Our family is starting our 6th year of homeschooling and we’re doing something this year that we’ve never done before. We’re adding some co-op experiences for both of our children where they will be taking a few different classes one day each week. Our daughter has already started attending the Francis Schaeffer Study Center and our son will be starting at New Life Academy next month.
When we lived in Indiana we never really pursued co-ops for the kids. I think then it was a combination of just not feeling like it was something we wanted to do and we weren’t really aware of any that interested us there. Plus, both of our kids at the time said they didn’t want to go back to “school” and enjoyed the independence of just doing schooling on their own at home each day each week.
Since relocating to Tennessee, co-0p seem to be far more prolific as well as the involvement of homeschool families in them. Still being fairly new to the area we also started to see co-ops as another opportunity for our kids and ourselves to meet with and interact more with other homeschooling families in the area. Making the decision didn’t come easily, but in the end we decided it would present its challenges but that those challenges would be worth it. The obvious challenge is the additional expenses incurred with participating in more formalized instructional opportunities and the various fees associated. The next challenge is the logistics of getting two kids back and forth to their co-0ps on their days. They’re both in the same town that’s about 10-15 minutes away from our home, but they are in different locations and meet on different days.
Our daughter absolutely loves school and has surprised us since our move by being far more social and craving interaction with other girls her age than she ever has before. She’ll be taking Geography, Intro to Literature and Art History. She’s already met with her classes a few times and absolutely loves it she says.
Our son is far less interested in the idea and frequently uses the words “making” or “forcing” to describe the decision to put him in a co-op. However, we believe introducing a little more structure back into his studies and weekly activities now that he’s entering his freshman year will be a good thing for him. He’s also surprised us by being far less social than he used to be in Indiana, so we’re hoping he’ll establish some new relationships and friends from this experience as well. He’ll be taking Geometry, Biblical Studies (Revelations), and Biology. One of the big reasons we also chose this for him is that I’ve done a horrible job of doing experiments with him in his science courses at home. Very irritated with myself on that considering I was a biology major and love studying it as well as other sciences.
Do your kids participate in co-ops as part of your homeschool experience? What have been your thoughts and experiences along the way? What are the costs you and other challenges you face with including these options in your weekly homeschool routine? Would love to hear about your thoughts in the comments below.