Today, a few of us answer the question:
We belong to two co-ops. For our experience, the biggest benefit is the sense of community it offers us. Though our co-ops are comprised of homeschoolers, there is a wide variety and individuality within each co-op group. However, since we are all on a homeschooling path, I find much encouragement from the other moms. The biggest draw back for us, is time. This is something we struggle with this year in particular because we have more out of the house classes than ever before. So, it may not be an exclusive co-op problem, but rather an issue across the boards for us this year. Either way, it is something we are evaluating for next year.
There is not a homeschool cooperative in my immediate area yet, although the first year we were homeschooling we did participate in two different homeschooling groups. Our participation was originally based on our concerns about socialization. After the first year, we were no longer worried about that, and started choosing our activities based on our needs and likes. Homeschoolers are as varied in purpose, beliefs and methods as everyone else on earth, so sometimes it is hard to find where you 'fit.' I am still open to a homeschool cooperative and love the idea of one, but am not feeling it is something we need enough for me to begin one myself at this point.
We don't do co-ops, and we won't do them in the future. I really enjoy the "home" in homeschooling, so we prefer it that way. I seem to be the exception with this one in my circle of homeschooling friends, but I guess we are just unique We do participate in a support group, where the moms and kids get to hang out, but no teaching happens.
Do you participate in a co-op? What do you see as the benefits/drawbacks of your participation?
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