High School and Beyond

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I have found myself tempted to join a coop. We did them when the oldest kids were young. The best thing that happened was I made some good friends out of it, but over time those friendships have drifted apart. I have found that the best coop with in a reasonable distance from here, happens to have many of my old friends going there too.
I get tempted to go, but fear it is just for my neediness that I feel, as I really miss our time that we once had together.

I worry that I am not creating a well rounded education for my kids and like the idea doing some things there that you can't easily do at home like Theater, PE.

I also get tempted to do some of the "hard" classes there, but don't like the idea of giving up some of my control and our pace, and our freedom.

I secretly worry that my kids wont' be well rounded enough or that I have gotten in the way of them learning something they would really benefit from. (but then again, you don't see a lot of adults walking around wearing tutus do you?)

As I think on this, I think about how difficult it will be to get there on Tuesdays so early in the morning.

Second, this place that has it all, is pricey! and you have to wear a uniform that you purchase from them. There really isn't another group that has nice offerings for older kids, it seems the others are just social or geared for little kids.

Third, I fear it is so large that there is no quiet place to do our other school while we wait for siblings making the day sort of a waste.

4th, this group is so big, and it looks and acts like a school when you visit, I truly suspect that their are all the clicks and groups that we have avoided by not attending school. But that is just an unfair guess on my part.

I also think that I may be hoping this will put into place structure that I feel we need. But we have just had a crazy year, why can't I achieve that structure here myself?

I would love your thoughts, so that I can begin to hash out if this is worth it.

I could just do a class or two but I fear we will really be losing a day.

I wonder if that "lost" day would be better spent with some of our homeschool friends from church family, in the form of field trips and little classes and sports we could do here and there initiated by me.

We have just a few older kids there that may like to have something different to do, and then we also have tons of littles whose moms might appreciate some of our ideas for outings and such....

I guess as I look at that coop and there endless list of outside activities too, I think to myself, I would rather do more things with my church, even if it isn't "exactly" what I "wanted". I think, I could bless them for free, but you see that is my bent I don't like to spend money, maybe I just need to spend money on my kids, maybe that is what they need and I am skewed in my thinking...?

This post was edited on Apr 09, 2018 04:10 PM

re: Coops...?

How old are your children? What do they want to do? Those are the most important questions in my opinion :-)

We attend a weekly co-op & my son loves it. It is a way for me to outsource classes that better meet his needs than I could do at home alone. He takes theater, science and two low-key electives. He really enjoys our time at co-op and is learning a lot. If he really didn’t want to go or if we found it too burdensome or overwhelming, we would not participate. It’s a big commitment! We are also part of a homeschool group that we join in for field trips and fun.

I think if you’re just looking for social, I’d participate with your church. If you’re looking for primarily academic with social aspects, I’d join the co-op.

ETA- I just read that the co-op children have to wear a uniform. That would be a deal breaker for me, lol. I’m okay with it mimicking aspects of school... but that’s a little overboard for me.

One more thought.. if they are over 16, could they drive their own car? So the whole Group isn’t waiting on the older ones?

This post was edited on Apr 09, 2018 05:05 PM

re: Coops...?

You have given me much to think about thanks!

They are old enough to drive themselves. That is something to consider.

I'm not sure what I want, I think about having them accountable to another adult for the *hard* classes, but they are doing well, it isn't really "broke".

I think it might be nice to take extracurriculars, but I don't know that that is worth the money that this place is asking for.

I feel like if we spend a day at coop we wont afford the money or the time for the other fun things I would like to do on our own and with our church friends, and a few neighbors.

re: Coops...?

My 2 cents is if it ain’t broke don’t fix it :-)

Unless your children are asking to outsource classes or if you just really need it for your own sanity, I’d stick with what’s working. Co-ops really do require bending at the mercy of someone else’s agenda.

For my son we outsource classes because he really needs that and enjoys it. But even then, I’m cautious with what we choose. For example, there’s a literature class that just looks like it is waaay more than I want to commit too. And although my son needs a lit class, I know that I’d prefer meeting that criteria in a much more relaxed and tailor made way. My personal opinion is that a lit class should be more enjoyable than rigorous, so we will forego signing up, for no other reason than it doesn’t mesh with what I want.

Make a list of what you’re wanting to really add to your school year. Is it social? Academic? Both? How can you best meet those needs? Brainstorm with your teens and I bet you all will come up with some great ideas!

I’m not knocking co-ops by any means. But in your shoes I’d only join one because it’s really something you and your kids feel committed too and are okay with someone else’s agenda and timeline. Otherwise, put your money into other outside classes (i.e. cheaper), various field trips, and church activities with the other families you mentioned.

re: Coops...?

Thank you! I really appreciate your time on this, I am much closer to clarity now.

I might join for PE but that is if we join at all....

re: Coops...?

I would also agree that if it ain't broke, don't fix it. In hindsight, I found church to be better than the co-op, unless your children need the classes due to a particular "bent" you can't teach. Through church, we found "social" to be better.

Where I live, the co-ops are public school recreations in both cliques, and attitudes. We did however do a paid PE class every Monday, until another child bullied mine mercilessly and yes, this was a Christian PE group. We ended up quitting and going to a gym instead. Also one spends a lot of time on that particular co-op day that tended to interfere with our school time - we were at the mercy at the co-op, which defeated "home"-schooling.

I find taking classes at "Michaels" or the like, going as a family to outings, much more "family friendly" and binding family wise. When my dd was young, we had a "neighbor-day" which we enjoyed a set day for close knit friends for a few hours.

I see now that homeschooling is changing - mothers are asking first, "Where's the co-op?" Then when I hear the stories, it makes me wonder why they just didn't send them to school.

Edited to add: My dd did a co-op class twice and hated them both. One, she wanted "social" and not the class. Two the class we dropped was just like public school, but without the teacher accountability.

This post was edited on Apr 11, 2018 10:27 AM

re: Coops...?

Thank you!

My gut tells me that they are more like what you have described.

That reminded me that they said that they have had a huge influx of students wanting to join.... which brings up some good questions are the kids always homeschooled or public school kids who are suddenly desiring to homeschool.

Don't take this *wrong* world, but generally speaking there is a big difference in the kids who were *always * homeschooled and those who *now* homeschool, but used to be public schooled, much of the bad lessons that they were taught from their peers come with them to their new coops and homeschool activities (trying to look cool, teasing/humiliating others, mocking teachers, thinking that school is a bore, not wanting to answer teachers questions and participate in projects, or even finish homework.)

I have noted the difference first hand on many occasions.

I think that maybe our homeschool isn't broke, I was tempted to do PE there, but I can probably put a group together that could do PE somewhere else, that is, if we really *want* to.

re: Coops...?

I would agree. I think co-ops have changed - I witnessed it over the years. They are becoming THE HOME school. Ours are complete with "proms" or dances. In fact one of ours has completely recreated "school" where anyone can join, not just homeschooled children and it's complete with student council and the like. It's simply a cheaper avenue to private Christian school. I remember well the emails that went out to combat the attitudes and bullying. Total eye roll.

I know not all are like this, but I do see the homeschool world changing. Less are schooling at home and simply outsourcing it. I would say just be careful what you join, how much it's a part of your day and it drives your day, and realize the influences anytime you get children in a group of their peers.


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