Homeschool Co-ops - Benefits of Joint Classes

Homeschool Co-ops
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What Is a Homeschool Co-op?

A homeschool co-op is not the same as a homeschool support group. A support group usually serves as a resource for parents and offers monthly meetings and field trips or social opportunities (such as park days or dances) for students.

A homeschool co-op, short for co-operative, is a group of homeschool families that join together to share in the education of their children.

Homeschool co-ops offer classes for students and involve parent participation by nature. Don't expect to drop your children off at classes or activities. In most cases, parents are actively involved teaching classes, caring for younger children, or helping with clean up or other tasks.

In other cases, parents may pool their financial resources to hire instructors for the course offered by the co-op. This usually results in a more costly program and more limited parental involvement. 

Homeschool co-ops can vary in size from a small co-op of only two or three families to a large, organized setting with paid instructors.

What Are the Benefits of a Homeschool Co-Op?

A homeschool co-op can benefit both parents and student alike. Benefits include:

Group Learning

A homeschool co-op provides an opportunity for homeschooled children to experience learning in a group atmosphere. Young students learn skills such as raising their hands to speak, taking turns, and waiting in lines.

Older students learn more advanced group skills such as collaborating with others on projects, class participation, and public speaking. Children of all ages learn to take instruction from someone other than a parent and to respect teachers and fellow students.

A homeschool co-op can also make what might be a boring class at home alone a much more enjoyable endeavor.

It’s a relief for students not to be the one expected to give all the answers and a learning experience to get other student’s input and perspective.

Opportunities to Socialize

Homeschool co-ops provide socialization opportunities for both the parent and the student. Meeting together on a weekly basis provide students with the opportunity to forge friendships. Students may also discover that a co-op presents the opportunity to learn to deal with peer pressure, bullies, and problem uncooperative students.

A regular co-op schedule also allow parents meet other homeschooling parents. Parents can encourage one another, ask questions, or share ideas.

Shared Expense and Equipment

Some subjects require equipment or supplies that can be expensive for each family to buy, such as a microscope or quality lab equipment. A homeschool co-op allows for shared expenses and a pooling of available resources. If it is necessary to hire an instructor for classes that parents may feel unqualified to teach, such as a foreign language or a high school level science course, the expense can be shared among participating families making it possible to provide top quality classes.

Help for Classes Difficult to Teach at Home

For younger students, homeschool co-ops  may offer enrichment classes or those that require more preparation and clean up than everyday studies. These classes may include, science, cooking, music, art, or unit studies.

Homeschool coop classes for older students often include lab sciences, such as biology or chemistry, advanced math, writing, or foreign language. There are often opportunities for students to take classes that function better with a group, such as drama, physical education, or orchestra.

Accountability

Because the schedule is dictated by others outside your immediate family, a homeschool co-op can provide a level of accountability. This accountability makes co-op an excellent option for classes that my fall by the wayside at home. Students learn to take deadlines seriously and stay on schedule.

Even students who don’t mind telling a parent that they “forgot” their homework are usually much more reluctant to make such an admission when called on in a classroom setting.

While homeschool co-ops aren’t for everyone, most families will agree that sharing the load, even with only two or three other families, has benefits for everyone involved.