the co-op. Science experiments, art classes, cooking courses, etc., can be very messy. Depending on how much of a clean freak you are, you might prefer your kids take “messy” classes somewhere outside your home. I don’t know about you – but I hate a messy house! If given an option, I’d rather drive my kids to the co-op, help the co-op clean up, and then drive my kids home – rather than have a volcano erupt in my kitchen! But that’s just me…..
3. Some subjects are better if taught in a group setting. These include drama, public speaking, book club, PE and more. Basically, if discussion/discourse is beneficial, a co-op/group setting is ideal. Even some field trips are better in a group setting.
4. Students can benefit from learning from someone else. Your kids might like changing things up a bit – having another teacher, in addition to you. By having another teacher, your kids can learn to adapt to other teaching styles, and meet other adults in the community – maybe even a future mentor.
5. Co-ops make sense financially. As mentioned previously, your kids can learn from individuals that know a lot more about a subject than you do. This can save you money, as you may not need to pay for of private tutors or outside classes. Also, in a co-op, curriculum costs can be shared between members. And, if your co-op is large enough, materials can be purchased in bulk. This is certainly a plus.
Are there co-ops in your area? Probably. Check to see. Ask if they are inclusive, or whether you have to share particular beliefs or homeschooling styles in order to join. Also, ask how often they meet, what they offer their members, and if there is a one-time or annual fee (if there is, it will probably be minimal). With these answers in hand, you’ll know if a particular co-op is right for you.
Oh, BTW – ANOTHER reason to join a co-op? Co-ops provide opportunities for socialization – for both YOU and your children. Believe me, you’ll really enjoy talking to, and interacting with other homeschoolers! In fact, doing so will make you a better homeschooler!