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Thoughts on 2020-2021 co-ops, tutorials, and social groups


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Just wanted to get some opinions on the coming school year.  It seems like a lot of homeschool groups (co-ops, tutorials, and social groups) are LOOSELY planning to be open this fall.  What are your thoughts on this?   If they are, do you feel comfortable taking your children or are you planning to skip this year?

As far as co-ops and tutorials go, my kids (high school) don't want to start and then possibly be interrupted if things shut down again and have to switch gears (in person to online) again.  They seem to want to just do it all online this year. 

And, we could possibly plan some outside teen events (like meet-ups at the park), but then you have to worry about everyone's opinions on whether or not they should wear masks or how far apart  everyone should be.  That just seems to take the fun out, not to mention possibly causing some disagreements. 

I can't make up my mind.  I keep going back and forth.  One day it seems like a good idea to lay low this school year and the next day I think it is worth all of the work (social distancing, masks, hand sanitizer) to make it happen. 

I'm kind of in the middle on this.  Just not sure what to do. 

What do you think?

Edited by Maggie2354
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For me it would depend on what's happening in my local area, what kind of safety procedures and rules they have in place, are they following local laws at a bare minimum, how many people are involved?

Small groups, low numbers locally, required masks, cleaning frequently would all be needed before I would.

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I am skipping out on co-op unless it goes online.

We are just staying home.

Much easier for me to plan and I don't have to worry about all the precautions to take before each outing. Do we have masks, sanitizer, gloves, etc.

My kids play with their friends via facetime and through online games. Plus, they have each other. For us, socialization can wait a couple of years.

I don't want the virus. (Not that anyone does) I don't even want to know what it would do to me. 😂

I actually have been enjoying staying home. Just not on the go anymore.

We walk around the neighborhood or in our backyard. 😂

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All our academics will be at home. Music lessons will continue via Zoom (my choice, as the studio now allows in-person agan if the family chooses) because they're going well that way, it's a 20-minute drive to the 30-minute lesson, and I see no reason to increase our exposure.

A couple of social things may be in person. The indoor one I will only allow if participants are masked (currently mandated here and TBH I don't see it changing before September), but I found the person who runs it trustworthy when the virus reached our area in the spring, and she may choose not to open. There is no way to do that one online.

We plan to end our gym membership when they close the outdoor pool for the fall, so I see a lot of walking on trails in our future.

DS is an only, so a bit of a challenge.

Edited by whitehawk
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I just don’t know ( and I help run a co-op).  Our numbers are pretty low now (we are in the northeast.) Part of me feels like we should take advantage of the moment (our co-op is planning in two month chunks—we meet twice a month.) We are a family that does better having co-op and it have a huge mental health boast for us.  My teens have been doing fine until a week or so ago and now are fraying a bit.  But will social distanced classes really fill the void for them?  

I am edgy in terms of risk—over 50,  prediabetic, but have normal A1cs now—so well managed .  I know that they have much better management of the disease now.

If our numbers start to rise ( or if I was on Florida, Az, Tx or any of the other rising states), it would be a no. 

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I just started discussing with parents for my science club. I think we're going to do online at the very start of the year when it is hot (being outside now is brutal, but indoors with AC running seems too risky even with masks, but possibly do some outdoor things as it starts to cool down, and then probably go back online when it is cold out. We only meet monthly, though. I suspect my music group won't happen-it's too hard to do online, and probably not a good choice outside. 

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Our co-op stopped (due to pandemic) in mid-March. My class went to online via Zoom so we could finish out the second half of the semester. It was torturous for my AND the students, and I just can't do that again. I would need to meet in person, whether back at the church, or outside at a park with some distancing. However, my state (not so much my city) has escalated rapidly into a Covid hot spot in the past 6-8 weeks, and I don't see this cooling down any time soon. While I originally thought (back at the start of May) that the pandemic would be mostly over and that have I would be offering classes this year, I am moving closer to thinking that I will not be offering any classes this fall, and possibly not in the spring, either. 😞 


Note: myself and my immediate family have all been very conservative re: the pandemic, and we have all stayed in place with virtually no going out except walking the dog in the neighborhood, and me going to get groceries once every 5 days or so. There have only been a very small handful of errands other than groceries done from our household. It took 3 months to use half a tank of gas, between the 3 of us currently staying in place together. 😉 

Edited by Lori D.
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We have a small co-op and one thing we are discussing is forming a quaranteam for the fall to allow our kids to socialize. As of right now the idea is to start back up as normal if the situation allows but have hybrid options for those who prefer not to join the bubble. We’ll see if any of this happens.

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We were looking at joining an interest led, once a week thing, but so much was up in the air I think we're going to pass. There are so many "what ifs". What if the state says X, what if they church facility requires Y, what if we can't get Z. Not to mention, I really would prefer not to set my kids up for more disappointment. I think it's going to be easier to just go back to our private art teacher and then hang out with our friends like we are now. The co-op will have to wait another year. I'm just sort of over having the rug yanked out from under the kids. Our Governor just gave another "Don't make me come in there" type speech (Sorry, but that's what they remind me of) today where he dangled the return of another full economic shut down so I think just nixing the thought for us is the right call. 

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12 hours ago, Æthelthryth the Texan said:

We were looking at joining an interest led, once a week thing, but so much was up in the air I think we're going to pass. There are so many "what ifs". What if the state says X, what if they church facility requires Y, what if we can't get Z. Not to mention, I really would prefer not to set my kids up for more disappointment. I think it's going to be easier to just go back to our private art teacher and then hang out with our friends like we are now. The co-op will have to wait another year. I'm just sort of over having the rug yanked out from under the kids. Our Governor just gave another "Don't make me come in there" type speech (Sorry, but that's what they remind me of) today where he dangled the return of another full economic shut down so I think just nixing the thought for us is the right call. 

This is where we are landing.  Beyond health concerns, my kids are young.  The uncertainty and disappointment outweigh any benefits we would get from a co-op or outside classes.

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The tutorial my highschoolers participate in will start the year online because the facility is not large enough for adequate social distancing.  My youngest participates in a different co-op with fewer kids and more space so we will be going and I have every confidence that it will be done safely enough to satisfy me.  

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22 hours ago, Maggie2354 said:

Just wanted to get some opinions on the coming school year.  It seems like a lot of homeschool groups (co-ops, tutorials, and social groups) are LOOSELY planning to be open this fall.  What are your thoughts on this?   If they are, do you feel comfortable taking your children or are you planning to skip this year?

As far as co-ops and tutorials go, my kids (high school) don't want to start and then possibly be interrupted if things shut down again and have to switch gears (in person to online) again.  They seem to want to just do it all online this year. 

And, we could possibly plan some outside teen events (like meet-ups at the park), but then you have to worry about everyone's opinions on whether or not they should wear masks or how far apart  everyone should be.  That just seems to take the fun out, not to mention possibly causing some disagreements. 

I can't make up my mind.  I keep going back and forth.  One day it seems like a good idea to lay low this school year and the next day I think it is worth all of the work (social distancing, masks, hand sanitizer) to make it happen. 

I'm kind of in the middle on this.  Just not sure what to do. 

What do you think?

By "social groups" I'm assuming you mean "support groups.," and "meet-ups at the park" must be "park days."  Support groups and park days would always be my preference over tutorials and co-ops; and I usually prefer casual events which don't depend on how many people attend for success. 

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Our fine arts program is moving forward with planning for the fall, without knowing fully what it will look like. I went ahead and registered my kids.  My daughter wants to do it no matter what--masks or not, in person or online.  My son, on the other hand, completely lost interest when everything went online.  I told the director that I will need to pull him if it all goes online.  Whether or not we will feel safe bringing them when September rolls around is another issue altogether.  Obviously, no one knows what the cases will be like at that point.  I am in NJ where we were hit really hard in the beginning, but people have been very compliant here with masks and distancing and things were so slow to open up that our cases and deaths are way down now.  

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We are not going back to band and choir. If our weekly co-op goes back, we won't be there. They are waiting to see how group meeting numbers go (can't meet in big groups here now), and they are surveying members about preferences.

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Our co-op is doing a survey of parents and it is 50/50 whether people want all online or all in person. The option of some online and some in person isn't getting much play and probably isn't feasible. If co-op starts up in the fall and is in person my kids likely will attend. If it is Zoom (like classes went to in March) I don't know. I would like them to "attend" but my girls have had it with Zoom classes. Luckily, their classes are mostly extra curricular type of classes. My DS (high school), who has "solids" there like history and science, is not against Zoom co-op classes as much, but I don't know how his labs for science would work out. It may be better for him to do an online science class (with lab) from a provider already experienced with this mode of education.

My girls take dance classes which went all online at the end of March. They are so over Zoom dance classes. The dance schools around here mostly are opening up with masks required except when dancing. My state's mask directive has an exemption for "while exercising" that gyms, the YMCA, and most dance schools are using. They are required to distance 10 feet, keep everything very clean, no sharing of stuff, etc. Now, the dance school my girls have attended for years (and that we love) is moving toward requiring masks even while dancing. One of my daughters is pretty high level in dance and suffers from migraines often triggered from heat and feeling overheated. Wearing a mask while dancing (exercising) is a no go for her so if our dance school does not provide at least some non-mask wearing dance classes we will need to look elsewhere. Already this summer she is doing ballet at another school that does not require masks while dancing and she does like it (she's SO happy to get bacK INTO a dance studio). Piano lessons have been Zoom since end of March and my kids have gradually been getting used to them but they would prefer in person again. I think they will stay Zoom for awhile yet as the teacher is 70+.

On of my DD attends a church youth group that meets outside with distancing and no masks. If it starts to rain, they move inside distancing with masks. We have had some meet ups with friends for bike riding or berry picking and some of the kids on the street have been over to play outdoors. I've been selectively comfortable with that.

Edited by CAtoVA
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All our academics are at home, but we have 2 very intense weekly EC's that provide a lot of social benefits for my kids as well as adding excellent "extras" to our core academic work. In the fall it's speech and debate club and in the winter/spring it's drama - neither of which are really possible to do virtually. My younger ones could live without it - it wouldn't be ideal, by any means, but what is this year??? But my teen really needs it. So if they offer it, we will be there, even if it means running the risk of it getting cancelled or changed midstream. If they don't offer it, my teen will be devastated and I will need to do some heavy duty thinking outside the box to fill that void for her. Our area has had very low deaths and never been above 60% ICU or ventilator capacity, so I think it's possible they will be able to meet, but it depends on the facilities' policies.

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We found a new co-op that we can't wait to join if it starts up as planned. Scouts is up in the air as the church we meet at will probably not allow us to meet. So I may do small groups in my home or we may do online. 

Our dance studio is small, so she is doing small live classes again. 

Church and Sunday school are staying online only. 😞

 

Library classes are all canceled.

 

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I think it’s going to have to be way more casual and spur of the moment this year. Things change so fast. I was among those who for most june thought “hey maybe we can do some things again.”  Nope. 

we mostly stay home aside from biweekly grocery trips and medical stuff. We aren’t making any in person plans until the virus is more controlled.

 

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We normally participate in a weekly morning "specials" class (kids rotate between an hour of gym, an hour of art, and an hour of music).  This year my oldest was also going to eat lunch there and take chess and logic in the afternoon.  We have officially opted out for at least the first semester.  The organizers are taking no safety precautions like social distancing, smaller groups, wearing masks, etc.  I'm not even sure the class will be allowed to run in the church building where it is normally held.

We also normally participate in a weekly Spanish class.  It will be a huge disappointment if we have to miss that...but that is the way we are leaning.  They are talking about following whatever precautions are recommended for the local schools, so that is good, but it is still a pretty big group of kids (~80 total broken into 6 classes).  If they do present a reasonable safety plan, and my kids do end up participating, I think we will have to stop visiting with my parents again...and that is not a sacrifice any of us would want to make.

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On 7/10/2020 at 6:03 PM, Æthelthryth the Texan said:

We were looking at joining an interest led, once a week thing, but so much was up in the air I think we're going to pass. There are so many "what ifs". What if the state says X, what if they church facility requires Y, what if we can't get Z. Not to mention, I really would prefer not to set my kids up for more disappointment. I think it's going to be easier to just go back to our private art teacher and then hang out with our friends like we are now. The co-op will have to wait another year. I'm just sort of over having the rug yanked out from under the kids. Our Governor just gave another "Don't make me come in there" type speech (Sorry, but that's what they remind me of) today where he dangled the return of another full economic shut down so I think just nixing the thought for us is the right call. 

This is why my daughter isn't going back to soccer in the fall. She doesn't want it to be taken away again.

 

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Update: group is going to be online only, so DS's thing that could only be in person is just not going. So, yeah. Maybe scout meetings (outdoors), maybe just life at home for the fall semester as well.

Public schools are doing a hybrid thing, with a significant number of families opting for virtual-only.

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  • 3 weeks later...

Our co-op decided to do mostly virtual until at least November. We rent a church and their requirements if we met in person were wayyyyyy too onerous for us to meet. Science classes will meet in person, outside and inside. So, only my oldest will attend this year for his high school science which is Forensics with lab.

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On 7/10/2020 at 2:08 PM, Maggie2354 said:

What do you think?

I think this is going to be a quiet, somewhat lonely year for us.  We are social and just moved to a new area which means we would normally have joined a ton of groups by now to make connections.  This year has us stunted. I'm less nervous about the virus (which is a real concern, don't get me wrong) as I am about having an annoying, inconsistent year due to shutdowns, leaders/coaches/teachers getting sick, government mandates, etc.  We'd like to join dance class, start up at church, and do our normal stuff but it just seems like a bad idea right now.

What we are doing instead--using this year to discover our new area.  We are still getting out to shops and restaurants where we can distance, mask, and see new things.  We are trying out parks of any kind and are willing to meet old friends there (my kids miss their friends, and we didn't move so far that we can never see them--just far enough to be less consistent).  I'm choosing to use this time to reach out and meet up with people who I already care about and have a connection to.  I'm also open to park days and am happy to see that, though the formal co-ops in the area have already been doing these, there are two new facebook groups for homeschoolers that popped up to the pandemic that seem more focused on fun, light hearted meetups rather than the more structured feel I get from the co-ops.  That's more my speed, and I'm excited to meet people that way.    

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I have ran a small informal hs group for a few years but am not doing anything this fall. Not worth the responsibility and risk and I don't want to hassle with hs'ers who want to make their own rules and not listen to anyone.

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13 hours ago, JoyKM said:

I think this is going to be a quiet, somewhat lonely year for us.  We are social and just moved to a new area which means we would normally have joined a ton of groups by now to make connections.  This year has us stunted. I'm less nervous about the virus (which is a real concern, don't get me wrong) as I am about having an annoying, inconsistent year due to shutdowns, leaders/coaches/teachers getting sick, government mandates, etc.  We'd like to join dance class, start up at church, and do our normal stuff but it just seems like a bad idea right now.

What we are doing instead--using this year to discover our new area.  We are still getting out to shops and restaurants where we can distance, mask, and see new things.  We are trying out parks of any kind and are willing to meet old friends there (my kids miss their friends, and we didn't move so far that we can never see them--just far enough to be less consistent).  I'm choosing to use this time to reach out and meet up with people who I already care about and have a connection to.  I'm also open to park days and am happy to see that, though the formal co-ops in the area have already been doing these, there are two new facebook groups for homeschoolers that popped up to the pandemic that seem more focused on fun, light hearted meetups rather than the more structured feel I get from the co-ops.  That's more my speed, and I'm excited to meet people that way. 

 

JoyKM- I could have written your post!  We are in the exact situation that you are in except that we are halfway across the country from all of our old friends.  No family here either.  I love your solution!  Thanks so much for sharing!

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I run a small social/enrichment homeschooling group that was already struggling with participation. Most people want a co-op and not a social group. This fall we will be doing everything online until it seems safe. This means participation is down even more, but I don't want to be responsible for anyone getting sick.  

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Our co-op is meeting, but we are not attending. Of the area co-ops that I am well aware of, only two are opening including ours. I have no idea how it will go because the last I heard they didn't have nearly enough returning families to run the schedule that was proposed.  They may get families from other (closed) co-ops.

Our TL troop is not meeting weekly, but will do "activities" on a monthly or six week basis.

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