7 Things to Consider When Joining a Homeschool Co-op

Homeschool co-ops can be great places for your child to socialize with other homeschoolers, learn subjects that you might not teach well, and simply have fun.

There are a wide range of co-ops, ranging from laid back free ones to structured paid groups.

No matter the type you choose, there are a few things you might want to consider prior to joining a co-op.

Oftentimes you’re commitment is required for at least a semester, so it’s best to do all the homework you can before settling on a particular group.

Here are a few considerations before joining a co-op.

  1. Time commitment - No matter how you look at it, co-ops are a commitment. It’s not uncommon for co-ops to meet weekly, and if you’ve already got a crammed schedule, this will possibly be a huge burden on you.
  2. Location – If you live somewhere like me, anything is going to be a drive for you.  Some things are worth the drive, and others are not.  Is this co-op going to be worth the drive you must make to get there? Also remember that travel time will eat into your day on top of the time actually spent at co-op.
  3. Curricula and subjects taught – If you are averse to religious curricula, you’ll want to make sure your co-op doesn’t use doctrinal products for teaching.  If you have science covered in your home, you likely won’t want to waste time with a heavily science-based co-op.  Ensure the subjects being taught and materials being used will fit your family’s values and needs.
  4. Ages of children present - I’m a big fan of kids learning how to interact with lots of different ages, but part of the co-op experience for many families is socialization.  If you have a high schooler, you probably won’t want to participate in a co-op full of nothing but elementary-aged children.
  5. Cost - Some co-ops operate based on the philosophy that all parents contribute in some manner, and others operate strictly using a cash model.  If your family is not in a position to contribute financially {sometimes quite a bit}, then you might want to find a co-op that allows you to pay in sweat equity.
  6. Involvement - Do you want to teach a class? Do you enjoy helping out in the nursery? These are jobs that some co-ops require parents to help out with.  If you’re averse to these types of things, think long and hard before joining.
  7. Your child - Just because you think co-op is a good idea doesn’t mean your child does.  If he or she shudders at the thought of sitting around in a classroom setting with other kids, perhaps socialization is better achieved in some other way.
Co-ops can be really fun, or they can be an utter drain.  Before you sign paperwork obligating your family to a co-op, take the time to read the information given to you, talk to other parents, and get any questions answered.

 

There’s nothing worse than being tied to something you really can’t stand.

 

How do you determine whether a co-op is right for you and your family?