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I went and checked out the on base co-op last night. They had a meeting for new homeschoolers, which was pretty neat. Lots of nice moms, and they had all kinds of books, catalogs, and information about reporting to the state. So here's the weird part. At least I thought it was weird...who knows. They offer once a week classes for the kids, mostly taught by parents. A few classes have a paid teacher with a small fee (like ballet) but they are very afforable. Then on top of that it is only $30 to join for the whole year per family. So a very good deal. I knew they offered a few classes for younger kids, so I was really hoping to get 4 1/2 year old Carrie in something. Well the "new homeschoolers" seemed to all be people with one and two year olds. And no older siblings. Apparently the ballet starts at age two, and the "pre-k" at two or maybe one and a half. These kids were really little....younger than Katy even. There are so many little ones that the preschool classes are now being done by lottery. Knowing my luck she won't get into a thing. And most of these people straight up say they are not actually going to homeschool...this is really just an affordable way to get some toddler activities. Can't blame them there. For the life of me though I can't figure out why a one or two year old needs to be in any sort of "pre-k."
In any case I'm not sure we are going to even do the co-op now. I really think Carrie does need to be in some sort of preschool class. I was hoping a combination of once a week co-op plus church activites might fill in for that, but it doesn't seem like that is going to work out. Not to mention I don't really want my older kids surrounded by a sea of toddlers. That was the whole reason for joining the co-op in the first place. Carrie really matured so much and had so much fun last year in her part-day preschool. Soo...I picked up the packet to sign her up for her preschool again this fall. It's only three mornings a week, but the thought of driving everywhere with all four kids is pretty overwhelming. It's just really hard to meet everyone's needs as well as the overall family needs, you know? Honestly I think she needs speech therapy as well, so if we start that up there will be even more driving.
That stinks that the parents are using the co-op for toddler classes. Our group is smaller (but it's still summer break- more families come to activities during the school year) but we have already planned a PE class, art class, field trips, and I'm willing to teach/tutor for math. These are all multi-age activities, that are open to everyone. I think I have the youngest in our group at 2.5 and we have kids in high school and we are going to make it work.
Try geting in touch with the leader of the co-op, sometimes they know about a group that wasn't represented at the meeting. I know at our get to know you BBQ, last month, it seemed like there was nothing for under 3rd grade but after talking to the leader. There is a group of about 6 families with primary aged kids. It never hurts to see!
I did talk to the coordinator a bit last night. They are having a "kick-off" event in August, and then the lottery to get into classes isn't until late August or September I think. It just makes it tricky because I need to know what if any classes the kids are going to be taking so I can work other things in our schedule around them. For example, the preschool sign-ups are this month. That's why I decided to go ahead and leave her in...this sounds iffy, and I wouldn't hear back for a while. I have one other co-op I am looking into as well. It's not as close as this one, but is a bit smaller and seems a little more structured. And I like structure...can't ya tell? lol... If that one doesn't work out, I may just join the first one for the field trips. You don't have to take the weekly classes, as long as you pay the fee and help out in some way. I really would like to find something for the kids. They're used to public school, so I thought this would make it an easier transition. Still some time out of the house and time with other kiddos.
Yeah... that really does stink. It's one of the reasons I quit the group I was with. It just got too large for the under-5 crowd, and then participation dropped to nothing for the over-5 crowd. Obviously people were just using the group until public kindergarten started.
I hope you find something that caters more to older kids!
Aren't there plenty of activities on base for younger kids? I'm actually surprised they don't have a rule about not allowing kids under 5 without an older sibling. Just doesn't make sense to me.
Anyway, I hope you can find something that works out for you. Good luck.
__________________ Audrey ~Daughter of the Most High King
~Wife to my Best Friend
~Mother of Miracles
That's bad leadership to be honest. I'll be what happened is people homeschooling school-age kids had younger kids as well so they opened up classes for little ones. That makes sense. But then people found out about those younger kid classes and they just couldn't say no. IMO, little kid classes should be limited to siblings of homeschooled kids. Many co-ops have that rule. Never should someone be allowed who is saying they aren't going to homeschool when they are older. They need to change their rules.
~Heather, wife to Jamie (15 years; June 5, 1998) and mom to
Ani - 14 (February 15, 2000), Cameron - 12 (October 3, 2001),
Fritz - 7 (July 11, 2006), and Adrian - 5 (June 19, 2008) Smaller on the Outside
I think you're right Heather...it probably started for younger siblings and went from there. It just surprised me. I've heard good things about the group in general, so I may stick around and give it a shot. I really was counting on using certain things through the co-op, like the dance lessons, and not knowing if they are even going to "get in" until the last minute makes it hard. The evening dance school B and C were in last year will be starting back up in August, and I guess I'll put them back in that since there's no telling how the co-op will shake out.
Maybe the second group will work out better. They have a informational coffee at the end of the month that I am going to try to check out.