Planning a homeschool co-op should be well thought out and organized. It is difficult to have a consistent and cohesive group without careful planning. A well planned homeschool co-op can be a blessing to your homeschool community and serve to grow friendships for the children and the parents.
If you are ready to take on planning a co-op there are some things you are need to be prepared for when taking this step. First of all, keep the planning down to only a few people if you chose to enlist help. The more people planning the more difficult it will be to narrow your goals and agree on the direction of the co-op. Remember that not every co-op is a good fit for every family so don’t try to meet everyone’s needs. How do you avoid that trap? By establishing the core of the group with the following steps.
Type of Co-Op
First, let’s talk about the type of co-op you are interested in forming. Consider the following types:
• Homeschool method based
• Interest led (book club, common activity or hobby)
• Age based
• Some type of combination of the above
Frequency of Meetings
When you present a group for the first time, people interested are going to want to know who the point person is or who is in charge. They want to know who to talk to about ideas, meetings, decisions, fees, etc. Running a group involves organizing all the concerns above, classes if you run an academic group, field trips, treasury duties, special events, group size, group dynamics, code of conduct, and communication with members. Depending on the size of your group it will depend on how much help you need and how many of these things you need to consider.
Some groups need a leader who had a final say while others operate like a board where everyone has equal weight so matters are voted on. You may want to consider rotating the leadership duties among those in the group. Each year new couples or members run the group and fill the proper roles. This helps prevent burnout. Regardless of how you plan your leadership it is wise to have the core of the group established as too many ideas will lead to too many conflicts.
Another consideration is the size of the co-op. The size will directly impact your venue and organization. Groups that are too small often struggle with having enough members to consistently meet on a regular basis. Groups that are too big struggle with finding a place to meet or internal conflicts. If you want to establish an academic group, you will need enough members to participate as teachers and children of a variety of ages to fill the classes.
A mission statement will express who the group is for, the purpose of the group, and how the group will fulfill that purpose. Once this is agreed upon it will be theme of your co-op. It is important that this step is the way you introduce your co-op to perspective members.
Homeschool Co-op Planning Printable
To help you organize your thoughts and your homeschool co-op, you can use this free printable. It can be useful to gather ideas from your co-op committee and keep you all focused. Download your homeschool co-op planning printable HERE.