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This trend of "homeschooling" prek-K but not other ages


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I am having a struggle with families who join my homeschool group with pre-k - K age kids who claim they are dedicated homeschoolers, only to find out a few months later that their kids will be attending public school after K.

 

This is happening OVER AND OVER AND OVER. I talk to someone interested in the group in August, they talk about homeschooling how it is important to them on and on.. they join... by November they act like "of course you knew we aren't homeschooling for 1st grade!"

 

Currently the group I run is for a core age of 4-6 yrs old (centers around my oldest son who has a medical issue- why I started the group). So I am seeing this more and more as school enrollment is being announced for the fall.

 

When I recruit more people, how can I figure out if this is their mindset? My Assistant Director thinks we should have an interview process instead of open enrollment. So if we do that, what questions could we ask?

 

With some of the families that have left or are leaving for public school I asked "how long are you planning on homeschooling" and the response was through elementary school... but that has not been their true intentions. I feel like they joined my group because it is inexpensive compared to pre-k programs or private K.

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My only thought was to make joining possible only if the family was homeschooling at least one child in accordance with state law. That would assume, however, that you have some sort of mandatory reporting. Since your ds is just 5, you probably don't have to report yet (if you have to report at all), so that wouldn't work in your case.

 

I remember that specific requirement for some type of group we belonged to, and it's purpose was to keep out families such as you describe.

 

Can there be a minimum of volunteer hours that a parent needs to donate to your program? At the very least, it shows a willingness to do more than just drop the child off.

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I would raise the cost of just the 4-6yo class. Make it the same price as other preschools in the area with the *exception* of offering it FREE for families with school-age kids in the co-op.

 

I like to think the best of people...maybe they started out with a HSing mindset and got cold feet.:001_huh: HSing is trendy these days, and sometimes people don't realize the hard WORK involved...and sometimes the Mom is of the HSing mindset, but can't convince her dh beyond K.

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Hmmm... I've actually seen this a couple of times in our homeschool group. I would keep it open enrollment, though. I think people get scared of teaching early elementary skills, like learning to read. Could the group offer some kind of support class for parents with K-ers?

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Great ideas!

 

I think they are getting scared and I do know that some DHs are not very supportive of homeschooling. I like the idea of raising fees too, that helps with serious people.

 

It is hard because DS makes friends and then the kids go off to public school and we don't see them often.

 

I LOVE the idea of a support system. I am hosting our Jan meeting this Friday and I am going to ask the group if anyone wants a position of Homeschool Support Leader because I do feel we all need more local support and I don't have the time right now to be setting up a support meeting schedule.

 

I am glad to see I am not alone in seeing this happen. I guess I am getting a bit snobby when stay at home moms who have little kids claim to be homeschooling... and I take it to mean they will continue to homeschool but they don't. My family is very serious about homeschooling, so to use that label because they don't want to pay for pre-k or even send their Ker to K bugs me. The public school system here no longer offers half day K, so lots of fmailies are skipping K because they feel their 5-6yr olds are too little for full day but they are too old for the preschools.. ah well... my own pet peeve.

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Yes, that trend bothers me some as well. I hate that a family can't feel proud or respected just by saying that the mom is a full time wife and mother and the family has chosen to raise their children at home while young.

 

I like the idea of support. I also don't think you should just turn them away. The transistion is hard to really teaching and homeschooling. When I was beginning I was so overwhelmed with curriculum, where to begin, and just so many questions. Fortunately I had someone to turn to or I may have considered seriously sending my son to public school. Maybe if your group could have classes on how to prepare for 1st grade, requirements, a dad's get together, and so on some of those straddling the fence would move on to really homeschooling.

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Well, personally, it wouldn't bother me.

 

If someone was interested enough to explore it with their pre-k'er or k'er rather than putting them in school that young, that's a good step.

 

From there, well, either they're going to continue or they're not. Maybe being in your group and interacting with you all would make them want to continue and it would be that help and support they needed to do so.

 

Maybe it won't, but then, so what? So be it. They have to make the decision for their family. It doesn't really affect you.

 

I know that I started homeschooling my daughter (when I pulled her out of third grade public school) with no set plan in mind other than a "we will take this year by year and see how it goes." So far it's "going" just fine.

 

So I don't think that "interviewing" them as to their plans is the answer. They may not know their plans. Or their plans may change. And they may change either way- they may decide to put kids in school after swearing they wouldn't because it just doesn't work for them. Or they may put kids in school and then decide it's not working and they want to pull them back out, and they'll have a place to go.

 

I would see a homeschool group as a way to give and get support, information, socialization and so on but really the cards need to just fall where they may with each individual family, in the end.

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Since we don't belong to groups, I can't say I've run into your problem. But it reminds me of my question of when does parenting/raising your kids/living become homeschooling?

 

In the sense that I've heard people say they homeschooled for 8 years then their oldest started 3rd grade at public school. Huh? Or some variation of that. Homeschooling for 12 years...and the oldest kid is 12.

 

I am not the homeschooling police...but I wonder how you can homeschool an infant?

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We've lost a few friends to this too. In those cases, the parents were VERY homeschool happy, until the cut-off date for registration started looming. Then, they got cold feet and enrolled their kids. Some of them have toddlers/pre-K students now, older children in school, and their still hoping to hs the younger kids all the way.

 

Homeschooling pre-K is easy. It's relaxed. Once you take it to Kindergarten (here at least) it become do or die. Your safety net is gone and if you fail your child will never be the same (!!!!). So, registration time comes, the parents start sweating, they realize the commitment they're making, they realize the impact of that decision, and they cave in. PS, in their opinion, is tried and true. At the very least, they know their kids won't be much different from everyone else's.

 

The reason they don't join Mommy and me groups is because they are teaching their children. They're doing preschool WORK. While no one seems to mind children in preschool/pre-k doing work, for some reason people that DON'T do that with their children get a little crazy about parents that do. Btdt. The comments I get about Luke, when people realize he isn't just spontaneously reading for instance, are nuts. One moment they're in awe of my little guy, the next they feel desparately sorry for the child whose mother must be making his life miserable with worksheets :glare:

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Oh gosh, I see this a lot! I'll be honest and say what irritates me the most (and I may get flamed...but it's true!). I see these moms use rigorous curriculum with their young preschoolers, doing a 5 day a week program, teaching their young ones to read, etc & they advance them waaaaay beyond what is being taught in the public school system. Fine. Who cares? That's the beauty of homeschooling. BUT then they put them in public school for kindergarten and complain about it non-stop because their child already knows everything. It's like they expect the public school to let their child do 2nd grade work because they've been taught it all at home (or in some circumstances they're peeved that their 5 year old literally can't be in the second grade classroom).

 

 

Susan

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Oh gosh, I see this a lot! I'll be honest and say what irritates me the most (and I may get flamed...but it's true!). I see these moms use rigorous curriculum with their young preschoolers, doing a 5 day a week program, teaching their young ones to read, etc & they advance them waaaaay beyond what is being taught in the public school system. Fine. Who cares? That's the beauty of homeschooling. BUT then they put them in public school for kindergarten and complain about it non-stop because their child already knows everything. It's like they expect the public school to let their child do 2nd grade work because they've been taught it all at home (or in some circumstances they're peeved that their 5 year old literally can't be in the second grade classroom).

 

 

Susan

A lot of them enroll their kids out of a fear that they will fail their child. So, when they see that their child is stagnating it's a comfort (it means they did well) and it helps them to reconsider hsing. They're looking for a reason, they already have some proof.
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Our co-op had to make a rule of having at least one child that is of compulsory age before you can join.

 

It just got out of hand with people joining who were only looking for free or very cheap preschool groups. At first we didn't mind too much because we figured a mom might be thinking about home schooling, and we could share information and support if she wanted. However, when quite a few of the preschool moms started bashing home schooling and questioning home schoolers reasons for home schooling (in a negative bashing way) we decided not to allow families with only preschool and younger kids.

 

We do hold play groups though and invite anyone to those.

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A lot of them enroll their kids out of a fear that they will fail their child. So, when they see that their child is stagnating it's a comfort (it means they did well) and it helps them to reconsider hsing. They're looking for a reason, they already have some proof.

 

Yes, in some cases it reassures them. The specific examples I'm thinking of are not like this though. They were irritated at how little the school did to accommodate their child (i.e. the school didn't put their kindergartener in the second grade class or remake the kindergarten curriculum for them). I'm just not sure what they really expected to happen.

 

 

Susan

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Our co-op had to make a rule of having at least one child that is of compulsory age before you can join.

 

It just got out of hand with people joining who were only looking for free or very cheap preschool groups. At first we didn't mind too much because we figured a mom might be thinking about home schooling, and we could share information and support if she wanted. However, when quite a few of the preschool moms started bashing home schooling and questioning home schoolers reasons for home schooling (in a negative bashing way) we decided not to allow families with only preschool and younger kids.

 

We do hold play groups though and invite anyone to those.

Geesh! Why would they join a hsing group then?!? :glare:

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When I had DS1 all the new moms I knew were going to homeschool. I was the only one in that group who made it to first grade. Now, he's a 10 year old (5th grader) and I only see those people in the grocery store to say hello. They are always amazed that I am 'still doing it' and go on and on about how hard it was (pre K!) and how just wonderful and fantastic their ps is and how loving the teacher is. They work themselves up into quite a state over it, lol. I don't even say anything other than 'yes, we are still homeschooling. It is up to him if he goes to high school," and they are off on their speech.

 

Our local co-op had the same problems with people showing up and then going to kindy. It created quite a drag on the program. Our co-op is quite large and active but has limited space in classes. There is often a waiting list. There were families with older hs students who were not getting into preshool classes because there was no room. Then, those families who were taking up all the space left for kindergarten and weren't giving back to the co-op. I happen to know that word got out that the hs co-op was a fun way for moms who didn't want to pay for pre-school, and truthfully didn't want to send their kids away for preschool, to have activities with their littles. There was lots of 'All parents homeschool their kids' stuff tossed around.

 

What the co-op did was stop pre-k classes but create lots of 'young child play time' as a way for families to have space and time to get together. The playtimes required minimal parental teaching time from the co-op member, just supervision of the space and a sweep when it was done.

 

Just wait until your kids get older... Now we are having trouble with former homeschoolers signing their middle school aged kids up for co-op activities that are in the afternoon, evenings and weekends. Again, it is an issue of space. We have actual homeschoolers not getting into classes and former homeschooling kids who are attending public school filling up the classes! These are kids who were homeschooled and the family or the child chose to enroll in public school. They want to send the kids to school but the benefits of the co-op. No one would really mind, but we just don't have the space.

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A lot of them enroll their kids out of a fear that they will fail their child. So, when they see that their child is stagnating it's a comfort (it means they did well) and it helps them to reconsider hsing. They're looking for a reason, they already have some proof.

 

That's how it went with us. I wanted to homeschool from the start. I homeschooled my oldest before kindergarten and I thought I was doing horribly. I thought he wasn't learning, wasn't happy, and I was scared. When I sent him to kindergarten, I was genuinely surprised that he was so far ahead of the curriculum. You hear from other parents how advanced K is, how kids enter it knowing how to read chapter books, and writing really well. For a first time parent, you think it is true and it is intimidating. After seeing my son literally enter K doing 2nd grade math and leave 2nd grade doing 2nd grade math, we pulled him out and began homeschooling again this year for all the kids. I no longer worry that I am failing them or they aren't learning enough. Sure- the other 1st graders may be doing fractions when our MM course is still covering only addition and subtraction, but that doesn't stress me now.

 

I think I would leave the class as open to all "homeschoolers" and then you may find that many of those who leave for Kindergarten may come back in a year or so. Or- you could raise the prices for the class but offer a refund for parents who enroll their children in subsequent years as an incentive. Maybe something like it will cost $100 but all parents from this year who enroll their children again next year will receive a refund of $40.

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I was a member of a support group for a year. They had a specific preschool group that was for support and organizing playgroups. There were two mentors who led the group who had homeschooled for a while. This group was open to anyone.

 

They also did co-op classes. You had to be a member of the support group for 1 year before you could sign up for classes. This gets around anyone, of any age, who isn't at least semi-committed to homeschooling. I like this rather than raising the prices or totally leaving out those who don't have an older child. When I joined the group, my oldest was preschool age. And we do take it year by year. But all of my friends kids were in school, so I needed the support.

 

ETA: What about raising the age minimum to kindergarten and 1st, UNLESS they have older children taking classes?

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I guess I don't understand the delimma. As long as the family commits to a full semester (or year) of co-op (I assume you are talking about a co-op) then what does it matter if they return in the fall? Even families who do continue to homeschool may choose not to come back for a variety of reasons.

 

I have known some families that go into it knowing that they will only homeschool for a year or two. They just didn't feel that their child was ready to head off to school at 4 or 5, but by 6 felt the child was emotionally mature enough to handle a school setting.

 

I wouldn't let the general public use my co-op as an inexpensive drop-in daycare. You could require some sort of parent participation (which might put off some families who are genuinely homeschooling but, for whatever reason, cannot or will not assist at co-op). You could ask parents to disclose their curriculum list or philosophy, but honestly at that stage of the game a lot of families may be unschooling or not yet aware of their educational philosophies.

 

Is the concern that your child will lose the friends he has made when they go away to school in the fall?

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Our co-op had to make a rule of having at least one child that is of compulsory age before you can join.

 

It just got out of hand with people joining who were only looking for free or very cheap preschool groups. At first we didn't mind too much because we figured a mom might be thinking about home schooling, and we could share information and support if she wanted. However, when quite a few of the preschool moms started bashing home schooling and questioning home schoolers reasons for home schooling (in a negative bashing way) we decided not to allow families with only preschool and younger kids.

 

We do hold play groups though and invite anyone to those.

 

I like this idea - It seems to provide for both original intended benefit of homeschoolers (with the membership) and the benefit of potential seekers (with the play group).

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Well, personally, it wouldn't bother me.

 

If someone was interested enough to explore it with their pre-k'er or k'er rather than putting them in school that young, that's a good step.

 

From there, well, either they're going to continue or they're not. Maybe being in your group and interacting with you all would make them want to continue and it would be that help and support they needed to do so.

 

Maybe it won't, but then, so what? So be it. They have to make the decision for their family. It doesn't really affect you.

 

I know that I started homeschooling my daughter (when I pulled her out of third grade public school) with no set plan in mind other than a "we will take this year by year and see how it goes." So far it's "going" just fine.

 

So I don't think that "interviewing" them as to their plans is the answer. They may not know their plans. Or their plans may change. And they may change either way- they may decide to put kids in school after swearing they wouldn't because it just doesn't work for them. Or they may put kids in school and then decide it's not working and they want to pull them back out, and they'll have a place to go.

 

I would see a homeschool group as a way to give and get support, information, socialization and so on but really the cards need to just fall where they may with each individual family, in the end.

 

:iagree:

 

I agree that if the concern is your group is being used as inexpensive babysitting, then some kind of parent participation would likely end that. Other that that, it doesn't really seem like a problem to me, as long as folks aren't pulling out mid-term. But then again, we're year-by-year kind of folks, at least right now. (And we have committed to homeschooling for first grade.)

Edited by JennyD
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Is this group presented as having an academic focus ? For this age group, IMO groups with an academic focus are most appealing to the parents who are the least confident about homeschooling, and so the most likely to decide that school is what they want after all.

 

A group that emphasizes more play and less academics will be less attractive to those with low confidence who want to feel like their child is in a program...and might attract more of the people who are pretty sure they want to homeschool, who are happy and confident about doing their academics at home, are less likely to turn to school in the end, and so are looking for a community of young homeschoolers who will be staying out of school. It would also be appealing to those who may be unsure, but who are seeking a place for information and support about homeschooling, and not just looking for a home version of preK or K.

 

If you still want an academic group, you might set up a "playgroup for young homeschooled kids" and see who it attracts, and use that to build a core of kids who are more likely to be homeschooled, since the playgroup won't stand in for preK or K....and then if some of those parents are interested in an academic program, put that together privately with just those families.

Edited by laundrycrisis
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I have to say this-if the homeschool park day group hadn't welcomed my DD and I when she was 3 and started playing with the other kids at the park, and if members of that group hadn't continued to be friends with me and let her play with her kids after school when she went to K, I probably wouldn't be homeschooling now. Because, when PS failed her, I wouldn't have seen HSing as the obvious option. I would have tried a different school, or tried to work through the IEP process or otherwise struggled with the system. BECAUSE I'd had a chance to see homeschooling in action for families with older children, I knew it could work and that it COULD be successful.

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That's how it went with us. I wanted to homeschool from the start. I homeschooled my oldest before kindergarten and I thought I was doing horribly. I thought he wasn't learning, wasn't happy, and I was scared. When I sent him to kindergarten, I was genuinely surprised that he was so far ahead of the curriculum. You hear from other parents how advanced K is, how kids enter it knowing how to read chapter books, and writing really well. For a first time parent, you think it is true and it is intimidating. After seeing my son literally enter K doing 2nd grade math and leave 2nd grade doing 2nd grade math, we pulled him out and began homeschooling again this year for all the kids. I no longer worry that I am failing them or they aren't learning enough. Sure- the other 1st graders may be doing fractions when our MM course is still covering only addition and subtraction, but that doesn't stress me now.

 

I think I would leave the class as open to all "homeschoolers" and then you may find that many of those who leave for Kindergarten may come back in a year or so. Or- you could raise the prices for the class but offer a refund for parents who enroll their children in subsequent years as an incentive. Maybe something like it will cost $100 but all parents from this year who enroll their children again next year will receive a refund of $40.

:iagree: And :grouphug:

 

I didn't consider hsing an option until ds had problems in 2nd grade. Now I hs all three of my kids and when I see the parents of little struggling so hard over making that leap (not enrolling in K) I feel deeply for them and I support their decision to put their child in ps. Why? Because if they don't then they will struggle with that decision for.ev.er. I have known a few to go back to hsing, like you did, after two years or so of ps failure and we share the sentiment that we wish we would have never put the kids in school in the first place. But for those of us that were raised in the ps, only exposed to wierd hsers :p, and blinded to the options, we HAVE to fail at ps before we'll give ourselves as teachers and our children as hs students a chance.

I have to say this-if the homeschool park day group hadn't welcomed my DD and I when she was 3 and started playing with the other kids at the park, and if members of that group hadn't continued to be friends with me and let her play with her kids after school when she went to K, I probably wouldn't be homeschooling now. Because, when PS failed her, I wouldn't have seen HSing as the obvious option. I would have tried a different school, or tried to work through the IEP process or otherwise struggled with the system. BECAUSE I'd had a chance to see homeschooling in action for families with older children, I knew it could work and that it COULD be successful.
Excellent point.
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Our only reason for limiting was the space issue. We only had so many slots per class. At the same time, we knew that it is important for families who are curious about homeschooling to meet other homeschoolers and see us in our natural habitat. So, the young child playtime worked to that end. Any one can come as long as they have a young child under the age of 6. Now, there may have been some limits on the older kids who could attend. Again, space is an issue.

 

I think it worked though. Most of the people who only wanted 'playtime' but had no interest in homeschooling were on their first child, so there was no older child to come along. For hs famies, the whole idea was that they could attend 'young child playtime' while their older children were in co-op classes.

 

I should add that the playtime could be in the gym of the building we rent. It has lots of space. We couldn't hold classes in the gym because the owners don't allow crafts etc in the gym. Only running and playing and some balls in the gym.

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We started homeschooling our first child with a plan just to do it for Kindergarten. He's in 6th grade now, and is still homeschooled. Over the last couple of weeks, I've been up late working on my curriculum choices for middle and high school. :) You never know what people may do.

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Hmmm... I've actually seen this a couple of times in our homeschool group. I would keep it open enrollment, though. I think people get scared of teaching early elementary skills, like learning to read. Could the group offer some kind of support class for parents with K-ers?

 

Yes, could there be a separate class called something like "K Preparatory" and teach these families with the hope that perhaps they will eventually *choose* hsing as a K/1st grade option when enrollment comes along? Sort of going the back door route, iykwim.

 

I would then also change my price structure along the lines of what an earlier poster suggested. Make the K Prep class just as expensive as other similar offerings in your community and make the rate for those already hsing an older elementary child very, very reasonable.

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Great ideas!

 

I think they are getting scared and I do know that some DHs are not very supportive of homeschooling. I like the idea of raising fees too, that helps with serious people.

 

It is hard because DS makes friends and then the kids go off to public school and we don't see them often.

 

I LOVE the idea of a support system. I am hosting our Jan meeting this Friday and I am going to ask the group if anyone wants a position of Homeschool Support Leader because I do feel we all need more local support and I don't have the time right now to be setting up a support meeting schedule.

 

I am glad to see I am not alone in seeing this happen. I guess I am getting a bit snobby when stay at home moms who have little kids claim to be homeschooling... and I take it to mean they will continue to homeschool but they don't. My family is very serious about homeschooling, so to use that label because they don't want to pay for pre-k or even send their Ker to K bugs me. The public school system here no longer offers half day K, so lots of fmailies are skipping K because they feel their 5-6yr olds are too little for full day but they are too old for the preschools.. ah well... my own pet peeve.

 

Consider adding some time-management, curriculum planning, homemaking shortcut and other coping strategy workshops to these mamas. If they are able to juggle things well so that their dh's do not see overwhelmed newbies who can't manage to keep the household running while also homeschooling, then the dh's may be more supportive.

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I see this at my kids homeschool gymnastics classes, which is for 2 - 6 year olds. They actually have a rule that you can't take the class (which is much cheaper than the regular gymnastics classes) unless any older children are also homeschooled. Evidently they don't enforce it and a few of them have older children in the public school and have no plans to homeschool beyond pre-k.

 

I actually talked to them about the fact my oldest is in public school. Since there was such a large age difference and I was clear that I planned to continue homeschooling, they allowed it.

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You have had some great responses so far. I can only add that I had a somewhat similar experience when I was involved in Montessori education. The toddler and primary programs were packed, but the elementary and higher programs were sparse. It seemed as if many parents perceived Montessori ed. as messing around, and once the children were 5 or 6, they needed conventional schooling. Sigh.

 

The biggest drawback for me as a parent in a situation like you describe (my children are ages 4 and 17 months) is that I'd be sad for my little ones to make friends with home schoolers who were going to be public schoolers. It's not that I mind the variety in their friendships; I just want to make sure they have home schooled friends, too.

 

Anyway, good luck with whatever you implement.

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Instead of working on teasing out the intentions of each new family, how about creating a mission statement for your group that makes it clear at least part of the purpose is to build a long-term community of support for families that are educating their children at home and as a preparation for elementary homeschool models (as opposed to traditional school preparation). I know in our area there are lists of skills that school districts look at to determine if a child is ready for K or 1st grade and the academic pre-school programs play it up to parents that their goal is to make sure those skills are mastered as preparation for public school. You might even go as far as come right out and state "we are not looking to meet the state/district standards by making sure the child fits in their little box; our goal in the pre-K/K program is to help you as a homeschool teacher/mom identify your child's learning styles, become comfortable seeing yourself as their primary educator, and help you plan an elementary education model at home that fits your child, your teaching style and your family."

 

Then in the interview/application process, you can ask if the family agrees with the mission statement and if it fits their own goals for homeschooling. I also agree that along the same lines, offering some type of support and training for new HS moms in choosing curriculum, organization, etc. might help facilitate higher retention.

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Instead of working on teasing out the intentions of each new family, how about creating a mission statement for your group that makes it clear at least part of the purpose is to build a long-term community of support for families that are educating their children at home and as a preparation for elementary homeschool models (as opposed to traditional school preparation). I know in our area there are lists of skills that school districts look at to determine if a child is ready for K or 1st grade and the academic pre-school programs play it up to parents that their goal is to make sure those skills are mastered as preparation for public school. You might even go as far as come right out and state "we are not looking to meet the state/district standards by making sure the child fits in their little box; our goal in the pre-K/K program is to help you as a homeschool teacher/mom identify your child's learning styles, become comfortable seeing yourself as their primary educator, and help you plan an elementary education model at home that fits your child, your teaching style and your family."

 

Then in the interview/application process, you can ask if the family agrees with the mission statement and if it fits their own goals for homeschooling. I also agree that along the same lines, offering some type of support and training for new HS moms in choosing curriculum, organization, etc. might help facilitate higher retention.

:iagree: I like this idea.

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Instead of working on teasing out the intentions of each new family, how about creating a mission statement for your group that makes it clear at least part of the purpose is to build a long-term community of support for families that are educating their children at home and as a preparation for elementary homeschool models (as opposed to traditional school preparation). I know in our area there are lists of skills that school districts look at to determine if a child is ready for K or 1st grade and the academic pre-school programs play it up to parents that their goal is to make sure those skills are mastered as preparation for public school. You might even go as far as come right out and state "we are not looking to meet the state/district standards by making sure the child fits in their little box; our goal in the pre-K/K program is to help you as a homeschool teacher/mom identify your child's learning styles, become comfortable seeing yourself as their primary educator, and help you plan an elementary education model at home that fits your child, your teaching style and your family."

 

Then in the interview/application process, you can ask if the family agrees with the mission statement and if it fits their own goals for homeschooling. I also agree that along the same lines, offering some type of support and training for new HS moms in choosing curriculum, organization, etc. might help facilitate higher retention.

 

LOVE this idea. :D

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I started HS my oldest for pre-k by default as we had an unanticipated move to a new city in July and all the preschools I called were full (this was in 2006, back during the height of the last economic boom). It wasn't for another 6 mos. that we seriously started considering continuing HS for K. And then my DH insisted upon a "trial" year for K with the option of enrolling her in a traditional school K the following year (she has an October birthday). Fortunately, the trial went well and she's now halfway through 3rd grade.

 

I'm so glad that our local support group welcomed our family with open arms when we were struggling with the HS vs. traditional school decision. Had the HS families I met expressed the kind of attitude that seems to be prevalent in this thread, I would've found it extremely snobby and off-putting. It's possible I would've found it so cliquish that it would've deterred me from making the HS leap.

 

I'm fine with a co-op offering priority enrollment and/or a discount to families with older HS children. But barring enrollment and/or charging a substantially different price to those with only younger kids strikes me as being pretty darn snotty.

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Is your group a true co-op (parents stay and teach) or a drop-off class?

 

If its a co-op, embrace the moms who are on the fence about homeschooling. Maybe they won't continue with it, but maybe they will.

 

If its a drop-off class, then I agree that you are attracting families looking for cheap kindergarten who have little intention of homeschooling beyond that year.

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I have to say this-if the homeschool park day group hadn't welcomed my DD and I when she was 3 and started playing with the other kids at the park, and if members of that group hadn't continued to be friends with me and let her play with her kids after school when she went to K, I probably wouldn't be homeschooling now. Because, when PS failed her, I wouldn't have seen HSing as the obvious option. I would have tried a different school, or tried to work through the IEP process or otherwise struggled with the system. BECAUSE I'd had a chance to see homeschooling in action for families with older children, I knew it could work and that it COULD be successful.

 

Yep, this was the kind of thing I was thinking about when I posted earlier. I think it would be really sad for a group to refuse to allow families to join unless they had kids of compulsory school age. My homeschool group has several families who came with preschoolers or even toddlers saying that they knew they wanted to homeschool or they wanted to learn more about homeschooling and wanted to start getting information and support and meeting people who were already doing it. We've welcomed them all. Some have stayed, some haven't, but they've all had the same opportunity.

 

Is your group a true co-op (parents stay and teach) or a drop-off class?

 

If its a co-op, embrace the moms who are on the fence about homeschooling. Maybe they won't continue with it, but maybe they will.

 

If its a drop-off class, then I agree that you are attracting families looking for cheap kindergarten who have little intention of homeschooling beyond that year.

 

Yes... see, I wouldn't do a preschool 'drop off' class to begin with. Pretty much all of our homeschool group's get togethers require parental participation, or at least parents staying to supervise their own children. But we don't do traditional "co-op classes" where one parent is teaching the kids for hours or anything like that. We do field trips, tours, craft days, playdates, some "fun" classes, holiday get togethers, have people come in to do presentations or non-standard classes (like when the Red Cross came to do a "disaster preparedness class" and so on).

 

So I think the trick is to require parental participation, not to refuse them altogether.

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Consider adding some time-management, curriculum planning, homemaking shortcut and other coping strategy workshops to these mamas. If they are able to juggle things well so that their dh's do not see overwhelmed newbies who can't manage to keep the household running while also homeschooling, then the dh's may be more supportive.

 

THIS!! I've been at this for a while, but I still remember the earlier years of just not knowing how to juggle everything. Even when my oldest was in 4th grade, I remember going to a workshop held by our homeschool group that dealt with organization, time-management, home-management, cooking, guiding us to bathe those areas in prayer, etc. They were so valuable to me at the time and really helped to inspire me to keep going. I remember very clearly listening to the struggles and advice of these godly women/role models who were doing the thing and had been doing the thing for a long time. That was so very helpful to me.

 

I have come across a couple of families this year who are "homeschooling" their preschool children and then plan to send them to ps/private in k. When they make that announcement it always seems odd to me. Before K, I have never considered being home and learning with my preschool-aged dc as "homeschooling" them...to me, it is just what a mom does.

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I was one of those who started homeschooling when my first was 2 years old. We were lucky enough to find a "young homeschooler" group that included many families with a range of children, and a few like us with only one youngster (my second son was born during that time).

 

I loved having a supportive community of homeschoolers, even though we weren't "official" yet. I'm sure some of those families have left the homeschooling fold... but we're still here.

 

Of course, our group didn't have a cost, nor was it drop-off... I can see how that might attract bargain-hunters. But I think it would be a shame to exclude people considering homeschooling because of cost.

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THIS!! I've been at this for a while, but I still remember the earlier years of just not knowing how to juggle everything. Even when my oldest was in 4th grade, I remember going to a workshop held by our homeschool group that dealt with organization, time-management, home-management, cooking, guiding us to bathe those areas in prayer, etc. They were so valuable to me at the time and really helped to inspire me to keep going. I remember very clearly listening to the struggles and advice of these godly women/role models who were doing the thing and had been doing the thing for a long time. That was so very helpful to me.

 

I have come across a couple of families this year who are "homeschooling" their preschool children and then plan to send them to ps/private in k. When they make that announcement it always seems odd to me. Before K, I have never considered being home and learning with my preschool-aged dc as "homeschooling" them...to me, it is just what a mom does.

 

I think this is it for me. I don't consider it to be homeschooling until they are K. I think it is great that people work with their preschool kids at home, but I don't really consider it to be school. I don't consider preschool to be school either. It is what you do at the ages BEFORE they are schooled (preschool=before).

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I think this is it for me. I don't consider it to be homeschooling until they are K. I think it is great that people work with their preschool kids at home, but I don't really consider it to be school. I don't consider preschool to be school either. It is what you do at the ages BEFORE they are schooled (preschool=before).

 

I think that as preschool is becoming more and more "pre-kindergarten" and is becoming more academic, with an increased focus on literacy and numeracy instead of art, playtime, and social skills, then it is coming to be seen more and more as "school." In many areas, Pre-K seems to be standard, and not doing anything as prep for school doesn't seem like an option.

 

I guess what I'm saying is that in this educational climate, it makes sense to me that you'll find people talking about homeschooling their four year olds, although I don't think this way much at all.

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I met a lady at our hs group and invited her to the house for a visit only for her to say that she thought it was best to use public school as hs'ing didn't prepare kids for real life very well. So, I understand the desire to curttail that. I also wouldn't invest my time in babysitting other people's kids for free. I like the idea of requiring participation by all and sign up for a specific period.

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Our co-op had to make a rule of having at least one child that is of compulsory age before you can join.

 

It just got out of hand with people joining who were only looking for free or very cheap preschool groups. At first we didn't mind too much because we figured a mom might be thinking about home schooling, and we could share information and support if she wanted. However, when quite a few of the preschool moms started bashing home schooling and questioning home schoolers reasons for home schooling (in a negative bashing way) we decided not to allow families with only preschool and younger kids.

 

We do hold play groups though and invite anyone to those.

:iagree:We have a rule that the oldest child has to be at least 5 (they just lowered it from 6), and that any student who spends at least 10 hours per week in an on-campus public or private school program isn't eligible. We do have some families who have some kids in public school and some at co-op, but we don't have a problem with parents using us as a "cheap preschool".

 

While I understand that some here think it would be better not to restrict access to the preschool to "serious homeschoolers", we (as a co-op) are not equipped to run a preschool program that meets the needs of non-homeschoolers. While we do work on pre-reading and early math skills, the assumption is that we're reinforcing what is being taught at home. Also, we have limited space, and many parents that are truly homeschooling and have older kids in the co-op that need the preschool spaces. I would hate for those families to be unable to enroll because someone who has no intention of homeschooling wanted that space.

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We have all sorts of folks in our hsing group. A lot of us have kids both in school and at home (sort of like hundreds of people in these forums). It's not an issue at all. We've made friends who have moved away, we have friends we see at some activities and not at all others. That's life.

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I'm a bit torn on this because we were originally only going to homeschool Prek-Kinder. because the school was across town and we're a one car family. However that was 4 years ago that we said that and we've been homeschooling from day one. None of our children have been in a public school other than to meet their girl scout troop there for cleanup to earn a badge! :D

 

So I think that even though you feel as you might be getting used in any way because your services are "free" for that age range...I think that there are families that can likely change their mind whether the cost is free or not. So I think upping the cost would be fair.

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So many good suggestions!

 

I started this group when my oldest was 2.5 yrs old because I knew were going to homeschool and met a few moms in the same position as I. So after running this group for 3 years the core are is getting to that K or first grade age depending on birthday cut off.

 

I am going to share this with my Assistant Director.. I love love lvoe the idea of a mission statement!

 

This is like such a nice brainstorming session!

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In the homeschool group I'm with, there is simply a lot of flux, with a core group of people (maybe a third to a half of the total enrollment) who are steady. I think it's the nature of homeschooling. I would expect there to be even higher turnover in the early years.

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