Although many parents come to homeschooling after their children have already spent years in a public or private school, there are also many parents who begin thinking of homeschooling before their children have even been born. Still others come to their interest in homeschooling when the preschool years hit.
In our society, preschool has become the norm for so many. It seems as soon as a child is three or four, people start asking, “Are they going to preschool?” Although all of my children did at least some preschool outside of the home, this is a perfect age for the homeschooling experience. Still — some families long for the opportunities that an outside preschool has to offer, even though they long to homeschool.
For those families wanting the best of both worlds, a homeschool preschool co-op might be the perfect solution.
What is a homeschool preschool co-op?
A homeschool preschool co-op will look different from group to group. However, the basic idea is that it will be a small group of parents (typically mothers) and preschool aged children who meet for preschool together.
Logistics of Starting A Homeschool Preschool Co-op
Some things to consider when forming a group would be:
Ages of the Children – A five year old preschooler is able to do a host of things that a three year old preschooler is not able to do, in general. Depending on what your group wants to do (curriculum-wise), you may want a very close age range (or you may not).
Faith Background – If faith will be woven into the classes, it may be helpful for all members to be members of the same faith. However, if there are different faiths, it will be important to discuss how faith topics will be handled within the classes.
Location – Will the teaching parent host the class at their home? Does one parent have the perfect home for the classes as a permanent location? Can you use space at a local church or community center?
Schedule – How often will your preschool meet? This could be anything from a couple of times a week to monthly. It will be important to come to an agreement as a group. Also, how long will the class meet for when it meets? Many community preschools meet for a couple of hours. This might be a good amount of time for your homeschool preschool co-op as well.
Parent Commitment – What will each Mom need to commit to? How often will she have to teach? What are her responsibilities when it is her class to teach? Will parents take turns providing snacks? Will each parent contribute supplies for their own child or will they just be responsible for furnishing supplies when they are teaching?
Curriculum – Will you use a set curriculum such as Joy School, will you work together as a group to come up with plans for the year, or will each parent plan their own days?
There are many books that might help to assist in coming up with your curriculum, such as The Complete Resource Book for Preschoolers: An Early Childhood Curriculum With Over 2000 Activities and Ideas, The Complete Daily Curriculum for Early Childhood: Over 1200 Easy Activities to Support Multiple Intelligences and Learning Styles, or The Weekly Curriculum Book: 52 Complete Themes for Every Week of the Year.
Teacher/Student Ratio – If there are five or less children involved, then one parent may be fine on their own. However, if there are more than five kids, it might be best to have a teacher parent and an assistant parent for each preschool session.
Discipline – Ahead of time, as a group, there will need to be an agreement about how to deal with discipline issues. This not only includes what to do when someone misbehaves, but also what behaviors you expect from the children.
A homeschool preschool co-op can be a great learning experience for kids and their parents. This can also be a wonderful opportunity for parents that are considering homeschooling for the future, but are feeling uncertain.
Angie can be found writing at Many Little Blessings when she isn’t busy preparing to teach the preschool class at her homeschool co-op.