Do you participate in a homeschool co-op? - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 9 Old 09-08-2012, 06:07 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Last year I thought we would be doing activities on a Thursday with fellow homeschoolers. Unfortunately, they all were in a co-op through a local church group.  We chose not to do the co-op for a few reasons (not our denomination and very vocal about theirs and we didn't want confusion, having dc with struggles coming out of a school we didn't want to put him in a situation he couldn't handle with a parent who might not handle him well, etc) and were certainly okay.  We participated a bit with a social/activity group, however they met on Tuesdays often and we couldn't participate because I was working on Tuesdays. 

 

Fast forward to this year... I changed my work schedule from Tuesday to Thursday so we could participate in the social group.  School has started and activities are scheduled (a mom of a hs age hser schedules stuff). We have gone to 4 activities through the group so far.  We have been the only ones for 2, the other 2 a family we met at the store has also come to join us.  No one else. Apparently the folks involved last year with younger (not high school kids) have all either moved or stopped homeschooling. Meanwhile I have run into some of the people we used to associate with from other places and they are all involved in the co-op and loving it.  Now I am working on Thursdays.  I still have the religious concerns about the co-op, however now that ds is being homeschooled on his own (sibling back in school) I am concerned that he is having pretty limited interaction with other homeschooled kids.

 

I guess I could use some btdt about co-ops.  Should I be thinking of trying to change work schedule to participate?  Or do I look to see if there are other co-ops further away on Tuesdays? Or try to start up something different on Tuesdays myself?

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#2 of 9 Old 09-08-2012, 08:03 PM
 
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We participate in co-ops.  Some work for us and some don't.  If a co-op were pretty vocal about religious beliefs that weren't mine in a way that could make my son either feel like he didn't fit or be coerced into believing something I felt he didn't have the maturity to really understand--that would be enough for me to steer clear and attempt doing my own thing.

 

We moved from another state where (at the time we left) there wasn't much homeschooling activity/opportunity.  I honestly didn't (and still don't) shy away from my kids being involved in stuff with the schooled kids... kwim?  So Scouts (which I realize is not for everyone), 4-H, sports, swim lessons, etc... he does all that stuff with the schooled kids.

 

Finding a good fit can be hard.  In retrospect, I wish I'd have thought to start up some stuff myself and if my son had been a little older back then--I probably would've.  Meetup.com and Yahoo lists are great places to find other locals, too.


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#3 of 9 Old 09-08-2012, 08:30 PM
 
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I would try to schedule your own activities for the days that work for you and invite others along.  Personally, as much as I love the co-op we participate in, if they were religious and forceful about it, it wouldn't work. 


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#4 of 9 Old 09-08-2012, 10:03 PM
 
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We homeschool without co-op involvement. There aren't enough homeschoolers in our area for a meaningful co-op experience. My homeschooled kids have done a lot of activities with other kids, but not specifically with homeschoolers: violin group class, orchestra, aikido, soccer, choir, gardening club, art classes, clay classes, gymnastics, mountain-biking, theatre group. I really like it when kids are united by their interests, rather than simply by their family's choice of whether to attend school or not. 

 

That's not to say that if we lived somewhere with a vibrant, inclusive co-op we wouldn't be happy to take part. But co-op involvement has been neither possible nor needed in our case.

 

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#5 of 9 Old 09-08-2012, 10:32 PM
 
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We don't co-op and honestly the first time I really heard about it was this summer. My kiddo is 12 so, co-op just isn't something thats really done around here.  

Things we've done over the years are : park days, game nights, individual classes (art, theater, swim, etc), lots of library trips, group field trips, zoo, museums, and regular play dates.

The co-op model just wouldn't work for DS.  IMO too much like school, too much commitment, parent taught classes aren't his thing etc.  He does so much better with other types of classes and individual learning. 

He loves to make friends at swim club, at camps he's been to and other things.

Have you joined a homeschool group that has a park day or game night?   I totally understand scheduling kids stuff with a work schedule.  I started an evening 'game night' last year that had a few kids show up.  I honestly think there is a need more after dinner hours homeschool activities.


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#6 of 9 Old 09-09-2012, 05:28 AM
 
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There is a group of other families that we are friends with that all hs through a cyber charter school. We have decided to gett together every other week for a few hours at a different persons home for some time of project organized by the parent who is hosting that week. We have an age range of 4-10 year old kids. Some days we will do art projects, science projects/experiments, or some other topic. (safety, health, etc.) we plan to do some field trips as well. I don't know if that is what you call a co-op or not. However, it works for us. Not too overwhelming for the host (we set a time of two hours), fun for the kids, and nice for moms to be together.
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#7 of 9 Old 09-09-2012, 07:26 AM
 
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Originally Posted by Hopefulmama View Post

There is a group of other families that we are friends with that all hs through a cyber charter school. We have decided to gett together every other week for a few hours at a different persons home for some time of project organized by the parent who is hosting that week. We have an age range of 4-10 year old kids. Some days we will do art projects, science projects/experiments, or some other topic. (safety, health, etc.) we plan to do some field trips as well. I don't know if that is what you call a co-op or not. However, it works for us. Not too overwhelming for the host (we set a time of two hours), fun for the kids, and nice for moms to be together.

That kind of co-op is appealing... And I like the idea of having a science club or an art club (whatever appeals to your dc) more than an actual co-op.

 

The ones around here seem to be mostly religious and more school like. My ds would have hated them. They would have been too long of a day (9-3) and had too much of an agenda. There are a couple I know about that aren't religion based. One is a bit academic because the kids are bright and wanting that and the co-op was put together by their parents. The other seems nice but it costs 2 or 3 hundred to join (probably pays mostly for the space, since it isn't religious, they don't have use of a church building).

 

In the OP's situation, I'd try to get my own thing going before trying to switch work days and join the co-op. Keep in touch with that one family you met at the store (assuming you mesh tolerably well) and try to get others to join your two families for things. But if you start thinking seriously about the co-op, see if you can switch work days just for one week so you can spend the day at the co-op and see what it is really like. And don't rule out after school activities with schooled kids.

 

How old are your kids? I'm wondering, since you said everyone put their younger kids in school this year, if they were homeschooling preschool and put their kids in K or 1st grade... It seems like many people who start out homeschooling put their kids in school as soon as they are of age. I was frustrated by that when my ds was young. But quite a few people who start out with school, pull their kids in second or third after a bad 1st or 2nd grade experience. The trick is to figure out where those people are looking to meet other homeschoolers. Is there a yahoo group? If they aren't members of a church they will be looking online.


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#8 of 9 Old 09-09-2012, 08:51 AM
 
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Originally Posted by 4evermom View Post

How old are your kids? I'm wondering, since you said everyone put their younger kids in school this year, if they were homeschooling preschool and put their kids in K or 1st grade... It seems like many people who start out homeschooling put their kids in school as soon as they are of age. I was frustrated by that when my ds was young. But quite a few people who start out with school, pull their kids in second or third after a bad 1st or 2nd grade experience. The trick is to figure out where those people are looking to meet other homeschoolers. Is there a yahoo group? If they aren't members of a church they will be looking online.

Oh, it looks like your homeschooler is 12? I do know some people that took their kids out before middle school and others who put them in at that age because they start to feel that they are getting out of their depth with teaching older kids. So trying to find new homeschoolers that are looking to network is still a good idea. I'm heartened to have gotten a big response this year to my appeal for a homeschooler's get together, Last year, I only got a response from parents of preschoolers. This year, I'm hearing from parents of kids through upper high school. You just have to keep trying to make happen what you want to have happen!


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#9 of 9 Old 09-09-2012, 11:30 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Thank you for all the suggestions!  I am going to hold off on switching my work days for now.  I may start trying to organize some things on my own however.  We know a bunch of folks who are participating in the co-op however it has caused us to be excluded even more in some ways because we haven't joined in.  I think I will start planning some field trips and see if that gets people involved a bit more as well.  We do participate in some activities with school kids. I am finding though that at times we are dealing with kids who are pretty mean and the parents do not step in.  Like at scouts, there are two boys with some issues who run WILD. One parent is oblivious but okay with you saying something to his kid, the other is aware but won't do anything and heaven forbid you say something.  It is almost the end of scouts (they move up in Feb) so I know a change is coming or we would stop completely now.  It is hard to get involved in things though as dd has stuff to go to also and in the evening it is just me while dh is at work.

Quote:
Originally Posted by 4evermom View PostHow old are your kids? I'm wondering, since you said everyone put their younger kids in school this year, if they were homeschooling preschool and put their kids in K or 1st grade... It seems like many people who start out homeschooling put their kids in school as soon as they are of age. I was frustrated by that when my ds was young. But quite a few people who start out with school, pull their kids in second or third after a bad 1st or 2nd grade experience. The trick is to figure out where those people are looking to meet other homeschoolers. Is there a yahoo group? If they aren't members of a church they will be looking online.

My homeschooler is 10, 5th grade.  Last year our local homeschool group had lots of kids in 3-5 and lots of high schoolers.  This year it seems to be only high schoolers.  The family I met does have younger kids (K & 3) and so we will keep doing things with them.  I think I need to branch out more through the local yahoo groups.

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