What’s Working: Girls Book Club co-op takes off

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I have written in the past about how I started my own homeschool co-op last fall — a tween and young readers girls book club — and I feel very blessed that it was not only a successful endeavor, but we had plenty of momentum to continue this semester.

We did lose a few group members due to conflicting schedules with spring extracurricular activities, but we also gained a few members — so we are still about 30 moms and daughters total. It’s not uncommon for homeschooling schedules to change from semester to semester based on other opportunities and siblings in the mix, so I was prepared to lose a few and we will miss those who couldn’t continue. It’s also exciting to add new members and start getting to know more moms and daughters in our Castle Rock homeschooling support network.

We held the spring kick-off for the girls book club at our house last Wednesday. It started out as a difficult day for us because as I shared in Friday’s Flashback post, our Siberian Husky had become very ill and we weren’t sure how much longer she would be with us. For the sake of my girls and giving them something positive to think about, I went ahead with the planned gathering even though I had very little sleep the night before tending to our dog.

It turned out to be the right thing to do, not only for our co-op but for my family. We’ve developed wonderful friendships with the book club moms and daughters, and they gave us much-needed support and comfort that day. I have never been more grateful to have so many moms and daughters filling my house with laughter and excitement.

For this kickoff meeting, we played get-to-know-you games and socialized over snacks and hot chocolate. The girls and I really needed that social time!

homeschool-co-op

We also revisited our “Discussion Group Tips” sheet, which is a document I created with input from all the participating moms. It covers the ground rules of how to be a positive and respectful participant during discussion time so that the girls are all on the same page.

Our co-op has decided to read the Little House series this semester, and alternate between book discussion and craft/project time at our twice-monthly meetings. There are so many wonderful Little House unit study resources out there for related activities for the new craft/project time. For our first book, Little House in the Big Woods, we’re using two free downloadable resources: A Study Guide from Rainbow Resource and additional discussion questions from ABC Teach Me.

Most of the girls already love historical fiction, and though a few girls have read the books leisurely before, all were excited about digging in more deeply this time. We can’t wait to get started!

Are you a part of any organized homeschooling co-ops? Are they large or small? Have you ever hosted or thought about hosting your own? We’d love to hear about your experience with co-ops in the comments section below.

Renee GotcherRenée Gotcher is a wife, writer, entrepreneur & home-educating mother of three daughters: Audrey, Claire and Elise. A former journalist, Renée was homeschooled during her last two years of high school and started homeschooling in 2010. She is editor of NextGen Homeschool and blogs on personal topics at A New Chapter. Her family lives in Castle Rock, Colorado.

 

WWWButtonThis post is part of NextGen Homeschool’s “What’s Working” series. Join us every Wednesday for the “What’s Working” Link-Up, where you can share your own homeschooling tips and advice!

Renée Gotcher is a wife, writer, editorial consultant, and home-educating mother of three daughters. She has been married for 26 years to her best friend Kenny, whom she met while attending Oral Roberts University in the early 90s. Renée was homeschooled during her last two years of high school and started homeschooling in 2010. A former journalist, she is currently editor of NextGen Homeschool and blogs on personal topics at A New Chapter. Her family lives in Castle Rock, Colorado.

16 thoughts on “What’s Working: Girls Book Club co-op takes off

  1. This looks so fun! Makes me miss those younger years of homeschooling. When our kids were young, my friend and I ran a homeschool coop for several years. We had kids ages 4 to 13, only because no one had older kids at the time. The kids had so much fun, although it was a lot of organizing work for my friends and I.

    We ran the coop for 5 months and each mom had to teach a 1 month class. Each month we had 6 or 7 classes for the kids to choose between, including a nursery class for the younger ones. The moms who didn’t teach or help that month got to have a little time to themselves, a rare commodity amongst homeschool moms.

    Each mom chose a class based on her interests so we had some fun and unusual classes and even a musical that the kids could be involved in. We met one afternoon a week for 2 1/2 hours – so the kids got 2 classes plus recess.

    Although it was a blast and the kids loved it, it was an organizational nightmare! Especially when a teacher got sick. Another year we did a writing co-op and that was a lot easier.

    Your co-op sounds really fun. Enjoy!

    1. Thanks for sharing, Barb! I love hearing about what other homeschoolers are up to and how it works for them.

      Your co-op sounds a lot like one we used to have coordinated through our homeschool support group. The kids loved it because they had so many options and made lots of friends, but yes, it was quite the organizational challenge! Plus our group was growing fast and there weren’t enough “spots” to include new families without turning into a mini-school.

      Last year we stopped the big co-op and encouraged families to start their own smaller co-ops, and that has worked out really well so far. I chose the girls book club because it’s perfect for our family of three girls who love reading. Also, we’re fortunate to have more new families in our group with tween girls this year.

      Our goal was to keep it small and simple enough to implement that we would have to manage too many schedules and organizational issues. So far, so good – though we did lose a few families to schedule changes in the spring. It’s been a real blessing to our family!
      Renée

    1. Thanks for pointing that out, Melanie! Having all kinds of crazy html glitches today – but I fixed both links so now when you click on them, the PDF will automatically pop up so you can download them. Let me know if you need any other Little House tips, I have found LOTS of great FREE resources online for this book club study. Girls at this age seem well suited for a book club co-op. All of the girls (even the shy ones!) have been enjoying it immensely.
      Renée

    1. Thanks for sharing your link, Amy! You have some helpful tools for planning book clubs. I love reading about how others are implementing these ideas in their own homeschool. Book clubs are a great co-op opportunity that are fairly simple to implement in my opinion, and ours was a great “newbie” co-op hosting experience for me.

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