The Operation of Cooperative Education for Homeschooled Children: The Quality Homeschool Cooperative as a Case Study
Muldowney, Hanna Maria
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Homeschooling is a growing trend in America. Studies on homeschooling in the past three decades have focused on the reasons why parents choose to homeschool, the academic and social quality of homeschooling, and the perceptions of public and private school officials towards homeschooling, as well as homeschooling parents' perceptions of public and private schools. The literature on homeschool cooperatives is scarce. A homeschool cooperative (co-op) is a group of homeschooling parents who have gathered to collectively teach their children. Co-ops might teach core subjects, electives, athletics, or just serve as an opportunity for homeschooling families to gather for fellowship and social time. This dissertation is a study of a homeschool co-op in San Antonio, Texas. The researcher for this study attempted to answer two questions: 1) What is a history of the co-op, and 2) What are the daily operations of the co-op? This researcher observed the selected co-op in action, reviewed documents supplied by co-op members, and interviewed four members of the co-op who have varying degrees of participation in the co-op. Through triangulation of interviews, observations, and documents, this researcher has described a history of the selected co-op, including its founding and daily operations. The co-op, formed in 2005, is a large, Catholic-affiliated co-op that meets weekly for twelve weeks each semester. The teachers, all paid, are either parents of co-op students or individuals hired from outside the co-op. Students in the co-op have twenty to twenty-five courses from which to choose each semester. The participants in the study are satisfied with their experiences in the Quality Homeschool Co-op. The participants state that the co-op is providing quality academic classes that supplement the curricula used at home. The participants are also pleased with the positive socialization that their children receive while attending the co-op. This study adds to the literature on homeschooling cooperatives. Although further research on this study is possible based on different research questions, this researcher has presented a history of Quality Homeschool Co-op and has documented the co-op's daily operations.