Community Co-Ops

Community Co-ops in Utah

How to Start Your Own Co-op

The first thing to do is look for other like-minded parents in your area that want to work with you to create your own community school. There is no minimum or maximum number of families or students. Plan a meeting for all the parents.

Questions to discuss at the first meeting:
  • What sort of school do the parents envision?  (Religious or not, curriculum, etc.)
  • Pick a curriculum and go with it.
  • How will you divide up the work/teaching or pay a teacher?
  • Pick a name for your school? Discuss ideas.
  • Will the school teach all subjects together or will some be taught more on an individual basis?
  • Will outside teachers be hired for any subjects—math, etc?
  • Will outside courses be used as part of the school—computer programming etc.?   
  • Decide on a schedule and calendar.
  • Different parents can be in charge of different parts of the co-op; assign who will do what.                   
  • Determine the budget-how much are you all willing to put in to ensure the success of your community school? Maybe your students can do some fundraisers or maybe grandparents would be willing to help etc.

To leave the public school system, you must fill out a form on the school district website. Each district is different so we can’t give you a link. It might be called a Homeschool affidavit. If you can’t find it, call them and ask.
Teaching and learning methods
Each child is different. The way they learn, the way they understand the world around them, and even the way they interact with others can vary quite a bit. A small community school helps each child rise to their potential with more individual help and guidance. There is much more freedom to try different teaching and learning styles to see what works best. This is a big difference compared with public schools. As the parents or teachers work with each student, they will come to know them individually and understand.

Difference between regular schools and “community co-ops”
Regular public schools are run through local school boards and then through the state school board and state legislature. The federal government is also involved through funding and testing which gives their mandates priority. Your community school is run by you and the other parents with you. You get to choose what you want to have your children learn. Of course, with independence comes more responsibility. That’s why we’re here--to help you get through that learning curve and find good solutions for your children’s needs.

How to tailor your community school to your children/family/religion
Do you want a religious community school? Do you want to keep religion out? It’s up to you now. Many of our curriculum suggestions have some religious component but not all. Look for those which match your specifications; you’re in charge. You will need to decide what is age appropriate and what you want your children to learn.

Best Curriculum to Use
Curriculum is a large part of a community school just like it is with public schools. Where to begin and what to buy is always a big learning curve and that’s why we are here. We are trying to help shrink that learning curve as much as possible to help you and your children make that jump from public school to community school. We do not sell curriculum but have instead invested the time to research different options and give you recommendations. Any curriculum you buy will need to be purchased directly from their websites.

Curriculum providers usually fall into two categories;
public/private school and homeschool. Public or private school curriculum is much more expensive because it is created for use by numerous children in each grade. It also typically follows government regulations including Common Core and CRT among many others. Homeschool curriculum usually doesn’t follow Common Core and CRT and is made for small groups or even individual students.

Even though you are building a community school and not a homeschool, homeschool curriculum will fit a community school the best. These types of curriculum also come with teacher’s manuals, answer books, and everything that a student and a teacher needs.

The curriculum we list here on our website has been vetted by us and we believe they are some of the best options for community schools. We would feel comfortable using them with our own children. We have written a short summary about each one including descriptions, pros and cons, and other details, as well as including their websites so you can learn about them too. Hopefully the information we provide will help you as you make curriculum decisions for your community school. 

Connect With Other Families In Your Area

If you want to connect with other families in your area to set up an education group or community school , fill out the form below. You will receive information about any other families nearby and they will also receive your information.