When you find a match for a homeschool co-op that seems like a perfect match, the years fly back quickly and you never want the time spent with other homeschoolers to stop. Believe me, looking back now, our homeschool co-ops are some of our most cherished moments.
However, if you make a decision to join a homeschool co-op with pausing to ask these five questions, you can go from cherished to anguished.
And because there is no on set of rules in how any co-op is suppose to function, confusion can exist.
When Homeschool Co-ops Go from Delight to Drudgery
I encourage homeschoolers to ask these top 5 questions before they commit to a co-op or set one up because they are vital to keeping a homeschool co-op that is, a delight and not drudgery, to attend.
1. What is the purpose of the co-op?
Just because a group of families homeschool, that doesn’t mean they are like-minded when it comes to the reason why you meet together.
And unless you are absolutely clear as to your purpose for a co-op, you may actually bring more stress than satisfaction on your family.
2. What are the types of classes and who teaches? Are they for enrichment, socialization focused, field trip oriented or academic?
I very much honed my vision for our field trip and because my vision was clear,the activities I did to lead it were in line with the purpose. When leaders have knee-jerk reactions and change the direction of an established co-op, it can be disastrous.
You too should be able to articulate with detail as to what you want from it. I knew we were a field trip and socialization co-op and that took front and center.
In other words, for example, we didn’t attract people wanting us to teach their kids Latin. I felt like academic should be taught at home by the parents and our co-op’s focused stayed that way.
Oh sure, we did academics in our co-ops, but the emphasis was on learning with a group.
3. What is the age range and are siblings allowed?
There are many more co-ops doing things for young children like going to the zoo than they are opportunities for middle and high school.
However, they are groups that exist for middle and high school though you may have to drive a bit farther.
Stay flexible and especially if a co-op meets once a week or every other week, the added enrichment to your family can be a great resource.
4. What is the cost?
This is an even bigger question now then it was when I started because “co-ops” have popped up where they are looking to make money off of homeschoolers.
I am all for entrepreneurship, but co-ops have been about support systems instead of a money making system.
Recently, when I was a speaker at the homeschool workshop in Atlanta, GA, I had 4 families walk out on me before I started my workshop about co-ops. They were there to only learn about how to make money.
I was glad and sad at the same time to see them go.
Glad because I will not bend when it comes to explaining how co-ops can add much enrichment to your homeschool journey, but I was sad too because many homeschoolers feel that co-ops are mini private schools and outsiders have ascended as if vultures to rack up on our money.
So when asking about the cost, ask specifically questions like where does my money go and who gets paid.
5. Is the group inclusive?
Just because a group is inclusive doesn’t mean you want to attend.
You need to understand what a group means by inclusive. You may want to be part of a group that limits its members to a certain faith, view or not.
You decide, but it’s good to know before you jump in and find the group doesn’t meet your expectations.
Look at these other tips to help you. Homeschool Co-ops Turned Private Schools, Homeschool Co-ops, Support Groups and Regional Groups. How Does It All Fit and Rules for Homeschool Co-ops. Essential or Excessive.
What questions do you ask before you join a homeschool co-op?
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