Homeschooling can sometimes feel extremely lonely. Between finding a program that works best for your family, selecting curriculum that is easy to use, and creating a schedule which helps you meet the needs of each child. Building a network amongst friends and community members who homeschool same-age children can help to make the process so much easier.
Enlisting help from other mothers going through similar experiences can provide you with a built in system of support. This can be a way to network and collaborate with others. In doing so, you can provide children with a richer homeschooling experience where they don’t feel isolated from other children, and you don’t feel alone on your journey.
#1. Find moms that share the same beliefs and homeschooling goals
The key is finding like-minded moms who share your ideological beliefs about faith, schooling, and how you perceive the world. You want to design a homeschooling program which can help your child understand grade level content, provide engagement, and opportunities to socialize, but on your terms and not society’s.
#2. Planning a focus for collaboration
You don’t necessarily have to use the same exact program in order to collaborate. When using different homeschooling formats the network that you can form could be to provide supplementary support to your children. This could be sharing tutors to save on cost, coming together as moms to teach subject matter that you feel confident in, or planning field trip outings and extra curricular activities. From craft time together, meet-ups at free library events, to the zoo--you can collaborate in order to form what’s called an informal co-op.
#3. Establishing a schedule that works for everyone
A co-op is when families come together for a common focus in homeschooling. This could be to share resources, activities as mentioned above, or even if you are using the same curriculum with another co-teach. For example, if one mom is skilled in the area of mathematics, and another mom is skilled in the area of language arts they can take turns throughout the week co-teaching each others kids based on an established schedule they create.
There are so many creative ways that you can come together with other moms to create meaningful homeschooling opportunities. You’ll find that children become more motivated when you mix things up throughout the week as well. Whether you plan to have a couple of regular meet-ups throughout the month, or on a weekly basis.
#4. Pick a location to meet-up
Picking a location to meet-up that works for everyone is equally important. You can plan to meet at a local park, rotate houses if you have a big enough space, ask your local masjid, or recreational center. If there is a well, there's a way to find a space that works for everyone!
Now, with COVID-19 and self-isolation, we don't actually recommend meet-up's with other families. However, we do recommend using this time to begin finding your group of like-minded moms for future planning. Forming a small group now in order to create a plan which can be put into action in months to come, after conditions have improved will help make the process easy and simple. Let's utilize this downtime the best way we can.
Grab a journal and begin brainstorming some ideas. Create the vision of the type of homeschool co-op you would like to establish. What type of other families would you like to join? How many moms would you like to take part? You can even map out a co-op strategy for each child you have by age. Grouping children into ranges makes this task easier. Here are some recommended age groupings you can follow: