Mom-to-Mom Support/How are co-op’s typically conducted?

How are co-op’s typically conducted?

Teacher high-fiving student


We decided to join a homeschool co-op this year which meets one morning a week from 9am to noon. It was understood that the subjects taught were to take away, not add, to the mom’s workload at home. We’ve ended up having 3-4 subjects being done at co-op plus homework for each subject. Today, my child spent more time with co-op assignments than was done with our own work. Is this typical for a co-op? I thought it was for fun subjects that you don’t get to do at home and social time for the children. I am beginning to resent being there and the time that it takes away from what we want to do at home. I want to get together with other Catholic homeschoolers, but I feel that delegating out major subjects like science, literature, etc. is not quite what I was looking for in a co-op. How are co-op’s typically conducted?

Dear Mom,

I can not speak for all of the co-ops that are available, but I can speak with you about the co-op experience that I enjoy. I will talk to you on two levels. First as a mom who uses the co-op to enrich what my children are studying at home. It is understood that they will not spend more time on the requirements of the co-op to the neglect of their studies in the homeschool. However, some of the subjects that they are taking at the co-op are ones that I need help in teaching—for example, Algebra. Naturally there is going to be some homework to supplement the tutorial at co-op. Subjects that are strictly enrichment are taken as well, owing that they will not carry the same demands as the subjects that are taken to fulfill a school requirement.

As a teacher in the co-op, I do not expect my students to do homework. I expect that whatever they learn in my classes may or may not be followed up at home. I send home homework sheets, etc. I try to make my classes fun and interesting. I do not give grades, etc. If I have an assignment (right now the students in Latin I are supposed to be writing a family bio in Latin so that we can put them on display on Presentation Day), then it is strictly up to the parents and the students to follow through with the assignment.

If the co-op is disruptive to your first priority, which is homeschooling, then you have a couple of choices. Talk with the teachers and explain your feelings, and let them know that your children will not be required by you, their first and most important teacher, to do the homework. You can quit the co-op and try again when time and inclination collide and the experience will be better for you. All things to their own season.

Go forward and remember that you are the principal, teacher, janitor, cook, and all around primary person in your homeschool, and therefore you make the choices that best suit your needs, family, and situation.

Let us pray this morning for all those men and women who volunteer their time to teach in homeschool cooperatives. Let us pray that they are centered upon their true purpose, which is to offer support to the hardworking parents who are working tirelessly to educate their children in the faith.

Sending out a prayer,

Rita Munn

About Rita Munn

Rita Munn is a veteran homeschool mother of ten. For many years she was a popular speaker at Catholic homeschooling conferences. Writing has been a passion of hers for as long as she can remember, and she loves to use her writing skills to share her homeschooling experience with other parents. Her “family journal” reflections are featured in CHC’s Educating for Eternity e-newsletter.