I highly recommend participating in a homeschool co-op, especially if you homeschool an only child. It is wonderful idea for so many reasons! Co-ops offer:
- Support from the other moms
- A chance for your kids to see that other kids homeschool, too
- A chance for your kids to learn from someone else
- Field trips (at some co-ops)
Last but not least:
- A reason to get dressed in the middle of the day!
There are three websites I recommend to check for a co-op in your area. They are:
- The Homeschool Mom
- Homeschool Classifieds – Click on your state in the box on the right.
- Local Homeschool
If you aren’t able to find a co-op near you or the co-op is full, you might want start your own! I am currently starting this process for next school year. Your church is a good place to start. Do any other members homeschool? Would they be interested in participating in a co-op? Would they be willing to help you get it going? If there isn’t a need within your church, consider putting up a flier at the local library.
Once you determine that there is a need, get together with with potential members to figure out what everyone expects from the co-op, potential meeting sites (I suggest starting with churches represented within the group), and what everyone’s strengths are so you can delegate jobs.
When you meet with your church (or other meeting site), you will be able to figure out a lot of important information:
- Whether you will need your own insurance
- What days and times are available
- Space limitations – How big can you co-op be?
From there you can decide how often and when you want to meet as well as how long you want each session to be. You will also need to decide if all classes will be taught by parents or if you will want to hire teachers for special classes like art, sports, photography, etc.
For more information about all of the fine print stuff I recommend Homeschool CPA. This website has been such a helpful resource for me in this process! Carol Topp’s book, Homeschool Co-ops: How to Start Them, Run Them and Not Burn Out, is a must-have for anyone starting a co-op. It is filled with so much information from class ideas to how to file for non-profit status!
Is your family a part of a homeschool co-op? I would love to hear about it in the comments below!