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What is a Co-Op and Do I Need to Be Part of One?

Are you thinking about homeschooling this year?

You may have heard the term “Co-Op” and have jumped on board with that and thought “I have to do this”. It might be for a few reasons, and I am going to jump into your head right now and make some assumptions. Yes, I know what assumptions are.

You may be afraid of taking on the task of schooling your children all by yourself, and think that doing it with others will lessen the burden of teaching on yourself. Or, the responsibility.

You may wonder how you will get through the day with your children, especially if you have had them in a school setting up to this point.

You may not want to be the person who is in charge of teaching them, and putting the responsibility onto someone else feels like a relief. Having them out of the school system (for whatever reason) is your main goal, but teaching them yourself seems overwhelming.

Time is a huge factor for you. There can’t be enough hours in the day, days in the week to get it all done.

I want you to pause on the thought of Co-Op

Co-ops are wonderful. They really are. They help parents work together to encourage children, make teamwork happen and help parents out too.

However, if you are moving from a school environment to a homeschool environment, you may have preconceived notions of what a co-op will look like. It is not designed to emulate a school. In fact, it often does not look like one at all.

Parents really should get to know the learning styles of their children. How each child learns in a classroom setting can be vastly different than how they learn at home. You may think that this is silly, but motivations are different. Have you heard that a child often behaves worse when their mother is in the room than when a strange is in the room? Do you know why? A child knows that a mother will give the child unconditional love, but that a stranger has to be convinced to like the child.

You and your child may suffer some power struggles when first transitioning to homeschooling. This is normal. You will also be able to get through more during a day than you might expect once the ball gets rolling. Some day will be amazing, and other days you will want to give up.

Having a good base when working with your child (or children) before entering a co-op is a good place to start before entering a group setting with your kids. You will most likely be expected to help out with other kids and possibly teach, so having practice with your own kids-if you don’t have a teaching background already-is a great place to start.

Social groups are not co-ops

A lot of people think co-ops and social groups are synonymous, and luckily they are not. There are many homeschool groups that get together just for park days, play groups, field trips and social outtings. This is a great way to get to know other families that you would like to do life with. More than likely, there may be a co-op or two even involved with the social group. It is a low pressure way to meet other families and see what type of learning styles they have with their kids and see if you jive. That is really important too.

Make sure you check out our other posts such as Homeschooling in Arizona FAQs

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