Thursday, January 31, 2013

How a Cooperative was Born

We live in a small town. In our case, small town equals no homeschool cooperatives. I have read many blogs with many families discussing their huge, wonderful cooperatives. I'm going to fess up here and now, I was jealous. Why can't we have an uber fabulous cooperative? Why can't we take awesome classes with other homeschool families? Well, it took prayer, great people,  a willing homeschool community, and lots of hard work - but we pulled it off. With God's help of course. I am now the co-director of a Fine Arts Cooperative serving 26 families and still growing. We actually had to turn away children this semester due to space and number of teachers. Let's back track and see how this wonderful thing called a cooperative came to fruition.

A friend and myself have worked with a group of homeschoolers over the past five years performing musicals and plays. The kids are great and everyone either enjoys spending time together or has a passion for the theatre and performing. One year ago we started toying with the idea of expanding the program to other types of classes. We have a passion for not only teaching the arts but also encouraging children to share their talents with others in God's name. Performing in the community as well as traveling to perform to spread God's love. After many meetings, emails, phone calls, and text messages we had our basic class schedule and name, Creative Christian Cooperative. Our first semester found us with 40 students taking part in drama, choir, art, and puppetry art. At the end of the semester we had a drama performance, recitals, and art gallery showing. We settled on 30-50 dollars a month in fees depending on the family size and this price would cover all classes that were offered along with a small supply fee for art classes. It was very important to us to keep the cooperative affordable in these tough economic times. Our only expenses are rent for space and liability insurance. The first semester found us renting a huge event room with stage while the second semester has found us back at my church. The teachers are not paid but are allowed free classes for their children in lieu of payment. Second semester we have grown to 55 students. We continue to teach two drama and choir classes (elementary and high school), three art classes, and a Learning with Legos class. In the fall we already have parents willing to teach classes in photography, videography, poetry, and so much more. This is an exciting time for all that are involved and we are looking forward to what God puts in our paths.

1 comment:

Leah C said...

We are part of a small biweekly co-op. Our fees are very minimal, but all our classes are parent taught. Every parent is required to teach or assist in two classes. It's lots of fun, but I can appreciate the effort of organizing it.