While I am not ready to join a co-op any time soon because we have tried it and it does not fit our family, I know many homeschooling families love the idea. If you do not have a co-op nearby or if you want to start your own, here are some tips to help you in that endeavor.
A homeschooling co-op is made up of families choosing to team up with other local homeschooling parents and teaching their kids together as a unit, taking it in turns to run lessons.
There are many benefits that come with this kind of small group teaching, such as that different parents with different skills can focus on different areas of education. For instance, parents with a strong mathematical knowledge can teach math, while parents with good grammar skills can teach English. Moms who love sports can teach sports education, while dads with a passion for travel can teach geography.
There’s no getting away from the fact that homeschooling as a group can be highly beneficial for parents and children alike. However, there can be some teething problems to begin with. That being said, if you take note of these tips, hacks, and pieces of advice, you can make the process of adapting to homeschooling as a group much easier and less stressful.
Put a plan in place
The first step is to put a plan in place. What you need to do is sit down as a group and talk through how it will work teaching your children together. Will you separate the week into different parents for different days or will you choose to separate up the subjects with different parents teaching different topics depending on their skills and knowledge?
You need to think about this and work out what you want to do. Say, you opt to give each parent a different topic to teach, consider suggesting that each parent undergoes some training for their topic. Say, for instance, you are assigned the role of guidance counselor, you might want to look into doing a master of education school counseling online. Ambitious, I know, but many parents already have the desire to go back to school for themselves. It’s just a matter of finding the right man for the job.
Or, say you are going to be teaching English, you may want to do a course on the English language. Your kids deserve the best education possible, so taking some courses could be worthwhile. It doesn’t matter how you choose to work things out in terms of who teaches what, just as long as everyone is happy and your children are getting the high-quality education that they deserve.
Create a curriculum everyone is happy with
As for the curriculum, it’s important to put together a plan that everyone is happy with. As a group, discuss the important aspects that everyone would like included in the curriculum, as well as what the law says you must include. If there’s anything that an individual parent wants their children to learn but no other parents are keen for their kids to learn about it, then they can teach them that separately. The key is to create a plan that ensures each of your children will learn everything that they need to know to keep them on track with other children their age in terms of their knowledge and skills.
Focus on the children
It’s important to remember that when it comes to homeschooling your children as part of a group, that it’s the kids who are most important. Make sure that you ask them what they want, such as if there are any subjects that they would like to learn, for instance. It’s also important to talk to them about teaching methods, to ensure that the ones being used they find effective and are able to learn with them in use. Don’t forget to find ways to reward them, such as by planning group trips to local attractions, for instance.
Homeschooling as part of a group could help to make the process of home educating your children easier, as you will give you the help and support that you may need.