If you’ve been around a group of homeschoolers, you may have heard the term “co-op” being thrown around here and there. And, especially if you’re new to the homeschooling community, you may be wondering, “What the heck is a co-op?” (Or, “What happens in a co-op anyway?”)
Homeschool Co-op Definition
You may already know, but co-op is short for cooperative. And, it’s not a term that is exclusive to the homeschooling community. It is a word that simply means a group working together for a common goal.
For homeschooling, co-ops are generally organized by a group of homeschooling parents for a variety of reasons: to offer classes, to organize field trips, to participate in group arts and crafts, to provide social time for homeschoolers, to get the benefits of group discounts, and more.
How Do Homeschool Co-ops Work?
How homeschool co-ops work will depend on the type of co-op it is. Most co-ops are academic, focusing on offering classes on different topics. If you have a homeschool co-op that offers classes, the group will either need to hire a teacher, pay “tuition” to a center or organization that offers this type of co-op, or each parent in the co-op must sign up to teach a topic of choice or an assigned topic.
The group will also need to decide how often they meet. Some homeschool co-ops meet weekly or even several times a week, while others meet monthly (or a couple of times each month).
Homeschool Buyers’ Co-op
Another co-op you may hear about frequently is a homeschool buyers’ co-op. In this type of cooperative, homeschoolers join with a group of other homeschoolers to receive volume discounts for curricula, books, lessons, and other educational resources.
Generally, homeschoolers join a homeschool buyers’ co-op for free or a low membership price. The more people that are in a homeschool buyers’ co-op, the bigger the potential savings that are passed on to the members because the co-op can buy a large amount of products at a deeply discounted price.
Should I Join a Co-op?
You may be wondering if a co-op is the right fit for you? It really depends on what you are looking for as an addition to your homeschooling. Just like anything in life, there are pros and cons to homeschool co-ops too. If you’re looking for more regimented, scheduled classes to supplement your homeschool, then an academic co-op may be a good choice for you. However, if you’re just looking to supplement homeschooling with some social meet-ups or field trips, then check out local Facebook homeschool groups that are more relaxed and you can interact and join when your schedule allows.
Are you part of a homeschool co-cop? What are the best parts for you?