Co-ops: Definitions and FAQ

Group classes are a popular option for today’s homeschooling families because of the many benefits they provide to both students and parents. Also, there are a growing number of families that wish to pay teachers to conduct classes in group learning contexts.

We at Lampstand Press have long supported group teaching. For four years, we have offered excellent paid classes through our Lampstand Learning Center (LLC). We have also done our best to encourage all-volunteer co-ops that our customers have run on their own. We have not had the resources to support or supervise such local groups as much as we would have liked.

Having fully developed and vetted Tapestry of Grace and its related Supplements, Lampstand Press has the confidence, experience, and fiscal resources to strengthen our support of homeschooling parents by creating a network of sponsored Fellowship Groups, which will standardize and support groups of homeschooling parents who elect to use Tapestry of Grace as their centerpiece curriculum. To learn more about how to participate, go to Tapestry University. While you are there, feel free to peruse other tabbed pages to learn more about how to become an Advisor or Master Teacher.

Benefits of Homeschool Co-ops

Although co-ops aren't necessary for using Tapestry, they do present many benefits to a homeschooling family! Here are just a few.

  • Group studies keep students (and their parents) accountable and thus on schedule. While parent-teachers lose a little freedom, they and their students learn to be good "team players," agreeing to the group's overall requirements for amounts and types of work be done in a timely and thorough manner.
  • Group studies often motivate students to do their best work by providing a peer audience and/or socializing context.
  • Skills that home schooled students often lack can be developed in a co-op setting, especially those associated with group classes: raising hands, respecting others' speech, supporting/participating in a discussion, giving a speech, team work.
  • Parents can split the load of lectures and hands-on activities according to mutual strengths, and all benefit!
  • Various parents have sundry gifts and talents. In co-op groups, parent-teachers can each contribute their best skills, and students benefit from the added variety of teaching approaches.
  • One of the essential elements of a classical high school education is discussion: thinking on one's feet: taking a position and supporting it out of one's own knowledge base and the evidence one has gleaned from one's research. We believe that this is an essential element of historical and literary studies that, without a group context, your high school student will miss unless, of course, you engage in regular discussion with him one on one.
  • Group writing classes give the student the chance to have others enjoy (and critique) his writing. At first, we recommend that the instructor do the critique, unless the group knows each other well and can offer constructive and gracious comments.
  • Co-ops can provide contexts that single-family settings struggle to achieve. For instance, groups can hold formal debates, put on a Medieval Feast, and pool resources to allow older students to go on key local field trips while younger siblings are cared for.

Group Distance Learning Via the Internet

What is a Tapestry Virtual Co-op?

Tapestry virtual co-ops typically consist of Tapestry families from across the country desiring to provide discussion classes for their dialectic and rhetoric students. Such groups typically meet in virtual classrooms in real time to work through the discussion scripts provided in the curriculum. Many co-ops will also add in review and game days.

There are email-based virtual co-ops that share the products of student assignments (like writing assignments or answers to Student Activity Page questions). These are not limited by time zones but seek peer or teacher reviews as their main means to distance learning. Similarly, there are Forum-based groups who post discussion questions and require students to answer these thoughtfully and thus have discussions, but not in real time. As with local co-ops, the number and types of virtual co-ops seem endless!

Our Online Classes:

If you are interested in distance learning with Tapestry of Grace but a virtual co-op isn’t right for you, check out the Lampstand learning Center (LLC), where we offer history, literature, and writing classes for dialectic and rhetoric students.

Options Abound for Families in Co-ops!

Get Everyone on the Same Page

Help Your Members Be Aware!

How do Co-op Copyrights and Licenses Work?

Get Everyone on the Same Page

The easiest way to make sure that everyone in your co-op is on the same page is for everyone to have the same version of your year-plan. We know that you may form or join groups with folks who already own either print-only plans or earlier editions of DE that are not identical in content to yours. The Major Variances Chart will show you how seriously divergent your members' year-plans are. The fix for tinkering is to determine the ruling version (coming to an established co-op book list for the year) and then asking members to use either archived pages or update pages from the Book Updates Chart to bring their content in line with the established norm. (While this may seem a bit cumbersome, we would like to remind you that no other homeschooling whole-book company provides as much support for reconciling dated versions of their product as we do!)

As we said above, however, the easiest way by far to get everyone in your group on the same page is to have everyone in your group update to DE, and then refresh to the currently offered DE at any time in the month or two before you start planning over the summer, and then not refresh their DE copies again before the following May, or whenever your co-op classes end. Updating currently owned printed Redesigned Tapestry copies is arguably cheaper (and certainly less time consuming) than reprinting pages book by book. Below, please find linked the four forms that correspond to the four year-plans that you'll need to access. Below, also, is a thumb-nail sketch of the process of upgrading from printed to DE copies:

  1. Print out one of the forms below.
  2. In upgrading at our low fee, you will be signing an agreement to not sell your printed units, because you’re turning your Tapestry into a Digital Edition PLUS print copy, and neither portion is resalable in this format. Legally speaking, the copyright owners receive one royalty payment for both copies, and this both necessitates making them non-resaleable and allows us to offer you the very reasonable price of upgrading to so useful a format.
  3. To upgrade, you'll be sending in your Loom CD, because the Loom will be included in your DE, and because this guarantees that 1) you own a valid copy of Redesigned Tapestry of Grace and 2) you can no longer resell your printed copy, since it cannot be fully utilized without the Loom content.
  4. Be sure to tell your members that they can upgrade their CD supplements (MapAids, Evaluations, Government, Lapbooks, Pop Quiz cards, Writing Aids) to the DE version as well by sending in those CDs with the order form.
  5. We try to process these orders the same business day that we receive them in the mail because we know that you are without your materials during the interval when you send them in. Of course, we are busiest from late May to late August. If you plan to upgrade, doing so in early May is probably the optimal time. After you send in your disc(s) and order form, please feel free to contact us if you feel that a reasonable time has elapsed and you've not heard from us, because accidents do happen!

Classic Upgrade Form
DE Upgrade Form
Supplement Replacement Form
Indirect Party Upgrade Form

Help Your Members Be Aware!

We support the sales of used copies of Tapestry but, because there are different versions of Tapestry of Grace, we want to alert you as a co-op leader to some commonly experienced pitfalls that have in the past led to disappointment and hard feelings.

  • Lampstand Press sells three different versions of each Tapestry unit: 1) A print-only version that has a physical Loom disc accompanying it, 2) the DE version, which is wholly made up of electrons but from which pages may be printed by the user for her family’s personal use only, and 3) the Print + DE version, which has both paper and digital components and is also printable from the disc. Only the first of these versions should ever be offered for sale used.
  • DE Tapestry of Grace cannot be sold and transferred to another computer. You should not be offered a used digital version of Tapestry for any reason.
  • Pages printed from a DE (or DE + Print) version of Tapestry are also not resaleable. To distinguish these from Print Only copies, we have placed a watermark (small copyright notice that goes vertically in the inner margin of each page) that will show up whenever pages are printed from this version. You’ll want to make sure that the printed pages you are purchasing are not watermarked with the notice: “not for resale.”
  • If someone owning a Print Only copy of Tapestry decides to upgrade to a companion digital version (DE), we have made it easy and inexpensive. As explained above, to take advantage of our generosity, upgraders must surrender their physical Loom disc, which is then converted for them to a non-transferable, digital Loom. The paper copy becomes non-saleable, but of course it does not bear the telltale watermark notice. Thus, you can distinguish legal or illegal sales of printed copies lacking a watermark by the presence or absence of a physical Loom disc. All resalable year-plans come with a Loom CD, which you’ll want to make sure is included, as it is not for sale separately.
  • If someone offering Tapestry for resale claims to have lost their Loom disc, do not buy that copy. It cannot be replaced and is essential for using Tapestry of Grace.

How do Co-op Copyrights and Licenses Work?

More and more families are using Tapestry of Grace in a group settings, with excellent results because combining at-home, parent-directed study with group discussion works. Because local groups have been so successful, many co-op leaders have received requests for a way to include students whose families don't use Tapestry to attend their classes. Such co-op leaders need a way to make Tapestry materials available to such students if they admit them, but are rightly concerned about copyright infringement, knowing that the authors of Tapestry of Grace should receive due consideration for their hard work in the form of remuneration.

In an effort to serve these students and simplify matters for co-op leaders, we have implemented a licensing arrangement for co-ops. Click here to read the details, or call us at 1-800-705-7487 for more information.