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There is an important thing to remember about joining a co-op: New members can and will join at any given time. An important life lesson you may have to teach your children is learning to work peacefully with a new member that you initially find hard to get along with.
Let's imagine that you have joined a co-op and built many new and valuable relationships. In fact, the entire co-op has proven to be one of the smartest things you have modified since you began homeschooling. Then one day, you are introduced to a new member. Immediately you realize that the two of you have absolutely nothing in common beyond the shared homeschool goals.
Your teaching style is laid back, allowing your children to guide the direction of the learning process, while the other women is structured, textbook-oriented, and prefers teacher-directed lesson planning -- and she's trying to impose these mindsets upon the entire co-op. At this point you have two choices: you can continually dispute the new member's teaching style, fight her suggestions and provide a negative role modeling for your children. After spending so much time trying to teach positive character traits to your children, your negative behavior will immediately contradict and discredit all of your teaching efforts.
The other, more productive choice would be to observe this new member of your co-op and share your own strengths and motivations for your teaching style. The unique and real life training that both you and your children will share as you successfully conquer this personal challenge will be a lesson in good will and respect that will last a lifetime.
|Jennifer Mathes, Ph.D.|