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Grrrr.....


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We're involved with a homeschool group that does regular park days, has several playgroups, does field trips and so on.

 

Well, this year we started a co-op. Just one afternoon a week, parents taking turns teaching various topics.

 

My DD is in the 4-5 yr old group, which is appropriate in that she's not 6 yet, but not as far as grade level, since she's the one 1st grader in the group (and she's a 1st grader based on placement in the ps system and completing PS K last year-not based on mommy saying so). She is the oldest in the group. The kids usually have about an hour of structured activity, and then play until the older groups are done and ready to go. DD doesn't play much with the kids in her group, because the friends she likes at park day are in the older groups, but she's enjoyed the activities, which usually are focused on a culture via music, crafts, stories, and food. All the kids seem to have fun, but I admit that most of the talking comes from the kids who are 5+.

 

Well, one of the moms who does NOT do any of the social activities (and who has I believe the youngest child in the group) is pushing for not doing structured activities in the 4-5 yr old group, claiming that the kids need more social time. About half the moms have weighed in on either side-and invariably, those who participate in the regular park days are saying to leave the co-op as it is, while those who do not are saying their kids need to play-and making it sound like the kids are just plain tortured by having 45 minutes to an hour of a structured activity, even though the kids appear to be enjoying themselves. I'm not sure which way it will end up swinging.

 

And, another small complaint-I'm the one parent in the group who does not have older children as well, and therefore it's usually me plus whoever is teaching, while the other parents are working with their older childrens' age groups. So, if this happens, I strongly suspect I'll be stuck as playground monitor every single week. As it stands, I often end up being the playground monitor for the last 45 minutes by myself.

 

So...what now? How much loyalty should I have to a group that is choosing to abandon it's stated goal of providing educational activities for the kids in favor of, basically, providing babysitting for younger siblings?

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Well, did you weigh in with YOUR preference? Make sure your voice is heard, too, and that you've politely expressed your very legitimate feelings and thoughts on the subject, and then see which way things fall!

 

If they go the way you want them to, it'll be a non-issue.

 

If they don't, then you'll have to make a decision as to whether you and your child still enjoy it enough or get enough out of it to want to stay. You should, of course, keep in mind that this younger group your child is in (assuming they insist she stay in it due to age) is only temporary, your daughter's at the highest age level in the group as it is and would phase out of it soon, right?

 

So don't burn any bridges if you're going to want the next phase of things in your lives.

 

But don't feel like you HAVE to be "loyal" to something that just isn't working for you guys, either!

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And, another small complaint-I'm the one parent in the group who does not have older children as well, and therefore it's usually me plus whoever is teaching, while the other parents are working with their older childrens' age groups. So, if this happens, I strongly suspect I'll be stuck as playground monitor every single week. As it stands, I often end up being the playground monitor for the last 45 minutes by myself.

 

 

 

I'd tell them you signed up to put your daughter in a class, not just for more playtime. Make sure they understand you signed up to help in your daughter's class, not to be a playground babysitter and that you are not interested in continuing this year if that is all you and your daughter are going to do on these days. Then I'd be sure to ask the mom's simply looking for babysitting "So we me leaving, who's going to supervise the playground?"

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So...what now? How much loyalty should I have to a group that is choosing to abandon its stated goal of providing educational activities for the kids in favor of, basically, providing babysitting for younger siblings?

In this situation, I'd say you have none.

 

Personally, I'm not fond of co-ops which need to have babysitting in the first place. :glare:

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Co-ops are great and we've been part of several different ones through the years. But, there are disadvantages, one of which is that being part of a group requires conforming to the group. And that's sometimes really hard for homeschoolers. ;) It is very difficult to find a group that will be spot on for each of your children at every level. You are just going to have to decide whether the other benefits are worth it.

 

Lisa

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If it is only going to be babysitting, I would ask for my dc to be moved up to the next class or quit going. You signed up for a co-op. not to be playground monitor. There is no way I would monitor the playground by myself. Where are the other parents? They can't all be teaching.

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Obviously ditch it if it doesn't work for you (though I would keep doing the park day). However, one point you might make for the group when you make your case is that, yes, free social time is important... BUT, having shared experiences can also help kids learn to socialize and make connections. If you throw a bunch of kids onto the playground together, they'll probably be fine and most kids will make friends with at least some of the others. But in my experience, when kids have done projects together, learned about things together, built things together, cooked together, eaten together, solved problems together, etc. then it can take their play and interactions to a new level and can help gel them as a group. So if the reasoning is that they want a more rich social experience for the kids, then having both free play and structured activities can actually provide that and may do so in a better way.

 

Just a thought.

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I've let them know that I definitely prefer the group as it is, that my daughter is enjoying and benefiting from the class as an addition to our curriculum at home, and that I feel that the social needs of the kids are met not only by the playtime after the activity, but by the weekly park days and playgroups that already exist.

 

 

I don't really want to go into the "I don't want to babysit", because I did agree to help-but with a class.

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I have learned this year that most co-ops only offer the younger classes so that Moms with older kids can participate in the co-op. In other words, it is mainly about the older kids.

In our co-op, your younger kid can only participate if you have an older child in the program. This stipulation is for preschoolers only. K and up is open to all who want to join, but to have a pre-k'er in the co-op you must have a school age child.

I had high expectations for our preschool at the co-op, but found that it pretty much is keep them busy and happy time so big brother or big sister can have a co-op experience. In other words, as long as they aren't crying or fighting then everything is ok. This seems to be fine with all the other preschool parents.

I decided to put my child in a day school and it is meeting our needs much better. I have older kids so I didn't quit the co-op, but I wrote them an email and said we were doing what we needed to for our family's needs and goals for our preschooler. He will come back to the co-op when he doesn't have to be in the pre-k class and I don't have to volunteer in there b/c I have a preschooler.

If I were you and thought the vote was going one way and I did not have older kids in the program, then I would definitely just say it isn't meeting our needs and try to find a group or co-op that would meet the needs. If you are the only one with just a younger kid and not an older it will become babysitting time for you. If you don't want to babysit this class in the future, then I would either ask to move up to the older kids with my child or leave on good terms and come back next year as part of the older kid's group.

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I've let them know that I definitely prefer the group as it is, that my daughter is enjoying and benefiting from the class as an addition to our curriculum at home, and that I feel that the social needs of the kids are met not only by the playtime after the activity, but by the weekly park days and playgroups that already exist.

 

I don't really want to go into the "I don't want to babysit", because I did agree to help-but with a class.

 

Why not have the 4-5 class be optional. Moms who want their child to have free play can stick to the play equipment, and the ones who want the class can stay in the class.

 

This is the only compromise I'd have.

 

I wouldn't even mention babysitting.

 

I'd just be firm that your aren't interested in participating in that because you don't need it and it isn't what you signed io for.

 

They can get in a huff if they want, but IMNSHO, that is just a huge red flag that you should move on. Helpful, rational home schoolers and friends understand needing to make the most of your time and don't take it personal if what they need/want is not what you need/want.

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And, another small complaint-I'm the one parent in the group who does not have older children as well, and therefore it's usually me plus whoever is teaching, while the other parents are working with their older childrens' age groups. So, if this happens, I strongly suspect I'll be stuck as playground monitor every single week. As it stands, I often end up being the playground monitor for the last 45 minutes by myself.

 

If the benefit to you and your daughter does not exceed your effort, there is no need to continue with the group.

 

If I had it to do all over again, ESPECIALLY at younger ages, I would forgo all co-ops until I got into the one we are in now. It's fantastic, and the benefit far outweighs the work. I can not imagine doing again what I did at the younger years, when my efforts were greater than what my kids got out of it. Never again.

 

Incidentally, SWB touched on this at the Cinci conference in her talk about homeschooling the second time. She basically said what I just said above—much more eloquently—and it gave me the freedom to drop out of everything that wasn't benefiting our kids and family enough to justify the time. I think that sometimes staying home is much more beneficial than being out, about, and worn out. :tongue_smilie:

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