Victoria Staples, 31, of Farmington is the founder of Root & Bloom Homeschool Co-op based in Farmington. “Our children grow too quickly, and my favorite part of our homeschooling journey is the extra time I get to spend with them.” Submitted photo

FARMINGTON — Victoria Staples, 31, knew from a young age she wanted to focus on education.

“I remember specifically playing ‘school’ with my siblings pretending I was a teacher while giving lessons on the white board. After attending three different high schools during my teen years, I graduated and continued onto college, focusing on early childhood education,” she said.

She founded Root & Bloom Homeschool Co-op last year and it has blossomed to dozens of families being involved.

Staples was born in Maine and grew up here. She has lived in the Franklin County area for 10 years.

She and her husband, Jacob Staples, have two children: a daughter, Finley, 5 and a son, Alder, 2, and have a third child on the way.

Victoria Staples, right, with, from left, her husband, Jacob Staples, daughter, Finley, 5, and son, Alder, 2. Submitted photo

“My life for the past four years has consisted of staying at home with my children and homeschooling my nephew and my children as they’ve grown. It’s truly a blessing to be able to live this life . . . Our children grow too quickly, and my favorite part of our homeschooling journey is the extra time I get to spend with them. Every moment is an opportunity to build a memory together, and that’s not something I’m willing to pass up.”


How did you get involved with homeschooling? I got involved with homeschooling during the shut-down of schools in 2020. At that time, my oldest was 2 and I stepped in to homeschool my nephew as online learning wasn’t a feasible option. I knew I could provide a personalized education that met his specific needs, interests, and learning styles. As my own children and family grew, I started connecting with other homeschooling families in the area and quickly saw the benefits of this approach to education. We’ve been homeschooling for four years now.

Why and when did you start Root & Bloom Co-op? I started Root & Bloom Homeschool Co-op, a 501c(3) nonprofit, in September 2023 when I saw a growing need for a supportive community among homeschooling families in the Western Mountain region of Maine. Many parents, like myself, were seeking opportunities for their children to socialize, collaborate on projects, and participate in group learning activities. By establishing the co-op, we aimed to provide a place for relationship and fellowship with like-minded families as we endeavor to homeschool our children and help them learn and grow in educational areas of their interests, where children could learn together and benefit from each other’s strengths in a structured yet flexible environment.

Victoria Staples, 31, of Farmington is the founder of Root & Bloom Homeschool Co-op based in Farmington. Dozens of families are involved in group. Staples is expecting her third child. Submitted photo

Why do you think the homeschooling lifestyle has grown in the past few years? Many families have turned to homeschooling for numerous reasons. I think the initial growth came from the shut-down of schools and families wanting a better way of learning for their children. From there, like myself, many families saw the benefit homeschooling had in their lives — being able to have a tailored education, more family time, freedom in their schedules — and chose to continue because they loved the lifestyle and it worked for them. Another large component in families choosing homeschooling is the vaccine law that passed in 2019. Had this law not passed, many families would still be attending public schools in our district. Other reasons that have been brought to my attention through discussions with families include pulling their children due to bullying in the public school system, being able to give specialized tailored instruction to their special needs children, having safety concerns, the concern of academic learning being a lower priority than social-emotional learning, including sexual orientation and gender identity, and the fact that families simply want more time with their children.

Are there a lot of home-schooled children that participate? I have been truly amazed at the participation! I remember thinking “What if no one joins?” (but) our co-op has grown steadily over the past year as more families in the area choose homeschooling and look for community and resources to support their educational journey. I feel blessed to be able to provide a sense of community for many families! We currently have a waitlist and are not able to accept new families at this time.

What type of events do you organize and why? I’ve organized co-op days covering subjects like science, cooking/baking, math, literacy, art, and more specialized instruction to supplement what the parents have been teaching. I’ve organized educational workshops for parents to supplement their homeschooling journeys. I’ve planned field trips within our community, our state, and even held our second annual out-of-state trip last month to the Museum of Science in Boston and the Franklin Park Zoo. Visits to museums, historical sites, farms, and more play such an important role in giving children hands-on learning experiences and involving them within their communities. I’ve also held a science fair and an art show, giving our children the opportunity to work on larger projects, give presentations, and show off the hard work they’ve put in. We’ve also joined together with our local homeschool sports league to create Root & Bloom Homeschool Sports, offering spring and fall soccer, with the hopes of adding more sports to our offerings in the next year.

Do you get satisfaction from the work you do? Do I ever! It is incredibly fulfilling to see the positive impact our co-op has on both the children and their families. Watching the kids grow in areas both socially and educationally is rewarding. The sense of community we’ve built and the support we provide each other makes all the effort worthwhile. Knowing that we are helping to shape confident, competent individuals who are excited about learning gives me immense satisfaction!

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