If you’ve been homeschooling for any length of time, then you know all about homeschool coops, support groups, and organizations such as these to boost your homeschool program. However, if you are new to homeschooling, you will how many seconds in a day want to take advantage of some of the options that these groups can offer you. They are an excellent way to round out any particular needs you have for your children, cover subject areas that you have trouble with, or interact with others who have similar needs and goals for their homeschool children.
A homeschool support group can be just the ticket for creating a bond with others in your area who homeschool. Frequently, support groups meet to share ideas, moms’ outings, field trips and other common interests, but every support group has a unique purpose. Some meet specifically for field trips, or perhaps they focus on book swaps. Others meet for Bible study or faith-based group activities. Still others are organized around a particular curricula or subject area. There is usually a nominal annual fee for joining a support group, but for those fees, members receive monthly newsletters or alerts, opportunities to interact, and the chance to connect with similarly motivated families. There is no limit to the number of support groups that a family can join, and so filling in the need for social interaction is easily done, both for the homeschooled child and the homeschool mom or dad. Depending on the activity or purpose, a support group will typically meet once a month, unless activities or events generate more frequent meetings.
Another group option for homeschooling families is the homeschooling coop. A coop is different than a support group in that a coop is typically formed for instructional needs. The format can vary, but the idea is that moms with a particular subject background, such as science for example, might teach science classes for the students in the group while another mom might teach math classes. Talents and interests can be shared, and even multiple ages can be served through the combining of gifts and skills. A coop may have a slightly larger fee structure, but for areas where a homeschooling family needs instructional help, the homeschool coop is an excellent option. Coops generally meet up to a couple of times per week and assignments are sent home with the students to work on during their “off” days. (This can also be called the “University Model.”)
Both of these options are worth investigating if you are new to homeschooling. Support groups and coops can significantly enhance the opportunities for enrichment in your homeschool program, but because you have the option to join or not, you don’t have to compromise your schedule, your goals, or the reasons that you began homeschooling in the first place. You are free to seek out those options that serve your family’s needs the best.