you enjoy brings a dual return to you
as a parent. Parents can teach alone, or
share the load with others. How many
kids should you invite? I suggest eight to
ten or however many will fit around your
kitchen table comfortably.
Larger co-ops where parents share
roles in a church, gym or community
center can also be a good option because
the classes are free. This is great for high
school biology dissections, government,
and foreign languages. Elementary children can enjoy Lego clubs, photography,
creative writing, woodworking, literature, gym and a host of other enrichment
Large co-ops where you drop off and
pay can be a great way to meet other like-minded families, have your child sit under the instruction of excellent teachers,
or learn new skills you don’t have time
to teach. Many co-ops are offering academic classes now, as well as enrichment
classes, in areas like algebra, foreign language, chemistry, or debate.
Cottage schools, where homeschoolers
come together and hire a teacher or another
mom to teach the core subjects, have been
on the horizon for some time. The cottage
school meets part time and has homework,
while the other subjects are taught at home.
Regular evaluation, participation and honesty are the keys to success.
Some Things to Consider When
Choosing a Co-op
• Can it fill your child’s need for like-minded friendships?
• Can you ease up on something else to fit
• Can it meet a need to offer a hands-on
educational experience you don’t have
time to meet on your own?
• Will you be overcommitted?
• Will it interrupt another child’s naptime?
• Will it fit your budget? Could you barter
with the teacher?
Whether you choose a small or large
group, or go with a free or pay style, try
joining a co-op for a rich homeschool experience. It can be the hands-on foundation on which your child builds a love of
Jan May is a homeschool veteran of fifteen
years and enjoyed participating in eight dif-
ferent co-ops along the way. She is author of
the multi-level creative writing curriculum:
Spies of the Revolutionary War, Ocean
Adventures in Writing, Zany Zoo Stories
and many more! She also writes the New
Millennium Girl’s mid-grade novel series for
girls, Isabel’s Secret and Callie’s Contest of
Courage—books dedicated to nurturing a
child’s faith in Christ. Visit her website for fun
homeschool crafts and kid-friendly recipes:
Participating in a co-op helps us to find time for those hands-on learning
experiences we sometimes don’t have time for or feel equipped to do.
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