Planning A Homeschool Co-op

A few weeks ago I posted the question on my blog that stated I was looking for information about Co-ops. I wanted to know what worked, what didn't and how different ones were structured. I got absolutely no feedback! I don't know if people who read the question had nothing to say or were afraid of who might read their responses.


 


Anyway, I did visit a co-op which was nice and organized, and everyone was very welcoming, but I only knew one other lady there and the drive of over 1 hour was too much for me to make on a weekly basis. 


 


So 7 like-minded moms in my Homeschool group decided to get together and see what we could come up with. I love my Homeschool group. I have met a lot of great people in it and there is an ebb and flow as old friends move onward and new friends are made. But there is also a lot of variance in our group (we maintain contact via yahoo email and have over 160 members). There are teens down to toddlers and different interests, styles and geographically we have members spanning three good size towns and several large counties.  When we have our weekly gatherings, we usually end up with 10 to 12 families involved.  But the families involved differ depending on the event.  


 


So back to the five moms that gathered around a kitchen table a couple of weeks ago…often meetings in this group get sidetracked by the different styles and desires of the group. But we had worked hard to find just a few families that got along with one another, had children of comparable ages and had a comparable vision.  I was absolutely amazed at what we were able to accomplish in about 3 hours time!


 


We decided to keep our group small to begin with. We wanted participants who we could count on to participate. We also wanted children and parents that got along. During our three hours, we decided what classes we wanted to offer, who would be responsible for what, what our schedule would be, what fees we would ask for, and some overall guidelines about things we wanted and didn't want. 


 


We are very excited and have another meeting coming up where we will go deeper into the details. We worked hard to keep on track at setting up the general guidelines and the big picture and we are very excited about our plans. I will post our general outline in another post.

14 thoughts on “Planning A Homeschool Co-op

  1. TRINITYPREPSCHOOL

    Somehow I missed your original post, Melissa. I started a co-op 5 years ago, and have spoken at homeschool conferences/meetings about starting co-ops and have written a short chapter in a book about starting co-ops! I should have AT LEAST responded to your original question, but I did miss it….sorry.

    Sounds like you’re on the right track. Basic pitfalls involve:

    differing goals amongst participants

    varying degrees of commitment

    lack of ground rules for all

    inability to agree on teaching topics or teaching methods

    no lead person or “director”

    Glad your co-op efforts have been successful so far.

    Also, please consider joining me on a project I’ve titled “The Seven Habits of Highly Effective Homeschool Bloggers”. Details on my blog.

    Reply
  2. CarolynM/Guilt-Free Homeschooling

    I just found your blog through the latest Carnival of Homeschooling. I have done several articles on homeschool co-op groups that cover a wide variety of aspects. My blog is Guilt-Free Homeschooling — http://guiltfreehomeschooling.blogspot.com — and I have a Topical Index link at the top of the right sidebar. The Topical Index has one entire section just for co-op related articles. My info base was the four different groups I belonged to over 11 years of homeschooling: the good, the bad, & the great. I am so excited to see that you took matters into your own hands and started a group! Maybe my articles can give you an idea or two to expand on!

    Reply
  3. Anonymous

    I would spend a lot of time figuring out goals, objectives, styles, and procedures. How are you going to let folks in and how are you going let folks go. What is acceptable behavior and what are you going to do to encourage it? What are you going to do when you don’t get it? This will need to hold true for the adults and the kids.

    The pitfalls are outlined by you other poster fairly clearly but very generaly. I would highly suggest very clear written rules that cover things you think you will never need to do. Just in case. That way there are no surprises.

    Reply
  4. Anonymous

    This sounds great! I’ve been involved in planning and running a couple different types of co-ops within my group, and while it’s a lot of work, the rewards can be very worth it!

    Surfed in from the Homeschooling Carnival!

    Jen http://jenanddavin.blogspot.com/

    Reply
  5. Anonymous

    I wanted to find out what kinds of conclusions your group came up with. I am a mom looking to start some sort of co-op with other moms as well. Please share if you don't mind to lcnpierce at aol dot com. Thanks, Lindsey Pierce (only anonymous cause I don't have an account)

    Reply
  6. Anonymous

    Thanks for sharing about your co-op meeting. I am in the praying stages of setting up one for a group of 7-10 graders probably about 8 students. Any information you could share would be greatly appreciated. My e-mail is holdendel@yahoo.com – thanks and blessings – Ellen

    Reply
  7. Anonymous

    Hello-

    I started a homeschool co-op in my small town and we have now grown to 32 families and 85 students. I can't even express what a blessing this community has been for my children and also ME! The networking is extensive, friendships lasting and fellowship wonderful. Even though it can be a lot of work, I wouldn't give it up for anything. Good luck with this important project!

    Reply
  8. Anonymous

    Sounds like our lives are parallel in this way. May I ask what details you came up with? Days/times/locations/subjects covered/age levels served/any fees/etc.

    Thanks for any insights,

    Rachell at Joyologist@comcast.net

    Reply
  9. Anonymous

    Hello, I am a mother of two that is looking into homeschooling my children. I have a 5 year old that is in public schools and then a 3 year that stays at home with me. I am very new to all of this but came across this blog about the homeschooling co-ops. I do not think there are any in the city that I live in because I have searched a number of sites but have came up with nothing. I really like the idea of co-ops because your able to get insight from other parents and a chance to let your child form friendships. So if there is anything that you can share I would be very thankful for.

    You can email me at jcase77 at ymail dot com.

    Thank you

    Jennifer

    Reply
  10. Anonymous

    i have taughter an after school writing co-op(writing workshop) once week for 4 yrs for my son and 4 other friends. recently the homeschooling community has grown- im canadain expat living overseas.I recently decided to do 2 morning classes for one hour or hour half to teach reading workshop(strategies to undertanding texts and eventually structured book club)deeper approach to reading comrehension, literature will be discussed, inference , how read non fiction text, historical fiction etc. It require quite a bit of prep time. I will have 6 kids from gr. 3-gr.6. I asked the 3 other mom if they can come up with a structured clas for my younger son who is 6. the older one is 11. I'm wondering if realistic too teach twice week? As well i still want to continue with the other kids the afterschool writing co-op.I noticed most co-ops are only one day a week. Also if my younger son is science club taught by 3 moms do i charge for my class that is more prep heavy.(3-4 hrs) as they will be drawing from reason for science and rotating the 3 of them.

    the next issue is i will essentially be the one teaching my older son possibly 2 reading /comp/lit classes and 3rd class in writing workshop so he willnt benefit from class taught by someone else. mom are only avble i t seems when ill be teaching my older son to teach the younger set.

    i would really apprecaite your help and expertise. difficult being overseas and not having support.

    thanks

    mar

    Reply
  11. Anonymous

    Just found your blog when searchng for co-op info. I am in New Zealand and am seeting up a co-op myself. What I am struggling with is meeting the needs of teenagers whose parents want them to be challenged and extended and ideally have professionals share their knowledge with them and are prepared to pay for this if need be and then we have parents of younger kids wnating to do it all themselves and take a much more relaxed approach and not have to pay for anything more than the rental of the facilities.

    Reply

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