Homeschooling. The toughest job you’ll ever love. Nah. Just kidding. Pretty sure that motto belongs to the Peace Corps. But teaching and training your little ones at home, all day, every day, does not come without a little trial and error. And shaving cream and wearing your pajamas all day.
And all THAT fun? That happens on Fridays. At our homeschool co-op. Which is basically a term of endearment for “a time once a week for crazy homeschooling parents to take their kids to learn with other homeschooled kids and moms to high five one another in the hallway for making it through another week”.
Not exactly. But here are some awesome benefits of a homeschool co-op.
One of the many fears parents have about homeschooling their children is that big, scary, elephant in the room called (wait for it…) SOCIALIZATION. The idea of taking a child that would most likely be placed in a classroom with twenty or more other children of the same age to teaching them in their own home possibly with older or younger siblings initially seems isolating. Trust me, I’ve been there. But what I have experienced with a homeschool co-op is that you get that interaction, once a week, on a much smaller scale. My daughter is also involved once a week with dance class, we attend library storytime when we can, frequent the park and other social outings, so when you add all of that up? My children are fairly well socialized. Each of my three children have made very close friends just since we started back in August, and an unexpected bonus? SO HAVE I. Having other mothers in the thick of homeschooling, plus pursuing their dreams, loving their families, and keeping that laundry load to a minimum has been a major blessing to me. I receive texts, playdate invites, and Starbucks from these incredible ladies all the time.
Another concern I had initially with homeschooling was “how would I handle teaching subjects in which I struggle?” I have a degree in Religion, and I am a writer, so if you want to chat about the history of the Pauline epistles or prepositional phrases, LET’S DO THIS. However, I also may or may not be the same person that rolled their eyes and said “multiplication is just a faster way to add” in the kitchen the other night. Having access to a homeschool co-op where there are other mothers that dedicate their time, talents, and love of math is priceless. There are Master’s level teachers at our co-op, and dual enrollment college courses are offered to high school students through a partnership with a local college. Our particular co-op offers an umbrella program as well, including maintaining your child’s records, offering ACT testing, and a high school diploma and graduation ceremony. This place is the real deal.
I was one of those people that loved school with every fiber of their being. Making friends and learning new content was my game. So the thought of my children not being able to enjoy such an experience saddened me. Being part of a co-op has been a game changer in that area. My younger children each have their own “class” and my six year old changes classes every hour on her own. We meet as a family for lunch with our friends and then recess on the playground. School ends at 3pm and we travel home, dragging our backpacks and trading funny stories of the day. They have enjoyed Mustache Day, Pajama Day, School Spirit Day and we are most likely trading Valentines and chowing down on yummy treats as you are reading this post. Having the unique opportunity to grant our children a home education and a taste of school life at the same time has been a blessing to our family.
But if any of them cause trouble? Mama is just down the hall.
Stay tuned for a list of local homeschool co-ops in our upcoming Knoxville resource guide coming in March!