You know, it can be tough when you are homeschooling to do all of it yourself, all of the time. Sometimes it is nice to be able to get out of the rut that you are in and branch out to see what other people have to offer in the world of education. For homeschoolers, co-ops are a nice part of this. Basically it can be anything from a couple of moms getting together to swap knowledge with each other’s kids, or it can be parents partnering up to teach the same stuff to all of their kids at the same time. We belong to a couple of these, and each one is unique in the way that it is handled.
We have something called CCHE on Mondays that we LOVE! It is from 9 am until 4, and these women are no slouches, they are serious about their education. We have Anatomy and Physiology, followed by Art, then Writing, then lunch. Then they go out and play, then back inside for History and Geography and Music Appreciation. Small break from 3-3:30 then basketball practice for a half an hour and we are done with them for the day. But to write this out does not do justice to the amount of work that these teachers do in preparation for these classes – they are all taught above grade level and these women are professionals! They all have children in the co-op, and the rest of us are “encouragers,” what you might think of as an assistant, for 2 hours a day. This gives me the rest of the time to get some much needed work time in.
Then I have one where we meet to do fun stuff – field trips, activities, holiday centers, this sort of thing. It keeps the kids interacting with each other and makes for a nice break on a Friday. Like yesterday we all drove down to Tampa for classes at the Museum of Science and Industry (LOVE THEM!) and today we went to the Orange County History Center for classes on Florida’s eco-system (another one that rocks every class they give!!!) Sometimes it is simply a trip to Disney to learn about a country – like France when we were doing The Family Under the Bridge, and sometimes it is just to do seomething like Holidays Around the World.
Finally, we have one tiny co-op that we do with one other family where we simply get together to do fun activities for our history lessons. We both do Story of the World, and we like that there are all kinds of great fun things that make learning come alive, so we do those together as well. You should have seen our Moorish Feast!! The woman that I co-op with, who is also part of my fun group, takes homeschooling to a whole new level and is actually the person who got me excited and into it in the first place.
So no matter what method you choose to go with, I recommend getting into a co-op if for no other reason than your sanity for the fact of the matter is that at some point you need a break – everyone does. And co-ops are a great way to give you a little less stress as well as reminding you that you are on the right path. They also keep you accountable. In homeschooling it is very easy to say that you can get to something later, but when you have a co-op depending on you, that is just not an option. Check out some near you if interested, and see which ones are a good fit. Some will be, and some won’t be. That’s just life.