We're sure you have a ton of questions, and we love to help. If you're new to homeschooling, or just new to a co-op, hopefully this section will help you navigate what to expect.
WHAT IS A HOMESCHOOL CO-OP?
A co-op literally just means cooperative, and for us it's a cooperation of Christian parents who are home educating their children. We meet together regularly on Fridays for community and enrichment.
DO YOU PROVIDE CURRICULUM FOR MY CHILDREN?
No. While there are several co-ops in St. Louis that use a college like schedule, in which your children attend school a couple of days a week and then do homework with you at home the rest of the week, we are not one of them. Some of our enrichment workshops may be able to count as credit on a transcript if you do them at home, but it's not our main focus. Our main priority at Grace Family is to provide a fun, social, supportive setting for our families.
HOW DO I MAKE SURE I'M FOLLOWING THE LAW IN MISSOURI?
Missouri is a lovely state for homeschooling! To get specific instructions, please visit HSLDA (Homeschool Legal Defense Association). After visiting their website, feel free to contact us if you need further clarification or direction.
WE WANT TO JOIN. WHAT'S THE FIRST STEP?
HOW MUCH DOES IT COST?
Our annual membership fee is $60 and that gives you full access to all things Grace Family. There is more information about what that includes on our Apply for Membership page. In addition to our membership fee, each workshop leader sets their own fee for their workshop. Typically, they run between free and $100 per semester, with our average workshop costing around $20.
We have a hot lunch program in which you can purchase lunch, in advance, for your family to enjoy during our community lunch hour. Lunches are currently $3.50 for a "little kids" lunch and $5.00 for a "big kids" or adult lunch. You can also bring a sack lunch that is peanut, tree nut, and fish free due to life threatening allergies. We also have a "Snack Shack" in which snack food and drinks are available for purchase each Friday. Proceeds above and beyond our costs for these programs go towards funding Grace Family needs such as events.
Finally, we try to offer several free family events each year, but many of our age groups host events in which there is a charge. For example, our teens host a homecoming dance and there is a charge for the ticket. We do everything we can to keep those costs as low as possible, and of course, participation in those events is voluntary.
WHAT IS A "WORKSHOP"?
Great question. Workshop is the term we use for "classes", since we are not a school. Workshops are offered by our families and change from semester to semester. The sky is the limit on what workshops we may offer!
HOW DO I ENROLL MY KIDS IN WORKSHOPS?
Workshops will be available for enrollment in August for fall and January for spring. Exact dates will be posted on our website in the Members section as soon as we have them. We promise that if you are receiving our emails, you will not miss out on the date announcements.
We have a priority enrollment system, meaning that anyone that leads a workshop gets to enroll their kids first. But don't worry; we try to accommodate as many kids as we can and still maintain the integrity of our workshops. Everyone is eligible to lead a workshop after they have been a part of our community for one semester.
WHAT IS EXPECTED OF ME AS THE PARENT?
We are a parent run, parent led co-op. That means this is YOUR co-op! We love our community and want to do everything within our power to support its mission. We know you'll love it, too, and will look for ways to bless it. We expect the following from our community:
Each family must serve in the co-op, either by leading a workshop or monitoring a workshop. Monitoring means that you are another active and engaged adult in the room while someone else is leading. You may help pass out papers, clean up crafts, or just talk with the kids, but the intention is that you're involved. Don't worry; we have built in down time for you, too. You can enroll in a monitoring position when you enroll your kids in their workshop by clicking the button that says "I would like to monitor this workshop".
Remain on campus on Friday during workshops. If you want to walk around the building with a friend during your down time, no problem. Just let the front desk know you're walking so we know how to reach you in case of an emergency. Similarly, if you need time to make a phone call in your car, you can use your off time for that, too.
You will be your own advocate. This means if you have a problem with a leader or another family that you cannot overlook, you will speak to them directly about your grievance according to Matthew 18:15-17. If your attempt to solve the problem one on one fails, you can seek mediation from a Facilitating Council member. However, we believe most of our issues can be solved by overlooking offense, prayer, love, and good communication. :)
Join in on our community. We will create as many opportunities as possible for you to connect, but you have to say yes and jump in! Our intent is to foster a place where kids and adults alike are excited to come on Friday to spend time with their friends.
WHY SHOULD I JOIN GRACE HOMESCHOOL FAMILY INSTEAD OF ANOTHER CO-OP?
Who says you can't be a member of multiple groups? We say do it! Each of the groups in and around the St. Louis area offers the homeschool family something a bit different. We suggest you visit several co-ops, meet the people, and make the choices that are right for your family.
HOW DO YOU HANDLE DISCIPLINARY CONCERNS, CONFLICT, AND DISAGREEMENT?
We certainly recognize that families are different and that can sometimes lead to miscommunications, hurt feelings or a disagreement. However, when we have the goal to truly listen and understand one another, these differences seem to be minor. The culture we are hoping to see thrive at Grace is one where every person feels empowered to communicate and advocate for themselves. So, if there is something you don’t understand about a class, we hope you will ask the leader. If you need more information from a leader, we encourage you to find them before or after the lesson. If you are a leader and you need advice on how to better engage a student, it is our sincere hope you will seek out their parent and ask what works best for that child at home. If you see something that can be done more efficiently or something we aren’t doing that needs to be done, please speak up, we want to hear that too. We want everyone at Grace to have a voice and to feel as if they can use it - THIS IS YOUR CO-OP afterall.
If you have already tried solving your issue, you need advice or if you are unsure how to handle a situation, those of us Founding Families are always here to lend a helping hand. Feel free to seek our council at any time for any reason. However, if you have a problem that is relational, we will listen, be sympathetic and offer general advice, but please know our first response will always be to ask members to handle it between themselves first if it is possible. These issues can be as simple as needing a table for your room. If you need a table, we want to empower you to find the answer, to find that table for yourself. It’s your co-op. We want you to feel as if you are as much a part of this co-op as we are, and you have the ability to find a table and solve that problem for yourself. Just to recap, it is our wish that you will feel empowered to act with autonomy at Grace, because this is YOUR co-op and you are in control too. If you need something or have a problem, please communicate that problem clearly and confidently with the other person or persons involved so that you together can solve the problem. If you need advice, please feel free to seek the advice of the facilitating council. Our number one goal is to see you succeed.