Book Review: Homeschool Co-ops: How to Start Them, Run Them, and Not Burn Out

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I just finished reading Carol Topp’s book,Homeschool Co-ops: How to Start Them, Run Them and Not Burn Out
. If you are thinking of starting or joining a homeschool co-op in your area, this book will be an invaluable resource to you! Carol covers topics including:

  • The benefits of co-ops-this will inspire you to want to take the plunge!
  • The disadvantages of co-ops-reality check! Make sure you are going into your co-op experience with real expectations.
  • Types of co-ops-This covers tiny ones (2 families!) to fully staffed co-ops with many many families.
  • What to cover in a planning meeting- very practical
  • Determining your co-op name, mission and purpose.
  • Leadership-choosing and working with leaders.
  • Co-op offerings. If you have any problems coming up with ideas for classed to offer in a co-op, she has several extensive lists of ideas
  • Money management- since this is written by a C.P.A., of course this section is thorough and extremely helpful
  • Managing Volunteers and Managing Conflicts.
  • Legal and Financial considerations if you grow to the point of wanting to seek tax-exempt status
  • Avoiding Burnout. Lots of advice is sprinkled throughout the book to help avoid burn-out. Here, Carol summarizes nicely the main points in a concise way. If you are already in a co-op, flip right over to this chapter and make sure you are not setting yourself and your co-op for failure due to burn-out.

This book is well-written. It covers the technical aspects of budgeting and legal issues while keeping the language simple enough that you will not have any problem understanding it. There are many inspirational stories and real life examples to make this book an enjoyable one to read. It is nicely balanced between just giving you the straight information you are seeking, and sharing the stories of other co-op leaders to help you make solid, sound decisions regarding your co-op.

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