Friday, August 3, 2012

{Back to Homeschool Blog Hop: Co-ops}

I'm so thankful for the positive experiences we've had over the years with a homeschool co-op.  The group that we are a part of offers short-term co-op classes during the spring.  It's something different in our routine, the kids have a chance to focus on some subject areas that we might not be doing at home, and we all enjoy the opportunity to get together with friends.  (Yeah, we're socializing! Imagine that!)

My personal opinion about co-ops is that they can be wonderful supplements to a home-based education, but they should be considered just that - a supplement.  Even better, the co-op should be truly co-operative and be enjoyable for mom too.

Our co-op has been successful over the years because it has been well-organized and we have some guidelines in place that make the expectations clear.  It is a co-op, not a drop-off.  One of the basic rules is that a parent (or an adult or older teen taking the parent's place) must be there the entire time.  We also require each parent to contribute their time in actually teaching or helping in the classrooms.  That way everyone is sharing the responsibility of teaching and keeping order.

The co-op is 12 weeks long, one afternoon a week.  There are 11 weeks of classes, and then a party and open session on the last week.  We have classes geared for preschool age through about Grade 7 or 8.  Most years we have had three subjects for each class with classes lasting about 40 minutes, but the oldest class (usually designated as age 11 and up) has only two subjects but their classes are about an hour long.  The subjects vary from year to year because it depends which families participate and what the moms feel led to volunteer to teach.  The most popular classes are Art and Hands-on Science and we manage to have those represented for all age groups most years.  We have also had geography, drama, speech, history, music, sign language, civics, and other classes.  The past two years the oldest class had had film-making, which was hugely popular.

Spencer and a partner during a dissection lab
perspective drawing class

work from Kennady's art class
Michelangelo day in art class
Chinese calligraphy in a world culture/art class
Co-op 2012 Drama class presentation
Co-op 2012 Physics class with their catapults
Co-op 2012 Physics class building a suspension bridge

Since our family has participated in the co-op for so many years, I've had a chance to teach or help with a number of the classes, and while it is a lot of work, it is also plenty of fun.  I've been the lead teacher for a meteorology class, and this past year's physics class (my lesson outlines are posted on this blog - THIS LINK will take you to the last in the series which contains links to all the previous weeks' outlines).  I've been a co-teacher for art and geography classes, and have been a helper in all kinds of classes.  This coming year I'm hoping to take a break and just be a helper!  We'll see how that works out.


Fellow bloggers from the Schoolhouse Review Crew talk about their experiences with co-ops today in the Back to Homeschool Blog Hop!


Post a Comment

I love comments! It's like visiting over a virtual cup of coffee.