Homeschooling has become a popular educational approach over the years, especially for parents who want a personal approach to their children’s growth. If your children are homeschooled, you have probably heard of homeschool co-op. If you want to know more about homeschool co-op, make sure to read further!
What is homeschool co-op?
A homeschool co-op, also known as homeschool cooperative, refers to a group of families who convene and work cooperatively to achieve their goals. Co-ops are organized to achieve educational, social, and other extracurricular goals. It is a network of families with homeschooled children, and they huddle together so that parents can educate their child together.
It looks as if it is a classroom setup, but with parents as teachers instead. Activities and classes are usually led by parents, or parents may decide to chip in to pay tutors or activity leaders. It may be more costly, but it can be a worthwhile investment, especially what you are getting is professional help. A homeschool co-op can have as few as three families or as large as hundreds of families in a large, single co-op.
Co-ops may convene in homes, libraries, event spaces, churches, or community centers. In the US, families usually convene once a week or once or twice a month.
Other homeschool co-ops are focused on the enrichment of arts, socialization, and traditional subjects. Children under these co-ops usually spend more time learning outside their co-op. However, co-ops give them the chance to make new friends.
What’s the difference between homeschool groups and homeschool co-ops?
Homeschool groups are usually larger in number, and more general than specific. They may also have field trips, parent meetings, parties, and other outdoor activities, including homeschool co-op. Co-ops can be an independent entity or a subunit of a homeschool group.
Usually, there is a smaller version of co-op that is sometimes referred to as “club,” which is formed to cater children who like to learn about a certain activity or subject area. Examples are science clubs, arts clubs, and nature clubs.
The advantages of homeschool co-op
As you were reading through the different activities and factors that make up a co-op, you have probably inferred the advantages yourself. Being a part of a homeschool co-op can benefit both parents and their children alike. It’s as if everyone is learning with their loved ones.
Aside from this, here are some benefits of homeschool co-op:
1. Promotes group learning
Obviously, a homeschool co-op enables homeschooled children to learn with other children of their age. Kids learn skills that can only be picked up when studying in a group, such as raising one’s hand to speak, public speaking, waiting in lines, leading a group activity, and many more. This could be a great way to add fun to the usual, lone-time learning at home.
2. Encourages children to socialize
Being a part of a homeschool co-ops provide opportunities for both parents and children to socialize with other people. Parents get to communicate with other parents, while children get to bond and create meaningful friendships with other children. The only downside is that children will be more exposed to common group problems such as peer pressure, uncooperative groupmates, and bullies. Despite these possibilities, these experiences can become valuable lessons that will help children develop their interpersonal skills that will be valuable in the future.
3. Provides an easier approach to teaching
Some subjects or activities are harder to comprehend alone. Sometimes, some kids prefer to learn with children. Homeschool co-ops may offer group activities such as presentations, group projects, cooking, sports, art-making, or anything that fosters group cooperation. Some co-ops also teach older students science experiments, advanced math, writing, and language.
4. Teaches accountability
Because homeschool co-ops operate within a schedule, parents and students learn how to prepare, be punctual, and stay on schedule. Students will also learn to be strict on deadlines. Since homeworks are usually given by bulk, students will hone their sense of responsibility to accomplish their tasks within the given timeframe. Parents, on the other hand, will spend more time teaching the children.
Many children thrive in a homeschool setting, and may even thrive in a learning environment with a social group. Either way, one thing’s for sure: You can make your children’s learning more fun and interactive with a homeschool co-op!