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So we are moving pretty soon, and there is a CM coop somewhat close to my DH’s new job. At first I thought it would be a great fit, but I am so used to doing my own thing for school that I’m not sure if we’d like it. For background, my kids are 8 (3rd), 6 (K), 4 and baby. The coop meets twice a month for nature study, picture study, poetry and composer study using AO’s schedule. We have been fairly consistent doing nature study, picture study and poetry at home on our own. Composer study has been more erratic and I know I could do better. As I am thinking about things, I realize that really I’d prefer just a “nature club” to do nature study with, rather than a coop to do the other subjects that we are fine doing on our own. But that leaves me starting my own group! The thing that makes it tricky is that DH’s job is about 45 minutes away from the coop, so we’d have to live somewhere in between the two, which is kind of not near either, if you know what I mean. So I am curious to hear what people’s thoughts are on coops for the elementary age, and whether anyone has started a nature club before? Would other people really come?pangitParticipant
I would be open to the idea if it fit my schedule and didn’t require a lot of outside work. There is a science coop in our town that I was interested in, but it meets on Friday’s and my DH doesn’t work on Fridays. So, we have chosen not to participate.
I would not choose where to live based on a coop. You might not like it. It might quit. I would first find the best place for my family to live within the driving distance that we wanted from DH job. Then I would see if the coop was close enough to still be of interest. Your husbands job is more of a constant and everyday. The coop could come and go as seasons of life change and it isn’t everyday. I would rather DH drive 5 minutes to work everyday and I have to drive 40 minutes 2x/month instead of DH having to drive 25 minutes to work each day so that I only had to drive 20 minutes 2x/month.
I would love to have a nature club to attend! If you choose not to do the coop, I would definitely put feelers out there and see if anyone would be interested. Even if it was just one other family, it would be fun to do with someone else.
You might even check to see if there is a home school group in the area that does things other than a coop. We have a home school group that we do field trips and park days with. Our first year here there was someone who planned and coordinated field trips. She is no longer able to, so when someone plans something they put it up on our online forum and invites everyone. We just had a wonderful Valentine party and had 80 children there!
Hope that helps some. I felt a little scattered in my typing, hopefully it makes sense. =)HollySParticipant
Is there a big commitment to joining? I would give it a try and see how it works if it’s not a huge commitment money-wise or time-wise. Our previous co-op (non-CM) met for 9 weeks at a time and cost about $80 for 4 kids. It really wasn’t a huge investment for us to try out, especially compared to co-ops that cost hundreds of dollars and require lots of outside time spent on “homework”. My DC had very little homework outside of co-op, so it didn’t interfere with our regular studies at all. I’m not sure how involved this co-op would be for you…could you still do your own composer/artist studies at home? They certainly don’t take very much time to fit in!
Honestly for us, co-op is more about them spending time with other kids and learning in a group setting. I know many families want there to be tons of educational experiences and learning in a co-op, but I was good with them just having some fun. I agree with Pangit that it may end up not being a good fit for a variety of reasons or it may end up being a huge blessing to your homeschool. You won’t really know until you give it a try.
Another possibility would be to check into local nature centers, zoos, libraries, etc. for community classes or activities. Our local nature center had family classes once a month or so. We learn tons when we go out with an experienced guide. I can look in a guide book and maybe figure out what tree I’m looking at, but they are very knowledgeable about what is in their area.petitemomParticipant
I would if it fit my schedule and was not too far to travel.
It would be a good opportunity to get to know other like minded families and maybe start to do a nature group with them on the weeks they do not meet.
I have always been involved with different groups, usually not more than once a week. It is good for me and for the kids to be out and with other people.
The nature center is a good idea too, started a homeschool group at ours for a couple of years, it was great.my3boysParticipant
Yes, I would. Each co-op varies, even if it is CM based. My children have to like it/love it first off and then it doesn’t matter if it is CM or not.
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