To begin with homeschooling your children does not mean isolating them. A homeschool family may choose to be a part of a homeschool support group in the area, which allows them many opportunities to pool resources and socialize. However, a homeschool co-op takes this basic interaction to another level.
What is a Homeschool Co-op?
In a Homeschool Co-op a group of homeschool families join together to share the responsibility of educating the children. Classes are offered for children and parental participation is a must. While each parent is likely to take up classes based on subjects they can teach, other parents are present to help with the activities and cleaning up. There will usually be a coordinator who will find out how each parent would like to contribute and the classes that they will take up based on the needs of the children in the group. The meet ups are generally bi-weekly, so parents have the time to teach their children in the homeschool class as well.
Is a Homeschool Co-op just like regular school?
Not at all. A regular school has very little participation of the parents, while the teachers are present all the time. The active participation of parents is a must in a Homeschool Co-op. It’s not a class to which you drop off the homeschool students and return at the end of. Each parent contributes to the knowledge base that the students are exposed to. Plus the learning in a homeschool co-op setting also allows the children to socialize with their friends of different age groups. While in a regular school they would spend time only with students who are mostly their own age group. They frequency of the meet ups is also different from the daily regular school routine.
Is a Homeschool Co-op the right choice for your children?
The group learning culture in the homeschool co-op is a good experience for the children. Homeschool students learn skills such as raising their hands to speak, taking turns, and waiting in lines, which would not happen with just a couple of students at home. They get to hear other people’s perspectives and how to share their own in a respectful manner. Friendships that may last a lifetime get forged at such regular meet ups. They will also learn how to deal with peer pressure and bullying behavior. Overall it can be a very positive experience.