Today, several large co-ops exist for homeschooling families. All of these have benefits that one can argue easily: Many homeschool families involved means a bounty of volunteers to run the co-op and larger pools of money for resources; in addition, a streamlined set of rules and curriculum often exist and come as a part of these groups. What a homeschool mom won’t realize until she’s a part of these co-ops is that more families result in more opinions on how things should be run. She has to follow rules set for all, no matter who is making the rules, no matter if they really fit the group itself. She has to purchase the curriculum no matter the costs. This leads to her having to integrate the curriculum in her daily life as well as limits the time she has to explore other options for her family. All four of the families in Cottage School Life were a part of these types of co-ops before we started our own much smaller school. Why do we believe a smaller, more intimate co-op proves beneficial for our families? There are several reasons we will unpack in time, but I will list a few now.
- If organized well, a small number of moms still can teach a lot of material.
- Pooling four families’ money and resources still provides many benefits for the children.
- Cottage school moms make up their own rules and change them as needed to meet the needs of the group as the children grow and change.
- Choosing your own curriculum also helps cut costs for individual families as well as gives the freedom to choose the best.
- We can choose which subjects to do together and which ones to leave for home study.
- Smaller means getting to know each other better. The kids and the moms form stronger bonds as they learn together and live life together.
- Aligning your homeschool co-op life with other like-minded moms leaves less room for disagreement.
- And finally, having other moms get to know your kids well enough to correct them, to encourage them, and to just plain speak into their lives is priceless.
As we continue to post articles for Cottage School Life, please let us know if you have specific questions about what we do, how we do it, etc. We will do our best to unpack what cottage school looks like in the coming weeks and months on our website in the hopes that you can start your own cottage school. We want to encourage others in this process and make it easier for you.