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Are you a parent considering homeschool for the first time? As you know there’s a lot of information to absorb.  This can include terms that when used in certain forms, may not be familiar.  Used interchangeably (and incorrectly)  these terms are homeschool cooperatives and homeschool academies.  While different, when the focus topic is the same, the idea of a cooperative and academy can be similar.  Both terms focus on working to provide a positive homeschool-based education for your child in this instance.  However, that may be where the similarities end.

Here’s a quick description of what you can expect from the two “similar but different” opportunities:

Homeschool Academies

  • By definition, an “academy” is a formal school.  Mainly focused on academic programs above the elementary level, these can be brick-and-mortar or online.  Typically labeled as academies, are many schools offering K-12 educational opportunities as well as private high schools. What is the primary difference between an academy and a co-op? Academies frequently receive accreditation both regionally and nationally, while co-ops usually do not. Accredited academies offer diploma based high school programs as well as the following;
    1. Fully integrated student support and care systems
    2. Academic counseling and support;
    3. A full-service records department;
    4. Online reporting and account access; and
    5. Official transcripts and diploma

Homeschool Cooperatives (co-ops)

  • To provide socialization and supplemental educational activities for their children, families will meet together on a regular basis creating a co-op.  Generally organized around different preferences, activities, interests, and projects, a co-op tends to agree on common educational goals.  Co-ops are also created as a desire to provide enrichment activities, such as the arts and/or social activities.  Generally, these co-ops are often made up of students who do most of their learning outside the co-op experience using their co-op time to expand knowledge and activities they are already pursuing in homeschooling.

Organized around a more university-focused model, some co-ops usually meet a set number of times a week and tend to assign “homework” to cover all the academic courses their student members are studying. The time spent with this co-op group, along with the assignments given, generally occupies most of the students’ education.  Although not often an accredited institution, this co-op works much like an accredited private school.

To supplement your current homeschool curriculum, and leaving your child free to continue his or her daily homeschool classroom activities, there are many large homeschool cooperatives that function much like part-time schools.

A homeschool cooperative, consisting of similarly-intentioned families, works to provide supplemental educational activities for their children. Whereas a homeschool academy is an actual brick-and-mortar or online school that offers a variety of services, including a fully rounded education plus official transcripts and high school diplomas.

Further Information

Looking for a homeschool co-op near you? Click here to get started.

Looking to start your own online learning academy?  Global Student Network has everything you need.  From creating and hosting your website to backend curriculum support, GSN has the tools you need. Click here to see how simple starting your online academy can be.

Looking for an online academy? – An accredited private online school for students in grades K-12, International Virtual Learning Academy, students, and families choose which self-paced, engaging, online curriculum they will use for courses supported by certified teachers.


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