Homeschooling

To Co-Op or not to Co-Op?

coop2123Co-Ops can be a big deal when you’re homeschooling. Which one do you choose? The one close to where you live? The one your friends go to? The one with awesome classes you’re just sure you’d never do justice with at home?

What if I told you I chose none? Nope, nada, zilch, not interested – at this point in our homeschool journey.

It’s not that I’m against co-ops. I think learning together and engaging with other homeschool families is great. But for our family, personally, we choose to learn and engage with other families in a less structured, less school-like environment.

I tried my first co-op as a young, new homeschooling mom. I was so eager for my daughter (and me) to make friends. We met once a week for a structured curriculum and also did one or two local factory tours.

While we enjoyed the tours, I was starting to dread “co-op day”. We were working so hard to do projects for the co-op, our own homeschool curriculum was falling by the wayside.

It was starting to feel like, well, not homeschool. Someone else’s curriculum, someone else’s time table for learning, someone else’s assignments. What was the point of homeschooling?

I had to stop the insanity.

We had to break free from the school-type box.

I had to reclaim our homeschool.

And we found freedom.

Freedom to choose the curriculum in the style that fit my kids. Freedom to choose the era of history we were interested in studying, or the genre of literature we’d read, or the area of science my kids were excited to learn about.

What about those subjects I don’t know a lot about? I can learn right along with my kids. There are so many resources out there, so many ways to learn. Don’t be afraid if you aren’t great at math. Use the teacher’s manual. Or, find a great math curriculum that fits your child’s learning style (we love CTC Math, Teaching Textbooks, and XtraMath).

So now, we’re involved in a couple great activities – not co-ops. Between church, American Heritage Girls, Trail Life USA, Awana, and a short term activity here and there, we have found our rhythm for our homeschool.

I’ll address our homeschool style and curriculum in another post, another day.

What do you think? Are you a co-op fan or not?

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