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S/O support groups: The line between parenting and preschool


misty.warden
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I was intrigued by a comment that parents of preschoolers should not be included in homeschooling support groups because, by legal definition, they are not yet homeschooling and are just parenting at that point. I was a bit perturbed tbh, I have a curriculum for PreK that I use for my ds and consider the line between parenting and homeschool to be pretty fluid especially in the early grades and some subjects even later in life. Since many people do PreK in an unschooly way and unschooling is a still considered a type of homeschooling philosophy, and PreK curriculum for classical and workbook preferring parents does exist, what says the hive? Is intent to continue to homeschool enough?

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I have a preschooler and an almost 10 year old. I totally see why IRL support groups and co-ops would want to have a minimum age. There are tons of parents who sign up for homeschooling groups who have no intention of homeschooling past K . Even if they do, their needs and interests are fundamentally different than a family who actually has a school age child. It's not that the younger kids aren't "homeschooling", it's that 3-4 year olds are not appropriate participants in many activities for school age children no matter how advanced their parents want them to be. I have gone to a park day where there was no one with a child over 4. I have a big 9 year old boy. It's not a suitable situation.

 

Bluntly, this is an issue that parents do not tend to "get" until they have an older child who is not going to get much out of a group dominated mostly by parents with young kids. There are way more 5 year old homeschoolers than 10 year old homeschoolers and it is nice to have resources that suit the needs of the students who are older and who are having the relatively uncommon experience of homeschooling. Preschoolers playing math and literacy games are not having a relatively unique experience for their age group and don't face the same challenges finding same age peers etc. There are so many more options for groups for preschoolers than for homeschooled school age children. As a mom of a preschooler, I don't see a dearth of activities and options. But for a 4th grader? There is only so much. Don't begrudge an older homeschooler the chance to have a same age playmate. Or a homeschooling mom battling with teaching long division a chance for support from her BTDT peers.

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The line depends where you live. Where I used to live, if you didn't send your kid to kinder from age 3, you were either a lazy <expletive> or a homeschooler. In other areas, they are not the only recognised options...

Yes. Where I live now, all ages are welcome at park meets but there is a specific group running activities for the 2-5 age group. 4.5ish year olds and up are welcome in other activities depending on the class/teacher/maturity of the child etc. Buuuuut, in the large city I previously lived in keeping your child home until three was somewhat unusual and after that it seemed *everybody* went to preschool unless they were planning to homeschool. So DD & I started attending hs events when she was 18 months & that wasn't frowned upon. We certainly weren't the only ones either.

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I don't have a problem with people considering themselves homeschoolers before official registration age. I certainly did. The problem I have is that they tend to be very enthusiastic because they are excited to get started so then they join local groups in droves and dominate it. I remember one recent organized museum trip that had a limited number of seats and several people with 2-3 year olds had signed up even though it was totally inappropriate for that age (there was a half hour lecture involved, and a q&a with a docent). When that happens too many times it starts to change the flavor of a group. There are tons of play groups for preschoolers and very little for kids 6+, so having tons of preschoolers in a homeschool group is frustrating to me when trying to find friends and activities for my son.

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my understanding is that a lot of people who homeschool for preschool, and sometimes even K, end up sending their kids to school. Homeschooling preschool is not the same kind of commitment as homeschooling grade school kids, its just not. There should be preschool groups for that, that do preschool-appropriate activities, but there also needs to be a safe space to talk about higher level academics, to engage kids with their peers. The number of people 'homeschooling' preschool is really much higher than the number of people 'homeschooling' elementary school, not to mention middle/high school . . . its clearly not the same thing. home school laws dont apply to you. it clearly not the same thing. Not paying to send your child to playschool is not the same thing as making an effort to get out of mandatory attendance laws. Teaching colors and counting is not the same as teaching history.

 

fwiw, my kids went to occasional part-time preschool for the social opportunity. There was not a single thing educational about it. I taught them shapes and colors and numbers and letters and beginning math and reading before they went to kindergarten . . and i considered it parenting.

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I have to say that I'm glad the little park day group of moms welcomed my DD and I when she was 3, newly identified as gifted, and I was reading a lot of books that said that homeschooling was likely to be the best alternative for her, because it was in sitting with them and seeing their older kids that I realized that this could work for me. It helped that we really hadn't found playgroups, in large part BECAUSE so many kids were in preschool and daycare, and there were a couple of younger siblings who were DD's age (and are still some of her regular playmates/friends. It was that experience that made me willing to take the jump into "REAL" homeschooling.

 

However, I also see it the other way now at times. When my DD wants to do a focused lego build about Ancient Egypt, and half the kids are still better suited to Duplos than legos, let alone complex technic builds, it's kind of frustrating to my 8 yr old and to the other older kids who are getting told "He's just a baby" as a 3 yr old takes away the pieces they've carefully sorted out to create a pyramid with a hidden trap to snare unwary archeologists who dare disturb the great Pharoah. I've had parents try to enroll their 4 yr old for an Exploratory Latin Exam prep course-which is designed for 3rd-6th graders. Even if the child LOVES Song School Latin, it doesn't mean he's ready to build a model Roman town and label everything in Latin to prepare for the household vocabulary section of the exam.

 

What I'm seeing as our group has grown from simply being a bunch of moms who sat together at the park while the teens gossiped under the picnic tables, the older elementary kids climbed trees, and the preschoolers played on the playground to one where there are activities and classes almost every day of the week is that we're ending up having to be almost as restrictive and age grouped as PS, and kids who used to play together are starting to exclude others because they're the wrong age. I sometimes wonder if maybe we've outgrown ourselves.

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I'm "homeschooling" preschool, with the intention of homeschooling elementary and middle school (and, who knows, maybe even high school!) as my son grows. I generally don't bring my son to homeschooling events unless it's specifically for the 0-5 crowd, as some park days, etc. are. I agree that much of what's learned in preschool would generally fall under the umbrella of "parenting," but then, didn't preschools really get their start when a large portion of women started working outside the home? 50-60 years ago, when SAHMs dominated, most kids were home until they started K, or even 1st grade.

 

However, I do like to attend the monthly-ish meetings of the local chapter of our state HS organization, to learn about the issues in our state, curricula other parents are using, etc. I want to glean all I can from the BTDT moms! It's why I read this board, as well. I don't generally offer advice or opinions at these meetings, I just sit and listen. Even still, I've felt pretty unwelcome on several occasions. Reading the other replies to this thread helps provide some insight into what their underlying feelings may be. I really do feel that the more experienced HS moms want you to "prove your street cred" so to speak, before they'll welcome you into their circle. I'm not there yet, but I am trying.

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When we lived in Pennsylvania, there were a lot of groups that wouldn't accept you as a member unless you had a child old enough to be registered. That's 8. So I need to wait until my children are almost old enough to be too busy to do group activities and park days all the time to even meet other people? Yeah, that's helpful. I get not wanting moms with toddlers to flood a group and then disappear. It left us in an awfully lonely position though.

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I don't know. I've ran into our local HS playgroup a few times, but haven't joined, even though they'd welcome us. It's really rough when your oldest is 3-4, they don't go to preschool or church, there's no kids in the neighborhood, and their cousins live miles and miles away. But I don't really want to debate homeschooling philosophies or parenting issues right now (or politics, or religion, or organic food...). I'm not interested in bragging about what convenience foods my kids have never encountered (true story, oddest brag-fest I've ever heard). At this stage, I don't need "support", although I enjoy the social atmosphere on this board. I just want to find other kids for mine to play with, but when we ran into the local group's play dates, all the kids about age 5 and under sat on a blanket near the moms and watched the older kids play. I could see one or two kids unable or unwilling to play, but it was all of them! From the day mine started walking, they would have revolted if I took them to a playground just to sit and watch other kids have fun. I can't sit and talk because I'm spotting climbing kids.

 

I'm not sure what we're going to do, but jumping into a group this year with only preschoolers wasn't right for us.

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sitting on blankets? very odd - at my park day there are tons of younger siblings - as soon as they are walking, they are on the playground. there was even, for a while, a play group called "rowdy boys" - it met in a fenced-in park for safety! (the park days near me have been in big non-contained parks)

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I think it depends on the group's organization and activities. A group that is set up with activities for preschoolers and plenty of preschool parents to help out, is totally different from a group started by elementary school parents with no preschool focused activities or only enough to keep the little siblings occupied. It would be inappropriate for someone with no elementary aged kids to join the second kind of group. It is really hard to find people willing to work the support group, so I can understand why they wouldn't want a new preschool class with all it entails. A lot of times the preschool moms drop out so it's hard to count on them to really support the group long term. Older kids drop out too, but the drop out rate for younger kids is much higher.

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I think a few people are misinterpreting the tone of this, was it the word "perturbed"? Maybe I should have used something more like confused and disappointed.

 

When we lived in Pennsylvania, there were a lot of groups that wouldn't accept you as a member unless you had a child old enough to be registered. That's 8. So I need to wait until my children are almost old enough to be too busy to do group activities and park days all the time to even meet other people? Yeah, that's helpful. I get not wanting moms with toddlers to flood a group and then disappear. It left us in an awfully lonely position though.

 

 

This was where I started with this thread, I understand the "needs of the older kids" but part of the reason I thought these groups existed was to foster relationships with people homeschooling so that one didn't drop out from frustration or not knowing how to manage with the local laws, curriculum choice, possible struggles with difficult materials, lack of conversation about resources with BTDT peers, etc.

 

Bluntly, this is an issue that parents do not tend to "get" until they have an older child who is not going to get much out of a group dominated mostly by parents with young kids. There are way more 5 year old homeschoolers than 10 year old homeschoolers and it is nice to have resources that suit the needs of the students who are older and who are having the relatively uncommon experience of homeschooling. Preschoolers playing math and literacy games are not having a relatively unique experience for their age group and don't face the same challenges finding same age peers etc. There are so many more options for groups for preschoolers than for homeschooled school age children. As a mom of a preschooler, I don't see a dearth of activities and options. But for a 4th grader? There is only so much. Don't begrudge an older homeschooler the chance to have a same age playmate. Or a homeschooling mom battling with teaching long division a chance for support from her BTDT peers.

 

 

Uh, I don't see how I was begrudging anything. Unless the mere thought of there being kids not in the right age group scares off older kids who can be a same age playmate, the presence of preschoolers in the same group (not necessarily the same exact activity day) has nothing to do with it. Maybe we're thinking about different things here. Groups can have different levels of activities offered, yes? And I see nothing wrong with restricting the participants in certain activities (long lectures, cerebral museum trips, etc) As far as the BTDT peers, that's what I am looking for, and being denied.

 

I do like to attend the monthly-ish meetings of the local chapter of our state HS organization, to learn about the issues in our state, curricula other parents are using, etc. I want to glean all I can from the BTDT moms! It's why I read this board, as well. I don't generally offer advice or opinions at these meetings, I just sit and listen. Even still, I've felt pretty unwelcome on several occasions. Reading the other replies to this thread helps provide some insight into what their underlying feelings may be. I really do feel that the more experienced HS moms want you to "prove your street cred" so to speak, before they'll welcome you into their circle. I'm not there yet, but I am trying.

 

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Because there are way more families who homeschool pK, some groups set the age limit so that the group does not become seemingly all little kids. When it seems to be all little kids, families of older kids DO get discouraged and stay away. The ages listed in our hs directory are one of the reasons we take a pass most of the time. A 2 year old is not a homeschooler. I think a smoothing the way group like Kinsa mentioned sounds like a good middle ground.

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A 2 year old is not a homeschooler.

 

Uh. No. A 2 year old goes to playgroup.

 

 

I started running into trouble when Dd turned 5. She was too old for playgroup and, thanks to a language disorder, too young for the usual school aged activities. We travel an hour and a half each way to a lovely homeschooling group with the complete range of ages who don't even mind the younger brother. I'm so grateful we fit in there! But I really wish they met more often than fortnightly...

 

 

I don't know how much btdt one really misses from not being involved with homeschool groups. I've never been in one where there was much in the way of discussion about homeschooling.

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I see it both ways. I always think that I started hs'ing when my oldest turned 4. That was when I made the decision to homeschool in my mind. I started to be more purposeful in my teaching although I didn't actually use a curriculum at that point.

 

OTOH, wouldn't it sound strange if someone said, "I homeschooled until my dc was 5, and then I decided to send him to school for Kindergarten." In reality that person never really homeschooled.

 

It doesn't seem fair, but I do understand why a group would choose to set limits like this.

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OTOH, wouldn't it sound strange if someone said, "I homeschooled until my dc was 5, and then I decided to send him to school for Kindergarten." In reality that person never really homeschooled.

 

 

 

It does sound strange but it is something I hear a fair bit, though mostly from people who homeschool children who are 5 but too young for enrollment in the private schools here (most of which have cutoff dates in the spring and early summer, not late summer/fall like the public schools.) Then they enroll for Kindy at the private schools when the child is 6.

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I don't know how much btdt one really misses from not being involved with homeschool groups. I've never been in one where there was much in the way of discussion about homeschooling.

 

So the homeschooling group doesn't discuss homeschooling? To me that sounds like going to a church where there is no worship, what are you there for?

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Socialisation of course!

 

Avoiding talk of homeschooling avoids issues of tall poppy syndrome etc, I suppose.

 

 

:bored: Ok, I'm conceding defeat. I think we're talking about different things. I must be an outlier and have a much different type of group in mind than people here have experienced. If I want socialization for my ds (incidentally the only issue I'm not concerned about how to handle) I'll find a playgroup, put him in gymnastics or 4H, something social that could but doesn't have to be academic. A Homeschool support group for me is to support homeschoolers with homeschooling specifically, possibly with a bulletin for organizing extra classes catering to interests and enrichment.

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It does sound strange but it is something I hear a fair bit, though mostly from people who homeschool children who are 5 but too young for enrollment in the private schools here (most of which have cutoff dates in the spring and early summer, not late summer/fall like the public schools.) Then they enroll for Kindy at the private schools when the child is 6.

 

Nice. I don't think I could keep a straight face. Too bad, it is probably this type that ruins it for the OP.

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So the homeschooling group doesn't discuss homeschooling? To me that sounds like going to a church where there is no worship, what are you there for?

 

Our homeschool group pretty much just has classes for school-age children. And some field trips. None of the parents with preschoolers want to help out (because the toddler is too much of a handful). I actually had my 3yo in preschool so I could teach a science class for my older kids. And now I've been drafted to coach one of my kids' Odyssey of the Mind teams because none of the other moms are willing/able to help.

 

I was hoping it would be something like what you're envisioning, but its not. I never talk with the other moms of the group, other than to pass on information about what we are currently working on. Sigh... It's far from ideal. I probably won't participate next year.

 

I have an informal support group with a few close friends who also homeschool. We have kids ranging from baby to 8th grade, and we sit around and talk/gripe/support one another way more than our formal group can.

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So the homeschooling group doesn't discuss homeschooling? To me that sounds like going to a church where there is no worship, what are you there for?

 

Ours mostly does field trips - zoos, museums, hikes, special opportunities like farm tours, etc. it's not so much socialization but finding friends for my son among like minded families who also have free time during the week. I find that sports are actually not great for making friends and most PS families are so busy with school, homework, and activities that it is hard to get together.

 

It honestly wouldn't occur to me to get support or advice from a bunch of random moms in a local group. I'd rather turn to this forum where there is a huge wealth of knowledge and experience or to a close friend who knows my child and I very well. But I'm pretty confident in my choice to homeschool and methods, and I have a curriculum geek friend I can talk to when I'min the mood, so homeschooling discussion is not something I'd be looking for.

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Some friends from MOPS and I all have young kids (2nd grade and, mostly, much younger) that we intend to homeschool or are homeschooling.

 

The local group wasn't very interested in having us join, even the woman who has an actual school age child. We didn't have any interest in being where we weren't wanted, but we also had no intention in having our kids participate in things they weren't old enough for/ready for.

 

Right now our groups exists as a support/social group for moms. We meet at each others houses, have snacks, show off what we have-book and curriculum wise, and chat about whatever as it relates to school. Last time we also had a discussion about the merits and lack thereof of common core and core knowledge.

 

We'd like to do some fun group activities down the road, but right now it's all about the moms.

 

We're different, but so far, there doesn't seem to be any hurt feelings, debate, or attitude involved. We've agreed to be inclusive and we all want any co-op thing we do to be secular(no religious based science, no opening with prayer) just so everyone can feel welcome.

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OTOH, wouldn't it sound strange if someone said, "I homeschooled until my dc was 5, and then I decided to send him to school for Kindergarten." In reality that person never really homeschooled.

 

I actually have heard this or similar often. One family had a child with a late Summer birthday & had been attending hs things for around a year. They invited every homeschooling family they'd ever met to hor fifth birthday in an effort to foster hs friends for her. Apparently it didn't work as they intended (although many families went) because a week before the new school year they rang a local private school & asked for a tour, then enrolled her on the spot. So yep, she was "homeschooled" until about a month after she turned 5.

 

Like dmmettler, I'm very glad my daughter and I were welcomed into park days when she was young (too young even for preschool). Without that support I probably wouldn't have gone on to homeschool. However I do understand the frustration the "dropouts" cause when trying to build a group. I guess it depends on the aims of the particular group.

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If I were to (again) attempt a homeschool support group (which I have every intention of doing), yes "intent" is enough. I want preschoolers (I have one myself). What I do NOT want is the influx of those only "homeschooling" preK - because our local public preK is only open to "at risk" children (low income or special needs).

 

The issue? Weeding out those who are only homeschooling preK. I probably won't try to "weed them out", but I'll be slightly annoyed if I find out someone joined with no intention of homeschooling past preK. Even if that intent doesn't work out, I would like to keep the group for those who at least INTEND to do so.

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sitting on blankets? very odd - at my park day there are tons of younger siblings - as soon as they are walking, they are on the playground. there was even, for a while, a play group called "rowdy boys" - it met in a fenced-in park for safety! (the park days near me have been in big non-contained parks)

 

That's funny because that's exactly what I needed for my son - no playgrounds with multiple exits when I had to keep an eye on two kids.

 

I was in a Moms Club group from the time my youngest was about 2 months old. Dh encouraged me to get out of the house with other moms and kids. By the time my son was 3, all the other kids who had been in his playgroup were in school 2 or 3 days a week. So he ended up being the older tag-along to his sisters playgroups. Even the field trips and park days, he ended up being the oldest one there. Only special holiday activities (like Easter Egg Hunt) were planned for times when the majority of kids weren't in school.

 

My son flunked out of one preschool, went to early intervention for a year, and then we were "homeschooling" for preschool. It only took us about 2 months to decide we would be homeschooling for much longer.

 

I felt strange contacting homeschool groups when I just had a 4 year old but I did find a yahoo group that did park days and field trips that welcomed preschoolers. Being able to talk to others homeschooling, as well as finding forums, helped me realize that I could do this, so I'm glad that option was there. We do have a few activities around here that are exclusively for older kids - book clubs, board game days, etc. I could see it being a problem in a less populated area since I do still see people complain about finding other older kids/teenagers for their kids to hang out with.

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I think it helps to have multiple "strands", so to speak. My group has monthly homeschool parent nights, which are, ideally, kid-free (babies who are still nursing are fine, and older kids are OK if they can have a table to themselves and not require adult input beyond maybe giving them a $5 bill so they can order a coke and a cookie) at a local bookstore coffee shop, but the purpose is for adults to discuss homeschooling options, curriculum, and so on). Those are open to anyone-even if your only child hasn't been conceived yet, or if still in PS.

 

We have park days, parties, and more casual events-these are open to any child-for example, the teens in the group will do a Halloween carnival/trunk or treat, and we welcome the preschoolers dressed like Elmo and as animals for that.

 

The problem comes, though, when we get into formal classes, field trips, and so on. THAT'S what those of us who are homeschooling older kids mostly do the group to get-those activities that we cannot easily do ourselves, or that are easier in a group. And that's where we face real problems when we have large numbers of families who have no school-age children yet. We can have a preschool class and accommodate those families that have a preschooler or two along with multiple school-aged kids, and the age groups stay reasonably sized. But when we start accommodating families who do not yet have school-aged children, what we see is that the preschool class fills, as does the elementary because everyone with a 5 yr old (or an "almost 5, but he's advanced so I'm calling him kindergarten this year) signs them up for the elementary. Families with more than one child often cannot get their younger child in their class, so end up not doing co-op for any of their kids. In the elementary group, the parents of the older children push to get them into an older class because their 9 yr old doesn't need to be in a class of mostly 5 yr olds, or they drop out when their child no longer wants to go because the work is "boring". If you allow those younger kids to bump up, you run into the same problem in the next age group up. If you don't, you end up losing that age group in a year or so anyway because there are no younger kids to move up when they get into that age group.

 

So, we have to be mean and hold the line, or try anyway. And that's really sad to those of us who did come into homeschooling with a preschooler and who made the final decision to homeschool mostly because of the support of homeschool moms with older kids-because we really don't want to push those parents of 3-5 yr olds into sending their child to school because the homeschool community isn't receptive to their needs-but, at the same time, we need to make sure our children have their needs met, too. So we have the park days and open meetings, and we encourage pre-K/K parents to set up activities for their kids, and try to keep everyone happy. And it never quite works.

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This is just my first year homeschooling my children and I can understand this point from the view of people with older children. I will only be keeping DS home this year. It isn't by choice, but that is a whole different conversation. I wouldn't want to take the spot of someone who plans to homeschool beyond the younger years just to have some social time. We have karate and a local homeschool group that doesn't mind and is geared toward the younger kids. It is mostly park play-dates and zoo dates and activities that are very simple (like the Easter egg painting event scheduled next month).

 

I may feel different when my DD reaches the same age since the plan is to homeschool her through, but I think we will stick with the same group we have now until she outgrows it (maybe 8?) and then look for other options.

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Joining in on the park days of a group is one thing. But many other activities are hard to plan with only tots. When we lived in the city I planned many field trips for our group. I had a little one to bring with me but my oldest kids were schoolaged and the trips were planned accordingly. I did have to include the rule that well behaved younger siblings were welcome but that the field trip was geared towards XYZ ages primarily and limit registrants because there is only so many spots, and when a trip is planned for a certain age group and suddenly instead of 30,5-9 year olds you have 20, 3-4 yr olds and only 10 in the target age group it is no longer a suitable field trip nor are the kids going to get out of it what was planned. The same is true for craft days etc. We had a day here when we first moved to town where the group hired a woman to come and do a pottery class with the kids, schoolaged only. You can't exactly have 3-4 year olds in the class if the students are going to get it as an actual pottery lesson rather than a free for all. I have kids with a wide range of ages, and I have had to tell my bigs they could not go on a fieldtrip because little sister was too young. WHich is why I started planning trips myself. If you don't like that your local group won't let you in a preschool homeschooler, create your own preschool group or join one the multitude of preschool groups. Even in my town with next to nothing has 2 preschool playgroups plus storytime at teh library, once you hit 5 there is nothing in thei town for you until you are a senior citizen. Preschool groups are a dime a dozen, groups for schoolaged children are much harder to come by.

 

And I agree with the pp that also brought up the people who claim to be homeschooling for preK and then enroll their kids in K-gr 1. They just use the group for the fieldtrips. When someone joins a group of homeschoolers but then is planning out the child's typical entry into the ps it does change the dynamic of the group. Not to mention often the members will have spent that preK year trying to create a friendship with the mom, sharing information to help make homeschooling go smoother once said child is schoolaged, basically investing in that preK mom only to get essentially slapped in the face when they realize they were made a fool of because that person never had intentions of actually homeschooling and had been lieing all the time. For many groups they have taken the fool me once shame on you, fool me twice shame on me approach. For anything outside of parkdays they will not consider you a member until your kids are schoolaged, you are considered legally homeschooling (in my prov that would be age 6), and any time/energy invested in you is not due to a farce.

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The OP seems to be talking about support groups for parents, not about kids horning in your kids trips or classes. Finding opportunities for pre school play/social time is not that hard. Finding a places where you aren't the weird one for not enrolling your child in pre school or have them wait listed at the various charters is not easy.

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:bored: Ok, I'm conceding defeat. I think we're talking about different things. I must be an outlier and have a much different type of group in mind than people here have experienced. If I want socialization for my ds (incidentally the only issue I'm not concerned about how to handle) I'll find a playgroup, put him in gymnastics or 4H, something social that could but doesn't have to be academic. A Homeschool support group for me is to support homeschoolers with homeschooling specifically, possibly with a bulletin for organizing extra classes catering to interests and enrichment.

 

 

Homeschool groups in Australia are different to those in the USA. We don't do things like co-ops or separate enrichment classes. The main purpose is for the kids and adults is to get together and socialise with other homeschoolers. The group I go to generally runs some sort of activity and then the kids have afternoon tea and then play for a couple hours. We do a lot of craft activities, field trips and such. We sometimes discuss homeschooling - people are always free to do that but our group is inclusive which means there are many types of homeschoolers and religions. So to avoid factions developing we tend not to discuss methods more then generally. We hardly ever discuss how our children are doing either so that there are no comparisons.

 

There is support - if you are having issues there are plenty of people willing to share advice - but you have to ask for it -we try hard not to impose our views on others because we are such a mixed bag.

 

There are no statement of faiths to sign - you just have to be willing to be tolerant and respect others beliefs.

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The OP seems to be talking about support groups for parents, not about kids horning in your kids trips or classes. Finding opportunities for pre school play/social time is not that hard. Finding a places where you aren't the weird one for not enrolling your child in pre school or have them wait listed at the various charters is not easy.

 

 

Um yeah. Many of the replies seem to not understand what I meant by "support group" in the title.

 

I'm sorry that people like swellmomma have had such a bad experience with moms of PreKers lying to her about their intention to homeschool and about the emotional investment of telling them her homeschool advice and taking advantage of field trips that are not age appropriate. I would be pissed at those people too and kinda am for ruining it for people like me who know what "age appropriate" means. I just didn't expect that the prejudice would be as ingrained or widespread.

 

As far as what Round About said about not thinking of getting advice from "a bunch of random moms at a local group" and would rather come here, I think we must think differently. I like this forum, which is a random group of moms on the internet btw, but the wealth of information is still not personal support that local moms provide, internet is not a substitute for face to face interaction, IMO.

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But often times the two things aren't mutually exclusive. For example, our homeschool group has moms nights out and informational meetings with guest speakers, but it also has park says, field trips, and co-op. If you are a member, then you get access to all of these things. I can't see telling members that they would be allowed to come to some events but not to others.

 

 

(Using the general you) It's your group to do what you like, you're already excluding an entire age group because some of the activities are not appropriate, which IMO is stranger than advertising which activities are not appropriate for younger ages and restricting registration for those events. My local park and rec district does the same thing, many classes are organized by age and do not make exceptions, and people know that in advance; a parent's group on MeetUp that I once belonged to planned events at facilities that had age/height limits and only those with kids that fit the criteria could attend, other events were labelled "all ages". Personally, I can't see bringing my ds to a guest speaker or art history museum trip because he would not pay attention and neither could I if I had to corral him the whole time (parents who let their young kids run amok in events like this confuse me on a fundamental level).

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Hmmm...and what I have fou d homeschooling a kindergartner is being asked by other homeschoolers what homeschool group I attend and am generally welcomed into the homeschool community but haven't started attending because my 3 and 5 year old still nap and all the park groups seem to meet during nap time. I also just don't feel the need to at this point. My kids are still young enough to participate in "mainstream" activities for preschool age kids so I don't feel like a homeschool group is critical yet. By 2nd grade, we will probably join a co-op or homeschool group / attend a park day, but right now I feel ok.

 

We do by the way participate in American Heritage Girls and though it isn't homeschool exclusive, the majority of the girls are homeschooled. So, that's the extent of our homeschool involvement but it's not technically a homeschool group :)

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I have consciously stayed away from the local homeschool groups because my kids are 2.5 and 4.5. I understand that the groups/activities are for school aged kids and mine would get nothing out of it. my problem tho is that I have trouble finding social opportunities for the 4.5 year old because _everyone_ sends their kids to preschool so even my moms group that I've enjoyed just doesn't have anyone there to play with for her. she's in gymnastics for various reasons but its not really a social opportunity since the kids are following directions the whole time.

 

we recently have received some concerning news about some special needs concerns for both and now I'm really concerned about getting the older one opportunities to learn/practice socially normal behavior & speech but .....we're stuck in the too little for the big kid groups and too big for the little kid groups stage....I'm honestly considering putting her in a 2 day preschool just to get her this practice....tho at this point, for her, I don't know if it would be helpful or make her shut down which is an entirely different/off-topic concern.

 

for now, for homeschooling support I am on the local email lists and read lots of these forums. I do kinda feel like I'm sitting in the foyer waiting to be allowed in ;)

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we recently have received some concerning news about some special needs concerns for both and now I'm really concerned about getting the older one opportunities to learn/practice socially normal behavior & speech but .....we're stuck in the too little for the big kid groups and too big for the little kid groups stage....I'm honestly considering putting her in a 2 day preschool just to get her this practice....tho at this point, for her, I don't know if it would be helpful or make her shut down which is an entirely different/off-topic concern.

 

 

I know that feeling, but dd is too old for preschool.

:grouphug:

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I've never really needed a support group for PreK kids... I didn't send my oldest to preschool even though we were planning to private school. I was not homeschooling him. I parented him. He learned all the PreK stuff on his own. So yeah, I don't think PreK is really "homeschooling". Most kids will pick that stuff up by just being around their parents, unless the parents don't talk to them all day.

 

Around here, not everyone sends their kids to preschool, though many do. There are still plenty of opportunities for preschoolers to get together, whether they will later be homeschooled or not.

 

My homeschool support group *does* allow moms of only preschoolers, but individual activities will sometimes have an age range specified. For example, there have been field trips for middle and high schoolers - the content wouldn't be interesting to the younger crowd and/or the place they're going to has an age restriction or something. We also have activities where anyone can come. The group expects parents to parent their children during activities, and I haven't seen any behavior issues out of anyone (it's a great group). Now my group mostly has an e-mail list and then there are monthly get-togethers at someone's house or a park or somewhere where all ages can easily play and enjoy each other's company. The leaders of the group have children in upper grades, and anyone in the group can coordinate any activity, so if the moms of teens want an activity geared toward teens, they can set one up! This group is also one of those "closed groups" though, so we're less likely to get moms of preschoolers who won't be homeschooled. People have to know someone who is a member of the group to even find out about the group, and usually members of the group won't invite someone just because their child isn't going to preschool. They'll invite them if they have expressed a desire to homeschool at school age. Sometimes Moms have joined and then changed their mind to send to a b&m school, but sometimes those moms also come back to homeschooling and know they have a support group. ;)

 

Anyway, I guess my stance is... I don't care what the group does? I just didn't need support in the PreK years. At school age, I like having a support group. I can see a co-op restricting preschoolers because co-ops depend on families being there, so if they have 30 preschoolers and then they all go to school, that's several families that they expected to continue with the co-op. A co-op could fizzle because of that type of thing. For a playgroup, I don't see why it would matter really.

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I'd like to see homeschool support groups be open to people with just preschoolers who are planning to homeschool. Not because I need specific support right now, but because it would be lovely to have friends/mentors who have BTDT. Sure, we can meet random people at the park, go to pre-school story time, MOMS Club events, Fantastic Friday at the gymnastics studio, and free preschool museum day, but it's hard to make connections with people I'm going to "lose" very shortly. You see, everyone's 3-year-old goes to preschool at least 2-4 days a week. DS is already among the oldest (and definitely the largest) at many preschool events. Discussions of education (which I LOVE) fall flat, stay shallow, and seem awkward. We just don't have this major thing in common. We're all lumped together in people's minds because our kids happen to be under-5-on-September 1st. When my son is elementary aged, I'm sure we'll have friends in the homeschool community whose kids are 2+ years older. I'd like to have those friends now! Because they're the ones who I'm likely to feel truly connected with, understood by, and bonded to for a longer time because of our common interest. I'm not saying I can't/won't befriend non-homeschooler (in fact my best friend is one), I'm just saying I self-identify with them and that's where I feel I belong! I've been planning for home education for the last 12 years and it is something I'm passionate about, so finding like-minded people is a big thing for me!

 

Our local Christian homeschool co-op president has a great attitude. They offer a preschool class for kids aged 3-5 each semester that focuses on either literature or art/music. She knows some may use it without ever intending to actually homeschool in K, but she doesn't care. She figures it could 1) connect them with homeschoolers who empower them to find they CAN do it, 2) give them an "insider view" of homeschoolers so they can see they aren't wackos, and/or 3) foster friendships across educational lines. She is able to shrug it off with an "Oh, well" if someone doesn't end up homeschooling K.

 

I have not joined this group yet because I didn't think it fit our needs yet. Instead, I formed my own preschool co-op with 2 friends. Neither of them plan to homeschool K, but we are definitely homeschooling pre-K. Some may argue we're just parenting, but in an area that is so obsessed with preschool, we are definitely outside the mainstream for doing what we do. "Real" homeschoolers may not accept me yet, but neither do preschool/PS moms. I'm an outsider before I'm even a "weird homeschooler"! (I attend a church in which 90% of the kids are homeschooled. Some of them seem to start mentally separating families into PS/homeschool categories based on their future intents. It's not uncommon for the mom of an infant to be asked what her educational plans are, for better or for worse. Sadly, in previous years some people who did not intend to homeschool felt excluded while their kids were still pre-K age because of this.)

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I agree it would be annoying to have events for older kids dominated by little ones who aren't ready. But I think there is room in homeschool groups for events for little ones too! My MOMS Club group does field trips, but we have to work hard to pick a day when the majority of 3-5 year olds aren't in preschool. I'd love to do age-appropriate trips with others like me who keep their little ones at home! That's why I formed my preschool co-op.

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Just like many homeschoolers think it's dumb or stifling to lump all kids age X together in a PS classroom regardless of ability, interest, maturity, etc., I feel stifled when I'm expected to just hang out with other moms-of-kids-under-5, regardless of our interests, educational philosophies, etc. Fortunately I have several good homeschooling friends who understand this and have helped me feel included in the "homeschool community" even before I had kids!

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It looks like the largest inclusive homeschool group in my area does have a group specifically for "small folks" playgroups but it doesn't seem all that active because of lack of volunteers with kids those ages at any given time. There are babies- teens at the park days but it can be hard to get into the group socially. Of course, I live in one of the least friendly places in the US. So that may just be us. :)

 

I also have joined a 4 week weekly get together for homeschool families with kids ages 4-7 for this coming month to do just with my 4 year old. All arranged via Facebook and a local Facebook group for homeschoolers. I really urge people to don't find the support they want to START the support they want. Use Meetup, Facebook, an email to your local homeschooling mailing list, a notice on the bulletin board at the library, whatever to find people and make what you want happen.

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I'd like to see homeschool support groups be open to people with just preschoolers who are planning to homeschool. Not because I need specific support right now, but because it would be lovely to have friends/mentors who have BTDT. Sure, we can meet random people at the park, go to pre-school story time, MOMS Club events, Fantastic Friday at the gymnastics studio, and free preschool museum day, but it's hard to make connections with people I'm going to "lose" very shortly. You see, everyone's 3-year-old goes to preschool at least 2-4 days a week. DS is already among the oldest (and definitely the largest) at many preschool events. Discussions of education (which I LOVE) fall flat, stay shallow, and seem awkward. We just don't have this major thing in common. We're all lumped together in people's minds because our kids happen to be under-5-on-September 1st. When my son is elementary aged, I'm sure we'll have friends in the homeschool community whose kids are 2+ years older. I'd like to have those friends now! Because they're the ones who I'm likely to feel truly connected with, understood by, and bonded to for a longer time because of our common interest. I'm not saying I can't/won't befriend non-homeschooler (in fact my best friend is one), I'm just saying I self-identify with them and that's where I feel I belong! I've been planning for home education for the last 12 years and it is something I'm passionate about, so finding like-minded people is a big thing for me!

 

Our local Christian homeschool co-op president has a great attitude. They offer a preschool class for kids aged 3-5 each semester that focuses on either literature or art/music. She knows some may use it without ever intending to actually homeschool in K, but she doesn't care. She figures it could 1) connect them with homeschoolers who empower them to find they CAN do it, 2) give them an "insider view" of homeschoolers so they can see they aren't wackos, and/or 3) foster friendships across educational lines. She is able to shrug it off with an "Oh, well" if someone doesn't end up homeschooling K.

 

I have not joined this group yet because I didn't think it fit our needs yet. Instead, I formed my own preschool co-op with 2 friends. Neither of them plan to homeschool K, but we are definitely homeschooling pre-K. Some may argue we're just parenting, but in an area that is so obsessed with preschool, we are definitely outside the mainstream for doing what we do. "Real" homeschoolers may not accept me yet, but neither do preschool/PS moms. I'm an outsider before I'm even a "weird homeschooler"! (I attend a church in which 90% of the kids are homeschooled. Some of them seem to start mentally separating families into PS/homeschool categories based on their future intents. It's not uncommon for the mom of an infant to be asked what her educational plans are, for better or for worse. Sadly, in previous years some people who did not intend to homeschool felt excluded while their kids were still pre-K age because of this.)

 

This times a million.

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I found the preschool years to be some of the loneliest as a homeschooler. I also live in an area where everyone, and I mean everyone, puts their kids in preschool unless they are planning on homeschooling. When we made the decision not to do preschool it felt like it was also a decision to homeschool. Many of my friends had kids in preschool so they had their new little groups of friends and any Mom’s group for me was usually either not feasible as I had a preschooler or meant I had to put my son into a babysitting situation with people he didn’t know. I’m actually very introverted so don’t need a lot of social interaction but I felt like we needed some. We tried different groups but I really never felt like we had a niche. I always felt like the odd person. Usually I was in a group of people with very young preschoolers or toddlers and I had my 4 yr old or I was in a group where the conversation was all about what was going on at preschool. The homeschoolers? They were all busy homeschooling and not to be found.

 

Now that my kids are older, I understand more why it’s hard for someone who is teaching a full 4th or 8th or even 1st grade schedule (or all at once) to feel like someone with just a preschooler is truly homeschooling. But I am grateful to the people I met at the few park days and things we went to who were gracious and kind when I said I was homeschooling my 3 or 4 year old. I’m sure that they were in part rolling their eyes but most people were nice and encouraging and I did appreciate it.

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my problem tho is that I have trouble finding social opportunities for the 4.5 year old because _everyone_ sends their kids to preschool so even my moms group that I've enjoyed just doesn't have anyone there to play with for her. she's in gymnastics for various reasons but its not really a social opportunity since the kids are following directions the whole time.

 

We're in the same situation, right down to the gymnastics. And dd is working a year or two ahead of where most kids her age are at around here, so the few opportunities out there for preschool activities bore her silly. Things like storytime at the library and playgroup stuff at the school are all geared around learning letters, numbers, colors, etc. She'd have a blast with stuff geared toward slightly older kids, but of course none of the groups around here are going to let us in for a couple more years. *sigh* And the rest of the time, every other preschooler in the area is in preschool or daycare.

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