What is a homeschool co-op?
A homeschool co-op is a group of families who get together to co-teach each others kids and as an source of socializing, similar to a school. The parents (usually moms) are responsible for participating and putting together lessons and teaching a set subject of either their choosing or from the co-ops collective theme. If you don’t teach, you are expected to help assist, clean, take photos, help with the kids, and more. In addition, co-ops are looking for longer term commitments. And, some co-ops require payment to help with location fees and supplies. Being part of a weekly homeschool co-op is something MANY homeschooling families really look forward to. They seek them out, create their own, some parents are willing to drive up to an hour or more to participate in specific ones!
Here are MY top 5 reasons for NOT joining a co-op.
1. Time commitment
With our transient lifestyle commiting to a long-term, weekly co op is just not in the cards for us. I want to be able to decide that we will be spending a week in New England, or 6 weeks heading out west without letting anyone else down.
2. Required to be an active adult participant
Huh, what the heck does THAT mean? It means that I, Stacey must stay, teach, or BE part of the co op. I LOVE homeschooling my girls – like LOVE IT and I LOVE making new friends. But, I struggle with finding any dedicated, full day (or at least more than 1 hour) time to myself to get things done FOR ME. However, When I have that time, I find I am more present with them on those other days. I am 100% on board with a 1-2x a week drop off program, allowing me some kid-free time – sign me up for that!
3. I don’t want to be responsible for teaching anyone else’s kids
To be honest, the idea of being responsible for another person’s child’s education – Kinda makes me palms sweaty. I can TOTALLY rock that random art project or teach your kids on the fly about lots of things. But, the idea of being the person to educate your kiddo – I don’t want that to fall on me.
4. I have not found a co op that aligns with my lifestyle/beliefs
This DOES NOT mean that I am against in any way families who believe or feel differently about things than I do. You do you Boo! HOWEVER, in the current world climate of things I feel it is SUPER important that whatever class, group, friends, etc.. Spending my time with others who are aligned with me on SOME of these things allows me to be, ME and for them to be them. This may be a BIG ask, but it IS possible. It might just mean that a co op group is the place for me to find them. 🤷🏻♀️
5. I don’t always have the say in HOW something is being taught
I strongly believe that it is very important for my girls to learn about “all the things”. We talk about big things and small things. A LOT of questions get asked/answered in a days time. HOWEVER, I get to determine what that conversation looks like, when I think it is/isn’t age appropriate and so on. As as result, when you join something like a co op you lose some of that flexibility. For instance, you kiddo is doing group math and next thing you know your kid is freaking out because they are neurodivergent, learn differently, at a slower pace, need lots of hand holding, and repetition. Sometimes this can be more upsetting than productive when you are a child and see what your peers are doing and can’t “compete” with it.
Overall, the idea of a homeschool co-op is something I love in theory. I do see value in small group education, having regular activities, and social groups for our kids to be a part of. I just don’t know that RIGHT NOW is the right time for us as a family to seek one out. But hey, find me that 1-2x a week low-commitment drop off program – I’M IN! 😜