Why join a co-op?
Updated: May 13, 2019
So I am an introvert, every personality test I have ever taken has had me definitively in the doesn't like to be around people category. However, my family doesn't consist of just me and my extroverted husband did contribute to the personalities of our kids. Plus, even introverts benefit from human interactions and receiving support from others who are on a similar journey.
Homeschooling can be very isolating if you don't already have a large support group around you. When I started this journey, I had friends and a church family that were not involved in the homeschooling community, however job changes and life took many of those supports away from me. Over the past five years we have moved multiple times (to 4 different states), and dealt with family illness and all that comes from having aging parents. At the beginning of this year my tank was empty, as we had yet to find a church family or made any new friends. See I'm not so great at putting myself out there and opening up my life to new people (see the aforementioned proclamation regarding my introverted personality), and I have to purposely put myself in a situation that might make me uncomfortable in order to change our lives.
I didn't think I had the strength or desire to search out those things until one day my youngest son was upset because the last of his online "friends" that he plays with on the playstation had blocked him suddenly and without reason. My silly boy who always has a joke or an impression and who genuinely likes being around people was upset because he had no friends anymore. That's when it hit me that I HAD to make some changes and pursue more socialization. Now some might condemn me for allowing it to get to that point, but 2018 was an awful year for our family and illness had lead us to move again to a new area where we didn't know anyone other than our parents, who truthfully needed our support and attention as well.
After the epiphany, I began to search out co-ops and groups that might offer some similar aged kids for my boys to meet, and I made the decision to go to a Mom's night out offered by this co-op. That decision has completely transformed my family's life. I met some other homeschool moms who were incredibly welcoming and kind. I instantly felt a kinship with them and a desire to put aside my apprehensions and join in as much as possible.
Now, thanks to these special women, I have a strong support group who I am comfortable sharing my struggles with, a church that has been a tremendous blessing to our whole family, and new friends for my kids and myself.
So why should you join a co-op? Well, while educational workshops, field trips, and activities are important, for me it isn't enough. I joined because I saw a need in my life, and the lives of my kids. I joined because you can't fill up your own tank with encouragement and support. I joined so my kids and I could make new friendships that will hopefully stand the test of time.