Welcome back to the last day of the Back to Homeschool Blog Hop. Today we’re talking about co-ops. For more information about co-ops in general, see this post.
I live in a medium-sized city with a fairly large number of homeschoolers. As a result, there are a lot of co-ops in my area. There are several Classical Conversations groups, as well as several other groups that lean towards classical, but do not focus so much on the memorization required in Classical Conversations. There is another group that offers middle and high school courses with expert teachers.
And we’re not a member of any of them!
One big reason is that most of the co-ops that we have in this area include a lot of core subjects. And they dictate the curriculum for those studies. For history they use X, for science, they use Y, and for writing they use product Z. As an admitted curriculum junkie, I like to choose my own curriculum. I don’t like being tied to the group for my curriculum choices. I’m fiercely independent that way.
Another huge reason I’ve never joined any of these groups is their cost. These co-ops all pay their teachers. They usually cost $500/child/year or more. (Not including the curriculum.) That starts to add up really quickly!
In our area, those types of co-ops rule, and so many people are involved in them, that there aren’t many with time to have a co-op with just fun electives.
I was involved for 1 year in a co-op just for Tapestry of Grace. It was a small group of 5 families who were using the same year plan (Year 1) in Tapestry of Grace. We met together every 2 weeks to do many of the hands-on projects that go with Tapestry of Grace. Looking back, that was a good experience. At the time, it was very difficult. The 5 families (except the 2 that started the group) didn’t know each other before the co-op. There were some differences in expectations. As the year progressed, some families got behind schedule. Some weren’t as dedicated to being on time for meetings. So our group only lasted 1 year. But looking back on that year, I recognize that the accountability was very good for me to stay on schedule. It was also good for my older children to have assignments to complete for other teachers. And I liked having another peer group for my children that they got to know.
If you define a co-op more loosely as a group of families learning together, then we do have a small co-op of sorts that we’ve participated in for years. We call it Book Club. I think it’s mis-named though. It’s more of a Book Report Club. And over the years, we’ve expanded into presentations that aren’t about books, so it’s more of a Presentation Club. The way the club works is that we have a monthly topic that each student needs to read a book about and then present at the meeting.
We do things like read a biography and dress as the character for your presentation or read about a country and present on that. We’ve studied Christmas in other countries. The children memorize poetry. I’ve blogged about our plans over the years, so if you’re interested in starting a similar club, you can check my lists for possible topics. I’m not sure what happened to last year’s plans! We were in book club, and we plan to continue with it this year.
Hopefully, I’ve given you some ideas about how a co-op experience can work for your family! Thanks for visiting. Please follow my blog and then go and visit some of the other great blogs participating in the Back to Homeschool Blog Hop!