View Full Version : Weekly Poll: Do you participate in a local homeschool co-op?

09-30-2010, 12:55 PM
When my sons were younger, the idea of a homeschool co-op kind of appealed to me. Even though the only co-op in our area was faith-based, I thought it might be good for the boys to see what it was like to learn with their "peers" and explore something new in a group setting. We made it through maybe two classes before I knew that between the scripture lessons (in a cooking co-op, no less) and the looks of absolute boredom on my kiddo's faces, that this wasn't going to work for us - - at least not right then.

I am certainly not against co-ops, I just don't think that in our local area, there is one that is a good fit for us. So I wondered what your experiences are with cooperative learning? I'd love to hear about them this week!

09-30-2010, 01:10 PM
I think we'd probably welcome the help and the social interaction, but I won't accept religious indoctrination and the academic rigor would have to meet our insane standards.

09-30-2010, 01:34 PM
We choose not to participate in the local co-op. I don't like having my schedule determined by someone else, so having to meet for co-op each week on the same day just wouldn't work for me. Also, we currently only have one working vehicle, which means dh would need to find a ride to work on co-op day every week. There's also the fact that I want full control over the material choices & schedule for the classes I deem important. So, if we were to do a co-op, it would only be for extras. Even with extras, I would prefer to know that the person teaching my child how to do something is qualified to do it. By that I mean, if I'm signing my kid up for an Art class (and paying money for it), I expect that the 'teacher' has knowledge & experience in Art. "I like to draw" or "I'm better at Art than the other co-op moms" isn't what I consider qualified. If I'm going to disrupt my schedule & pay money for my kid to take a class, I don't want it to be something where I could do the same or better at home for less money.

Our local museums have after-school and homeschool classes. We've had Dea do some of those & (now that he's a bit older) will likely have Jay do some, as well. With those, they get to work in a group setting and socialize with other kids. Plus, they're much cheaper than a co-op, the person teaching the class knows what they're talking about, and each class is offered at several different times over a week or so, which means it's more flexible.

I'm not anti co-op, they just aren't for us.

09-30-2010, 01:46 PM
Our local homeschool co-op actually meets about an hour away. They actually have stuff that both my kids could participate in and it kind of sounds like fun to teach a class.....but my kids are still really young and I don't see the money being worth it at this point in time.

09-30-2010, 03:53 PM
Our co-op is free (other than occasional extra materials), entirely run by the moms. They meet on the first 3 Wed of the month, Sept to April. We're very lucky that there is large building with a kitchen that the library owns and lets groups reserve for free and it's only 10 minutes from home.

There are two co-ops for my age kids. The morning co-op is structured on The Story of the World, but the moms generally create our own activities to supplement each chapter.

The afternoon co-op (1 - 3) is a teen co-op, and we have monthly topics. Topics will or have included manners and etiquette for teens, teen finance, language arts through Scrabble, Design Squad-based engineering, First Aid/teen hygiene, cooking basics, french cooking, Lord of the Rings. They also spend the month of May planning the yearly homeschool field day (50+ families, over 200 people).

We've stopped going to the morning co-op for two reasons: we've already covered this year's period of history at home, and it's a huge time commitment. Now that the kids are in their teens, they spend more time on their studies and seeking/doing volunteer work, job shadowing, etc. But it's worked for us in the past.

I think participation in all of these group activities, whether they be field trips, co-ops, etc all evolve as your kids age and mature. The family just develops different needs.

09-30-2010, 06:33 PM
First, I think the term "co-op" is one with a very wide range of meanings in the homeschool world. Some co-ops have a building and cost a lot of money and offer different classes for dozens and dozens of kids. Then there are the kind I have experience with - a very small number of families meeting regularly to share social time. No money involved unless we organize a field trip or something.

We're involved in two different co-ops. I put that they're secular, but maybe inclusive would be a better term? They both include both atheists and religious families, but none of the families are homeschooling for religious reasons, so there's never any question of religious issues - all the families are pretty liberal politically and it's not the issue that it is in many regions of the country. We love our co-ops. One has 4 families in all and the other has 5. In one, the adults picked themes for the kids for the year and in the other, the kids suggested and chose what they wanted to learn about. We love our co-ops. I'm sure I'd be okay without them, but they really make my life better - especially in the social arena. My kids have stable, sustained friendships through both the co-ops that are given time to develop and grow. I think we're really lucky.

09-30-2010, 07:05 PM
We participated in the Preschool co-op in the spring with our local secular/inclusive group. For the fall though we couldn't do it, it was on a day where we just couldn't make it and the location was too far out too.

10-01-2010, 05:21 AM
We do, but it is not a standard 'mums chip in and do the work'. We pay teachers/coaches/instructors and have covered things like art, science, crafts, gymnastics, sports and we are hoping to start to include music/drama/LOTE.

Currently we meet weekly for 6 weeks at a time(4 terms a year) although we are taking the last term off this year. This gives us plenty of time away from the co-op environment......so far for us it has been the best of both worlds.

Miguels mommy
10-02-2010, 12:57 AM
Our co-op meets 2x a month. The parents choose to teach a class OR pay $5 per class. There's 5 periods and about 8 classes a period for different ages. We really like our co-op, my husband teaches 4 classes and I teach 4 class. There are some subjects that I refuse to let my son take. There is some classes I would rather him not take.

10-02-2010, 02:19 PM
We participate in a co-op that meets monthly. I never found a co-op that met my needs so I started this one with some other moms. We have classes from elementary through high school.

10-03-2010, 12:50 AM
i almost got involved w/a co-op started by a mom here, but in the end the cost/benefit didnt seem worth it. it worked out well because I wouldnt have been able to do the home school martail arts class, which we are loving! I also have been doing some field trips w a secular homeschool dad and occasionally a moderately christain homeschool mom (w pink hair and piercings all over! she's cool!). I'm trying to go to the UU church w the kids, and figure thats some 'school' time. really, my older boy has trouble socailly unless its geeky kids like him and/or an awesome, cool teacher (like the ones at the UU youth group), and the younger one is such a class clown he's usually disruptive in any class-type situation. Too bad he was the only one in his re class last time we went. and his teacher seems like, well, a teacher. the class rules are all about keeping our hands to ourselves and sitting still and being quiet. ICK!

10-03-2010, 09:45 AM
We are part of a co-op here. It is secular and inclusive.
The classes are 1x week on Thursdays and we have two semesters. They each run about 12-14 weeks.
We rent space from a UU church on a weekly basis.
The classes are taught by parents (not just moms!)
Each family pays a facility fee to cover rent ($120 per semester) and then each teacher sets their fee. That can be free to about $25 for the entire semester.
It is a tremendous value for us and the highlight of my kids' week. They LOVE co-op.
I consider all of the classes to be extras.
This fall, we changed it up a bit and are doing a theme for the entire semester. It is renaissance.
The kids are taking Renaissance Art, Shakespeare Shorts, Renaissance Games and a Weapons and Warriors class.

10-04-2010, 10:07 AM
I wish there had been one other option--some of us participate, and some of us stay home!

Jazz is in a weekly age-based co-op that does things like hiking, sewing, stained glass art, woodworking, orienteering, indoor sports, cooking, etc. Parental involvement is kept to a minimum the day the group meets. I help out mostly behind the scenes, and sometimes get DH to stay home so I can chaperone a field trip (like today's nature photography hike that is unfortunately going to have to be rescheduled due to the rain we're having).

10-04-2010, 08:32 PM
I help facilitate one of the local co-op's. It's actually the only inclusive co-op in our area. We meet once a week and have 3 periods that are 50 min long. Most of our teachers are homeschoolers but we do have a few outside teachers from the community. Our teachers do get paid a small amount plus supplies. Families do not have to sign-up for all 3 periods.

10-05-2010, 02:57 PM
We have participated in one of our local co-ops in the past, but it just didn't work out well for us. First, it cost about $600 per half-year, and there was a fairly large clique of moms who supported their kids forming a large clique of their own. These moms would create classes with an "inclusive" age range, but a very clearly defined set of necessary basic skills, such that their kids were always the youngest who could truly participate. The upshot was that me and the other newer members, whose kids were (gasp!) a whole year or two younger than the cliquey moms' kids, were consistently on our own, and the only way we could provide 4 classes a co-op day for our kids (who would get yelled at for playing in the common area if they weren't in a class) was to teach everything ourselves. So, we each taught 2 classes for our kids, where the cliquey moms only had to teach one each, if at all. I'm not going to pay $1200 per year to teach my own kids!

We definitely do other activities w/ homeschoolers, but are no longer part of a formal co-op. We are very fortunate that the majority of our local hs support groups are inclusive, and truly so.