Homeschool co-ops are very popular among many homeschoolers and they can be wonderful avenues to make friends, receive support and even expand your child’s academic horizons. Co-ops (cooperatives) are groups generally created by a number of families working together for the benefit of all who want to join. A couple of questions I get asked often are, “How can you join one and how do they work?
Let’s explore a few things you need to know before joining a homeschool co-op.
Benefits of Joining a Homeschool Co-op
Homeschool co-ops vary in what they offer. Some co-ops are designed to support homeschooling families by working together to organize play dates and field trips. There are many of these types of co-ops in Florida, and if you are brand new to homeschooling, these casual meet-ups can be a wonderful way to meet others and to get support.
Such homeschool co-ops often organize and offer things like a yearly prom, regular weekly park days, field trips to various places around the state, sports teams and a yearbook to members.
Co-ops can also be more academic in nature and more structured in the way that they are run. These types of co-ops generally require parents to pitch in somehow; either by teaching a class, assisting in a class, or providing clean up or lunch help during the day. Some of these co-ops offer fun, extra-curricular classes at members’ homes, while others often utilize a church’s classrooms for more traditional-type courses.
Either way, these co-ops can offer you and your child extra support and enable the kids to take a few classes with their peers.
Drop Off Homeschool Co-ops
There are also co-ops which are staffed by members who teach classes and allow parents to drop off their children. These tend to be the most expensive types of co-ops, but they do offer an option for parents to leave their children with peers for a half-day, full-day or twice a week, depending on what the co-op “school” offers.
I put “school” in quotation marks above because sometimes a co-ops can be affiliated with an umbrella school. An umbrella school in Florida is technically a private school. More on that in the next blog post.
Cost of Homeschool Co-ops
Many co-ops are free to join. Others require a yearly fee to cover things like downpayment on field trips, yearbook costs, etc. The more academic co-ops and drop-off co-ops can get pricey depending on what is offered. Nevertheless, these types of co-ops can be great ways for your high schoolers to earn credits and/or by doing Science labs (for example) by taking classes in-person with peers. It’s always more fun to dissect a cow eyeball with friends (especially if you don’t have to assist.) Just kidding- some of you might like that kind of thing (I didn’t in high school, but I do now!) I’ve heard homeschooling referred to as a parent’s second-chance at high school – – makes sense!
How To Join a Homeschool Co-op
If you are in Florida, a great resource for finding co-ops in your area is the Florida Parent Educator’s Association. (FPEA) I highly recommend joining them as you can find tons of resources and supports for your homeschool there. If you are not in Florida, your state likely has a similar organization. If you need help finding yours, contact me and I’ll help. Here is the link to sign up to join the FPEA: https://fpea.com/webforms/fpea-membership-form-new-memberships-and-renewals
If you’d like $10 off your membership, you can use my coupon code: TERRI18 in the coupon field.