One thing that there are a good selection of in the Inland NW are homeschool co-ops.
Co-ops are the homeschoolers’ way of pooling our resources and delegating some of the teaching to someone else. They can be very effective. There is also a peer-pressure facet to them though, as if we’re all expected to join one.
“What co-op do you go to?” is a question I often hear when I meet other homeschoolers or even non-homeschoolers who have homeschool friends. It can make a mom feel like they’re doing something wrong if she doesn’t participate in one. I’m not anti-co-op, but I have mixed feelings about them.
I’m a huge fan of doing science in groups.
Reading a text book and trying to scrounge up lab supplies cannot even come close to having 5 or 10 students all doing the same experiments together, following directions and learning scientific processes. Besides, it’s just a lot more fun when you have friends around you. And I don’t have to do all of the teaching.
I love the idea of co-ops.
Actually, let me correct myself: I love the idea of someone else teaching my kids. The whole “cooperative” thing gets rather muddied and un-fun when I am faced with having to teach other peoples’ kids.
I don’t really enjoy this. At all.
There are exceptions, of course. I like one on one, or just a couple students at a time. I do enjoy the high school and motivated middle school kids, when they want to learn something technology oriented. I can teach graphics or WordPress and basic HTML coding, photo editing. These are fun! I’m just not a fan of teaching co-op classes overall. My preferred job at co-op is something like cleaning up after lunch, or being a second adult in the classroom but not needing to really teach much.
I am a fan of someone else doing the teaching.
This year, as in past years, we participated in fall session, and then signed up for Spring. Unlike last year, when I cancelled our registration at the last minute and enjoyed a spring with no co-op homework, this year we forged onward. With an extreme lack of enthusiasm on my and D2’s parts, we went anyway.
The boys are only taking two classes this session: Public Speaking and Careers. Both are really good classes! They’re just NOT very good at getting the homework done… and I am terrible at having them do it because we have enough going on with their regular school work.
There is a morning meeting before class.
We have only managed to make it once this session so far, and maybe twice last session. Over the years we have been very bad about making it to this meeting before class. The morning meeting at co-ops often involve singing worship songs, which to me always comes across as tacky and contrived since we’re there for classes and consistently over the years it has always seemed forced, as if the kids and even most of the adults didn’t really want to, but did it because they felt like they should.
Maybe this is just me, but it’s not something I’m sad to miss… although it would be nice if we could make it on time regularly, just for the sake of BEING ON TIME! Call me a bad Christian, or a bad mom… whatever. You’ve got your opinions and I’ve got mine.
We are lucky if we make it by the start of the first class at 10am.
Yes, I’m that mom– that flaky one who shows up late. Rushing out the door is just not my thing. Of course, in my world, rushing means that feeling of hurry-up-we’re-going-to-be-late as it takes 90 minutes for the older son to get his shoes and socks on and gather his things to leave. It’s a slow motion rush, if there is such a thing. Autism and ADHD are our daily hurdles.
Next year, I don’t know if co-op will be on the agenda.
We sign up every year, and every year around the second week, I regret it. I miss the days where we had one family with kids the same ages as ours that we did classes with every week. I miss those days so much! But all of those kids are grown and gone, and these boys are who I’ve got left at home. New season, new activities. I would love to find another family to do this with.