Q. I was interested in part-time enrollment for my elementary school child, but my district doesn’t allow it. What other options do I have for group participation? What are co-ops?
A. A little more than 50% of local school boards permit part-time, public school enrollment for students who are homeschooling in Virginia. The Virginia Code gives each school board the authority to set policy for their school district. Some districts that make it available limit it to the high school level. You can find enrollment policies listed on school board websites or you can inquire by phone.
Another option for classroom participation would be a homeschool co-op. A co-op is a group of homeschool families that meet once or twice a week for several hours at a local meeting place. It could be a community center or a church. Parent teachers and/or certified or retired teachers teach various subjects–from core academics, to foreign languages, to art, to physical education. Classes vary with each group and are provided for elementary to high school students. Some may even offer preschool classes.
Parents enroll their children for a fee in as many classes as they are interested in taking. Teachers instruct the students on co-op days and the remainder of the work is done at home with the parents’ oversight. In addition to co-op classes, other subjects may be taught by the homeschool parent.
Here’s a link to a list of support groups and co-ops. Type in the name of your city or county or others close by to find co-ops near you. You may need to contact the groups for more details.
Choose a co-op that is consistent with the goals you have for your child. Most sign-ups are during the summer months. Check it out and see what might work for your child’s academic needs and interests. I hope this helps!