Monday, August 18, 2014

Homeschool Happenings - Why I Quit the Co-Op

We are gearing up for the start of Kindergarten in just a matter of days (ok, like 14ish).  The boys are counting down the "sleeps", they keep asking me to start NOW when they see me doing prep work, they get excited as the last few things come in the mail and they got to go school supply shopping on Saturday.

Part of my planning process this summer was to do a lot of praying about participating in the homeschool co-op group that we've been part of the past few years including me being on the board.  Ultimatly, I made the decision to resign and pull the boys out.  While there are benefits to being part of a homeschool group but I've found that when you homeschool you often get pressure to make sure your kids are "socialized" or "well-rounded".  Guess what?  I've decided to let go of that pressure so here's a short list of why I quite the co-op:

1.  We are not morning people.  Going to co-op requires us to be up, dressed, fed, and have smiles on our faces as we head out the door by 8:00 on a Friday morning.  It's not easy, trust me.  I'm not awake, the boys are draggin', and we struggle to get in the door still smiling!

2.  The variety of classes is very small.  As I looked at the class offerings for the "Kinders", where both boys would be this year, I noticed that they would be teaching the same curriculum that I am using with them.  Now, I know that repetition is always good but considering the fact they would be doing the same worksheets, singing the same songs, and doing the same activities, I decided that to have to actually do #1 above for repetition, well, it just wasn't worth it.

3. I am not a gun-totin', homesteadin', live off the land, die-hard republican.  Ok, ok, yes, I'm doing exactly what I don't like, I'm stereotyping HA!  But in reality I had started to notice a political under current within the homeschool group and spoke up several times as a board member to say that we shouldn't do something because it made us "political".  I am not the stereotypical homeschooler - instead I'm a teacher - one with two degrees in education - that just wants to teach my kids.  And yes, I feed my kids processed food and drink Soda.  :-)

4. Most of the "big" homeschool bloggers I follow and enjoy do not attend a co-op.  That was my realization that it is not a requirement.  Your kids will survive :-)

5. As a board member, I ran into a few very important issues to me that were not be listened too.  One involved screening adults for the safety of our kids.  I finally realized that I really didn't have a voice on the board and didn't like that nor did I feel comfortable with a few decisions that were made concerning those screening areas.  That is what finally made me step away.

6.  My kids will be well-rounded and socialized.  First, they attend church on Sunday.  They shake hands (and sometimes hide haha), go to junior church, run around the gym with the other kids of all ages during fellowship time and then attend Sunday School with a fabulous teacher.  This fall they will be attending AWANA - Cubbies and Sparks - which means they will be playing games, learning verses, and hearing Bible truths while hanging with friends from church and other kids that come from the neighborhood.  In just a few weeks the boys will play soccer again with kids they do not know.  They already have learned about how to deal with a bully have the spring season.  Add to those activities that they have kids that come to the house every day, have met a few neighborhood kids (even if they are strange . . .it is the nature of our town), and will be doing other activities this fall/winter like swimming lessons, bowling lessons (hopefully) and other fun stuff I can find.

So, as you can see, there are plenty of good reasons for us to Quite the Co-op.  I'm not against the Co-Op at all and we may go back in a few years when the boys are older and there are some different options for them as far as classes or we may do other things like homeschool activities at local Museums or the Zoo.  We'll just wait and see!