One of the reasons why homeschoolers need co-ops is because they offer a sense of community. Homeschoolers can feel isolated, so it’s nice to have a group of people to connect with who understand your unique situation. Co-ops also provide opportunities for socialization and learning beyond what is possible in the home environment.
What is a homeschool coop?
A homeschooling co-op is a group of families that work together to provide educational opportunities for their children. The families take turns teaching classes, leading field trips, or organizing other activities. Co-ops usually meet once a week, although some meet more often.
Starting a homeschool coop, also known as a homeschool cooperative, can offer numerous benefits for both parents and children.
Here are some advantages of starting a homeschool coop:
- Shared resources and expertise: Co-op members can pool their resources, such as textbooks and teaching materials, and share their knowledge and skills with each other.
- Increased socialization opportunities: Co-op activities allow homeschooled children to interact with their peers, fostering social connections and friendships.
- Cooperative learning and teamwork: Co-op settings encourage collaborative learning experiences and teach children the value of working together as a team.
- Specialized instruction: Co-op members can offer specialized classes or workshops in specific subjects, providing children with diverse learning opportunities beyond what their parents may offer.
- Enhanced extracurricular activities: Co-ops often organize extracurricular activities, such as field trips, sports, arts, and clubs, enriching the homeschooling experience.
- Sense of community and belonging: Joining a co-op creates a supportive community where children and parents feel a sense of belonging, fostering a positive and inclusive learning environment.
Starting a homeschool co-op can enrich the homeschooling experience for both children and parents. It promotes collaboration, socialization, customized learning, and a strong support network. By joining forces with other homeschooling families, you can create a vibrant and engaging educational community that enhances your child’s academic and social growth.
Starting a homeschool coop – Step-by-step procedure
Many parents think that coops are complicated as they are beneficial. And If you’re also wondering this way, you’re wrong.
It’s not that easy though, but on contrary, it’s not even like breaking the rock.
There are some fundamental principles that you should keep in mind while forming your own small coops.
1. Finding similar interest of people
Teamwork matters here.
You can’t run a homeschool co-op alone. Believe me.
Depending on your ambitions and vision behind starting a homeschool coop and the level of scalability you wanna achieve, I recommend having at least one person that goes along with you or maybe a team with one responsibility on each.
It’s important to have like-minded people with you while starting a homeschooling cooperative.
You should start by finding out the other families in your town or city who are already homeschooling their kids or might be interested in it.
You can do this by asking around, searching online, or attending events organized by local homeschool groups.
2. Setting up the core values and goals
Try to gather 3-4 moms and organize a small core meeting where you can discuss your goals and interests.
List down the fundamental goals and philosophies so that you can have a strong foundation of beliefs and values.
For instance, will you hire teachers or just you all (moms) share/teach according to your experiences, how often you’ll meet (church, home, park) who will lead, what will be the core values, how much will you charge, where it all goes and all that.
3. Creating a team
It is important to have a leadership team in charge of organizing the group’s activities.
This team can simply consist of:
- a coordinator, who handles communication and scheduling
- a treasurer, who collects dues and manages the budget, and
- a librarian, who organizes materials and resources.
4. Finding the right place for your homeschool co-op
Choosing the right location for your homeschool cooperative is important. You’ll want to find a place that is convenient for all the families involved and that has enough space to accommodate your activities.
Some small co-ops meet in church basements, community centers, or libraries. Even some prefer to meet at home, as it more sounds like homeschooling than having a separate place/classroom.
For starting a large homeschooling coop, it’s preferred to have a separate building with classrooms, bathrooms, and a kitchen.
5. Planning and Organizing
Once you have all the logistics in place, it’s time to start planning your homeschool cooperative’s activities.
Your first step will be to choose the curriculum or educational approach that you want to use.
6. Creating a curriculum
After you have decided on the goals, it is time to start planning the curriculum.
You can either choose an existing homeschool curriculum or design your own.
If you decide to create your own, be sure to include a variety of subjects. Possible homeschool co-op classes include :
- Physics, Chemistry, Maths, geography, History
- Fairy tales and Shakesphere
- Art and Music
- Physical Education
- Field Trips
- Board Games
- Science Labs
7. Creating a schedule
Once you have chosen the curriculum, you will need to create a schedule.
Your schedule will depend on the number of families involved and the amount of time each family is willing to commit.
A typical homeschool co-op meeting might last two to three hours and meet once or twice a week.
Make sure to keep an eye on holidays and planned wisely so that everyone can participate.
? Also read: How to plan homeschool year
8. Planning the first activity
Now that you have a leadership team in place, it’s time to start planning your first activity!
Your first activity could be something as simple as a mom’s night out or a park day.
Or, if you’re feeling ambitious, you could plan a field trip or a holiday party.
Whatever you decide to do, just make sure that it’s something that everyone will enjoy.
6. Promote your group
Now that you have your first activity planned, the most important part of starting a homeschool cooperative is to promote it. You’ll need to let other homeschooling families know about your group and what you have to offer.
There are a few ways you can do this:
- Create a Facebook group or page and invite all of your homeschooling friends to join.
- Post flyers around town or at local homeschooling events.
- Write a blog post or article about your group and share it on social media.
7. Collect fees and dues
Homeschooling co-op fee generally includes expenses like curriculum, co-op space rental, field trips, and teachers’ fees.
You can collect dues on a monthly or yearly basis, depending on what works best for your group.
? Next Interesting Read: 9 conspicuous reasons why homeschooling is bad for children
? Also Read: What can a 12 year old do when bored at home?
Keep the momentum going
Knowing how to start a homeschool co-op is essential as it’s one of the things that makes a homeschooler successful, builds self-esteem, offers socialization, and develops many other social skills.
Now that you’ve started your homeschooling cooperative, it’s important to keep the momentum going!
Make sure to plan regular activities and events so that everyone stays engaged.
By following these steps, you’ll be well on your way to starting a homeschool coop successfully!
You can also check this video:
Mo is a home-based Mommie and a passionate journalist. She loves to help other moms to spend a good life.