I am looking back at various posts that I’ve published over the years and was amused to find this one titled To Co-op or not to Co-op. I laid out a pretty good case for why I had chosen not to join a homeschool co-op. Here’s the number one reason I chose not to co-op for most of my homeschool years.
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.To Co-op or not to Co-op
A little over five years ago I received an email from a local co-op director that mentioned they had space available for the upcoming year for 1st and 6th grades. It just so happened that my two youngest were going to be in the 1st and 6th grades in the following year, so I decided to schedule a visit.
When we visited, I found that the overall philosophy and core values were the same as ours. Some of the individual curriculum choices were not the exact things that I would have chosen. But overall it felt like a good fit, so we took the plunge and joined for the following school year.
Before joining the co-op I was failing miserably at doing any science or history with my 2 youngest. Joining the co-op provided me with exactly what I needed to study history and science.
I have found that choosing the curriculum is not as important to me as it once was. It doesn’t matter how perfect the curriculum is, if we never get around to using it it is useless.
Imperfect curriculum that is used is better than perfect curriculum that sits on the shelf.
Accountability was the single biggest factor that enabled an experienced, but border-line burned out, homeschool mom to go from collecting curriculum to using curriculum. I saw my children also enjoying these topics and doing projects that I just didn’t make the time to do previously.
Homeschooling is a wonderful educational choice for families, but it will look different for every family. There is freedom to choose what works best for your own family and freedom to change. Joining a co-op doesn’t have to be a forever choice, but it can provide the extra accountability to do the things that you wanted to do anyway and to try some things that you might not have tried otherwise.
What is your experience with homeschool co-ops?