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!
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.
— Renée 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.
This 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!