Think you might want to start a homeschool co-op?
Discover why beginning a co-op in your home might be the best thing for your family. The benefits of hosting a homeschool co-op are quite interesting!
Before I Decided to Start a Homeschool Co-Op
Teaching four different grades is overwhelming, exhausting and sometimes leaves me feeling homeschool burnout.
It does not, however, have to be that way.
There are tips and tricks that I’ve picked up along the journey that make homeschooling an enjoyable experience for both me and my children! One of my favorites is starting a homeschool co-op in my home.
As math began ramping up in middle and high school, I was very concerned about how I was going to keep up with teaching Algebra, Geometry, etc.
I spoke to a few friends about how they were handling these courses and found that most were enrolling their children in online classes for upper-grade maths.
I wasn’t opposed to this idea but my internet is not extremely reliable and I always prefer a live teacher when possible. I searched and searched for classes that I could enroll my oldest in, all to no avail.
Thinking there was a need for this in my homeschool community, I decided to find a teacher and create the class I wanted.
The benefits seemed amazing:
- We could meet at my home.
- I could spend the time working with my younger children.
- I would not be responsible for teaching Algebra.
- My oldest would have the instruction he needs. Perfect!
Except, it wasn’t perfect.
It wasn’t even good.
It was difficult to find a teacher and many families were interested, but no one would commit. I really did everything I could think of to make this class a reality, but I continually ran into trouble.
Sometimes, ahem often, I am hard-headed and refuse to back down when I want something no matter how many doors get slammed in my face. Finally, I conceded to defeat.
At least at the time, it felt like a defeat. Little did I know, it would turn into a really fantastic experience!
How Our Co-Op Began in My Home
Realizing I was going to be responsible for teaching Algebra 1, I pulled out the text in late July and started working my way through the lessons.
In order to be successful at teaching this class, I needed one more thing – accountability. I called a friend and offered to teach her daughter as well.
So began my in-home co-op!
We chose to meet one day a week for about 3 hours. I would teach between 2-4 lessons of Algebra 1 upstairs, while my friend managed independent schoolwork for her and my other children downstairs.
Sometimes they would stay for lunch and play after class. Our little co-op proved to be an enjoyable and invaluable addition to both of our homeschools!
In fact, we’ve decided to expand, but more on that in a bit. Let’s first explore the benefits we experienced 😉
Hands down the number one reason this was a success was the accountability it offered me, the teacher. It’s very easy for me to get sidetracked by other obligations and push aside teaching a difficult subject. Knowing my friend and her family were depending on me to teach well, held me responsible for knowing the material well enough to teach it. We finished up Algebra 1 before the end of May and my son commented it was the best year of homeschool math he had experienced!
I also gained confidence in my ability to teach difficult material.
My friend expressed that schoolwork here with her children was better for them too, because she was not distracted by the duties of running a household.
Of course, there was the social aspect! It was great fun to weekly spend time with friends. The kids played outside and adults had conversations. We shared meals together and even celebrated a few birthdays.
We could have simply planned a playdate here and there, but those are so easily canceled when other responsibilities loom.
Because school was involved, neither of us canceled unless someone was sick. We protected that day and time.
This year, I’ll experience a new advantage thanks to our homeschool co-op. I intended to teach all of the courses within my own homeschool. With the workload being shared, I’ve cut back on material I’m responsible for teaching. Score!
How Our Homeschool Co-Op at Home Has Expanded
For the upcoming year, we’ve switched our focus from math to science and electives.
We’ve invited three more families to join us and we will still meet in my home.
You’re probably thinking I’m crazy and my house must be gigantic! My house is definitely not gigantic, but it does have a good layout for separating the children into a few groups depending upon grade.
I wouldn’t say I’m crazy, maybe a little daring 😉
I know these families well and was very selective in my invitations to join.
Our children play well together. The parents are like-minded in the way we approach school. And the reward of sharing the teaching is well worth cleaning the house and inviting friends over weekly.
My high schooler will not be participating in science in our co-op. Since some of the teaching is off my plate, I’ll actually have more time for Intro to Physics with him.
He will join us for the last class of the day. We intend to study Art and Music History for 9 weeks each and finish the year with a study on the Constitution. For these classes, every grade will join but do age-appropriate work.
Would you like to see our schedule?
|9:00-10:00 AM||Physical Science||History of Medicine & Birds (Half Year Each)||Mammals|
|10:00-11:00 AM||Physical Science||Geography||States & Capitals|
|12:00 – 2:00 PM||Art or Music History or Constitution||Art or Music History or Constitution||Art or Music History or Constitution|
Should You Start a Co-Op in Your Home?
Here are a few things to think about as you make your decision to start a homeschool co-op in your home.
Each Mom is responsible for teaching one or two courses. Wrap your brain around that for a moment.
Instead of prepping, teaching, and grading for nine courses, work is cut in half!
And you have the joy of coming alongside friends.
Are your wheels turning now?
I would encourage you to start small with one or two families and only one or two classes.
Maybe you could even rotate whose home you meet in.
Supporting one another in homeschooling is such a gift. Soon you’ll be saying, “Goodbye, homeschool burnout! Hello, delightful days!”
Would you like to start a homeschool co-op in your home?
What questions do you have about the process?