I'm a wife to my "Mr. Right". A momma of five. A maker of slow food and simple living. A collector of memories, a keeper of books, and a champion for books that make memories. An addict who likes my half-and-half with a splash of coffee. A fractured pot transformed by the One Who makes broken things beautiful. I heart homeschooling, brake for libraries, and am glad you're here with me on the journey! Be sure to subscribe to my monthly newsletter. Or, follow along with Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Google +, Youtube, or Pinterest.

Mega List of Homeschool Co-op Class Ideas

Co-op STEM class #homeschool #homeschoolco-opclass

Field trip groups, nature troops, enrichment co-ops, STEM leagues, book clubs, university model classes, PE & Park meetups--after fourteen years of homeschooling, I've participated and/or led every type of homeschool co-op imaginable. 

The problem with homeschool co-ops

Some of these groups became like the bread and butter of our homeschool. These co-ops were indispensable to us. They offered engaging classes that filled in the holes of our homeschool. They were packed with friendly and generous people--families willing to invest in each other. And they gave us all an opportunity to learn subjects and skills that we'd otherwise never be drawn toward.

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But then there were co-ops that were profoundly underwhelming. These were groups that stole our time, energy, and financial resources and offered very little return on investment. To be honest, some of these gatherings felt more like pirate uprisings than educational partnerships. They were disorganized, offered only the low-hanging fruit of learning opportunities, and left my entire family feeling quite fragile by the end of the school year. 

Don't get me wrong, there were wonderful folks in both camps. The people were never the problem. The main difference between the successful groups and the ones that were more a bit wackadoo was whether or not the parent volunteers were given any sort of direction when choosing class topics. 

co-op field trip to a forest history center

One solution for struggling homeschool co-ops

Admittedly, no one ever likes to be voluntold what to do. But I've noticed that many moms feel overwhelmed when they're asked to teach a class, not because they're unwilling or unable, but because they can't decide what to teach. Decision fatigue leaves them feeling paralyzed. With no clear guidance, they eventually settle on a class topic they are not interested in or that doesn't fit their natural gifts and abilities. When this happens again and again in the same group, co-op quickly begins to feel like the junk drawer of educational opportunities for all involved.

That's why when I launched a brand new co-op in our area two years ago, I put together a list of age-appropriate class ideas that potential teachers could refer to when selecting what to teach. For some, this index freed them up to eenie-meenie-miney-mo their way to a decision without having to expel any mental energy. For others, it acted as a jumping off point, reminding them of passions they've enjoyed exploring in the past but had long since packed away and forgotten about or inspiring them toward a new one. 

Today, I'm offering that same list to you!

Homeschool Co-op Class Idea List #homeschoolco-op #homeschooling

Homeschool Co-op Idea List

While I've divided all the ideas into appropriate grade levels, most, if not all of the activities, can be tweaked to fit any age group. A few will require the parent volunteer to possess a certain aptitude or skill in order to teach the topic well, but the rest can be taught by anyone willing to explore and learn right alongside the kids they're assigned to look after.

If you are a co-op leader, hope to teach a co-op class in the near future, or are looking to add some enrichment to your own homeschool, you're invited to grab this mega list of homeschool class ideas. Print it out, tuck it away, and continue to refer to it anytime you need your next big idea.

Do you participate in a homeschool co-op? What classes have you really enjoyed teaching or your kids have enjoyed taking? Share your best suggestions in the comments for others to add to their lists.

1 comment:

  1. Hey Jamie! Question for you. We don't have any homeschool group in our area (besides the local Classical Conversations group). I've been pondering starting one once or twice a month to start with and I will have to buy this list to help with ideas.
    Do you have any other posts with how your homeschool coop operates? Do you meet weekly and for how long? Is it free? etc! I'd take any guidance you already have posted or have time to type. My oldest daughter (12), especially, is craving community. I also have a monthly book club on my list (and love your posts on that) or a girls Bible study but a coop would be able to involve my younger 2 as well. I love your blog and Instagram - one of my favorite people to follow and learn from.