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krlaz
10-21-2011, 11:20 PM
I help organize a homeschool group and recently we had a mom who started bringing the children she watches in her home to some of the group activities like the park and co-op classes. I felt this was not acceptable (we have clear guidelines about this), so one of the organizers spoke with her about it and asked her to only attend events with the group when she has just her children(she only has the day care kids a few days a week). She was very hurt and has since chatted with her other friends in the group about it and those people are now causing some waves within the group.

Here are my questions for you all. First, do you all have day care children attending events that are organized through your homeschool group? And second, what are your thoughts about our policy that states only members of the homeschool group and their children can attend our events? Members do pay yearly dues and those dues pay for supplies for classes so everything except field trips is free (this includes classes, crafts and science at the park, and parties).

Thanks in advance for your input. I was just surprised by the reactions from some of the other members who thought we were being harsh, thoughtless and elitist to ask this mom not to bring the children she watches to our events. Are we wrong to assume that a homeschool group should be for homeschool families and if you are choosing to run a day care from your home and homeschool that means that you might need to create alternate ways for your kids to socialize?

dbmamaz
10-21-2011, 11:56 PM
I dont have any direct experience, but i have to say, its pretty hard to find other homeschoolers to associate with at all . . . were the kids actually causing any problems other than not being blood relatives? I have trouble understanding why it would have been brought up. My experience is that usually these kinds of rules are only enforced IF the 'other' people become a problem. Because yes, it is harsh, imo. I always lean towards 'yes' and 'we can make it work', personally.

Stacey B
10-22-2011, 12:04 AM
In the small co-op that we're part of (8 families) one of the women provides daycare as her income, they come along with her. We felt that it was important that we not leave out her daughter just because her family needs to have a second income. She usually has one little boy with her so that might be somewhat different. But in our case, because we are such a small group, our main goal is to support each other however we can. Recently we had a member who got in a bad accident, we all have been working together to help her with homeschooling at different times so that she can have time to heal. I don't really look at them as different, they are both supporting members who are doing what they can to homeschool.

krlaz
10-22-2011, 12:40 AM
I guess our group is a little different. We have about 50 members. We describe our group as being one for moms who homeschool their children. People join with the assumption that they will be enjoying activities with other homeschool families. Is it fair to them to allow someone to bring along children from their in home day care?

I can understand Stacey's comments and I think the situation would be different if our group was smaller and we could all agree. But again, our group is large.

Teri
10-22-2011, 12:57 AM
We have a similar size group and require each family to be a member of the group. Each family is also supposed to help out at co-op by doing their assigned jobs. That said, we have had unique situations in the past that just cannot be handled by the "rules". We have had a single mom that teaches at the university that cannot be at co-op. For several years, different families have taken charge of her kids and covered her jobs. She comes at the end of the day and supervises the cleaning for the building. We have also had a family that took in a few other kids and homeschooled them. Their families actually joined the co-op, but they attended with their "teacher". We never saw the other families.
So, I guess while we have a guideline that we are for homeschooled families and that each family has to participate, we do make exceptions.

lakshmi
10-22-2011, 01:42 AM
But this means that the children are young right? Do they fit into the group? Is it awkward in any other way than financially?

If she brings more kids that use the stuff, then she needs to pay a fee. But if they were all her bio/adopted or foster kids would they be considered allowed? Sounds like a rule needs some clarification. Or that maybe she could ask her parents for an extra fee if they want them to attend.

Basically, if this is how she makes money, but she is also a member then by saying she can't bring them. She will have to stay home, and then you will have lost her as a resource. So, sounds like stuck between letting her come free of charge, asking her to pay more, or asking her to leave. Two of these options end up with less money/resources for the co-op.

If it were my co-op and I had a vote I would: first decide if having the extra kids bugged me. No. decide if she really was an asset to the group or whether I thought she was snarky. Asset. STAY... Snarky... Great way to get rid of her... GO ::points finger::

And another great topic for the debate group!!!

hockeymom
10-22-2011, 07:40 AM
We have a large co-op (45 kids) and there have on occasion been "extra", non-member kids on field trips. I personally think it's great to show the homeschooling world to anyone who wants to participate; as an added bonus that means there are more new faces for our kids to potentially become friends with.

I agree that if there are extra charges for the trips then she'll have to cover them for her extra little ones, but to deny her children access to their own group's activities just because mom has to earn some extra money...I do think that sounds inflexible.

farrarwilliams
10-22-2011, 09:13 AM
I mod a smallish group - about that size. And I have to say, I would have no problem with it. I think I would appreciate the heads up first to the group, but unless the kids were causing problems, then I wouldn't have a problem with it. Frankly, it does seem harsh to me and I don't really understand what the purpose is. It looks like your kids are pretty young. Should you have to leave your 3 year old home because he's not officially homeschooled yet? What about someone who homeschools someone else's children?

laundrycrisis
10-22-2011, 10:27 AM
Are we wrong to assume that a homeschool group should be for homeschool families and if you are choosing to run a day care from your home and homeschool that means that you might need to create alternate ways for your kids to socialize?

It's hard enough to find ways to socialize already. I would not have any problem with the extra kids coming along. If providing daycare is making it financially possible for her to homeschool her own kids, I would want to be supportive. I would not want her to feel like she is not able to have her own kids participate in homeschool activities because the daycare kids are there that day.

If there is a cost per child that member dues have covered, she should of course cover that for the extra kids. That should not be assumed to be covered by the dues she paid for her own kids. Beyond that, I don't get at all why it's a problem. I agree with the members who think this is a harsh policy. The only other reason I can think of is limited space in classes - I would think kids of members should get priority for spots over daycare kids. But if there is no limit like this, I would want to include the daycare kids as long as their costs are covered.

dottieanna29
10-22-2011, 10:38 AM
Well, I guess I would want some clarification before deciding. How many kids is she bringing? Does she watch 3 kids or 10 kids? Are the yearly dues per family or per child? How many of the events are organized to the extent that exact numbers or having too many kids participating could make a difference? Park days shouldn't matter, classes/parties it might. Could having those extra kids there make it so someone elses children couldn't participate? Is she able to say ahead of time when the kids would be there and when they wouldn't so it's easier to make plans? Are the kids she watches much younger than any of the others in the group? Are they disruptive?

My first instinct would be to allow it but have her pay extra depending on the activity and how many children she's bringing. But depending on the answers to the above questions, I might change my mind.

krlaz
10-22-2011, 11:13 AM
I appreciate all of your replies and I also appreciate how respectful you are being. I am obviously asking this question to learn more, not to stir up trouble. I genuinely feel bad that our member is upset and I want to hear more in order to help clarify my own opinion about the matter. So thanks for being patient and thoughtful with your answers.

I'll try to give a little explanation as to why we have the policy as it sounds like that's not understood.

Our co-op classes don't take place at a church or other building. They happen in member's homes. Space is limited because of that. Also I think members really want to know each other well because we are often in each other's homes. I appreciate knowing the moms of all of the kids in attendance. If something happens between the children or to a child it is reassuring to have the mom there so that we can talk. I think it makes members feel more comfortable when they are offering a co-op class at their home, especially when they have already joined the group knowing about the policy of only member's children are allowed to attend. That's one of the reasons for the policy.

To add more to that, sometimes children are sent to their child care providers when they are sick or maybe on the verge of being sick because the parents have to work. If the information about a possible illness isn't passed along to the day care provider, then she potentially can take the kids to one of our events and suddenly pass along an illness to other kids. I know this may not seem like a big deal to most people, but it is for me. I have a child with cancer. The chemo he takes causes his immune system to be low hence making it much much easier for him to contract an illness. When he is sick, it can lots of times mean a trip to the hospital. I know that we take a risk every time we attend an event with other kids, but at least I've had the opportunity to share this with each mom, face to face. They know the gravity of the situation. They can see and hear me when we talk. I don't have this same opportunity with the parent's of the day care children. The mom who takes care of them can see and hear me, but she can't control what is happening at the home of these children. She can't know if their mom or dad is sick or if they were just at a party with a child who coughed all over them. At least other moms can share these things with me to at least pass along the information to me so that I can act accordingly.

I guess I just have a different perspective about all of this, and since I started the group, it was the policy that was put into place. This policy has been in place for the last year, and the member knew about it when she joined. She has only recently begun to bring the kids. She doesn't care for them every day, so she does have the opportunity to join us when she does not have them. Part of the reason that I started this group was to create a homeschool group that my kids could be a part of. We had to be almost completely isolated for a year because of my son's illness. I wanted to make sure that the group I created would be one that would fit our needs. I understand that this policy may not be welcoming for moms who homeschool and provide day care, but a group that allows day care children is not welcoming for me. So I created a group that works for me. I suppose she can do the same for her family. I'm not meaning to sound harsh, just realistic. I had to work hard to create opportunities for my children, especially my son. I guess I just feel that people should do the same for their kids if the situation isn't working.

Accidental Homeschooler
10-22-2011, 11:52 AM
I wonder if the group has just gotten too big, especially if you are meeting in eachother's homes. I think that even though you started the group and had very specific goals for it and with good reason, once other people join they are going to feel that they should have an equal say and if they have different ideas... well, it will create problems and bad feelings. I sounds like you have sadly sort of become the victim of your own success. A couple smaller groups might also make it easier to protect your son while he is so vulnerable. It sounds very difficult and I hope you all are able to find a solution.

clancariens
10-22-2011, 12:15 PM
My thoughts are in line with Julie's. At some point, when we are in charge of a group/or founded it/or ruled it like a queen, that group takes on a life of its own. If you are leading it or guiding it you become its steward and the needs as a group as a whole have to taken into account. I believe it's hard to watch something you created turn into something else (kinda like the tween years). If it is your needs vs. her needs, then well, that is a complicated situation to deal with and can be very divisive, I think, with everyone needing to "pick a side". If there is a policy in place that this group is ONLY for children who are home educated, then, well she's breaking that rule in bringing along the other kids. But if the rule states it's for homeschooling families, then she does actually fit the bill cause she IS a home educator, so long as she's making additional cash contributions for activities that require it. You need to protect your son's health; that is priority #1. And, I also understand the need to want to have a like-minded and familiar group of families. I agree that finding opportunities to meet people that you can click with is hard -- both for the parents AND for the kids. I also agree that breaking down barriers and stereotypes by being open to interactions between private schooled/homeschooled/public schooled kids is important. I know I want my kids to continue interactions with kids from all kinds of educational settings and appreciate that their friends/acquaintances/even the school they used to attend are amenable to that. Or this family would be in sorry, lonely shape right now. In the end I think that the rule needs to be clarified and voted on by the group. And, it might be time for the co op to split into a smaller sized groups to accomodate administrative differences including a larger neutral meeting place.

Amanadoo
10-22-2011, 12:42 PM
I wonder if the group has just gotten too big, especially if you are meeting in eachother's homes. I think that even though you started the group and had very specific goals for it and with good reason, once other people join they are going to feel that they should have an equal say and if they have different ideas... well, it will create problems and bad feelings. I sounds like you have sadly sort of become the victim of your own success. A couple smaller groups might also make it easier to protect your son while he is so vulnerable. It sounds very difficult and I hope you all are able to find a solution.

I agree with this.

Jeni
10-22-2011, 01:37 PM
Of course it's fair to allow her to attend as long as she's bringing a reasonable number she can control. Technically she's homeschooling the children, even if it's not "legal". She is their teacher and therefore should be allowed to bring them.

I would say that some stipulations should be made, she needs to be in complete control of all the kids at all times, provide them with lunch or whatever, and maybe chip in a couple extra dollars every month to cover supplies. I also might suggest she bring signed permission forms and have have all her emergency forms on her at all times since their parents are not there. For her protection as well as your group leaders.

But yes, unless there is more to the story, it seems mean spirited to shut her and her child(ren) out just because she does daycare. I can see why she talked to her friends (to get their take) and why they all might be voicing their opinion.

After reading some of your other posts, it sounds like it might be time to put a cap on the number of families involved, perhaps split into smaller groups. Unless you are willing to invest the time and resources to find a larger home for your group to grow with, this will continue to happen in different ways. It's just part of being a group leader, people will always be doing things you disagree with and that you feel compromise the group. I agree with some of the other ladies, if this group started about you and your child and you want to keep it that way, then it's time to reevaluate. If it's about the group as a whole, it might be a good idea to take a look at the rules and why they were set in place, for you or for benefit of the whole body.

Is it possible to have a parent meeting to go over this stuff? Something everyone can have a voice in? You guys can vote on it and move on from there.

farrarwilliams
10-22-2011, 01:42 PM
I still am having trouble agreeing with you. The illness thing is especially a red herring to me. Kids with colds are most contagious before they even show symptoms (other than ones like crankiness which is very easy to confuse with the condition of being a child). And any of the parents may bring a slightly sick kid. It's rude, especially if there's a child with a compromised immune system in the group, but in my experience, sometimes people just don't read their kids well, or don't read their illnesses well.

If you mentioned how many extra kids this is, I didn't see, but I still think it's vague what's meant by "homeschooled" when you're talking about preschoolers. Obviously you have a preschooler too and they are bringing preschoolers. None of those kids are officially home educated according to the state. It seems to me if the kids she babysits for are in her home as she educates her kids, they're just as homeschooled as any other younger siblings. Now, it's different if she's bringing a dozen kids because that's obviously a daycare class, but I'm guessing this is just 2-3 kids, yes?

If you're trying to do a full on co-op class with dozens of kids in peoples' homes, then that sounds like a big logistical issue to me. I've been a part of groups that size that do a playgroup in people's homes (the preschool group I used to mod was like that), but it was a loose playgroup with occasional activities - not a formal class. People came and went, start times were loose and people attended or didn't attend when they liked (though they were required to come occasionally to stay part of the group). Is there a possibility this group just needs to split in two? You know, like mitosis!

If it's your group, then it's your rules, and that's that. But I sure wouldn't like it. It would give me pause about continuing with a group like that, to be honest.

krlaz
10-22-2011, 04:31 PM
Thanks again for all of your replies. I knew it would be helpful for me to "hear" some more opinions on the matter.

After reading your posts, I've come to the conclusion that the group needs to change. It needs to be a group run by a group of members who can work together to lead it. Members need to be able to vote on issues and take a more active role.

I don't want to be a "queen bee" and I don't want this to be viewed as my group. That was never my intent. It's hard to express to people how I view the world since our son was diagnosed with cancer, especially my view on illnesses. I know that there are incubation periods for illnesses and I know that kids can be well one day and sick the next, but somehow sharing our son's condition with other moms face to face and having them be aware and make choices with that in mind really brought about a certain comfort for me. My world is colored by illness. Everywhere I go I hear the coughs and see the runny noses...for a long time it was hard to look at people and not see them based on their visual health. I've become much more comfortable over the years, but it is still always there. It is just such a part of my reality.

But I know that the group has grown and now things need to change. I am willing to admit that and do what I can to help with the process. That included a call to the member where I shared all of this with her and invited her to bring the day care kids to our events when she needs to, being mindful of those events with limited numbers of attendees. The group can decide together how to handle this. I'm not sure how we'll fit into all of this, but I'll make it work.

Accidental Homeschooler
10-22-2011, 04:41 PM
Thanks again for all of your replies. I knew it would be helpful for me to "hear" some more opinions on the matter.

After reading your posts, I've come to the conclusion that the group needs to change. It needs to be a group run by a group of members who can work together to lead it. Members need to be able to vote on issues and take a more active role.

I don't want to be a "queen bee" and I don't want this to be viewed as my group. That was never my intent. It's hard to express to people how I view the world since our son was diagnosed with cancer, especially my view on illnesses. I know that there are incubation periods for illnesses and I know that kids can be well one day and sick the next, but somehow sharing our son's condition with other moms face to face and having them be aware and make choices with that in mind really brought about a certain comfort for me. My world is colored by illness. Everywhere I go I hear the coughs and see the runny noses...for a long time it was hard to look at people and not see them based on their visual health. I've become much more comfortable over the years, but it is still always there. It is just such a part of my reality.

But I know that the group has grown and now things need to change. I am willing to admit that and do what I can to help with the process. That included a call to the member where I shared all of this with her and invited her to bring the day care kids to our events when she needs to, being mindful of those events with limited numbers of attendees. The group can decide together how to handle this. I'm not sure how we'll fit into all of this, but I'll make it work.

Good for you and good luck figuring out what will work for everybody.

dbmamaz
10-22-2011, 04:41 PM
Kayela, I think that the health issue IS the core of this. I think if you had explained that in your first post, we might have been somewhat more sympathetic. I hope you make it clear to the day-care mom that that is really the biggest issue for you, after space issues. Perhaps she can explain it to the kids parents, just ask them to be more forthecoming with her about health issues.

It sounds like you started a great group! Good luck with figuring out where to take it from here!

coloradoalice
10-22-2011, 04:50 PM
If you have spoken to the moms about illness then you have spoken to this particular mom who does day care, right? So she's clear you would appreciate her using extreme caution when bringing kids to the group activities? I think you have to trust her judgment then, really. It's what you are doing with every single other mom in the group so why don't you trust that she wouldn't bring an obviously sick child to an activity?

Groups do ebb and flow and morph with membership and it sounds like a change is on the horizon. I have to admit that if I did day care in order to stay home with my kids and home school and then was shunned from a home school group for that choice it would really hurt my feelings. I would feel it would be very fair to ask for a fee for the children if they are using group resources but if they are just playing on the side with a group of sibling toddlers while the school aged children do their classes then I do think you are being a bit too sensitive on your side.

But yous still haven't mentioned how many children are involved and that does make a difference in my opinion. 2-4 babies/toddlers which she can easily manage while participating, totally ok, not worth causing a group split over. But if she's arriving in a 16 passenger van with a full load of kids that are out of her control and are running wild, being disruptive and using resources, well then that's not ok.

laundrycrisis
10-22-2011, 05:44 PM
Kayela, it sounds like this group you started has done well, but that it may have grown beyond the point of meeting your needs right now. It sounds like you are on the right track to let some of the members take over some of the leadership and have the group run more democratically. Maybe for a while you can ask to personally host only small gatherings with a limited number of kids, and ask that the parents who attend those do their absolute best to avoid exposing your family to illness. Meanwhile, the rest of the group can continue to do its thing and grow, and include babysitting/home daycare kids. In the future when your son's health is not so fragile, the group as a whole will still be there for you.

lakshmi
10-22-2011, 05:51 PM
Kayela: Seems like you've changed your perspective a bit. Yes, sounds like the group needs to change. A board established and a new place to meet. Just for general improvement of the group.

I had a child with cancer as well, so i not only understand I have lived it! BUT, that being said, I would never have invited any more than 3 to 4 PEOPLE much less a bunch of kids to my home, nor would I have taken my CK to any homes with more than that amount. I didn't give a shite whether or not they "weren't sick" . I just didn't do it.

Everyone who came to our home was required to wash their hands immediately, and even that wasn't enough to keep our daughter safe. So the great thing about the cancer card is that it can help you get your way. I know, I've pulled it many times. It works. The only problem with this situation is that I am not going to let you pull that card. I don't know you well, and of course this will come across as snarky. (Maybe I could just change my name to Guru Snark.) I apologize for the tone. BUT, keeping a cancer kid safe from illness is a tough game.

Anything can drop their immunity at a moments notice. A simple rhinovirus or CMV will send you the hospital on IV antibiotics for 3 days, minimum. [yes, i did say virus and antibiotics in the same sentence.] You're playing a game of roulette and I wouldn't play it at all, or if I did only minimally. We started co-op the last five months of treatment, when my daughters ANC had risen. BUT she was still taking steroids. We handwashed upon arrival, before lunch, after lunch, after we left and **she still got sick** Not going to the hospital sick. We also attended sporadically. I wasn't having oodles of snotty nosed preschoolers at my house!!! (I say this in the utmost of non-snarkiness, to me all preschoolers are snotty-nosed.)

So, for the rest of you who think that this is an issue about health, I would say that it isn't. It sounds to me like a control issue. For those of you with well meaning. " you could talk to them..." It is NO ONE else's responsibility to keep another's CK healthy. Of course tell people the best ways to reduce exposure, but like Farrar said, contagious can happen before even a parent knows it. And it doesn't help that much to call a day or so later and say, O BTW lil johnny just rolfed all over the kitchen.

Change the group. Take your kid out of the round-up and make decisions that are good for the group's longevity and its overall wellbeing, not just the people in it at this moment.

jess
10-25-2011, 12:32 PM
But yous still haven't mentioned how many children are involved and that does make a difference in my opinion. 2-4 babies/toddlers which she can easily manage while participating, totally ok, not worth causing a group split over. But if she's arriving in a 16 passenger van with a full load of kids that are out of her control and are running wild, being disruptive and using resources, well then that's not ok.
Yep. We had a mom in my old group who cared for someone else's infant, and would bring it along to whatever was going on. No one blinked an eye. I don't think anyone else did official daycare (except one mother who cared for another homeschooled child whose family was also a member of the group, so that's a different situation), but other children that were being cared for temporarily would join in group activities from time to time.

I can see it being an issue if these group activities ended up providing a significant percentage of this person's daycare activities, regardless of how well-behaved/supervised the children were - she's being paid for bringing them to an activity where someone else is doing the work on a volunteer basis.

I also think it's reasonable to ask her to pay dues for the daycare children.


I had a child with cancer as well, so i not only understand I have lived it! BUT, that being said, I would never have invited any more than 3 to 4 PEOPLE much less a bunch of kids to my home, nor would I have taken my CK to any homes with more than that amount. I didn't give a shite whether or not they "weren't sick" . I just didn't do it.
I agree - a group with 50 families is way too big for illness to be a primary consideration here. That isn't a close-knit group of trusted families, even if it feels like it. I can guarantee someone is bringing their kid that they know was exposed to chicken pox recently, but they really don't want to miss all activities for the next several weeks, or whose kid has "probably just allergies", or who honestly don't know that their kid is coming down with something (I've been that family - my kid was running around and playing, perfectly fine, while at the park, complained of a headache as we were leaving, and threw up 10 minutes later. I felt bad about potentially exposing other people, but there had been NO prior evidence of sickness).

SueEllen Grieves-Curl
10-26-2011, 11:17 PM
Well in all honesty how does your group handle younger siblings of the kids that are enrolled in the group?
Are they allowed to attend? Are they not allowed to attend? Do they pay a fee or not if they are allowed that is.

Under no terms should anyone else in the group be responsible for these children but I think if your group has rules set up for younger siblings these children should be handled in the same manner.