Tuesday, October 5, 2010

The Co-op Conundrum

Me, wearing my very bright co-op shirt
     A recent conversation with my sister in law prompted me to write this post.   She mentioned to me that she doesn't think that she will ever put her daughter (who is about the same age as Anna) in a  homeschool co-op, the reason being that  her local co-op (which meets three times a week) seems to have the same negative social dynamics between some of the girls, such as cliques, that you commonly see in public school.  My sister-in-law is homeschooling to avoid this negative socialization, and rightly questions the need to join a co-op that has the same thing going on that she has chosen to avoid. 
     I am a part of a homeschool co-op that meets once a week, and although there are many aspects that I find beneficial for us, I regularly wonder "is it worth it".  For me it's primarily a matter of time.  Even though we only meet once a week, I teach two classes, and so a lot of time is spent every week planning for that, and it really takes it out of us on Friday.  By the time we get home we are all exhausted, and nothing else gets done that day. 
     So I wonder, what makes a homeschool co-op worth it, and what aspects make it a bad investment of your time and money.   For me personally, I would not want to be a part of a co-op that met multiple times a week.  I think that would take away from what we are doing at home.  I really enjoy teaching my children, and wouldn't like to farm that out.  I might change my mind come middle school, but for right now that would be a deal breaker.  I also would need it to be a positive social experience for my children.  There is some "girl stuff" that I have seen in my co-op, but it is usually very mild and easily dealt with. 
    No co-op is worth putting yourself in  a financial bind for, especially if it is only for extracurricular activities, and if a co-op is teaching core curriculum, make sure it's what you want taught.  I think most importantly, you should never feel pressured to join or continue with a particular co-op if it isn't working for your family; even if the pressure is coming from your kids.  
    What are your co-op deal breakers, and what do you think makes a good co-op?


  1. Hey there Susy Q. I was actually talking to your mom about the same thing yesterday. Like I've said before, if you compare the co-op's little problems and cliques to what happens in public school, they are small. Still though, my concern is that if I decided to homeschool for many reasons and one of them being so my children don't get involved in cliques and give so much importance to who's group they're in, what they wear, what they listen to... then I think the purpose is defeated. Not that I don't participate in events or particular classes as a big homeschool group, but I feel (more for some kids than others) they're automatically pressured to "fit in" and, without fail, the cliques start. I'm not saying my child will never be part of a clique if I don't put them in a co-op but I also feel that If they're in an environment for too long where ur only accepted by peers if you act a certain way (sometimes it doesn't matter how you act, you're still not accepted) then would they take advice from you when they come home and you say "oh sweety, those things are not important, don't let it get the best of you, DON'T DO THE SAME". They're thinking, "yeah right, you're not the one having to live with the pressure while I'm there" Specially with girls (or at least girls seem to start younger). Like I said, some are affected, others do just fine, but in my case, having a bigger family, I really want them to have a stronger bond with each other and not to think the only important say is from those peers who seem to change their minds every week anyways. I'm just not sure really, but as for right now, that's pretty much how I feel. I don't know if I made much sense... lol, just writing a little about what I think ;)

  2. I got it, and I agree. I think you always have to start with "what is best for us?" all comparisons aside.