Question: Do my kids need to be in a co-op if I am homeschooling?
Answer: Absolutely not. I homeschooled my kids for 37 years and never had any of them in a co-op. There wasn’t any such thing ’till recent years.
When they did emerge, I personally chose not to participate.
One reason, is I didn’t want to give up the freedom of being able to gear my teaching in selected courses to each individual child and the gifting/desires God had given them. Sure, there is some knowledge we all need to know, but each child has things specifically that motivate them, and I LOVED watching to see those ‘giftings’ crop up and then supply what they needed to explore those areas of interest. This isn’t to say you cannot still do this in a co-op., but I personally preferred to have more flexibility in teaching a subject, than having to follow what a group is doing.
Also, I found that having commitments to attend really broke up our day and messed up the flow.
As far as needing to socialize with other kids, (a common reason given for needing to be a part of a co-op) church can meet that need just as well! (if not better) We’d have families or kids from church over often. I also took my kids to minister to people of all ages. Sometimes older folks were their best friends. It’s so important to expose your kids to all ages and not limit them to kids their own age. That’s just not how life works, and we need to prepare them for life.
As a homeschooling mom, you wear the hat of both teacher and mom, and you need to weigh carefully the activities and commitments that will eat up your time. It’s important to guard against being so busy you can’t just stop and enjoy being with one another. If being in a co-op is making life too busy or hectic for your family, or causing the rest of your school schedule to suffer, it may be wise to consider dropping it.
Now, before you start saying that Marilyn Boyer thinks co-ops are bad- that’s not my point at all! I’m not saying I’m against co-ops. They can be a helpful tool that many homeschooling families love taking advantage of.
What I am saying in response to the question is this: PLEASE don’t feel like you’re not doing an adequate job if you don’t participate in one. It’s just not true. God leads us all in unique paths, so don’t be afraid to do things differently than most people. God is a God of creativity and He’ll guide you in the best plan for each of your kids.