How to Start a Charlotte Mason Co-op
Today I am sharing a post about the Charlotte Mason community learning group (also known as a Truth, Beauty, Goodness group) that I started in my area. I’m sharing how to start your own group, how I found the families for our group, what we study, and so much more! I’ve started two separate co-ops in two separate states. I’ve also started two separate nature clubs, so if you’re looking for more of a nature club, then you’ll want to watch my How to Start a Nature Study Club video. This video about starting a co-op will give you a little glimpse into what ours looks like!
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Starting a Charlotte Mason Co-op
01. Gauge interest in your community.
As the very first step you want to gauge interest in your community. I joined local groups (“Florida homeschoolers”, “Palm Beach homeschoolers” etc.) and tried to find homeschool families locally. The wild and free groups are wonderful for this… it’s a starting point, and you can weed out families that aren’t Charlotte Mason homeschoolers if you’re in search of CM specific families like I was.
Once I joined a local group, I asked if there were any families interested in joining a local co-op, with form 1 students (or younger siblings) only. I didn’t want to be in a co-op with a mom who had a 12 and 15 year old.. haha. so I was specific about age.
02. Create a survey to send out to families.
The next step was to create a survey with a series of questions like: Do you currently homeschool? What are your children’s ages? What is your homeschool Style? What do you like to do in your free time? I asked these to get to know the families! I do believe this step was crucial in finding families who were serious about joining a co-op. It helped me get to know more about them and allowed me to, again, look for like-minded CM homeschoolers local to me. I posted the link for the survey in our local homeschool group on facebook and said I was only looking for 5-6 other families, so it was first come, first serve.
Note: You can use survey monkey for free to create an online survey!
03. Select families to meet with once for a “get to know you” playdate.
Once I read through the responses (I got maybe 15-20?) I was able to pick the moms + kids who I feel like would be a good match for our family. I messaged them and invited them to a park play date just to get to know each other.
The families I chose for our co-op met all summer, every other week, and there were two who didn’t feel like it was doable for this season, so we went from myself and 7 other families to myself and 4 other families, and it’s honestly a really good number. We’ve really gotten to know each other so now when we begin lessons in the fall we can easily learn as a cohesive group. We are all comfortable with each other and so are our kids! So now that we have our families selected, it’s time to get planning.
04. Plan out your year ahead of time.
I planned out everything ahead of time for our year together. I made:
-a schedule for our meeting days
-planned what we would study
-planned when we would meet and where
We meet at a local park, weather permitting, and usually plan to meet in my home should it be too snowy in the winter. You could also meet in a room at your local library or something. Get creative with what you have around you! Then I created a group text and asked the moms to meet with me one night a few weeks back to discuss! I created an agenda and we went through it to talk through all of our plans!
What to Plan For the Co-Op Ahead of Time
- Meeting Dates & Time
- Subjects & Selections
- Meeting Schedule
- Supplies to Order
- Meeting Dates
- Meeting Time
Subjects We Covered in Our Co-Op
- Hymn & Folksong Singing
- Artist Study
- Composer Study
- Nature Study
I want to add that 2 years ago, I was “homeschooling” for preschool but we hadn’t started formal lessons. I still had a huge need for community, so I met one family every Thursday and we would hike or play outside and just be together. If you have very young kids, something like an organized co-op that has a lot of structure probably wouldn’t be doable. A simple meeting outside for nature play doesn’t require a lot of planning, so you can totally do something like that too!
Hopefully this post and video and blog post on how to start a Charlotte Mason co-op in your area was helpful to you and your family! Remember to check out my video on the Nature Study Club as well. As always, if you have any questions, please ask below and I’ll do my best to answer. Happy Teaching!
Thank you so much for reading!
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