Do you Co-op?

I used to think co-ops were not my thing. It seemed like so much work to prepare for the classes when I was already doing so much prep work for my own kids. Now, I’ve changed my mind. I’ve seen and participated in three different types/sizes of co-ops and each has its rewards and struggles. Here are the types of co-ops I have been involved with:

1) Two family co-op. This was a science/music co-op. I taught science and my friend taught music. This co-op was born out of the desire to have my kids in a music class. And we both wanted to do science. I love science and she loves music (and has a degree in it) so it was a good match. There were seven students in class, plus two toddlers to mix things up a little. At this point, the oldest student was 6th grade. We finally bumped the 6th grader out of class because he was too advanced. This worked well but it was a lot of work to prepare a lesson each week. We gave up on it after one year because the music teacher had throat problems and couldn’t sing any more.

2) A pay-for-classes co-op. This one is nice because you can just pay someone else to teach the class. You don’t have to do anything but ride herd on the homework side. (Can you tell I’m originally from Texas?) They have a study hall so if the classes you want are not back-to-back, you can still leave your child there. I have also become a teacher at this co-op. It’s nice for a little extra cash. I currently teach Computer Science there.

3) A multi-family co-op with a specific goal. In my case, that goal is a classical education using The Latin-Centered Curriculum. We met over a nationwide Yahoo group that was started for the book. We quickly realized there was  a group of us in Northern Virginia so we got together for a curriculum share. We began talking about a co-op and it developed from there. This is our first year and it has been great. There are six families with students from pre-school to 8th grade. Our initial focus was languages: Greek and Latin. All other classes were supposed to be enrichment. Once we figured out what we were doing last fall, we shifted to having more classes that tied into a classical education. It has been a great experience although there have been challenges.

As you can see, co-ops can take many forms. If you are struggling to keep up, need some accountability, or just want to do some classes with other people, co-ops may be the answer for you.

Until next time,

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