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Why We’ve Never Joined a Co-op

 Homeschool co-ops are great.  Many people tell me so, and so do many books.  Even so, in all our years of homeschooling, we’ve never attended one.

Most of the time, the logistics just have not been right.  Either I was pregnant and tired, or I had a fussy little one, or it was too far away, or the van wasn’t up to any discretionary trips, or I was sick.

Another factor was that I could not imagine what to do with the rest of the children all those hours far from home, waiting for the one or two attending the co-op.   This was the clincher for me when our children were younger, although it is not a factor anymore.

Then there’s the question of resources.  Many co-ops and group learning opportunities require either tuition or a lot of mom’s time.  That is, of course, the nature of a co-op.  I’ve always found that my energy, time, and money would go farther if I stayed home and taught my children myself. 

Often the material offered in co-op classes would be either too difficult for my children, or something that they knew already. In either case, it seemed rather pointless to put effort into a learning situation that was not at their level.                                                                                                                

My children’s learning also is more efficient at home.  When they are with other children they want to socialize, which is good and understandable.  When I’m with other moms, I want to socialize, too.  However, that’s not necessarily the wisest use of our learning time.

Perhaps it would be good for my children to be involved in group learning.  They learn teamwork with their siblings at home, with friends in casual settings, and at church events, but they’re not strong on group learning.  On the other hand, many of the co-ops I’ve heard of are classroom-style and do not involve group learning either.

And that brings me to another point.  Classroomstyle learning isn’t optimal.  That’s one of the reasons we homeschool…although some of my children hastened to assure me that they would learn a lot in a classroom.  In fact, they sounded eager to try.

Then there’s the whole idea of giving back to the homeschool community by being involved.  Our family tries to do that in other ways, leaving co-op spaces free for those families that want them.  However, from my children’s responses when they read the rough draft of this post, we may be one of those families in the future

For more thoughts about co-ops, please visit the Blog Cruise

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7 Comments

  1. Cindy @ Fenced in Family says:

    You may some very good points about co-ops. Logistics is the main reason we've never become involved in them as well, and I must agree whole-heartedly with your "classroom learning is not optimal" sentiments. If we've chosen to homeschool our children because one-on-one teaching is best, why is it so beneficial to enroll them in group co-ops?

  2. Anonymous says:

    It really depends on the situation and the group that you're involved in. We have enjoyed doing a few things with our group – the sorts of things that can't be done as easily at home, like choir or team sports. I find it beneficial for my older ones to receive some instruction from the hs group class – but very little is required of me for that. But certainly it isn't necessary, and in some ways group involvement can be a hassle.

    Carmen

    P.S. the girls received the letters – thank you!

  3. franbles99 says:

    We've not joined one because they don't seem to exist around here! We do well at home, not sure I'd want to mess with that!

    I usually read your posts in google reader and this one was MUCH easier to read. Whatever you've changed it was good!

    Sarah

  4. AnnieKate says:

    I just changed a setting to HTML instead of normal! Someone told me that was important. 🙂

    I never thought of it making a difference for you, but I'm glad it did.

    Blessings,

    Annie Kate

  5. berrypatch says:

    Great post & well said. You mentioned many reasons why we don't participate either. That & we live so far out in the country. 🙂

  6. LarabaK says:

    Ok, the grammar is not right there, but oh well :-).

    I actually was signed up for a co-op at the beginning of the year. Then I endured another miscarriage and realized it just wasn't going to work. I didn't feel up to hauling all the kids there. Plus I heard the co-op was VERY crowded and it was hard to keep track of children. My little ones will wander off. I just knew it wasn't right!

    At some point we may get involved in a co-op, but I am comforted by your blog post that it isn't necessary if it never works well. I am a stay at home type person and don't like the inefficiency of racing around, plus getting kids out during winter is a hassle. I'm going to pray for wisdom and if God never directs us to a co-op, I will be at peace.

  7. AnnieKate says:

    Thank you for all your appreciative comments. 🙂

    Co-ops, like everything else, work for some people some of the time, but not for everyone all the time.

    Knowing that helps us be at peace with our decisions.

    Blessings,

    Annie Kate

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