In my recent post, Homeschool Co-ops: 7 Things To Consider BEFORE You Join, I offered a list of considerations to help homeschool moms determine if a participating in a homeschool co-op would work for them. Though many families like ours enjoy homeschool co-ops, perhaps you’ve discovered that a homeschool co-op isn’t a good fit for your family at this time.
Is the local homeschool co-op the only way to involve your children in group learning with fellow homeschoolers? No. Do other effective and engaging options for occasional group interaction exist? Yes! Read on to learn about four great alternatives to homeschool co-ops.
Team Teaching: Partnering with a fellow homeschool mom is a fantastic way to gather multiple children for cooperative learning. Last year after a dear friend introduced me to Story of the World, she suggested that our children meet up for a joint history lesson. Now, each week we read and discuss a couple of chapters at home before convening at my friend’s house for a lesson review and a fun and engaging extension activity. Last year, I taught a Writers’ Workshop to my children and to the children of another dear friend. While I taught the lesson, my friend did an amazing job of keeping Baby Girl, my active two year old, happily engaged in toddler play.
Paid Classes: Local educational centers such as art museums, nature centers, and arboretums have now realized that it’s beneficial for them to offer classes to homeschool families. Homeschool classes allow the center to teach directly from their area of expertise, help spread the word about the activities, services, and classes they offer, and of course bring revenue to the center. Homeschool families benefit from such course offerings because they are often taught by experts and are made available during the daytime hours. Homeschooled children can now register for supplemental classes that align with home instruction.
Homeschool support group: Most states have at least one homeschool support group. Our local homeschool support group sponsors field trips and informs us of educational workshops for children. Early last year, Sweet Pea enjoyed a fantastic two hour writing workshop taught by Mr. Andrew Peduwa of The Institute for Excellence in Writing. If I weren’t a member of the homeschool support group, I probably would not have known the workshop was being offered. Get plugged in with your local homeschool support group so valuable information about activities and events flows to you.
Library programs: Review the children’s calendar at the local libraries. Our local library system is very child and homeschool friendly, so they offer amazing activities and classes (many during the morning and early afternoon hours). My children have enjoyed hands on art studies, intimate sewing classes, and spectacular science programs. Just last night, while reviewing the library’s children calendar, I discovered that a local karate instructor will be coming to the library this spring to offer a four week karate class for kids. What a great educational opportunity!
Online classes: Distance is becoming less and less of an obstacle due to the availability of online classes. Distance learning opportunities can be found at websites such as Currclick, CM Live, a Charlotte Mason inspired instruction, and Great Books Academy just to name a few. Some distance leaning sites offer opportunities for students to chat with other students and the instructor.
If a homeschool co-op isn’t available in your area or if you’re not yet ready to join one, your children can still enjoy educational group interaction from time to time. Meeting up with friends, using local resources, searching the internet can provide fun, educational results that enhance what you’re already teaching at home.
© 2014, Andrea Thorpe. All rights reserved.