- Your children each have different personalities and something at a co-op may spark their interest.
When kids are small, it seems as if we can control the environment and manage the day for them, but as they get older, they may want to branch out into areas/interests that we Moms are not proficient in and we must be willing/ready for it.
The temptation is to teach/reach each of your children with our own personality style. You may clash as the child gets older. Not a reason to stop homeschooling. A reason to include more personalities.
A few years ago, I hosted a career class at our co-op (THESIS). Every week we had a guest speaker for part of the class. Each speaker had a different career and shared about what he/she did on a daily basis. We had a nurse, prosecuting attorney, court reporter, internet business owner, paramedic, restaurant manager, autism mentor, and lots more. It gave some perspectives to the kids that I couldn’t possibly have given on my own.
- Homeschool co-ops offer classes you don’t want to or don’t feel confident teaching.
I love writing. I made sure my kids had a healthy dose of instruction in it in their daily routine. Science, not so much. When our homeschool co-op was in it’s beginning stages, another mom and I decided to combine forces and we met once a week to do some unit studies. She handled the science. I taught the writing. The kids had a blast getting together and we all learned something.
As THESIS grew and took on teaching some courses once a week, I joined the teaching staff and my kids were able to take some courses I didn’t feel I could teach.
You can’t do it all. Neither can I. We don’t have to. The body of Christ has different talents, gifts and areas of expertise. A homeschool co-op can give this to you and your children, whether it be art, writing, gym, research writing, science or math.
- Homeschool co-ops offer a spirit of camaraderie and you will be supported
Although each family is a separate unit in society with its own family government, it can feel as if you are on an island. When you are having a rough patch, other families in a co-op understand, they offer that “Me too” factor we all long for
For the past several years, I have hosted (and cohosted) a Mom’s Tea at THESIS, during class hours. We study a book or read articles on family, relationships, homeschooling and refresh ourselves for the week to come. Friend and fellow homeschooler, Lori told me she wouldn’t have made it through her first year of homeschooling if it weren’t for the support of the other Moms at the tea. We didn’t do anything special for her, like do her grocery shopping or clean her house. We just talked and listened.
We want our children to become independent and then interdependent members of society. Homeschool Co-op is a great safe place for you to practice these in baby steps. Your child may want to be in a theatre production, speak in front of an audience, participate in an Art and Literature Fair, learn how to sew, etc.. We Moms have to be careful that we don’t turn homeschooling into an excuse not to participate in life because it is too hard to get everyone together and get them in the car and get there on time.
We can get comfortable in our mini societies at home and may not want to deal with the hassle or we are introverts (guilty) and we don’t like to people. That is not a great excuse for not participating in a co-op, instead it is a great reason to join. Help your kids broaden their horizons, meet new people, find out that other people have a common foundation, meet new personalities and get out of your comfort zone. Let your kids get out their comfort zone and grow alongside you.
Did you notice, I didn’t say ‘socialization’ is the reason to join a co-op? I don’t think learning how to be social has to happen at a co-op, it may be a nice side-effect. Learning how to act socially begins at home. At the dinner table, saying please and thank you. Waiting your turn to talk. Participating in discussion at the dinner table, etc, then it extends to volunteering at the soup opera, food pantry or nursing home. It’s reading aloud at Barnes and Noble for story time. Joining a homeschool co-op is for the whole family. It helps you create and maintain relationships with with other like-minded families. It gives your kids a chance to stretch their independent legs with you cheering them on from the sidelines. Co-ops give Moms a support system and offer kids some classes that Moms may not feel up to teaching at home.