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Very Cooperative Sorta-Homeschool

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#1 HTRMom


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Posted 10 January 2018 - 06:32 PM

Does anyone have experience with a very cooperative homeschooling setup? More like a small school run and taught by the parents than a group of homeschooling parents who get together once a month. There is no private school in our small town, and a group of moms have been talking about schooling our kids together. I don't know how logistics would work exactly, but I'm thinking all of the kids would meet together 3-4 day a week, and that a different parent would be primarily in charge of overseeing each subject. We are a highly educated group of mothers, but none of us have schooling experience. Kids would range from K to 3 probably, maybe older depending on which kids end up being included. We would have 6-10 kids to start. There are also preschool children in each family who would be around, at least part of the time.


If you have done this, how did it work out? How many kids did you have, from how many families? What curriculum did you use? What was your physical setup? Did you have one parent in charge? What was your balance of independent work and group work?


I also am wondering about the legality. At what point does it go from homeschool to a small private school? I'm sure that varies by state, but there's not any real information about much of anything on my state's education website. Anyway, it seems like anyone can open a private school by filling out a form, with not much oversight.  :huh: I know there's a policy that ONLY the parent or guardian can homeschool, not a grandparent or a family friend, but I don't know how much help that parent is allowed to have.


Even if you haven't done this, any thoughts? Great idea? Terrible idea? Have you ever heard of it being done?

#2 JenneinAZ


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Posted 10 January 2018 - 06:36 PM

What state are you in? It makes a huge difference.

#3 HTRMom


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Posted 10 January 2018 - 06:55 PM

New Mexico.

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#4 happypamama


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Posted 10 January 2018 - 08:11 PM

You need to check your state laws about what constitutes a private school. Nothing would preclude that in my state. I’m the supervisor of my home education program, according to the law, but I can outsource every single subject if I want. As long as the required subjects are taught in English and as long as I get the required portfolio review, nobody cares how the kids actually get taught.

Using materials that your teachers are comfortable with is probably better than any sort of optimal curriculum, if that makes sense. Have the teachers pick what works for them.

I would have a signed statement about religious beliefs, whatever they are. It doesn’t mean everyone has to believe those things, just that they agree to abide by them.

You also need signed statements and clear expectations about how to handle discipline, homework, payments/pooling funds, people dropping out or canceling last minute, illness, etc. Expext to have some growing pains from time to time, and have a parent meeting, maybe without the kids, every so often to discuss issues that arise.

The pooling of resources and interests can be so lovely! Good luck to you!

#5 tess in the burbs

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Posted 10 January 2018 - 08:16 PM

I don't know your state laws, but near me in WA there are 'co-ops' that meet 2-3 days a week with teachers being paid, parents helping periodically, and kids do homework the other days and all file as homeschoolers.  Some only use the co-op for the instruction portion of their education, and some only do a few classes and then teach a few subjects at home.  It's considered a co-op, but they are meeting multiple days a week.  

#6 2_girls_mommy


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Posted 10 January 2018 - 09:27 PM

We are a member of a co-op set up like this. The moms get together and plan the syllabus and curriculum completely. They meet once a week. There is some leeway in the younger years as they have a plan for class time but what parents do at home doesn't always perfectly match as long as they do the assignments given in class too. Once they hit upper elem and middle school they all do the exact same curriculum. They grade, give tests, etc. 


We actually only participate in this co-op marginally. My kids do not follow the curric, like at all, lol. We do our own thing, but we are members because it is a great preschool option for my youngest, they have a good piano teacher for my older, and I teach latin to their kids using the curriculum and syllabus they like. (My own kids are at different levels and in a curriculum that I prefer more than theirs.) So they allow my kids on that co-op day to join in for some things like art and drama. In the other class periods when they do their math, my kids just quietly do their own math. When it is latin, my kids sit in to my class and pay attention, and during bookwork time, they do their own latin homework. During the other kids' science hour, they do their own science. It works for us. They have friends, lunchtime, PE, art, and drama. I wouldn't be interested in the way they all do the same thing and grade it like a school, but it is what those families like. I like the families and the set up of the day and the fact that they let us participate in as little as we want as long as we don't disrupt their set up. 


We actually belong to a different co-op for some classes that fit us better, lol. 

#7 Dudley


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Posted 11 January 2018 - 01:08 AM

Our group started with our family and one other. Now we have added a third, 8 kids We meet together mon-thurs. Monday and Wednesday for 2 hours and Tuesday and Thursday we meet 5 hours and I get one of those days off a week, where I can drop the kids and do my own thing. The other day I have all the kids and the other mom takes off(The mom of the last family added doesn’t seem to want the away,she does little teaching but is always there). What it looks like subjectwise has changed over time but we usually cover together science and English (rod&staff, wordly wise, spelling, writing/iew ,we teach reading on our own). History,math,And whatever else we want are on our own, when apart. (This year the k and 1st grader are doing history and science together)
One mom teaches the older kids and the other the youngers, then we switch we meet at her house first 2 days of the week and my house second two days. There is enough space for us to work in separate rooms and little kids to play, (most days.).

What I like most about this set up is that it gives structure to my day, kids are more motivated when a friend is next to them(after they learn it’s not time to play) and it keeps school contained and me from getting distracted by other things, the hard thing is you spend a lot of time with these folk so ya need to get along and mostly like each other

We generally pick curriculum together and I print out a schedule for each kid which they and the moms are happy to follow , as long as I don’t expect them to do too much when apart. It keeps us all doing the same lesson so we can do it together .english they are expected to do some work on Friday like some vocab and spelling test and a r&s worksheet , but no science on Friday until they are 7 or 8th grade

We also take what we call a home week about every 8 weeks and either side of Christmas where we schedule minimum school work, just enough as needed so we can finish certain curriculum in the year. This provides a break from each other, opportunities for doctor appts, and focus on other things and time to just be home and all slow things down

You are probably thinking bigger scale but thought I would share anyway

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#8 Melissa in Australia

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Posted 11 January 2018 - 02:18 AM

I know someone who lived in a sort of commune where they did this. They were using Stiner philosophy for teaching. I got the idea form talking to her that the whole community was a sort of Stiner community. They lived there for a few years then moved on. 

#9 texasmom33


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Posted 11 January 2018 - 11:52 AM

Memoria Press Cottage Schools might be something similar to what you’re looking for. The one in Houston has multiple grade levels, instructors that are in many cases parents, and meets a couple of days a week. You could try contacting MP for more info on starting one.

ETA- they have a lot more than 6 kids, but small classes. You might look on the MP forums as well. People there have a lot of info on the model that you may be able to borrow from. TX is easy to do this sort of thing in. I think the biggest issues to start (from what I was told by people involved) are facilities and insurance.

Edited by texasmom33, 11 January 2018 - 11:55 AM.