a support and resource group for home education

Homeschool Co-operative
Homeschooling families which share similar academic goals, morals, religious beliefs and social behaviours, may choose to unite their efforts by forming a learning cooperative (co-op). In a co-op setting, families tackle certain subjects together, for example, math, Arabic language or sports. A crucial element of co-op learning is the involvement of parents, who share their skills with the entire group.    
Homeschooling co-ops can have different styles and sizes. The most common setting is where all parents are involved in the co-op learning, taking turns at giving lessons to the children. For example, a parent good at science may teach it to the entire group, while an artistically-gifted parent may give art lessons. However, it is not uncommon for a co-op to hire a teacher for a particular subject, if needed. Parents, who would prefer not to teach a large group, may contribute by providing administrative and logistic assistance to the co-op. Likewise, co-ops are not limited to curriculum-based learning – parents may combine their efforts for field trips, museum visits, reading clubs or sports activities.   
Advantages of a homeschool co-op:
  • Social interaction with like-minded families and forming of lasting friendships,
  • Assistance in teaching subjects that parents find difficult to handle themselves,
  • Expanded learning opportunities, as families combine efforts and experience,
  • Low cost affordability for most families.
Homeschooling co-ops may not work for all families. Before joining a co-op, a family should thoroughly consider their own educational goals, and the type of social interaction they want for their children. They should then check if the co-op would match their expectations. Likewise, if either children or parents already have a busy schedule, committing to a co-op may become too much to handle, as it requires involvement of both children and parents.  
Some homeschoolers feel that having children from multiple families being taught the basic subjects on a daily basis in a group setting, is like moving from the homeschooling paradigm to the school paradigm. They feel that alternative education in a group-setting should incorporate these principles: “individually paced lessons, mixed ages in the group, and complete understanding of a lesson before passing a subject.” (http://www.kinzaacademy.com/whisho.html)
For Muslim families, the homeschool cooperative offers a welcome environment for instilling the love of Allah (swt) in the children, teaching the subjects from an Islamic perspective, and providing children with good companionship.
An example of a Muslim homeschool co-operative is ILM Tree in California. (http://www.ilmtree.org) Another one, based in Pakistan, has been covered in an interview published in Homeworks magazine's July 2012 issue.

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