Last night, we had our parents’ meeting before the start of our school year — it’s coming in just a couple of weeks! I’m super excited to get started.
In fact, this is our second year with the homeschool coop. I came up with the idea of a new type of coop back in January 2014 and started the process of finding people to join the leadership team in February. It was a long process, but the 2014 – 2015 school year was our launch year. Boy, did we learn a lot! And we made a lot of new friends, and the kids had a lot of fun.
Now, it’s time for the 2015 – 2016 school year — almost. We can’t wait to go back. The kids have been asking all summer when it would be time for school again.
Homeschool coops have a lot of advantages. And that’s why I think you should join one!
5 Reasons You Should Join a Homeschool Coop
1. Opportunity to develop close friendships
Often, the same families participate year after year, and most of the time meet a least once a week. We meet weekly with our group, plus we often get together with our friends from the group other days of week, sometimes even at the last minute. It’s easy to develop real and lasting friendships with people in the group, both for kids and adults!
2. Explore projects you can only do with larger groups
A lot of awesome projects aren’t as awesome when you only do it with one or two kids, but become super awesome with 5 or 10. For example, putting on a play. We’ll be doing a dinosaur “excavation” and building skeletons at one of our meetings. Or painting a mural. Or putting together a short magazine. There are so many great things! And, often learning can happen better in a team. Kids can bounce ideas off each other, learn new skills, and extend skills they already possessed.
3. Learn about topics from new perspectives
When kids study at home alone, they learn what their parents think about something, or what a particular book or author thinks. But when they work on things with groups, they get a wide variety of perspectives. They’ll learn things they wouldn’t have at home!
4. Take specialized classes
Many coops offer some really unique classes, that you couldn’t do at home and wouldn’t find in school. We’ve seen robotics classes, Minecraft classes, and we’re offering messy science and Lego design this fall! These kinds of classes are hands-on and really awesome.
5. Be with adults who “get it”
Let’s be honest. Occasionally it’s exhausting to constantly explain and defend your choices to others — why you homeschool, or eat real food, or use alternative medicine (most members in our group actively do all these things!). It’s nice to be around people who do the same things you do and who don’t think you’re crazy. In our group, we’ve done DIY nights to make our own lotions and herbal remedies, we’re getting together a big group to shop Amish country and then can foods, and we do lots of other stuff. We regularly do group orders from different places for natural products so we all get good deals. It’s awesome! It’s so much more than “just” homeschooling.
Coops are just awesome. Seriously. They add so much to our homeschooling journey, both educationally and in friendships!
By the way, if you’re looking for new ideas, check out my book, Unschooling From Birth to Early Elementary. It’s filled with ideas on what to expect from each age group, plus best materials to keep on hand, and lots of activity suggestions. It also answers common questions, like what if you have kids of multiple ages or transitioning to homeschooling.
It’s on special right now over on Educents (a website you should definitely check out — they have stuff like this Little Labs Human Body Kit, Magic School Bus games, and a bunch more!). Grab the book here!