Homeschool Co-Ops

This post answers everything parent need to know about homeshcool co-ops.

In the early stages of our family’s homeschool journey, I struggled with the idea that my children needed to be involved in sports or social activities just as students would in a school system. Having taught in a public school system, the very thought of hearing words such as socialization, generalization, or you’re missing out, triggered my stress level to the max.

After several years of arguing with myself, research, and personal experience, I’m happy to say I’ve conquered my inner struggle with unnecessary worries and no longer give in to the overwhelming desire to align our homeschool house with the masses.

Instead, I have broken free from the norm and remain tranquil to the notion that my children will learn to achieve the necessary life skills needed to succeed in the real world. As parents, we struggle with so many issues and will continue to make decisions for our children’s welfare throughout their lifetime.

 If you’re struggling with homeschooling your kiddo I’m here to help with any needs and concerns you have.

Click here to sign up for a free 30 minute Ask Me Anything consultation, and let’s take care of any difficulties you may have in your homeschool journey.

I’m here to help, and remember I was once where you are. But for today, I’m here to tell you, yes. Your homeschooler can achieve success and learn life skills, social skills, and all the above without being in a classroom 5 days a week.

Answering All Your Homeschool Co-Op Questions Chalk board

How is this obtainable?

When children are educated in a learning environment, they love and feel welcomed. They pick up the necessary skills from those around them right from their very home.

However, we are human and social creatures. And express the human need for friendship and fellowship outside of our home environment. So. Where can homeschoolers learn social, life, and educational skills they will need to interact with the real world?

Homeschool Co-Ops are a great place to start.

What is a homeschool co-op?

Traditionally speaking, a homeschool co-op is a local group or non-profit organization that meets together and works cooperatively to achieve common goals, including but not limited to academics and social functions.

Most co-ops are designed around academic learning and can include social time and field trips. The original intent of a homeschool co-op, or at the very least why a homeschool co-op comes into existence, is through academics focusing on specific local homeschool needs.

Let’s just say some of us parents don’t want to learn Algebra or Biology again let alone how to teach it.

Activities and homeschool co-op classes are typical, (but not limited to and based on Co-Op organization preferences) led by parent volunteers. Most of us are homeschool homemakers who design and create academic curricula based on general educational courses, such as literature, science, writing, including electives like art, history, and so on.

Co-ops for homeschooling vary from organization to organization and can be organized based on elective classes such as crafts, service work or projects, social time, and the arts.

homeschool co op uss Lexington
Field trip to USS Lexington

At present, there are various types of homeschool co-ops. Some co-ops include virtual learning and virtual meet-ups due to the nature of homeschooling during COVID or long distances purposes. It is important to note that every homeschool group or organization is different and usually provides at least one opportunity for both parents and students to gather socially.

Types of Homeschool Co-ops.

I encourage you to make a list of your struggles with any area of your homeschool journey. It is okay to include yourself on said list.

When I first started homeschooling and left the workforce, my children were very young, they didn’t need to socialize, but I did. You bet your Gucci purse I did place socialization on the top of my list. Guess what? There are co-ops available for any need you have, even if it’s just to socialize. Mom’s night out, please!

As I mentioned before, a need for a homeschool co-op, and every co-op organization is different. Usually, it provides one of three opportunities for parents or children to gather socially, volunteer to teach an enrichment class or drop off their homeschooler at a drop-off day program.

Here is a breakdown of homeschool co-ops or homeschool co-op ideas offered depending on your local area.

Academic or Drop Off Homeschool Co-Op

Parents typically place their children in an academic or drop-off homeschool program during their middle or high school academic year. However, co-ops for the lower grade levels are there too. A co-op program that is academically based typically will have a tutor, highly educated parent on a said subject area, or certified teacher designated to teach core subjects for a fee depending on class and subject.

Most parents use this type of program for their child who struggles with a particular core subject such as math or science and will benefit from a classroom setting. This would be us. We choose to pay for the math classes at a local homeschool academy because my daughter needs the extra assistance.

If you are like me and wish you had more time on your hands for homemaking tasks and can afford to drop off your child for a day or two during the week, then the drop-off program might be right for you. Drop off academic programs for homeschool are designed to operate as a private school system. IN some cases you are literally dropping them off at a private school. Homeschoolers attend classes 2 or 3 times per week while completing the assigned curriculum at home the rest of the week.

It is worth noting. Parents choose the classes and will only pay for that specific class. No need to stay all day unless you pay for it.

Both programs do provide field trips and social opportunities, apart from core academics. If the price is right for your budget, these co-op types and ideas offer the curriculum with your approval and give you peace of mind with time to breathe.

Enrichment Homeschool Co-Ops

Our family has been members of several local homeschool co-ops both stateside and in the Virgin Islands throughout our years of homeschooling. Enrichment co-op provides so many benefits and opportunities for both myself and my children. I enjoy not teaching specific subjects because I can just co-op them out while attending the same class as my child and enjoy learning along with her. An enrichment co-op is a volunteer homeschool co-op where parent volunteers teach academic core subjects or elective subjects one day a week for an entire academic school year.

homeschool co op class girls in class
My oldest presented her science project to the class.

Elementary level student classes are classes taught on nonacademic electives, while middle and high school parents choose to teach courses on an academic level for half the price. Most co-op organizations will charge a member’s fee and charge per class per school year. Our current homeschool co-op calendar favors that of a traditional school calendar with wiggle room. Courses take place one day a week (Fridays for our current co-op) from 9 am to 1 pm. Allowing for three enrichment classes, break time, and a morning assembly.

It’s important to know that some high-level academic courses will not work for enrichment courses due to the fact that a lesson will need to be taught more than one day a week or due to the skill level of students in the co-op.

Social Homeschool Co-Ops

My favorite homeschool co-ops are social. These co-ops are volunteer-based. Parents choose to teach social skills and social type electives such as service, service projects, homemaking, the arts.  These co-op types are designed to fill a social and elective need that some homeschool parents lack in their curriculum choice.

homeschool co op girls and art
Holiday arts and crafts circa 2014

Virtual Co-Op

Over recent years, especially since COVID rocked our world. Virtual learning and virtual co-ops are popping up everywhere. For the first time during our summer break, we tried virtual learning. I will say learning virtually is an experience. If you have the time, a virtual co-op or virtual class is something to try out. Most virtual courses are cost-effective and offer a variety of times to choose from, including many elective or academic paths to meet your needs.

Is Joining a Local Homeschool Co-Op Right for you

Do homeschool parents need local homeschool Co-Ops?

There are many benefits to joining a local homeschool co-op, from academic learning to social enrichment; there is a co-op out there for you. As any seasoned homeschool parent will tell you, your local homeschool co-op is a great place to meet new friends and discover new ways to homeschool. Co-ops for homeschooling are at the very least available to help with social and moral support.

Keep in mind not every homeschool co-op is one size fits all and looks just like the other. That’s what makes us a part of the unique world of homeschooling. Homeschooling is not always easy, and it’s helpful to have a local community for support and social gatherings.

On the downside,

homeschool co-ops can be;

  • costly depending on your budget for classes, travel expenses and curriculum
  • takes a time commitment
  • may work against the purpose of homeschool by taking away from your homeschool day
  • classes may not be what you paid for
  • co-ops come and go due to interest
  • be prepared to volunteer and maybe teach a class or two aside from your typical homeschool day

Whatever the reason for a local or virtual co-op, the choice is up to you and your budget, time, and energy.

Parting words of wisdom.

I will leave you with the same advice I share with homeschool co-op inquirers like yourself. Again, I can’t stress this enough. Whatever the reason for a local or virtual co-op, the choice is up to you and your budget, time, and energy.

  • Make a list of what you are needing or wanted to learn from your local homeschool co-op or virtual co-op.
  • Do your research.
  • Don’t be afraid to ask for a trial co-op period.
  • Lastly, consider your pros and cons for wanting to join a homeschool co-op.

Co-ops virtual or local allow you to come to an activity or class to see if you would like to join. We encourage you to ask as many questions as possible, we seasoned homeschool moms enjoy chatting about anything and everything homeschooling.

Homeschool Co Op Inspirational Quotes

Remember homeschooling is a continued learning experience and a once-in-a-lifetime journey.

Yes, it is okay to take a break from your local co-op from time to time when you find yourself becoming overwhelmed with all there to do in your daily schedule. 

I will say it again, I encourage you to reach out and ask for help.

There are no wrong questions when it comes to homeschooling. Stay connected and enjoy the short time you have with your homeschooler.

Everything else can wait.

Jaclyn

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