We’ve been homeschooling in many places by now, and that is something that we’re grateful for these past few years. This is our biggest family-milestone.
Having to say that, I’m finally realize (and at the liberty of sharing) something that has been drawn my attention since the first time we dropped anchor and decided to give Indonesia a try for homeschooling: Co-Op, Support Group and Community.
I hate to say that no matter what our homeschooling curriculum is, it is still take a village to raise a kid. We need as many as people, households, neighbourhood, or even the whole society as possible, to educate our children. Not to mention outsource tutors, talking about supermom/dad. There’s no such thing as perfect parents whose capable in providing all the information and disciplines that the children need.
I’ve recognize some terms in homeschooling world (and perhaps in any other world): Co-Op, Support Group and Community. Each has differences in terms of structure, involvement, commitment, and expectation.
Homeschooling co-op is a group of homeschooling families who join together to enrich their homeschooling experience by learning from and/or with one another. Activities may varies depends on what the group members expertise. Subjects covered various of classes/sessions such as STEMS, art-craft, baking/cooking, sports, field trips etc. Some co-ops covers almost every subjects, while some just focus on few subjects.
co-op members usually expect for their children to get benefits of the co-op’s activities covered by that certain co-op. And this is truly understandable since all the parents are almost equally contribute to the programme, hence the full commitment is a must.
co-op usually based on certain age group and interest. A homeschooler may join more than one co-ops that meets his/her needs and interest. The programmes are also involves a well scheduled routines.
The best thing about co-op is that all members will have a deep connection with each others, because they went through all the process together, side by side.
Homeschooling support group is a group of homeschooling families who have experiences, or seeking advise and/or concerns who provide each other with encouragement, comfort, and advice. There’s not much homeschooling activities involved, mainly just gatherings. Even taking consideration on the virtual era, it can be just a thread of topics on the website, so no physical meet-ups required. You can expect to find many questions about homeschooling answered though. The founders or the one who started the group are usually the most dedicated ones, fully committed to contribute and participate in every activities (or should I mention threads). While members usually comes and goes, fully aware that the group will always be there whenever they need advice, because it will always welcome you with wide open arms.
Homeschooling community is a group of people having a particular characteristic in common, sharing or having certain attitudes and interests about homeschooling, usually resides at the specific domain (on-site and/or on-line).
Ideally, homeschooling community opens up our possibilities to find information about homeschooling co-ops and/or support group. But still, it’s all about networking, so expect nothing more than small talks and playdates if we don’t try to dig into co-ops and support groups that available in a certain community. After few participations on the routine physical meet-ups, you’ll know exactly whose to find for support/advice, and which to join for co-ops activities.
In some homeschooling communities, there’ll be few members whose been there done that for quite long time, and therefore they’re becoming some kind of inner-circle. The stronger the inner circle is, the better sustain the community will be. And because communities are usually takes time to grow bigger, you’ll began to notice that there is also such things as new-comers.
Within the homeschooling community, we will see members come and go, or in some cases, went and never come back. It’s totally normal, because people expect to find and experience something in common from the community, and if they don’t get it, they’ll go for community-shopping to find another community that suit them well. Founders of community should know and understand this very well.
Know which one you're participating
Different places has different way in facilitating homeschooling families. Know which ones you’re participating right now, or wish to participate, and understand what to expect. Either ones, there’s always so much we can learn from each others.