23 Questions To Ask Before You Join A Homeschool Co-op

Dear Homeschool Mom,

Are you concerned about socialization for your homeschooled child, wanting to meet new homeschool families, looking for support, want to make adult friends, want classes and field trips but not send your child to school? These are just a few of the reasons families seek out homeschool co-ops. If you are thinking about joining a homeschool co-op, you may be wondering where to begin or wondering if a co-op is the best choice for your family.

One of the first things you may want to do is read this blog so you have a few key questions or points of interest to ask as you pursue finding the perfect co-op for your family. By getting these questions answered, you will be able to gain insight into the co-op and be able to determine which homeschool co-op will be the bets fit. You already know how much time you want to commit, how far you are willing to travel and what supports you desire in your homeschool life. Hopefully collecting answers to these questions and formulating your own will help solidify your decision to join a homeschool co-op.

  1. What is the age range of children in the co-op
  2. Is there an age requirement of the co-op
  3. How long has it been in existence
  4. When does the co-op meet
  5. Where do they meet (location and dwelling as applicable)
  6. What do weekly activities consist of
  7. What is the name and what does it represent as applicable
  8. Social Media-presence (FB, closed group or public)  
  9. What are the parental expectations of the co-op (parents as teachers or active observers, fingerprinted, background checks, etc.?)
  10. Who is the administrator of the co-op
  11. What is the parent dynamic? (are parents friendly, multi-cultural etc.)
  12. How is diversity exhibited within the group
  13. What is the number of families and is there a cap on that number
  14. Are there field trips
  15. What are parent expectations (active observers/participants and in what ways?)
  16. Cost (annual/monthly etc.)
  17. Drop off or Stay
  18. Is there a class schedule
  19. Class structure  (ex. Mixed ages, gender based, etc.)
  20. Is Food and snacks provided or bring own
  21. Is there a handbook, if so, What does it say
  22. Is there an attendance requirement
  23. Are there children/families with Allergies or Special Needs? (This may be especially important to you if your family has allergy or Special Needs specific requirements)

There may be more questions on your personal list, but these are a start. Here’s to helping you on your homeschool co-op search. -Sara, Dear Homeschool Mom

  admin   Feb 09, 2019   Uncategorized   Comments Off on 23 Questions To Ask Before You Join A Homeschool Co-op Read More

5 Ways to Help Beat the “Blahs”

5 Ways to Help Beat the “Blahs” 

Dear Homeschool Mom,

Have you ever felt like “this is not the day” when it comes to home education? This is not the day to answer questions, this is not the day to keep it all inside, this is not the day to do too much of anything other than sit on the couch and cry. Let’s face it, we all have days when we feel less than ourselves and days when we feel as though we need not be home educating because after all, if we are a hot mess, then how can we possibly be present in the best way possible for our children?

Many people do not know that I have struggled for many years with anxiety and depression. There have been a number of extenuating circumstances that have caused my emotional state to go by the wayside and because I am honest with myself, I sought therapy before it was the “in thing” to do and have been diving deep into self-care before it was the buzz word of the day.  Therapy is great and self-care comes in such a variety of forms that it is hard to pin point just one thing that will make all the difference in the world, but you can try to do the best you can and see where the ball sticks when you throw it at the wall. I have found that when you are dealing with mental or physical ailments as a homeschooling mother, you feel afraid or even hesitant to share it with others for fear they may tell someone and your children will be kindly escorted to the  nearest school. But the truth is that there are supports and you do not need to be afraid. There are plenty of school teachers and administrators who are struggling the same way as you if not worse, the only difference is they cannot take off work or have down time to adjust to their situation. There is still no argument that you are the best possible teacher for your child, hands down. The issue becomes getting equipped with the strategies needed to help you handle the blahs on those days when you feel like crap and having any sense of formal instruction is not an option. For parents who do not formal teach lessons anyway, the interaction component is always present in one form or another and this information is for all mamas home educating their babies no matter how old those babies are, knowing that it will be greater later, just give yourself time to debrief, reflect and reset. Let’s do it!

5 Ways to Help Beat the “Blahs”

  1. Take the day to do something you absolutely enjoy without feeling guilty: Listening to your favorite songs or going to your favorite places, reading your favorite books or anything in between, it is all about you and it is more than okay. My kids will tell you in a heart beat that I will turn on my favorite tunes or take them to a favorite spot any day of the week and have great time in the process.  They learn along the way too. They have a great time learning about something that is quite “old” to them and I have fun sharing the information about it all. Sip warm tea, drink your favorite flavor coffee, be a creative for the day, whatever it is that brings you joy and perfect health, pursue that thing. You need time that is not all about the children and that is not being selfish. We all know that if you are not your best then they cannot be their best without the best version of your presence.  
  1. Get outside: Enough said. Scientific research has proven that Nature is a great way to prescribe to a better day and outlook. Take time release and reset while basking the beauty of the great outdoors. A walk around the corner to a nature hike, whatever you do, do it outdoors and enjoy every minute of seeing that there is so much more out there to enjoy than what’s in front of you or on your mind. 
  1. Listen to a Podcast: There are tons of podcasts both good and bad for you to listen to. When in doubt as to what you should be listening to, there are a few suggestions out there. One thing you can do is actually google the topic you are interested in tapping in to, while my other suggestion is to simply type in a topic in the podcast search engine.  You will be surprised (or not) by the number of podcasts that will appeal to your needs. Share what you find! I’d love to know what you’re listening to!
  1. Seek professional help: The other day I went to get my annual physical and for the first time I told my doctor everything about what was truly going on with me mentally and physically. I held nothing back. I shared the name of my therapist to the fact that I struggled with an eating disorder and sought professional help to the fact that my anxiety levels often have gone through the roof. It was a burden lifted to learn that I was supported in my efforts and that I was not alone in what I had experienced. Tell your doctor if you feel like crap and ask for assistance. It is there responsibility to help you and give your trouble to the creator of the universe. God has you and you need to know that there are supports in place to help you when you feel like crap. 
  1. Be honest with how you are feeling: From journaling about it to talking to friends or others who will support you, getting how you are feeling off of your chest is really important. There are times when the seasonal changes will cause you to feel really bad or life situations will throw you a wicked curve ball and you fall apart. You need to know that you are not alone in how you feel and that what you feel is valid and important because you are. It is okay to have days when you are emotionally drained, but joy cometh in the morning and new mercies are upon you. Positive affirmations, prayer, staying in the midst of positive people, minding what you are listening to, reading and watching as you guard your ear and eye gates is super important. Emotional vulnerability lends itself to be open to a lot of all that can be toxic to ones emotional state and you don’t need to go too far to find something to bring you down emotionally. The news and social media are enough and too much. So, be on guard and be proactive in being cognizant of all of these things and be honest in recognizing how certain things make you feel and when those things negatively impact, then flee, regroup and regain insight into helping yourself feel better slowly but surely. 

Hopefully something resonated with you as you read through this and you will find yourself feeling better and ready to take on the next new venture in home education that awaits! Here’s to happy healing, health, hope and happiness. 

  admin   Nov 24, 2018   Uncategorized   Comments Off on 5 Ways to Help Beat the “Blahs” Read More