Mom-to-Mom Support/I am toying with the idea of starting a co-op

I am toying with the idea of starting a co-op

Young mom teaches science to young children at homeschool co-op


Hello, I am toying with the idea of starting a co-op. How do I get started? What subjects do we offer? What books from CHC would you recommend for this? My personal background is chemistry and Spanish. In spite of having a science background, we really have done very little science. Additionally, I feel so overwhelmed teaching my kids alone and I thought this would also give them a chance to get to know some other kids better. I also feel easily intimidated when I am at a homeschool meeting with other moms in that I surely am not doing as good of a job as they are. So this character hang up of mine makes me reluctant to start a co-op. There are lots of Protestant co-ops around here but no Catholic ones.

Dear Mom,

Feeling unsure and intimidated seems to be normal for many teachers, those who are homeschooling and those who work in public or private schools. I remember feeling that way, and I hear this from certified teachers. It’s easy to second-guess yourself. Nevertheless, remember that you are homeschooling your children, not someone else’s children. Do what is best for your children in light of their specific and unique needs and interests, strengths, and weaknesses and your abilities.

Starting a co-op can be a wonderful way to strengthen academics, stay on track, and provide social interaction. This process is going to take some work and planning to be successful. I asked several homeschoolers who are involved in co-ops for advice. The following are guidelines for beginning and running a co-op:

  1. Decide on the goal of the co-op—academic, social, break for mom, sports, or combination
  2. Insist on volunteer help from all participating parents—if a child is attending the co-op, at least one of the parents of each child is assisting with the smooth running of the co-op
  3. Provide clear expectations for parents and students—grading, material and book costs, lesson plans, student and parent behavior
  4. Be organized

You need a location, which could be your own home. And of course, you need interested students. You can begin with one class and then survey the parents and students as to their strengths and their interests. Offer to teach Spanish or chemistry for one semester and see if there is any interest in your local area. Don’t be surprised if it takes a while to get your co-op noticed and accepted.

As to books, the person teaching the course will need to choose the subject and the subject materials based upon the ages of the student and the knowledge of the parent who is teaching. You can teach a range of ages at one time for many subjects if you are very organized.

I hope this information will give you a place to begin. I will be praying for your success.

Best regards,
Sandra Garant

About Sandra Garant

Sandra Garant is a veteran homeschooling mom, certified teacher, writer, attorney, and administrative law judge. She taught her three children at home until they were ready for college. She tutored students in writing for many years and is the author of Language of God, Level F and Language of God, Level G.