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Homeschool co-op groups

In a previous article, I discussed socialization, the big issue that everyone always has.  In this article and the next few, I would like to give you some ideas for possible social interaction opportunities.

You can try different approaches and see what works best for you family.

Probably one of my favorite ideas is the idea of:

Co-op groups:

These could be big and very organized or just a few families getting together to work together or anything in between.  Each parent contributes something, e.g. one teaches Science, another teaches Social Studies and someone else might take on Art or PE.  The combinations and possibilities are endless.  They might get together once or twice a week and have a few classes together or it could be more or less frequent.  Your imagination is the limit here!

Pros:

  • The kids get to play and maybe even have lunch together and learn all in one day.
  • The parents also get some social support from fellow homeschool moms during the times they’re not teaching and they potentially get a little break from teaching.
  • It is much easier for a parent to prepare one class in depth than to teach each of these subjects in depth to possibly multiple aged children.
  • The kids get a feeling of how it is to be in a class setting, be taught by different personalities and they see their friends and develop social skills, like working in teams or resolving conflicts when they arise, while the parents are still close at hand to assist them in case they need help.
  • The parent is still very directly involved with their kids’ education;
  • Lots of great opportunities for both parents and children to form long-term friendships;
  • These types of classes usually have more of a homeschool feel to them, since they are taught by the parents.
  • Kids end up doing bigger projects that a parent won’t feel is necessarily “worth it” to do just with one kid and they can also get to play review games with friends, which wouldn’t be near as fun by themselves.
  • As kids get older and peers become more important to them, it is great to have a group of friends who they can study with and sometimes it is a good break for both parents and their kids if someone else is teaching them for a little while.

Cons:

  •  It takes some work on the parent’s part, since you have to participate for a co-op to work and most likely would be responsible for teaching or co-teaching a class;
  • Sometimes the parents or kids could develop personality conflicts, especially if their parenting and homeschool philosophies aren’t aligned and it could influence friendships.

So, if you think this might work, consider which families might want to participate in it with you and consider their teaching styles and parenting philosophies and just give it a try!  It’s easier than you think.

Leave me any questions you have about the topic.  I’ve done it for years now and I LOVE it!  With 4 children, with various ages, I honestly don’t know if I would’ve still been homeschooling if it wasn’t for co-op classes, because for example I could have my 2 older children in a class with someone else while I work with the younger group and then we would switch off or I would have a little break.

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