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I keep debating doing a local co-op next year with my kids.

This is a group where I already know several of of the parents/families, and really like them. They do a mix of academic and non academic stuff, but my primary interest would be the social network aspect--both for my kids, who don't make friends easily and might benefit from a somewhat stable group to grow up with over the years (and this group seems to be that way, some comings and goings but quite a few families who stay year to year) and for myself because I badly need a support network.

The down side is that we already do a lot of stuff away from home and co-op would disrupt our routine. 

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I started and have directed co-op for 10 years so that my kids could have social connections and so they would experience other teachers. Our co-op is every other week, though, and that has made it much more doable with other things going on. 

Ds has been involved much longer than dd was. It has been great for him to have this group of kids to grow up with. He is going into 11th, and it's changing now that some are graduating or leaving for dual enrollment.    

If you choose to do co-op for the long haul, it won't disrupt your routine because you'll develop a new one that includes it. I build our schedule and choices around it because of my commitment to it for him and myself. 

I hope you will be comfortable with your decision!

 

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From your post, it sounds like both your DC AND you could all benefit from it and enjoy it. So I say go for it!

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Given what you've said, I'd probably do it.  Do they meet often?  Can you give up any of your other outside activities so you'd be more comfortable with it all?  As my kids got older, other things started feeling far more important than actual homeschool coursework, one of them being mental health.  So if this is something that would contribute positively to mental health, then I'd try and make it work.

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46 minutes ago, square_25 said:

How often do they meet?

Every week, on Thursday mornings with optional afternoon activities as well.

We are already committed to choir and theater that will take up most of our Friday; we could back out of choir but my kids wouldn't forgive me if I dropped theater. 

My oldest is not interested in doing co-op, that has been part of my hesitation as well. She is content with the friends she has through dance and martial arts. Of course she is also the one who most needs uninterrupted study time. I wonder if it would work to take the rest of the kids to co-op and leave her home to study? That might actually be ideal, she would probably like the peace and quiet since it is a rare commodity around here.

My next oldest benefits from outside instructors, he will do work for them that he won't for me.

And my 11 year old is my high social needs kid.

 

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I messaged one of the board members to see if they even have space for us.

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I see that you've already made a decision, but just in case this helps someone 🙂 I was very anti-co-op until this past year.  We were in exactly the same spot as you: there was an active co-op where several of my DCs friends attended but I had resisted joining it because of the commute (at the time it was 45 minutes away), because I hate being out of the house and because I did not need the academics at all.  Last year they moved 30 minutes away (still a hardship, but a little better), switched their focus towards enrichment and providing plenty of free time for the children to just play together and we decided to go ahead and join.  What finally drove me to commit was the fact that this was not a pass-through type of co-op: yes, there were families who had dropped out over the years but the core families were committed and I knew that if my DC formed close friendships they would not be as likely to be dropped (this was especially important for my oldest because she has a hard time forming friendships and is really effected when people disappear from her life).  It was a wonderful year, even though we had to miss quite a lot because of this pregnancy.  The group has even continued into the summer with regular play dates/activities (thankfully not weekly).  It is exactly what I felt we were missing: a long-term community and support network and all the difficulties (commute, taking a whole day out of the week to be out on top of our other committments, etc) are well worth it.  Even with the play dates the DC can't wait for co-op to start again in the fall.  HTH.

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We are moving, again. We are moving to be near our grandkids and our older children who have had some major issues come up and really need our support. But, it means upheaval again after just moving under 2 yrs ago.  I am very concerned about out 17 and 13 yr olds bc they are both introverts and the teen yrs are such hard ages for moving. (Our 9 yr old is super excited about moving so no concerns about her. Our granddaughter is her best friend so for the 2 of them this is what they really want.)

Everything I can find in the new location other than choir (which they will be doing) seems co-op based. I have emailed numerous people and none have emailed me back.  I do not want to a join a co-op in any shape or form, but I need to find some way for these 2 to connect to other teens. I am hoping once we are physically there that we can at minimum find non-academic classes for them to do (even if it completely disrupts our daily flow next yr.)

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1 hour ago, maize said:

Every week, on Thursday mornings with optional afternoon activities as well.

We are already committed to choir and theater that will take up most of our Friday; we could back out of choir but my kids wouldn't forgive me if I dropped theater. 

My oldest is not interested in doing co-op, that has been part of my hesitation as well. She is content with the friends she has through dance and martial arts. Of course she is also the one who most needs uninterrupted study time. I wonder if it would work to take the rest of the kids to co-op and leave her home to study? That might actually be ideal, she would probably like the peace and quiet since it is a rare commodity around here.

My next oldest benefits from outside instructors, he will do work for them that he won't for me.

And my 11 year old is my high social needs kid.

 

 

That makes sense to me. How old is your oldest?

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41 minutes ago, square_25 said:

 

That makes sense to me. How old is your oldest?

15, 10th grade this fall.

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I ran the idea of everybody but her doing co-op past dd15, she liked it.

She's hung out with some of the co-op kids her age before and thinks they are excessively silly and boy-obsessed. Actually, that is her opinion of most girls her age. She prefers friends who are nunchuck-obsessed.

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4 hours ago, maize said:

I keep debating doing a local co-op next year with my kids.

This is a group where I already know several of of the parents/families, and really like them. They do a mix of academic and non academic stuff, but my primary interest would be the social network aspect--both for my kids, who don't make friends easily and might benefit from a somewhat stable group to grow up with over the years (and this group seems to be that way, some comings and goings but quite a few families who stay year to year) and for myself because I badly need a support network.

The down side is that we already do a lot of stuff away from home and co-op would disrupt our routine. 

I homeschooled before co-ops were invented, so my vote would always be for a support group, not a co-op.

Like you, I would not want to be involved in a co-op because it would disrupt our routine. I am perfectly capable of teaching my dc whatever they need to know, at least until high school and foreign languages and lab sciences and advanced maths.

Have you looked for support groups in your area?

Also, if you know some of the families already, why not start a support group?

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59 minutes ago, Ellie said:

I homeschooled before co-ops were invented, so my vote would always be for a support group, not a co-op.

Like you, I would not want to be involved in a co-op because it would disrupt our routine. I am perfectly capable of teaching my dc whatever they need to know, at least until high school and foreign languages and lab sciences and advanced maths.

Have you looked for support groups in your area?

Also, if you know some of the families already, why not start a support group?

The idea of support groups sounds nice in theory, in reality people have so many things on their plates (including co-ops that they're already involved in) that it's hard to get people to commit to anything regular.  The closest support group that I'd fit into is an hour away and one of their big things is a mom's night out.  Well, I don't need a mom's night out: I need friends for my kids!  Trying to organize a regular park or field trip day is practically impossible too: nobody's schedule lines up, people don't come regularly and it ends up being me and my kids at the park or field trip: fun but not good for building a somewhat like minded community of peers for DC.  We live out in the country, at least an hour from friends and the only activities they have are private music lessons.  Co-ops are a whole 'nother level of committment and that is inconvenient, but for our purposes that's the only thing that has actually worked for my DC to be with their peers on a regular basis.  I'm glad I got over my bias against co-ops.

Edited by mms
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18 minutes ago, mms said:

The idea of support groups sounds nice in theory, in reality people have so many things on their plates (including co-ops that they're already involved in) that it's hard to get people to commit to anything regular.  The closest support group that I'd fit into is an hour away and one of their big things is a mom's night out.  Well, I don't need a mom's night out: I need friends for my kids!  Trying to organize a regular park or field trip day is practically impossible too: nobody's schedule lines up, people don't come regularly and it ends up being me and my kids at the park or field trip: fun but not good for building a somewhat like minded community of peers for DC.  We live out in the country, at least an hour from friends and the only activities they have are private music lessons.  Co-ops are a whole 'nother level of committment and that is inconvenient, but for our purposes that's the only thing that has actually worked for my DC to be with their peers on a regular basis.  I'm glad I got over my bias against co-ops.

Yep to all of this.

These families do not want another support group, the co-op group is their support group. They do have park days during the summer, but during the winter you would need an indoor venue.

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1 hour ago, mms said:

  I'm glad I got over my bias against co-ops.

Unfortunately, I am never going to get over mine in terms of academic courses.  I know I can and do provide better courses for the needs of my kids.  I really hope that I can swallow non-core academic ones, though. 😎

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1 minute ago, 8FillTheHeart said:

Unfortunately, I am never going to get over mine in terms of academic courses.  I know I can and do provide better courses for the needs of my kids.  I really hope that I can swallow non-core academic ones, though. 😎

I resigned myself to the fact that academically the day would be a wash and that our goals for the day were purely social and spiritual (there is a Mass offered practically every week).  Having that mindset really helped and I ended up being really pleased with one class that eldest DD takes that has been superior to anything I could have done:  a two year state history course tied to the field trips that we take as a group by a lady who has a phd in our state's history (and specifically the Catholic side of it).  DD10 has also enjoyed debate though I'm sceptical about how helpful it actually is .  The younger two are really happy to do crafts and activities that I won't do at home.

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1 minute ago, mms said:

I resigned myself to the fact that academically the day would be a wash and that our goals for the day were purely social and spiritual (there is a Mass offered practically every week).  Having that mindset really helped and I ended up being really pleased with one class that eldest DD takes that has been superior to anything I could have done:  a two year state history course tied to the field trips that we take as a group by a lady who has a phd in our state's history (and specifically the Catholic side of it).  DD10 has also enjoyed debate though I'm sceptical about how helpful it actually is .  The younger two are really happy to do crafts and activities that I won't do at home.

If I was only seeking something for our 9 yr old, I would be ok sacrificing a day for a yr in order for her to establish friendships.  She is already functioning more than a yr ahead in most subjects.  But, for my older girls, we don't have that luxury.  We can add in a single "extra" non-academic course or 2 one morning or afternoon a week, but it will mean that they have to make up the time elsewhere (most likely on Saturdays).  There is no real wiggle room at all for my 12th grader.  Life gets way more complicated the older they get.

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51 minutes ago, 8FillTheHeart said:

If I was only seeking something for our 9 yr old, I would be ok sacrificing a day for a yr in order for her to establish friendships.  She is already functioning more than a yr ahead in most subjects.  But, for my older girls, we don't have that luxury.  We can add in a single "extra" non-academic course or 2 one morning or afternoon a week, but it will mean that they have to make up the time elsewhere (most likely on Saturdays).  There is no real wiggle room at all for my 12th grader.  Life gets way more complicated the older they get.

This is definitely true, high school is a whole level of complication that I'm not yet fully thinking about (too deep in the trenches in the here and now).  That said, in our group at least it would not be a problem if people wanted to come just for mass and hanging out at lunch or joining us on field trips (there's one family w/ high schoolers that joins just for mass & choir on a monthly basis).  Maybe the group you're looking at in your new area might be flexible like that?

Anyway, nothing here but sympathy for you.  Moving as a teenager is pretty tough 😞 

ETA: I imagine being close to the grandbabies will be really nice; how beautiful that your daughter and granddaughter are such good friends!  Are you going to homeschool them like you did when they lived nearby in the past?

Edited by mms
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2 hours ago, 8FillTheHeart said:

If I was only seeking something for our 9 yr old, I would be ok sacrificing a day for a yr in order for her to establish friendships.  She is already functioning more than a yr ahead in most subjects.  But, for my older girls, we don't have that luxury.  We can add in a single "extra" non-academic course or 2 one morning or afternoon a week, but it will mean that they have to make up the time elsewhere (most likely on Saturdays).  There is no real wiggle room at all for my 12th grader.  Life gets way more complicated the older they get.

The co-ops that we've been a part of have all offered study hall for the high schoolers.  This has allowed us to be part of the group and be exposed to a lot of extra enrichment subjects that I've actually been thrilled to have my children experience.  Our goal was to broaden our social world after a friend implosion and it has served that goal, too.  The study hall allowed my ds to dip into things like debate, Model UN, a class on the Psychology of Art, while still allowing him to keep up with 4 AP classes.

Although, in general I am pro-co-op, I will admit I joined this one (40 minutes from home) kicking and screaming because my dd really, really, really needed it.  I have been pleasantly surprised with how well it's turned out.

I hope that you can have that same exprience.

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We've had a good experience so far at our co-op. I do treat it as completely non-academic, but then my daughter is only turning 7 this summer, so she only needs a couple of hours of work a day. It's not hard to fit non-academic classes around that. 

I do think part of the reason my daughter is excited about homeschooling is because she gets tons of time with other kids. Probably as much free play with other kids as she got while she was in school, frankly, since most of the time in school you aren't actually having fun with other kids. 

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13 minutes ago, square_25 said:

I do think part of the reason my daughter is excited about homeschooling is because she gets tons of time with other kids. Probably as much free play with other kids as she got while she was in school, frankly, since most of the time in school you aren't actually having fun with other kids. 

LOL, my middle two started bragging to their school-attending cousins that when they go to "school" (i.e. co-op) they just play with their friends all day.  Unfortunately, that was when grandma was around and she had a serious panic attack about their future ability to be accepted to college and simply reinforced all her negative homeschool stereotypes... 

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Just now, mms said:

LOL, my middle two started bragging to their school-attending cousins that when they go to "school" (i.e. co-op) they just play with their friends all day.  Unfortunately, that was when grandma was around and she had a serious panic attack about their future ability to be accepted to college and simply reinforced all her negative homeschool stereotypes... 

 

Hah, I guess we're "lucky" that the grandmas here are fixated on whether our kids get enough social time and aren't worried about their academics. So the coops make them feel better! 

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5 minutes ago, square_25 said:

 

Hah, I guess we're "lucky" that the grandmas here are fixated on whether our kids get enough social time and aren't worried about their academics. So the coops make them feel better! 

LOL, this was the American grandma, not the Russian one.  The Russian one gave up worrying about anything I do: I'm too weird for her these days.

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For my only dc and upcoming 1st grader we do a co-op that meets once, every other week, September-May. I do wish it met more often.

We do it with her because she is super social and needs to be around others. Its also good for her to learn from other adults. Her classes mix 1st-3rd grade kids, so it's not just same age group. They also have P.E so she gets to play with others in a playground setting, when weather permits.

She does have park day several days a week so there's that too, for play. We live a city, in apartments so no yard.

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13 minutes ago, maize said:

We're going to try to make it to the co-op group's park day tomorrow.

I hope lots of people show up and that both you and the kids connect with possible friends. 

 We've been praying for friendships. I just need to trust that the zillion hurdles I imagine in front of me are part of the plan and trust that everything will work out.

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I think it's worth disrupting things to help kids find the friendships that they need. We act like socializing just magically works out for homeschool kids, but the truth is that it takes some level of sacrifice from us in most cases. That's why I think it's often worth it to try with a co-op.

That said, we gave up. I may even end up teaching at one next year and my kids aren't joining. But they each have friends through activities now that they're older. When they were little, a small family co-op was their primary friendships.

Edited by Farrar
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3 hours ago, mms said:

LOL, this was the American grandma, not the Russian one.  The Russian one gave up worrying about anything I do: I'm too weird for her these days.

Yeah, I'm also describing the American grandma. She's not worried about the academics, just the social stuff.

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23 minutes ago, Farrar said:

I think it's worth disrupting things to help kids find the friendships that they need. We act like socializing just magically works out for homeschool kids, but the truth is that it takes some level of sacrifice from us in most cases. That's why I think it's often worth it to try with a co-op.

That said, we gave up. I may even end up teaching at one next year and my kids aren't joining. But they each have friends through activities now that they're older. When they were little, a small family co-op was their primary friendships.

Why did you wind up giving up, out of curiosity? 

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6 minutes ago, square_25 said:

Why did you wind up giving up, out of curiosity? 

It was all fine and good to devote an entire day to something that was only marginally academic when my kids were younger. And I loved, just loved our little co-op. We were together for nine years. I just couldn't do it for high school as easily. When coupled with the fact that my kids have their friends elsewhere now... seemed like the right choice. I mean, my dancer is at ballet basically every single day. My theater kid spends long nights at his theater. We don't need a commitment that's not doing anything. We tried a sort of homeschool class center, but it was a bust.

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2 minutes ago, Farrar said:

It was all fine and good to devote an entire day to something that was only marginally academic when my kids were younger. And I loved, just loved our little co-op. We were together for nine years. I just couldn't do it for high school as easily. When coupled with the fact that my kids have their friends elsewhere now... seemed like the right choice. I mean, my dancer is at ballet basically every single day. My theater kid spends long nights at his theater. We don't need a commitment that's not doing anything. We tried a sort of homeschool class center, but it was a bust.

Makes sense! 

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We actually had another homeschool family living in our cul-de-sac with kids who matched up nicely with my younger set but they moved away last month. That was a tough blow for my kids.

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7 hours ago, Farrar said:

It was all fine and good to devote an entire day to something that was only marginally academic when my kids were younger. And I loved, just loved our little co-op. We were together for nine years. I just couldn't do it for high school as easily. When coupled with the fact that my kids have their friends elsewhere now... seemed like the right choice. I mean, my dancer is at ballet basically every single day. My theater kid spends long nights at his theater. We don't need a commitment that's not doing anything. We tried a sort of homeschool class center, but it was a bust.

And it often isn't even just the "marginally academic" co-op part. That perspective can feed into general teen lives/attitudes/goals and make it difficult for them to form deep friendships. For my boys, finding friend groups has been easier bc they have made friendships around things like scouts, soccer, forming a band, etc. (Activity driven vs. deep conversation driven) My dd's, otoh, really want friends with similiar intellectual interests. My Dd who is in college really struggled in high school with forming friendships. Many of the girls were focused on talking about boys, makeup, clothes; others were only planning on staying at home and going to the local CC, etc. Those were not her tribe. She want to travel the world,  discuss literature, cultures, philosophy, etc.  She had one close friend who was very sweet and very well-read. But even then, culturally their family was very different and they were good friends but not deep friends.

My personal experience is that co-ops too often tend toward self-affirmation and group think in a fairly small bubble of options. Whenkids are little, those kinds of things are easy to dismiss.. At 16, 17, 18....when older teens are becoming young adults and pursuing lifelong future goals--those sorts of issues become amplified.

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7 hours ago, maize said:

We actually had another homeschool family living in our cul-de-sac with kids who matched up nicely with my younger set but they moved away last month. That was a tough blow for my kids.

That happened to our kids this yr. They didn't live close, but the kids had formed strong friendships. What made it worse was that they spontaneously made the decision to move out of their house in a couple of days and didn't give the kids the opportunity to say good-bye. It broke my girls' hearts bc they didn't have any time to mentally prepare.  (But it does make our moving easier bc their closest friends aren't here anymore)

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53 minutes ago, 8FillTheHeart said:

And it often isn't even just the "marginally academic" co-op part. That perspective can feed into general teen lives/attitudes/goals and make it difficult for them to form deep friendships. For my boys, finding friend groups has been easier bc they have made friendships around things like scouts, soccer, forming a band, etc. (Activity driven vs. deep conversation driven) My dd's, otoh, really want friends with similiar intellectual interests. My Dd who is in college really struggled in high school with forming friendships. Many of the girls were focused on talking about boys, makeup, clothes; others were only planning on staying at home and going to the local CC, etc. Those were not her tribe. She want to travel the world,  discuss literature, cultures, philosophy, etc.  She had one close friend who was very sweet and very well-read. But even then, culturally their family was very different and they were good friends but not deep friends.

My personal experience is that co-ops too often tend toward self-affirmation and group think in a fairly small bubble of options. Whenkids are little, those kinds of things are easy to dismiss.. At 16, 17, 18....when older teens are becoming young adults and pursuing lifelong future goals--those sorts of issues become amplified.

Getting to really know some other kids with a broader interest in the world was one of the best parts about StarTalk for my dd last year. I don't know where to find kids like that locally. The boys-makeup-clothes kind of focus is meaningless to her. She'd love to go work at a refugee camp somewhere, not go to cosmetology school.

My boys just struggle socially in general.

Edited by maize
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5 minutes ago, maize said:

Getting to really know some other kids with a broader interest in the world was one of the best parts about StarTalk for my dd last year. I don't know where to find kids like that locally. The boys-makeup-clothes kind of focus is meaningless to her. She'd love to go work at a refugee camp somewhere, not go to cosmetology school.

My boys just struggle socially in general.

Dd is at Startalk at CSUN right now. Dh, ds, and she drove from SanFran down the PCH. She fell in love with that view!  Her roommate is a grad student, so I am hoping that she enjoys getting to know her.

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26 minutes ago, 8FillTheHeart said:

Dd is at Startalk at CSUN right now. Dh, ds, and she drove from SanFran down the PCH. She fell in love with that view!  Her roommate is a grad student, so I am hoping that she enjoys getting to know her.

I hope she has a great experience!

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1 hour ago, 8FillTheHeart said:

And it often isn't even just the "marginally academic" co-op part. That perspective can feed into general teen lives/attitudes/goals and make it difficult for them to form deep friendships. For my boys, finding friend groups has been easier bc they have made friendships around things like scouts, soccer, forming a band, etc. (Activity driven vs. deep conversation driven) My dd's, otoh, really want friends with similiar intellectual interests. My Dd who is in college really struggled in high school with forming friendships. Many of the girls were focused on talking about boys, makeup, clothes; others were only planning on staying at home and going to the local CC, etc. Those were not her tribe. She want to travel the world,  discuss literature, cultures, philosophy, etc.  She had one close friend who was very sweet and very well-read. But even then, culturally their family was very different and they were good friends but not deep friends.

My personal experience is that co-ops too often tend toward self-affirmation and group think in a fairly small bubble of options. Whenkids are little, those kinds of things are easy to dismiss.. At 16, 17, 18....when older teens are becoming young adults and pursuing lifelong future goals--those sorts of issues become amplified.

To be fair though, finding those sorts of friendships is hard on a girl even when she goes to school.  I too only had one girlfriend through high school and I didn't really find my tribe and similar minded girlfriends till I graduated from college.  Even the intellectual girls were not interested in philosophy, let alone theology, except maybe a few who had ideological lenses on and felt threatened by a fellow female who had differing views: most of my friends were guys.  To this day my BFF is a man, DH :wub:

 

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50 minutes ago, mms said:

To be fair though, finding those sorts of friendships is hard on a girl even when she goes to school.  I too only had one girlfriend through high school and I didn't really find my tribe and similar minded girlfriends till I graduated from college.  Even the intellectual girls were not interested in philosophy, let alone theology, except maybe a few who had ideological lenses on and felt threatened by a fellow female who had differing views: most of my friends were guys.  To this day my BFF is a man, DH :wub:

 

Theology and philosophy  may not be the best way to describe it, but it is a difference in life view that is palpable when they are living through it. When everyone around you looks like you have 12 heads bc your goals are not to attend Christendom, Benedictine, Franciscan, et al (in one group) or Liberty, a bible college, etc (in another), or commute from home in another......when your goals are outside of the general norm of whatever group, it is hard as a teenager. 

Fwiw, my ds married the girl he fell in love with at age 12.  Dh and I started dating at 16 and got married when I was 20.  I am not communicating well bc it isn't about male-female relationship desires; it is a much deeper, not superficial, difference in thinking about life goals and dreams that I am attempting to describe.

Dd found great friends when she arrived on her college campus. Her friends are very different from her in many respects (mostly pre-med/STEM students and Dd is lit/language to the core), but they all share that something that was lacking in her high school friendships. I can't verbally think of an easy way to articulate it, but it is very real regardless. 

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2 hours ago, 8FillTheHeart said:

Dd is at Startalk at CSUN right now. Dh, ds, and she drove from SanFran down the PCH. She fell in love with that view!  Her roommate is a grad student, so I am hoping that she enjoys getting to know her.

 

The Bay Area has some gorgeous views... I did grad school at Stanford, and I miss that aspect of things. I also loved the drive from San Fran along 280 to the Peninsula. 

 

22 minutes ago, 8FillTheHeart said:

Theology and philosophy  may not be the best way to describe it, but it is a difference in life view that is palpable when they are living through it. When everyone around you looks like you have 12 heads bc your goals are not to attend Christendom, Benedictine, Franciscan, et al (in one group) or Liberty, a bible college, etc (in another), or commute from home in another......when your goals are outside of the general norm of whatever group, it is hard as a teenager. 

Fwiw, my ds married the girl he fell in love with at age 12.  Dh and I started dating at 16 and got married when I was 20.  I am not communicating well bc it isn't about male-female relationship desires; it is a much deeper, not superficial, difference in thinking about life goals and dreams that I am attempting to describe.

Dd found great friends when she arrived on her college campus. Her friends are very different from her in many respects (mostly pre-med/STEM students and Dd is lit/language to the core), but they all share that something that was lacking in her high school friendships. I can't verbally think of an easy way to articulate it, but it is very real regardless. 

 

I totally get it. We've really wondered whether we'll need to stop homeschooling for high school, to be honest, even though I foresee enjoying doing the academics, because I'm not sure we're going to find our people within the homeschooling community. We are in a big city, so you'd think there'd be more academic homeschoolers here... and maybe there are, but it still seems thin. It doesn't help that we aren't Christian (we're secular Jews), either. 

Right now, DD is almost 7 and it just doesn't matter whether her friends are culturally similar to us or not. Although even now, we've found that DD has mostly become good friends with the kids from the G&T schools from her activities, and that just makes me feel weird. For better or worse, where we are, most people who have the same sorts of goals as us send their kids to public G&T schools or to private schools. I don't want to do that, but I wish we had access to that peer group... 

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46 minutes ago, square_25 said:

We are in a big city, so you'd think there'd be more academic homeschoolers here... and maybe there are, but it still seems thin. 

I've found that the philosophy of education almost matters as much as an academic focus or not.  I've encountered homeschoolers who do take academics seriously, but whose view of academics is limited to what's necessary for getting "into a good school" still makes it hard to discuss education on anything more than a surface level.

And to a certain extent Christian homeschooling has its own issues because one often runs into the idea that character formation necessarily involves down grading intellectual values especially when it comes to educating girls.  Thankfully this is not the case in our group where most moms have the highest graduate degrees and some even working part time outside the home in intellectually stimulating fields.

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On 6/12/2019 at 9:32 PM, maize said:

We're going to try to make it to the co-op group's park day tomorrow.

Did you make it to park day yesterday?

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28 minutes ago, mms said:

Did you make it to park day yesterday?

We did!

The park was a madhouse, I think I counted four separate summer camp groups who were all there at the same time as our homeschool group. My older kids took care of my littles so I could talk to the moms.

One mom mentioned that her kids had done just the afternoon Shakespeare class one year; we may try that as it seems to be where the most social interaction happens. It's only for ages 12+ but does get our foot in the door with the group (they're not sure yet whether they can make room in all the necessary levels for the morning classes, and drop off is not allowed for morning classes so hard to do just some kids and not all).

I have some Shakespeare adaptations for elementary age, if there is interest and another mom or two who would like to help I might see about doing a younger siblings Shakespeare group in the afternoon--not all year, but maybe a couple of months, long enough to put together a little junior play.

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It's a nice group of mostly fairly experienced homeschoolers. I think this co-op may be limited to families with at least one child ages 12+, the disparity in numbers of families homeschooling young kids vs. those who stick with it into the teen years makes it hard to have a balanced group with a good sized peer group for teens if some kind of "minimum age of oldest child enrolled" isn't implemented. There are quite a few moms here who have already graduated students.

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I am reading along in this thread with interest.  We have never done any sort of co-op; my kids were/are enrolled part-time in a local K-6 private school and my younger two have found friendships that way, as well as through activities.

I am concerned about DS14, though.  He seems happy but frequently 'jokes' that he has no friends.  Which is sort of true -- he has lots of casual acquaintances but no close friends.  It never really occurs to me to look for homeschool groups, since we're not Christian, but maybe I have been too quick to write off that avenue.

 

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I've enjoyed reading this thread, and wanted to post about our current coop that addresses some of these issues. 

Our coop is aimed at older kids and (so far) has required that people joining have at least one kid over 12, though most families have at least one high schooler. We all recognize the need for daily lessons in the high school level, so our coop begins at 12:30. We have two hours of classes. Since we're a Charlotte Mason coop, we have Shakespeare, Plutarch (both read at home and then discussed and debated in class), folk dancing, recitation (including acting out scenes some months or focusing on good speaking technique in others; most memorization is done at home), and a short singing time. Each is about 20-30 minutes and is focused on interaction. Then the kids have thirty minutes of time together at the end while the moms do a book group together at the end. Some kids bring board games to play together and some just chat. So we're done by 3:00.

For us, this has worked well because we still get core subjects done in the morning and the kids get the interaction they long for. We live in a place where the public school days are very long and most kids are over scheduled. The kids who do activities with my kids, including scouts and music, tend to be even more over scheduled than the normal kids and don't have time for friends.

Emily

ETA: We didn't want a to get distracted from our mission, which is why families need to have an older kid. Some moms bring a baby, but they are in charge of the baby. We offer nothing for children under 6 and younger children are not allowed in other classes. We split elementary/middle school/high school. We originally had middle and high school together, but the middle schoolers intimidated the high schoolers. (!!!)

Edited by EmilyGF
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