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tips for organizing a co-op


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Hi, I would like to start a co-op for kindergarten and preschoolers. My kids are 5, 3 and 1. I am new to homeschooling so I know it's kind of crazy for me to lead a co-op but I really want to be involved in one and haven't found what I am looking for. It will most likely be meeting in my home and younger siblings will be coming as well. My vision is to meet two mornings a week and allow each mom (if interested) to teach or lead a different activity based on her interests and gifts. We would divide up throughout the house with kindergarteners learning in one area, preschoolers learning in another and babies/toddler being babysat in another area while moms rotated teaching/babysitting. Has anyone done something like this?

Also, is there a polite way to screen families?

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We have been in two different co-ops like that. My kids are heading into 8th grade and the one we started in kindy is still together, though the exact families has varied somewhat over the years.

 

I think it's very, very hard to make this work without first knowing the families. The number one thing to make a group like that work where you only have 4-6 families is that everyone needs to be on the same page. I've seen these groups implode over personality issues. The parents have to like each other and respect each other's parenting and trust each other to oversee everyone's kids. Not like you'd do things just like them, but they can't have a parenting method that drives you crazy because when you have a small group meeting at everyone's homes, then you're going to see that method all the time. One group I was in did well for a couple of years, but the configuration changed and there ended up being a mom who was just very different with her kids than the rest of us. And it caused a surprising amount of tension. I liked her a lot, but it made the dynamic difficult. That group ended up breaking up. It wasn't that mom's fault... but having that dynamic really helped pave the way.

 

So if you don't have at least another family or two in mind already. Actually, I'd start a larger thing first... like, run a once a week park day with minimal programming. Say, run a "ages 3-7 group games" day where you do half an hour of playground games and then hang out and scope everyone out. Then, once you've found your mom tribe and the kids have a decent dynamic with yours, that's when you quietly approach a couple of people. Hey, I've been thinking about this."

 

I'd start with one day a week, not two.

 

The way we did it was to choose themes. I was in one group that was very top down - the parents chose the themes. Then each parent taught one or two classes about the theme. So, I remember we did "the body" for one and each family did something different. And I remember we did "poetry for another and one mom taught about haikus, another took us on a field trip to a garden where we wrote nature poetry, another did a thing where we read lots of poems and drew pictures, etc. I think that was 1st or 2nd gradeish. The group we're in now, the kids always discussed and voted on what they wanted to learn about. Their kindergarten year, IIRC, they chose spies, dinosaurs, chemistry experiments, and... oh, I can't remember the last one! Something historical, I think. And then each mom did something on that theme. Now that they're older, the kids actually run that group. We're just backup. And we make hot lunch, which is nice - knowing I don't have to make hot lunch once a week because someone else will do it.

 

 

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Seriously,  I would HIGHLY recommend starting with a once a week park play date or something else along those lines and get to know the families first.  Maybe invite one family over to your house for dinner or game night and get to know them a bit better.  Then invite another.  And start to form a small community.  At that point see what might be cobbled together and who you and your kids might fit well with.  I don't mean find people that will always agree with you but seek out people that are flexible and reasonable and have personalities that mesh well with yours.

 

I have been in several co-ops in our 5 years of homeschooling.  3 completely blew up.  Like, in one case it was so ugly that lawsuits were threatened and assault charges claimed.  These issues were among the PARENTS, not the kids.  The parents, some of whom were friends of mine, had vastly different ways of doing things and could not be flexible.  People that seemed perfectly reasonable and rational at first glance turned into crazy people.  It unfortunately got very ugly and the kids (most of whom were really lovely and got along great with each other) lost friends because of the debacle behind the scenes.  Again, this had almost nothing to do with the kids.  It was all issues with the parents, and not every parent.  Just a few.  Those few destroyed the organizations and created horrifically painful situations even though that was not their intent.

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I agree with the others--begin as simply as possible as you get to know other families. I lead a co-op that started in 2002 with just a handful of families that met at the park once a month and planned a field trip for a second meeting per month while we were at the park. Our kids were young so informal social events were all we really needed. As the kids got older and the group got bigger we added classes and became a full-fledged co-op, with a support group for the social stuff on the side.

 

15 years later some of the original families are still in the group, though the oldest kids have now graduated. I've made my best friends as an adult through co-op, and my kids have grown up with this extended co-op "family."

 

Co-ops are a great way to build community, but keep it simple and build from there, especially with very young children.

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Welcome to homeschooling, and welcome to the WTM boards! :)

 

Totally agreeing with the previous posters:

1. start with no more than 1x/week 

2. start with informal/unstructured activity, like a weekly play date at the park

3. get to know families first, informally through weekly park/play dates, before attempting to structure something (that allows you to "screen" for fit and interests)

 

 

Some other observations from our years of homeschooling:

 

Meeting more than 1x/week for is just about impossible for families for so many reasons. And it may be difficult for families to meet more than just 2x/MONTH. So you may want to adjust your original idea, and if you need more social time or activities for your little ones, plan on some Parks & Rec classes, going to your local public library kids activities, visit the park regularly and see if you meet other families with little ones, 

 

For a regular gathering, moms of young children are with their DC 24/7 and usually want a *break* from organizing and the ability to socialize while letting little ones play together, rather than wanting to plan and execute structured learning for a group of little ones. It's hard for most moms to have the time or energy to teach/lead children in a formal activity until most of their children are of school age.

 

It is VERY difficult to organize and execute any kind of formal group activity/learning with children under the age of 6. For example, one year, a homeschooling friend of mine led the 4yo preschool co-op class, and she had to plan on multiple activities for each class because 10-15 minutes per activity was about the length of attention span for the *group* of 4yos -- and even then, there was a lot of need for constant redirecting their attention back on task.

 

I advise against holding it in your home, or if homes are the only meeting option, then at least not more than 1x/month. Your things get accidentally broken, or spills leave stains. And you are less likely to have on-going illness through the spread of germs if meeting elsewhere (esp. an outdoor park). If meeting at your home, all of your toys and things are being handled, and germs are being breathed/coughed and trapped into your home. (Just my experience from many years of hosting groups of kids in my home: kid parties, co-op classes, and high school semester-long events -- lots of things accidentally broken or stained, and lots of colds showed up 48-72 hours after hosting.)

 

We were part of a relaxed homeschool support group for about 5 years when DSs were in early elementary grades and they worked very well. Each was a group of 6-8 families, with a 4-week rotation:

- 1 week = field trip

- 1 week = oral presentations

- 1 week = park day, play and socialize

- 1 week = various: a parent-led activity, an outside speaker/presentation, a co-op class, a special event, etc.

 

In the summer before the year started, we gathered for a park day, and planned out the year's schedule in advance. Because the activities varied, each parent was only responsible for 1 field trip and 1 other activity per semester, and then we all pitched in for the big special event at the end of each semester which included food, activities, and making a craft or two at the event. Some of the special events we held: Thanksgiving Feast, Christmas party, Roman Festival, Medieval Times, Japanese Culture Day, etc.

 

The two things that did NOT work well with this group:

 

1. A wide age range.

It was hard to make this type of group work for all the children. (We had babies up through 6th graders.) It worked GREAT for the target ages of Kinder-4th. The pre-schoolers and toddlers were too young to participate, so they just hung out on parent laps or on the playground, and the older elementary kids were very frequently bored.

 

2. Not everyone had the same ability or willingness to put in the time (but, this is true of ANY group).

For example: while it worked for the field trips or special events (parent only had to do 1-2 things per semester), the year we decided to make one of the four weeks a more formal co-op activity of either science or art (we alternated months). I volunteered to lead all of the science co-op weeks (so 3 per semester, for a total of 6 science classes), and between the other moms, they each volunteered to lead 1 art co-op (for a total of 6 art classes). I poured a ton of time and work into preparing and leading 6 great science activities. Only 1 mom spent an equal amount of time preparing her art class, and several of the moms showed up on the day of the art class and just read from the instruction sheet and we stumbled through the project because the mom in charge hadn't prepared or done the project in advance to iron out the bugs. Those classes were very disappointing. 

 

I share this because this is ALWAYS the way co-ops work -- some moms pour a lot into leading. Other moms do bare minimum. And I get it, that we don't all have the same passion/interest or life circumstances prevent from putting in that time; but, it can be frustrating when not all parents are willing or able to pour in that much.

 

 

A completely different option, that is not completely homeschooling, but might help you in a year or two as you move into more formal homeschooling with your oldest child: if you can't find others to form a group might be to give each child 1-2 years at a morning-only Montessori pre-school and/or kindergarten for all the group games and activities and special "centers" for discovery learning, which would give you more time on those mornings to do special-focused activities with the other 2 DC, especially easing each one in to more formal learning for 1st grade, as they are ready for it.

 

And, another different option that is not fully homeschooling is a university model school in your area -- the child attends a traditional school setting with classroom and teacher 2 days/week and you oversee the rest of the work at home on the other 3 days/week.

 

 

GOOD LUCK in finding some moms with little ones, to start with. And then wishing you the best in where it goes from there. :) Warmest regards, Lori D.

Edited by Lori D.
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I share this because this is ALWAYS the way co-ops work -- some moms pour a lot into leading. Other moms do bare minimum. And I get it, that we don't all have the same passion/interest or life circumstances prevent from putting in that time; but, it can be frustrating when not all parents are willing or able to pour in that much.

 

This is absolutely true.   If you go into the formation of a co-op with your eyes wide open, you will be less likely to be disappointed, but I would caution you to protect yourself from pouring so much of yourself into a co-op that you burn out.  

 

I helped start a co-op when my kids were in 2nd & K with 3 other families.   We all tried to join an existing group, but they didn't have room, so we started our own group and modeled it after the first group.   Having that structure was EXTREMELY helpful as we planned what our group would look like and how it would function.   We were all like-minded families, and our kids at the time ranged from 3rd grade down to babies.  Each year, as our own kids grew, we added one more "grade" to the group.  

 

I agree with others who suggest that you start very informally, then invite families that are like-minded to join your family for something more structured.   In addition to moms leading activities with a particular age group, make sure you have one person designated as the "administrator" type leader.   This person would be the communicator of plans & dates, (possibly) the treasurer to pay for activities or supplies as a group, and the person to contact when one family has an illness and can't attend the co-op.   Designate someone else to be the "director" or leader of the group, who has the final decision in group activities, discipline issues, etc.   As you grow, the leadership should look more like a "board of directors" with a group of moms making decisions.   Do NOT take all of the leadership responsibility on yourself, no matter how small the group, because you WILL burn out.   

 

Our group met for one school year where we rotated homes (4 families), then started our 2nd year by meeting only in my home.  By mid-way through the 2nd year, our church allowed us to start meeting there, and then as we grew, allowed us to increase the number of rooms we used.   Meeting in homes will always have challenges.   My home, for instance, was not fully baby-proofed (and I didn't have a changing table or supplies) because my kids were 7 & 5 at the time.  I also have a pool, which created an element of danger for the babies and toddlers in the group.   It was a good move for us to start meeting at a church.

 

The co-op we created was a wonderful group that grew to have about 27 families a few years ago, when my family had changed to the point where we left to join a more academically-focused co-op.   I think in the few years that we've been gone that they have almost doubled.   It definitely meets a huge need, but has remained primarily focused on elementary-aged kids.   It was a LOT of work to start, but was well worth it.

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Thank you so much for all your input! I appreciate your wisdom and experience! You all brought up a lot of issues that never would have occurred to me. I am still very much on the fence about homeschooling as my daughter LOVED attending preschool both for the variety of activities and the social life. I just don't think I can provide that at home. The crafts, the songs, the fun extra stuff that goes beyond academics just do not come naturally to me. Also, she is very "busy" so I really have to stay on top of her so she doesn't get into mischief. I got so much done on the mornings I only had my toddler and baby at home!! The structure of school was great for her. K is a 7 hr day here which I think is ridiculous. That and the cost of Christian school is what has led us to explore homeschooling.

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A 7-hour kindergarten is ridiculous!  :eek: Check around and see if there is a Montessori school with a half-day kindergarten, or a small half-day kindergarten run through a church (if you would be okay with faith-based). Sometimes there are still pre-school and kinder options not attached to public or private schools. My neighbor's mother for many years ran a little 4-hour long "one room schoolhouse" out of her home, with about 6-8 children total, ranging from kinder to grade 6.

 

Your DD sounds very social! :) It does sound like a very good idea to line up regular things to fill her social needs.

 

What homeschool groups are in your area? Can you join one (or two, if you feel you can manage that much time out of the house) for next year and start to get to know families that way, and participate in a variety of events to see what works for you and what doesn't work? And, that would allow you to see if there are families who might have a similar interest in doing a small, focused co-op.

 

You might even find just 1-2 other moms you click with for joint teaching -- like Mondays your DD goes to her house and the other mom oversees both your DD and her child with arts and crafts, and then on Wednesdays, she drops off her child and you oversee academic activities (math or language arts games, science experiments or kits, history or geography project) for both her child and your DD. And then on Fridays you and all 3 of your DC go do park day or field trips or other activities with a larger homeschool group.

Edited by Lori D.
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I share this because this is ALWAYS the way co-ops work -- some moms pour a lot into leading. Other moms do bare minimum. And I get it, that we don't all have the same passion/interest or life circumstances prevent from putting in that time; but, it can be frustrating when not all parents are willing or able to pour in that much.

 

I mostly agree with all of Lori's great advice... but I actually have been in groups where everyone is pulling their weight. It's these small groups. I think when you get into co-ops that have spaces and class options and so forth that this is pretty inevitable. But in our little co-op, all the parents have basically always pulled their weight. But that's down to finding a group that you really love and trust.

 

OP, a 7 hour kindy is crazy to me as well. I was able to put together a really rich, very social kindy for my kids. In addition to co-op, they did dance, theater, and botany classes, played on a rec soccer team, I coached a Rising Stars Destination Imagination team for them, and we did many field trips to museums, the zoo, farms, parks, etc. My point is that there are different paths to creating a really rich "busy" kindy homeschool. Being super crafty and organizing a multi-day co-op isn't the only way to do it. Farming out a few classes, organizing a couple of things, going to lots of museum workshops and library storytimes and things like that, and using the resources around you is definitely another avenue of where to put your energy other than organizing a complex co-op. 

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I mostly agree with all of Lori's great advice... but I actually have been in groups where everyone is pulling their weight. It's these small groups...

 

It was our small (6-8) families support group where we did not have equal weight-pulling, NOT our big homeschool group. :)

 

I found that particularly frustrating because I volunteered for (and did a good job of executing) SIX science activity days over the course of the year. Of the rest of the group, 6 other moms each committed to lead ONE art activity day for the whole year, and most of those moms put NO effort or prep into that ONE day out of the year. :(

 

 

...My point is that there are different paths to creating a really rich "busy" kindy homeschool. Being super crafty and organizing a multi-day co-op isn't the only way to do it. Farming out a few classes, organizing a couple of things, going to lots of museum workshops and library storytimes and things like that, and using the resources around you is definitely another avenue of where to put your energy other than organizing a complex co-op...

 
Absolutely! :)
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It was our small (6-8) families support group where we did not have equal weight-pulling, NOT our big homeschool group. :)

 

I found that particularly frustrating because I volunteered for (and did a good job of executing) SIX science activity days over the course of the year. Of the rest of the group, 6 other moms each committed to lead ONE art activity day for the whole year, and most of those moms put NO effort or prep into that ONE day out of the year. :(

 

 

 
Absolutely! :)

 

 

Bah. I think it's probably inevitable in larger groups... but if you get lucky it doesn't have to be in groups that small. But it can absolutely happen too, I'm sure. Our co-op hasn't had more than 5 families. At one point, we had three, which was honestly really, really nice. We might be back to three next year (though I'd rather keep the family that's moving to Australia... boohoo!) and I'm looking forward to the ease of fewer people to negotiate with.

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The best co-op I ever participated in  (American Girl book club for elementary ages girls, 30 families, most people didn't know each other beforehand) had important elements:

1. One big planning session with veto power by the hostess. People could contribute ideas at this session.  If it worked for the hostess and people seemed to like it-fine.  Otherwise, it was all decided and people volunteered for what they were going to do that day. No brainstorming/suggestions/criticisms about what kind of group it should be after the fact.  Everyone knew what they were getting into before they volunteered.

2.  Fairly even labor distribution.  We had 4 things at each monthly meeting: discussion, craft relevant to the book, snack relevant to the book, game relevant to the book.  Each month 2 people were responsible for 2 of those things.  In our case I did discussion and a craft and my partner did the game and snack. The months I filled in as back up (more on that later) I did a mind map discussion based activity and brought an authentic costume for display and discussion. Now there weren't enough monthly events for the number of families involved to all volunteer for those 4 things, but they could volunteer to watch littles and siblings who weren't participating. They can volunteer to do clean up, including taking a bag or two of trash with them so the hostess didn't have excess trash that didn't fit in her bin.  They could volunteer to take pics and make them available. They could offer to pick up supplies with the supply fees. One volunteered a field trip to her house to ride horses for the Felicity book.

3. Back up plans.  Once I had to back up for someone because her kid broke his wrist  and the other person had the flu.  People with kids get sick.  Their kids get sick.  It will happen at the least convenient time.  Having someone who had already agreed to cover as back up is critical to keep it running smoothly when someone has an emergency.

4. Clearly explaining what is expected of the parents before anyone signs up. Is it fine if people show up every now and then when it works out?  Park Days work well for that.  Is regular attendance needed to make it work? It is for some academic and enrichment classes. Yes, there really were people (3 families) who showed up to the book club who didn't read the books, they said they were just there for the socialization. Is everyone supposed to contribute supply fees when they sign up?  Are they expected to bring their own supplies each time?  Will the host provide the supplies?  Who will shop for the supplies? Does one trip with prepaid supply fees make more sense than each family doing their own shopping trip? Will the clock be the deciding factor?  Will it be go with the flow?  Is someone going to have to leave by a certain time to go to some other scheduled event?  I once had a year where we drove to piano lessons, had a 30 minute lunch, drove to art class, then left for our homeschool PE group.  I could only do all that because everyone started and ended on time, otherwise I would've had to bow out of one or two.  I didn't choose for them all to be on the same day, that's just how it worked out that year.

 

5. Clearly explaining what is expected of the kids before anyone signs up. Are there any behaviors in a child you think should result in the parent removing the child from the group temporarily or permanently?  With groups for older kids, is there homework?  Assigned reading?

6. Does your physical space work? A new homeschooling mom once invited people on an email list (she didn't know them) to her Classical co-op where kids would recite their memory work for each other and do something else-I don't remember what.  It was for 1-3rd grade. I asked here what the siblings would be doing during that time.  She hadn't factored in siblings.  Most of the classical homeschoolers I personally knew at the time had 3-5 kids ranging from newborns to teens.  This is why so many groups have a limit.  Usually the policy is participants and their siblings.  Others aren't allowed once it's full because space can fill quickly.

7. Stealth Groups or Invitation Only Groups.  These are terms I think I kind of made up about a common group type.  A potential host who wants to get a group going doesn't actually tell anyone so out loud.  First they scout for families who they think might be a good match. Newbies sometimes think of this as cliquish when they hear about it, but as people have mentioned upthread, it's necessary because not everyone is a good fit for every group.  Parenting styles, personality types and loudly voiced views on religion/politics can create difficult dynamics for different groups that usually end them.  Then the host privately asks these families if they're interested in joining.  Then they get it going but when they talk about it around other homeschoolers, the groups is always officially full.  When the group or members of the group find another family they think might be a group fit, they tell them there's an opening and invite them.

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I am part of a preschool co-op. When I first joined the format was that everyone took turns teaching a "class". Each class was set up with stations relating to the topic with different hands on activities and you could go around the room at your child's pace and engage with each activity. It worked well for older and younger kids.

 

Things have changes the some of the kids have hit 5, and the moms have felt more pressure to do "real school" which in their minds translates into worksheets. Some of the classes has been all worksheets, which my 3 year old is entirely uninterested in. Most of the moms there do not have older kids, so the moms are first time homeschoolers. I'm the only one who is a relative "veteran" with seven years under my belt. And even though that doesn't compare to many of the moms here, I want to just tell these people to chill, it's really is ok if your just-turned-four year old son doesn't like writing his letters.

 

The kids want to run and play and this has been disruptive to the moms who want their kids sitting down and doing the activities or worksheets. The kids being forced to sit still in their seats want to run and play and this has caused frustration for those moms who want the other moms to make their kids sit down and be still. My kid is one who wants to run and play and I'm fine with that, but I feel I have to make her sit down so she's not distracting the other kids. My child is one of the younger ones.

 

My tips are as follows.

 

- Be decisive. But listen to people. One of the worst parts of my co-op is the leader is a control freak but really indecisive. She pretends she wants everyone input, then waffles around forever, then does what she wanted to do in the beginning but didn't have the nerve to say. I know that's pretty specific to her personality but this has been very frustrating to deal with. You have to be comfortable making decisions for the group without being authoritarian. Also, if you put a decision out there and the group decides together what's going to happen, stick by that decision, don't just change it when no one is paying attention. You'd think that would go without saying but apparently not... I feel this is devolving into a rant. Moving on... :)

 

- Be on time. The leader should be the most reliable person there, she sets the tone for the group.

 

- Have your moms enforce good behavior on field trips. I'm honestly worried our co-op is going to get a reputation for disruptive behavior. This town isn't that big.

 

- Spell out the rules but please be concise. No one wants to read rambling for page after page.

 

- Hands on activities at this age are the best way to learn and keep the kids attention! You can do worksheets at home when there aren't friends running around distracting the kids. You can even send home relevant worksheets so parents can reinforce the topic at home. But doing them at co-op is KILLING the experience for us.

 

- Be realistic about their attention span at this age. Some of the moms at my co-op seem honestly surprised that a 3-5 year old won't sit and listen to a power point presentation (seriously) for half an hour. Yes, even with pictures, they get bored. Heck, I'm bored.

 

- If you need to refocus the kids on something, bringing them all together to do a funny dance, some stretching/yoga exercises, or read a book (especially a book with motions you can do along with it), is an excellent way to get the group doing the same thing.

 

- Have some building or sensory toys in one corner of the room that the kids can play with any time they want. Sometimes some of the kids just won't be into what you're doing. If they have something else they can do, it's much less disruptive than if they just run around like a bunch of crazy people, distracting the kids who are interested.

 

- If you've planned 5 activities for the class and the kids are super interested in one of the activities, that's ok. Don't rush them through it just because you have a to do list you want to get done.

 

- Be prepared that you will probably have to remove people from the group. Our group has kicked people out for lack of participation (and our attendance requirements were super lax), and for not dealing with their kids being violent with all the other kids in the co-op. Try to think ahead of time about what might be removable offenses.

 

- If you charge fees (and I think you should), publish a spreadsheet around once a year showing what the money gets spent on. One of the co-ops I've been a part of (not the preschool one) takes in a LOT of money (thousands of dollar) and no one is clear on what it gets spent on and it all feels very uncomfortable. Fees can be spent on supplies, parties, field trips, etc. But people should know what the budget is.

 

- Kids this age are fun, funny, unpredictable, chaotic. Roll with it. :)

 

- Our group allows anyone to plan activities on non-co-op days and invite everyone. Park days, swim days, extra field trips, etc. This has been working well.

 

- Two days a week ends up being a lot. Maybe other co-ops can handle it but mine had to switch to one day a week. You might find that two days a week works if your attendance requirements are low (we require at least once a month) but if you are the only one hosting, you might find that ends up being exhausting.

 

Some or all of this might be obvious to you, but I hope at least some of it was helpful. If you are very clear about what the group is about and what's expected of everyone, it should make it much smoother. :) Good luck!

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- Be realistic about their attention span at this age. Some of the moms at my co-op seem honestly surprised that a 3-5 year old won't sit and listen to a power point presentation (seriously) for half an hour. Yes, even with pictures, they get bored. Heck, I'm bored.

 

 

I think this is getting more common these days.  I guess it's the strange evolution of preschool and that it went from literally being preschool (before academics) now means academics before age 6. Weird. We have this problem here at the boards too.  Some parents don't want to hear that their 4,5,6 year old may not be ready for phonics and writing yet, even when they're neuro typical.

 

Having an opportunity for very physical group games shouldn't be missed with young ones. If they really want academics or preparing for academics at that age they could:

 

-trace letters in trays of sand and shaving cream for a few minutes a couple of times in the day

 

-sing skip counting songs together

 

-play short attention games like having a tray of small toys and objects covered in a blanket. Giving the kids a certain amount of time (like 30 seconds or a minute) to silently study the items before the blanket goes back on, then have them name as many as they can remember.  It can be repeated a couple of times so the kids can list more items.  Then the tray can be filled with other items and the game repeated.  A beautiful, interesting piece of artwork can accomplish the same thing. 

 

-short stories can be read and each child can tell back something they remember from it. The book Storybook Art by Kohl has hands on projects based on the art in children's story books.  Seriously, preschool can be the most fun part of homeschooling.

 

-Following directions games can be played in short bursts.  Giving two step instructions like, "Stand up and shout your name." can be given.  Then a 3 step, "Sit down, touch your nose, and clap."  It can keep going with one additional step each time according to the group's over all ability and when a kid makes a mistake they can be out like in Simon Says, then a new round can be played. 

 

All of that is better than worksheets at that age. The kids will run off much needed energy and have fun learning all in one package.

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