Is a Co-op the Best Choice?

For the majority of our homeschooling years, we have actively participated in a co-op, sometimes more than one.

Co-ops can be a huge blessing, especially for the opportunity to gather with other like-minded families.

Not to mention the added bonus of relatively free lessons granted on a barter system. Last year, I taught drawing while another mom taught dance. Those lessons, taken out of the house at a facility can cost a lot of money. It was relatively free at our co-op.

Co-ops vary in more than just locale. Generally speaking, a co-op's atmosphere and choices of activities are dependent on participants and the individual organization of the group. Of the two co-ops we have been part of, each was run a bit differently. Yet, both offered the types of classes which the participants wanted and could teach. This meant that one co-op was the 'extras' like art, music, and physical education, while the other co-op was academic classes like history, science, and literature.

However, there are times when a co-op may not be the best choice for a family.

Compiled below are several thoughts as to why it may be better to say no to the local co-op, even if it is filled with wonderful, like-minded families...

Your family wants to
  • go at your own pace
  • make your own schedule
  • take detours and side trails not outlined in a specific curriculum
  • choose its own level of rigor for your classes
  • create your own book listing or curriculum
  • decide what classes your children will take when
  • combine several subjects into one unit class

It should also be noted that some co-ops take on the flavor of a school. There can be segregation of children based on grades/ages, time blocks for subjects, and adherence to a school year schedule, complete with holiday breaks. IF these items are not something you want, then that co-op may not be the best fit.

Most importantly, it is best to remember: Joining a co-op should be an individual family choice. Some years, you may join, and others you may not. Either way, you decide what is best for your family.

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