Enriching Our Homeschool with Co-op Classes
Homeschool co-ops or tutorials can provide a needed change of pace for many homeschooling families. These community learning opportunities can provide the primary educator a break in the day to run errands or simply breathe while they can also provide the child the opportunity to use the skills they’ve learned so far in life in a less familiar environment.
We first enrolled in co-op when my older daughter was a little over 5 years old. I signed her up for an art class because I thought she would enjoy hanging out with the other children. She has always enjoyed being around others, and I knew she wanted to experience “school” to a certain extent. We continued with that co-op for another year before taking a break for one year then we returned only to take another break for over 5 years.
Last school year, my 8th and 6th grade daughters participated in one of the local tutorials in our new community. A tutorial is different from a co-op because parents aren’t required to teach instead the teachers are paid educational instructors. Joining a tutorial wasn’t on our must do list, initially. But we were curious about tutorials so we decided to attend a few of the open houses. We visited one open house that got my girls excited so we took the plunge and joined the community.
Three Benefits from Enriching Our Homeschool with Tutorial Classes
Time off for the homeschool mom
Although we still completed some assignments before they went to their classes, I enjoyed having a nice chunk of time to myself. During their time at tutorial, I was able to just breathe without feeling like I needed to do anything else. I actually allowed myself to take a full break. I didn’t teach, write, or anything like that. I almost always went out for lunch by myself. Did I tell you this has become one of my favorite things to do? After lunch, on some tutorial days I would clean while other days I would watch a TV show since I rarely sit and watch TV. It actually felt nice to truly not do anything.
If you have been seeking out small pockets of time for yourself during the homeschool year or if you need to outsource a specific subject, a tutorial or homeschool community may benefit you and your family.
New relationships for my daughters
My girls made new friends. We started off the school year by arriving at tutorial just after lunch since their classes were after lunch. By the time second semester rolled around, they were looking forward to getting to tutorial during lunch so they could have time with their new friends. Some friendships weren’t fleeting which means my daughters are still chatting with some of the girls they met at tutorial months after the class has ended. I am happy that they were able to build relationships that made it outside of the place they met.
Homeschoolers are often asked about socialization and friendships. Tutorials and co-ops can provide opportunities for kids to create friendships.
Learning experiences with different teachers
I’ve pretty much been the primary teacher for my daughters. Classes that they’ve taken before were usually enrichment based which means my daughters didn’t have to do too much heavy lifting with the teachers. During their tutorial experience, they both decided to take a family living and budgeting class. They both really enjoyed Ms. Misty. They learned so much from her, and often reference information they learned from her related to money, local schools, and other random facts. I appreciate the fact that she decided to pour time into the girls who enrolled in her class. The opportunity for them to have other teachers was extremely important to me because of my younger daughter’s kindergarten experience. It was not great. Whenever she gets a chance, she reminds us of her not so great experience at our former neighborhood’s elementary school. I am hoping since she had a pleasant experience with Ms. Misty she will no longer harp on the not so great experience.
As homeschool parents, we aren’t required to teach our children everything. It’s actually impossible for us to teach them everything. The tutorial experience reminded all of us that there are other good teachers that they can learn from about topics that I don’t feel equipped to teach like photography or a foreign language.
Although I didn’t plan to enroll my daughters in a tutorial, I am glad that I did. It was a great experience for each of us, and next school year, we are looking forward to taking another class or two in a community setting. I won’t be dropping them off for time alone this go round though instead I’ll be sticking by in order to build relationships with other homeschooling moms in our community.
Do your children attend a homeschool co-op or tutorial?