I often get an email here and there from someone new in town who is already homeschooling or someone who is ready to take the plunge into homeschooling. I often get asked about local homeschool Co Ops. Lately, people have been asking if we have a homeschool charter school…like the ones that are popping up in different states like California where kids attend some classes once a month, or once or twice a week, and the parents get the curriculum from the school for “free” or through our tax dollars, just like public school kids, to teach their kids at home. So I want to share with you what I know we have here. I would LOVE for others to help me update this article with additional information about Co Ops or other homeschool communities here. For now, I’ll do my best with what I know.
Homeschool Charter Schools
While we don’t have homeschool charter schools like the ones in CA, we do have some programs that are somewhat similar.
Classical Conversations is a Christian based curriculum with a weekly instructional gathering component. Our area has enough families in this program that they have a weekly group meeting.
Sequoia Choice is the closest thing we have to a homeschool charter school around here. They even have a few different options. You can sign up through their charter to receive textbooks and receive guidance and monitoring through one of their teachers/advisors. It looks like you can take classes PT or FT through them. When they first came to Prescott a few years ago, I attended an informational meeting about it. They were talking about having regular gatherings for kids. Possibly weekly. I didn’t see anything that mentioned that on their website, though.
Williamsburg Academy is an online school that provides real-time, live instruction to a class of students. Right now WA provides classes for MS & HS students. But they may expand to elementary students in the future. WA is a private online school with a private school tuition option (that can be good for families who don’t care for common core standards or state testing or don’t want to report to anyone for their child’s education). However, they have partnered with Sequoia Choice. If you enroll your student for WA for Sequoia Choice, SC pays for your child’s tuition and SC is your child’s charter school. That does mean your child will need to take state exams and you would need to comply with anything else that a state-funded school requires. However, you don’t need to pay the price of a private school for your child to receive a private school education.
There are several families in the area whose kids attend Williamsburg Academy. While their gatherings aren’t weekly, the students do get together for semester kick-off parties or end of semester gatherings. WA encourages its students to interact outside of class and especially in person where feasible.
There are other groups of homeschoolers that meet based on similar interests or who go to the same church or who follow the same educational philosophy. The best thing I’ve found for these special interest groups is to join a Facebook Groups that caters to your style. Email me privately so I can invite you to the closed groups, or do your own FB search to find a group that works for you.
This is even a bit of a mystery to me! I know there are Co Ops in the area. I participate in one and I’ve helped set one up that later dissolved. I know there is a BIG one that meets in a church on Fridays. Word of mouth says that their classes fill up quickly and they rarely have openings. I believe it’s mainly for upper grades. But I could totally be wrong with it. I will try to get more accurate info on this Co Op.
The one I’m in meets in a person’s home and it focuses on Science and Humanities. She accepts students as long as there is room in her home for the extra kids. This one ranges from Pre-K through HS.
Please feel free to email me privately if you’re interested in joining a Co Op. Or, better yet, if you would like to start a Co Op or grow one that you have started, I would be happy to help you advertise it and direct future newbies your way.