Questions you should ask a Homeschool Group Leader before joining
Whether you are thinking of joining a group for individual classes and/or to be part of a Cooperative, it's important to know who you choose to walk alongside you in this journey. Sometimes getting to know their true hearts takes time, but there are few tricks to the trade that may help you choose which options are right for you.
In Tulsa, Oklahoma there are quite a few options which support homeschool whether its our N.O.A.H Sports Teams, Classes held in homes, or the Cooperative groups which provide community and classes.
First, let me say this...while there is an aspect to joining a group that is about fitting your needs and your family, it is also hugely helpful to come into a group with a mentality of belonging and serving one another (both sides).
Now, onto the good stuff:
First, figure out what your needs are and where you stand. Below are some examples but your needs are yours and vary to each individual.
We want to belong and have a community while allowing my children to gain sweet friendships.
I just need a few options because Math is a "no-go" for me in teaching my kids. (PS, I feel this one hard sister.)
Mixture of both.
I want community and also, make the most of my time so it benefits our homeschool efforts and lightens my load.
Make it look like a private school.
I want classes, but I work and don't want to stay so you handle it because I agree with your curriculum.
Field Trips & Fun Activities
Look, we got this whole school thing down but would like some fun planned days with friends.
So, how do you know the group you want to join will fit your family, AND your family will fit in with the group. Truly, with several options especially in regards to a co-op there are so many unique groups and opportunities. They all have their special qualities.
Here's some questions to help get you started with what to ask and watch for:
What is your mission/purpose and what does this look like within the daily activities of the group?
Yes, I know, many groups have websites and it plainly states their mission statement but I find you can see their hearts in how they describe that to you. Also, a mission statement can say one thing all day long but how does this look played out in daily life? How does each family strive to maintain this mission?
What is expected of me/us?
What are the general expectations and daily expectations? You don't go to drop off classes if you want to be able to supervise the materials and make sure it's upholding to the standards of the description. You don't join a group dedicated to community if you never have an intention of being there.
How are decisions made? What is that process?
No matter how big a leadership can be, if this process is not open to their differing opinions or have a process for discussion, it can lead to one person calling all the shots. Plus, are they will to listen to you and your opinions on things which insights change? You need to feel heard, because if you are going to truly invest in a co-op then you are part of it. This doesn't mean you always get your way, alot of people want alot of things and it doesn't always match the mission. But, do they take your opinions into consideration? Will they VALUE you?
Can you join as a guest for a short time during a co-op?
Sometimes you need to see for yourself what this group looks like from the inside. It can often give you a great picture of how the kids act, how the parents act towards the kids, etc. and with this picture you can decide if it's an influence you'd like your children under.
And then, there are always the obvious questions about schedules, times, days, classes, etc.
Regardless of what you do or do not ask, just know that there is no such things as a stupid question when it comes to getting to know a group. This group should become like family (if that is your goal) and so you want to make sure it's a healthy one.