Frequently Asked Questions
The Community Co-op membership includes diverse homeschooling families from throughout the Chicago Area. We represent the full spectrum of those who would identify themselves as homeschoolers. A wide variety of homeschooling definitions, methodologies, and philosophies are represented. All are welcome. Members agree to be tolerant of one another.
Where do you meet?
We meet at a leased church facility in Oak Park, Illinois. The church provides a “school” environment equipped with three spacious classrooms, storage areas, a large gymnasium, a fully-equipped kitchen, boys and girls bathrooms, a small grassy courtyard adjacent to the building, and a beautiful Oak Park open field and play lot across the street with a baseball diamond and playground equipment.
What day does the co-op meet?
Thursdays, September through May.
Families sign up together with at least one parent. The parent volunteers in the co-op in some capacity throughout the day, and the children take classes that the co-op is offering.
What ages can attend?
Families with children from infant to 18 can participate.
Is this a drop off program?
We are not a drop-off co-op. Families are on the premises together throughout the day.
Why a co-op?
We seek for our children: community and continuity. A community of people committed to meeting weekly helps us to provide that for our children, while still homeschooling according to our own family’s plan. We have also found that some topics particularly lend themselves to a group setting.
Do I have to volunteer?
Yes, there are various jobs available, from leading a class to assisting with public relations.
Is my style of homeschooling respected?
We consider ourselves to be an eclectic group and hope that people of all different homeschooling philosophies feel comfortable at the co-op.
What is the co-op’s homeschooling philosophy?
We don’t have a single homeschooling philosophy. But our classes are supplemental/enrichment topics and tend towards hands-on.
What topics do you offer?
We currently offer Studio Art, Drama, Writing, Gym, Math Games, Hands-On Science and custom Studio Workshops with guest presenters.
Can gifted kids participate?
Yes. We don’t have specifically gifted classes. But because these are supplemental/ enrichment classes, they work for kids of various abilities.
Can my child with special circumstances participate?
We hope so. Please contact us to discuss any special circumstances.
What if my family can’t afford the full membership fees?
Financial assistance is available for families who qualify. Please contact us for information.
Can my child take only one class during the day?
No. This is a full day commitment, both financially and in terms of time. One of our goals is to create community and continuity, and that requires full participation by everyone.
Is The Community Co-op a not for profit?
Are you affiliated with a religion?
We are not affiliated with a religion. We are an eclectic, tolerant group. All who homeschool are welcome.
What about my little ones?
We have a fun, fully staffed nursery. In addition, Tot Gym & Art classes are offered for kids who’d like to participate.
What if my little one needs a nap?
Little ones who need a quiet, dark room at a scheduled time for nap during co-op hours may have a hard time napping at co-op. Parents in this situation may want to make a private childcare arrangement outside of co-op. Kids who can sleep anywhere when they are tired are welcome to take a snooze right in the nursery. A parent is also welcome to come into the nursery and help his/her child fall asleep, and/or carry him out while he is sleeping.
If my little one doesn’t want to leave me, what will I do?
A quiet baby in a carseat or any child in a carrier such as a sling can join his parent in the classroom. If the child is disruptive or not in a carrier, he will need to be in the nursery. If this is likely to be an issue, it might be best to sign up for nursery duty until your child is more comfortable.
What if my older child wants me in the room all the time?
If your child’s need will be on-going, we encourage you to have an official volunteer role in the classroom. If your child’s need is transitional, we will be happy to work with you on how best to approach the transition.
Why are children 2 and under who only attend nursery given a substantially less expensive junior membership?
The purpose of the nursery for this age group is primarily to provide a place to play for younger siblings of children in older programs. With this in mind, we ask that parents contribute to the cost of running the co-op primarily through the children who are participating in our primary programs.
Why am I charged as much for my child 2 or older who attends nursery and Tot Classes as children who have a full day of programming?
This gets to the concept of membership. While spaces for children 3 and under are intended primarily for younger siblings of children in our primary programs, we want the experiences of all children in the 3 and under programs to be quality and age appropriate. Because children 2-3(4) attending Tot classes are attending true classes, we consider them full members and therefore charge the full membership fee.
Why don’t you allow visitors for a day so we can try before we buy, so to speak?
We are delighted when interested families want to investigate further! Unfortunately, we have found that having visitors during the co-op day is disruptive to those who have committed to the program, and we owe it to our participants to make their experience the best it can be. We also feel we owe it to those interested in the co-op to be able to give them our undivided attention in explaining the program and answering questions. Because our co-op parents are involved in running classes, we make ourselves available for prescheduled tours outside of co-op hours instead of having visitors during co-op hours.
We do have some terrific ways for you to get a feel for our organization. We have pictures and information at our website, including our blog. We’re always happy to answer questions by email or phone (if you prefer). And we’d be happy to schedule a tour.
Why do you use September 1 as an age cut-off?
We had to pick a date in order to be consistent. Since we begin in September, we chose September 1. Families joining at any time of year are able to know which age group is intended for their child by using their child’s September 1 age.
How can I get access to the public disclosure notebook?
The Public Disclosure Notebook is available for viewing in the Parent’s Room at the Co-op.