Many homeschooling families have found that combining their strengths and gathering to do learning together offers deeper and wider learning opportunities. Learning groups like these not only give your child the chance to expand their knowledge and academic skills, but also develop social skills and create lasting friendships.

Informal Co-ops

  • Usually a group of families who share the workload for a class or group of classes 
  • Involved parents often provide the instruction
  • Often electives are taught, but core subjects can also be covered
  • Usually more supplemental in nature
  • Meet 1–4 times per month

Formal Co-ops or Resource Centers

  • May employ teachers to provide the instruction
  • Offers more structured classes
  • Students may take one or multiple classes
  • Usually meet 1–2 times a week 

Hybrid, Cottage, or University-Model Schools

  • Typically more structured than co-ops
  • Most, if not all, subjects are covered
  • Usually meet for an entire day 1–2 times a week
  • On other days, parents work with students using assignments and lessons provided by the school

Online Courses

There are two general types:

Live Classes:

  • Students meet at set times to interact with the instructor and each other
  • Assignments are submitted to the instructor
  • Instructor provides grade
  • Sometimes option for parents to grade

Self-paced Classes

  • Students work independently
  • Watch prerecorded lessons and follow provided lesson plan
  • Class may offer online chats or other interaction with students and professor
  • Grading options: self-graded online assignments and tests or parent-graded through rubric or answer keys

Where can I find groups like this in my area?

Networking with friends and acquaintances is a great place to start. You might also try contacting local homeschool support groups, churches, or libraries, crowdsourcing or searching on Facebook, and online searches.

You can also find reviews of online courses at Cathy Duffy’s website.

Lining up learning opportunities for your teen? There are even more course formats available at the high school level.

If you don’t find exactly what you’re looking for, you can even create your own opportunity!