Christian Homeschooling Cooperative comes to Cochecton

By LYLE T. GALLOWAY
Posted 8/10/21

COCHECTON, NY — A new homeschooling initiative is set to open at the Cochecton Presbyterian Church, one that blends scholarship and scripture.

The Cochecton Christian Homeschooling …

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Christian Homeschooling Cooperative comes to Cochecton

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COCHECTON, NY — A new homeschooling initiative is set to open at the Cochecton Presbyterian Church, one that blends scholarship and scripture.

The Cochecton Christian Homeschooling Cooperative was founded by Elizabeth Cook. Cook has taught Spanish at Tri-Valley Central School, later teaching at Livingston Manor Central School District for 17 years.

Before the homeschooling cooperative came to be, she was seeking out alternative schools for her then 7-year-old son. She was looking specifically for institutions with a Christian background.

“I thought it would be nice to have strong academics with a spiritual component,” she said.

She found that most Christian schools in Sullivan County had either closed or were about to close. Damascus Christian Academy was located right across the river from her, but she was saddened to find out that they weren’t accepting any new students. They were trying to see their graduating class out before their decision to close this year.

As most good ideas do, it came to her while she was doing something mundane. One night she was washing the dishes at home, and something came to mind. “Whether you want to call it a sign, or a message, or communication with God, but the idea occurred to me, ‘Why don’t you consider opening your own school?’” said Cook.

After researching different Christian schools in the New York and Pennsylvania areas and homeschooling her own children, Cook decided to employ the cooperative model of homeschooling. She cited her liking of the materials, the sense of independence that students gain during homeschooling and the newfound sense of community involvement as her main reasons for starting it. She also noticed a significant improvement in her son’s academics when she homeschooled him. Being in fourth grade at the time, he was reading at a fifth- and sixth-grade level.

“I think that’s key in producing a successful student is to have them become independent and take ownership of their learning as early as possible,” said Cook.

Under this model, a group of parents form an organization to collectively find tutors for their kids. It provides a better sense of parent involvement in a child’s education and a social aspect that isn’t usually present in traditional homeschooling.

“My aim was to reach parents already homeschooling, or parents that decided to homeschool because they were unhappy with the structure of public school,” said Cook.

The school itself will consist of grades K through 12. A typical day at the school will start with Bible study in the morning, followed by academics, physical education, art and music, and a closing prayer to end the day. The location also has a playground, a baseball diamond, a tennis court, a soccer field and a basketball court. There is also public access to the Delaware River close by, providing opportunities for hands-on, experiential learning.

She hopes to provide students with a stronger bedrock in reading, writing and arithmetic, skills that she feels are being weakened due to the standards of common core education.

“When you give a child these fundamentals, they can teach themselves anything,” she said.

In regard to tuition, the price will be $35 per day or $630 a month for 10 months. A $10 sibling discount can be factored in when applicable, so if a second child goes, their tuition will be $450 for 10 months, and so on. Cook is also working with local businesses on funding scholarships. Financial aid will be available on an individual basis.

Enrollment is currently open. An open house is scheduled for Tuesday, August 10. For more information, visit www.cochectonchristian.com.

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