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Ellie's mom
02-08-2012, 11:32 PM
Hi all,

am trying to gain a better perspective and solve a little dilemma: should there be minimum ages for participation in group activities?

Ice skating or art class or other meet-ups usually have a few younger siblings in tow and I like to say yes to other moms and at least have an alternative activity for littler ones. I feel that this is just neighborliness and that 3yr olds don't count as being HSed: they're just little.

This is where it gets tricky: there are some parents on the local forum that are on the look-out for activities that will 'teach' their kids. I even had a mom wonder if she could drop off her 3yr old with the nanny to iceskate (first time) because she works.
I am guessing some of these parents fully intend to send their kids to international schools and are trying to get a jump on things...

Most aren't that extreme. It is a wishy washy line. Where do I draw it?
When does a kid count as being HSed?

hockeymom
02-09-2012, 08:18 AM
Well, my son (who went to preschool and thus wasn't "homeschooled") took lots of formal classes at 3--hockey, pottery, soccer, gymnastics...just loads and loads of classes because he loved them. 3 isn't too young to be taught in a formal setting if the child is ready, and pretty much every kid in his all classes was ready and eager.

But if they are tagging along on a homeschool field trip intended for older kids, I'd think it would be okay to ask the parents of the younger set to be in charge of the littles. So if your group is going ice skating, for example, the younger ones should be supervised in their own space away from the older kids. That way they are in a safe environment and the older kids don't have to worry about little people getting in the way of their races.

I think the terminology doesn't really matter, whether you call teaching a 3 year old "homeschooling" or "parenting" doesn't change the needs or desires for the younger kids to have their own classes. At the same time the older kids have the right to learn at their level without the interference of preschoolers running amok, so well communicated expectations and separate spaces should probably be in order.

Jeni
02-09-2012, 09:44 AM
I have a strong opinion on this on. I have homeschooled my kids from birth, so at 3, they both were involved in things like those mentioned. My son is 3 and participates to the best of his ability in activities and field trips. He's involved in sports (soccer), participates in 4H class with his sister (Cloverbuds 5-8) - they've done astronomy and magnets this year, does art lessons at home with his sister (K art). He handles himself very well and I have very few age related problems with him in public. Of course he can't do things the older kids can do like "real" art or writing. But he loves being part of the group and is always sad when he's left behind. He's been on several field trips, including a late night astronomy one and the science museum where he had to miss out on the show because he didn't meet the age limit even though he could have handled it fine, we played instead.

That being said, I would never expect someone else to take charge of him. It's my job to be there in case he does happen to start acting his age. I agree with Hockeymom, older kids should be able to do certain things without a little kid underfoot. But I would imagine, with a parents help, a 3 year old should be able to try ice skating.

I think it's totally reasonable to say, if you want to participate in said activity and have younger siblings, an adult must attend. For example, "Under 5, adult must accompany student, no exceptions". I've never done a field trip where any parent of any child ever left. So it's never been something we've dealt with.

Oh and I don't think it's your job to come up with other activities to entertain younger kids. The activity is what it is. If a kid can't handle that, then really, they need to stay home.

dbmamaz
02-09-2012, 09:57 AM
she wanst asking about unattended kids, tho - she was asking about kids whose parents work full time and who are likely to go to a private school and are being brought by the nanny who will stay and watch the kid . . . when its a homeschool event. Someone being watched by a nanny is not being homeschooled.

I kinda understand this whole 'i AM homeschooling my kids because they arent in preschool' thing - but then get together w other moms of kids not in preschool and do play dates?

I think the issue is more - if this is a home school event, and you only want homeschoolers, i guess the only way I can picture it is that you want ppl who are legally homeschooling, or for homeschoolers age 5 and up, with younger siblings welcome - so 3 yos without older sibs wont be welcome.

or you could give up and let it be a homeschool and preschool outing

thats the funny thing - preschoolers used to be kids who werent in school yet. Now 'preschool' is a kind of school. and opting out of it is an act of rebellion?

Amanadoo
02-09-2012, 11:30 AM
So is the issue just that you don't want kids that you don't feel like are 'homeschoolers' to attend, no matter how well behaved or supervised they are?

If it's your group it's your prerogative to set whatever limitations you want to set. That said, I think it's pretty dicey trying to tell someone else that they are not homeschoolers when they are telling you they are. My son is four and he's definitely homeschooled. Someone saying he's not wouldn't change that. His two year old brother, otoh, isn't homeschooled yet, but he's got to hang out with us wherever we go, whatever we're doing.

farrarwilliams
02-09-2012, 12:07 PM
I think you're framing the question completely wrong, honestly. I have strong opinions on whether or not preschool can "count" as homeschooling (I think it absolutely does). However, that's a whole other can of worms and a debate that has a lot of different facets and it's a volatile enough debate that I wouldn't bother diving into it for this question. I would just set an appropriate age range and say "younger and older siblings are welcome." That's that. End of story. Don't make exceptions or delve into the debate about what constitutes homeschooling.

But... because I clearly can't stop myself... I would encourage your group, if the event is genuinely appropriate for 4 or 5 yos, for example, to allow them to attend and not get into some sort of argument about whether or not they're really homeschooling. Online, I've heard a lot of nasty stories (or stories tinged with a nasty perspective) about people who "used" homeschool groups to make friends and then sent their children to kindergarten. How dare they, or something.:rolleyes: I mod'ed a preschool homeschool group for a long time. That was not my experience for the most part. And that's when we made our good friends for our homeschool journey. It makes me want to cry sometimes hearing how people who want to homeschool are closed out of things and not allowed to make friends until they've proved they're going to stick with it. Way to discourage homeschooling. Blah. I'm just sick of this elitist attitude by some homeschoolers.

dbmamaz
02-09-2012, 12:20 PM
I admit I have trouble understanding preschool as homeschooling. I mean, even on the commune, everyone wanted preschool teachers, and eventually we read some John Holt and just did it ourselves free form when it came up. I didn't consider it school or preschool. But just learning. I felt the same way w my kids. The stakes are not the same at all as not putting them into school that's covered by attendance laws. I guess it's partly a self definition issue, or a value issue?

Amanadoo
02-09-2012, 12:29 PM
But would you tell unschoolers now that they aren't really homeschoolers because they are "free-forming it themselves?"

Or if someone lives in a state where they never have to declare that they are homeschooling to the government would you tell them that the 'stakes' aren't high enough for them to be homeschoolers?

I know you wouldn't, I'm just trying to point out why i think it's the same. I am consciously and pointedly assembling and directing my child's education....at home. So I'm homeschooling.

dbmamaz
02-09-2012, 01:20 PM
Yeah, that's to me a philosophical difference. To me, you are homeschooling if you are utilizing your states (or districts) alternative to compulsory education. To you, you are homeschooling if you are taking charge of your child's education.

I guess to me, partly it's harder to distinguish that fro parents who hire tutors to get their toddlers in the the best preschool and start pulling strings for the best grade school . . . Drive them around to private lessons . .. Spend all free time pushing their kids to practice skills of various sorts . . . .still an active role on their education, but not requiring an exception to the compulsory school laws.

In fact, occasionally I see ppl pointing out that many of the things homeschoolers do, other patents do also, but on a tighter schedule . . . .trips to the library and museums, extra homework assigned by mom, etc. but they don't see that as an alternative to school.

But I know that part of it is also that in some areas, preschool is seen as just as necessary as grade school. Which makes the pressure similarly high, I guess. Im just a rule focused person, maybe . . . My definition makes more sense to me. But your definition obviously makes more sense to you.

farrarwilliams
02-09-2012, 02:52 PM
Age of compulsory schooling here is 4.5. I didn't know a single child who didn't go to preschool whose parents weren't planning to homeschool or strongly considering it. If we had not found homeschooling groups in preschool, my kids wouldn't have had any steady friends because every kid 3 and up goes to preschool here.

But in a way, the age of compulsory schooling is just an aside. I also don't think that the government should get to tell us who's homeschooling and who isn't. We get to decide.

I think it's a bit silly (or, in some cases sad) how some parents are so keen to use a million curricula and programs with their really, really young kids and are already pushing them academically so much. There's an enriching environment and there's robbing your kid of a childhood. But I'm not in charge of their kid's education, they're not in the charge of mine - and we've all chosen not to let the government be in charge - so I think we get to choose our own labels.

dbmamaz
02-09-2012, 03:26 PM
Age of compulsory schooling here is 4.5.
Wow! Its 6 here, and you can ask for a 1-year extention


But in a way, the age of compulsory schooling is just an aside. I also don't think that the government should get to tell us who's homeschooling and who isn't. We get to decide.
I find that confusing . . . what does homeschooling mean to you, then? And how is it different than parenting, supplementing, or neglect? (I know those are pointed questions, but I trust Farrar to not see it as an attack - i should clarify to others that I'm not trying to start an argument, but I really enjoy discussing the meaning of words and how they are different for different people)


There's an enriching environment and there's robbing your kid of a childhood.
My mom really wanted us to go to ivy leagues . . . boy did we dissapoint her . . . but for some people, thats the entrance to the life they want and expect for their kids - again, different values.

farrarwilliams
02-09-2012, 04:16 PM
Wow! Its 6 here, and you can ask for a 1-year extention
Yeah, the age here is totally silly. That used to be the age kids started K, but then they moved that to age 5, but didn't change the compulsory schooling age. But I think they didn't want to - there was a proposal here to lower it again to 4 at one point and the only reason it didn't pass is that there aren't enough public pre-K slots in the city and they didn't have the funding for it... yet. Honestly, universal preschool *is* coming. It's a stated goal of many different forces in education - governments, unions, political groups... By the time our kids have kids, I full expect that states will be providing universal pre-K.


I find that confusing . . . what does homeschooling mean to you, then? And how is it different than parenting, supplementing, or neglect? (I know those are pointed questions, but I trust Farrar to not see it as an attack - i should clarify to others that I'm not trying to start an argument, but I really enjoy discussing the meaning of words and how they are different for different people)


:) I get it. Don't tread lightly for me, Cara!

I just think that by homeschooling we're specifically rejecting the government's version of education. So the government's scope and sequence, testing, curricula, methodologies, etc. all do not apply to us. And by the same token, I don't think what the government says about when education starts or who is "allowed" to use the term homeschooler should carry the most weight either. From a practical standpoint, the government requires that some people report and others not, just as it requires that we teach certain subjects or topics. But overall, I think to let the government's age of compulsory schooling define whether or not we're home educating our children gives them way too much power. Beyond just the practical sense that the age differs, the laws differ, etc. - I think "homeschooler" is a label people should be empowered to choose for themselves.

laundrycrisis
02-09-2012, 04:30 PM
This is my take on the original post; the gist I got from it:

The group is being approached by parents who probably have no interest in homeschooling at any point in the future, but who are wanting to get their very young children involved with the group just because they are looking for more activities and learning experiences to fill the day with.

I have experienced people like this filling up a homeschool group and making it "young-heavy" and diluting the aspect of the group being a place for homeschooling support. I get it. I have even stood next to mommies of young kids who were in half-day programs, filling in their afternoons with the homeschool group, and listened to them go on and on about what a horrible idea homeschooling is. Out loud. At a homeschool group. Yes.

On the other hand, I think homeschool groups should be wide open to people with young kids who are interested in homeschooling. My own kids have never been to school. When DS1 was 3, one of our playgroups dissolved because all the other kids went off to preschool. When we did get together, all the discussion was about preschool. I felt like an alien. I needed a homeschool support group. But it was hard to find one where I was welcomed because he was still too young to be a "real homeschooler". But I think parents of young kids who are interested in homeschooling can get a lot of benefit from hanging around with homeschoolers, and they should be welcomed and encouraged.

It's a delicate balance to find. IMO age limits are not the way to do it. But a super enthusiastic proclamation that the group is to support homeschoolers and those who are interested in homeschooling may run off some of the people who will not fit the group's purpose.

dbmamaz
02-09-2012, 05:19 PM
ahh, Farrar, I see. And its partly a practical matter for me, as I often think I would NOT be homeschooling if my boys could handle school . . . but more often, when I repeat that line, I'm not entirely sure its still true. I mean, if my boys WANTED to go to school, i'd be happy to let them go. So i'm still pretty focused on the educational establishment, defining my actions as an alternative.

You are a broader rebel, choosing to define your childrens education without any reference to the establishment.

In some ways, this gets back to the whole 'living as if there was no school' thing, which used to make me very uncomfortable - because I like school and I still think the path is useful. I came to the conclusion that, even if there was no school, i'd still probably use structure and books and goals, rather than letting my kids do their own undirected thing all the time . . .but see, that was vs unschoolers. Here was have people who are decidedly not unschoolers essentially saying the same thing - the school paradigm is not part of my choices or decisions at all. Kind of like how satanists are really still being defined by xtianity, despite trying to go against it.

Sorry again to be so off topic

I do think thats a hard line between people who just want activities for their preschoolers but have every intention of sending their kids to school at 6, and those who are truly looking to explore homeschooling. I guess i'm just glad it doenst come up for me!

farrarwilliams
02-09-2012, 05:24 PM
It *is* kind of like how satanists let Christianity define them! Hehe. Cara, I also often want to compare things to totally unrelated and bizarre things. Thank you for making me feel like I'm not the only one.

I don't think it's off-topic though. I think it's part of the debate of what makes a homeschooler and therefore who should be allowed at homeschool events held by a group... though I do think practically it's probably better for groups to make rules about that without trying to get at this who is a homeschooler question (see, it's strangely philosophical!).

dbmamaz
02-09-2012, 05:38 PM
It *is* kind of like how satanists let Christianity define them! Hehe. Cara, I also often want to compare things to totally unrelated and bizarre things. Thank you for making me feel like I'm not the only one.
:cool: :^o): :o

Jeni
02-10-2012, 10:29 AM
This is my take on the original post; the gist I got from it:

The group is being approached by parents who probably have no interest in homeschooling at any point in the future, but who are wanting to get their very young children involved with the group just because they are looking for more activities and learning experiences to fill the day with.

I have experienced people like this filling up a homeschool group and making it "young-heavy" and diluting the aspect of the group being a place for homeschooling support. I get it. I have even stood next to mommies of young kids who were in half-day programs, filling in their afternoons with the homeschool group, and listened to them go on and on about what a horrible idea homeschooling is. Out loud. At a homeschool group. Yes.

On the other hand, I think homeschool groups should be wide open to people with young kids who are interested in homeschooling. My own kids have never been to school. When DS1 was 3, one of our playgroups dissolved because all the other kids went off to preschool. When we did get together, all the discussion was about preschool. I felt like an alien. I needed a homeschool support group. But it was hard to find one where I was welcomed because he was still too young to be a "real homeschooler". But I think parents of young kids who are interested in homeschooling can get a lot of benefit from hanging around with homeschoolers, and they should be welcomed and encouraged.

It's a delicate balance to find. IMO age limits are not the way to do it. But a super enthusiastic proclamation that the group is to support homeschoolers and those who are interested in homeschooling may run off some of the people who will not fit the group's purpose.

If that's the case, then of course the group leader needs to be firm. I don't think we belong to one group that allows people who are not truly homeschooling or seriously thinking about it. So to say, sorry, you can't participate is completely appropriate.

That being said, I didn't get that from the OP at all. Those are two totally different questions. Should younger siblings be allowed to attend or should we open the group to non-homeschoolers? A younger sibling has the right to participate within reason, it is homeschooling, regardless of the age limits individual states suggest. Our compulsory age is 7 here. I can't see just cooling my heels until my oldest was in 1st grade before starting lessons or joining in classes or activities. And as Farra pointed out, universal preschool is something that will happen. Laws will change and the example of a 3 year old not being school age will no longer be valid. BUT a non-homeschooler can find another group to participate in. There just isn't a reason, unless you have no problem having an open group.

ETA: We faced the same problem when dd was around 3. The meetup group we belonged to changed when the flood of kids started going to prek. Suddenly dd had no one to play with. There were very few opportunities for a young homeschooler and it took us a long time to find something that would allow her to participate.

laundrycrisis
02-10-2012, 12:02 PM
That being said, I didn't get that from the OP at all.

I got that from her example of people wanting to drop their young child and nanny off to participate, but who she expects will be sending that child on to school later. Yes, I am reading between the lines, but this is based on my personal experience with people who aren't planning to homeschool but are just looking to fill their 3 or 4 yo's days and who see homeschool groups as a way to do that.

IMO: Is a 3 yo a real homeschooler who should be allowed to partipate ? Yes, if the parents are seriously thinking about homeschooling, whether or not there are older siblings. No, if they are just looking for a way to fill the days and would not actually consider homeschooling. I would ask the parents straight up if they are planning to homeschool.

farrarwilliams
02-10-2012, 03:49 PM
Well, they could always lie... I guess that's why I think you just make an age range, allow sibs of participants, and then be firm about that. I think that's a lot easier than deciding who's really a homeschooler or a serious future homeschooler or whatever. I do get the issue about activities skewing too young... But all the more reason to just be controlling and dictatorial about it sometimes.

laundrycrisis
02-10-2012, 06:14 PM
I think it's mean to exclude parents of preschoolers who are specifically looking for homeschooling support, because they can need it just as much as the rest of us. But I would have no issue telling people straight up that this group is ONLY for those who are planning or seriously considering homeschooling, and be pushy enough about that to hopefully make anyone who was planning to lie be too uncomfortable to hang around long.

dbmamaz
02-10-2012, 06:29 PM
I finally noticed she's also not in the US . . .so its even harder for us to judge the cultural norms

farrarwilliams
02-10-2012, 09:03 PM
Oh, weird. You're right. She's in Beijing! Zenme shuo "homeschool"?!? :D

Pefa
02-11-2012, 09:22 AM
As long as the activity works for the different ages and stages, I like the idea of a 5yo and up with younger sibs welcome, regardless of educational status. I'm not going to get into a pissing match about the semantics of when you're homeschooling and when you're just being a decent parent. It seems silly to exclude kids who might enjoy each others company because of what their parents are choosing to do.

Ellie's mom
02-11-2012, 10:06 PM
Thanks for all the input.

As I said, I like to say yes to other moms. How to diplomatically create some boundaries will be a skill to develop.
It's always in fllux here. People come, leave, choose international school or local school... Getting any kind of regular activity going is an achievement.

Right now there does seem to be more moms of wee ones. Some time back, a lovely gal started coming with her 3yr old to group activities: he was always the youngest and couldn't sit still let alone pay attention. Obviously it was for the playtime after the learning activity that they came for -until we realized it was her only social time! They are back in Canada now and continuing the HS journey.

Mostly everything is peachy and there is a great mix of backgrounds and nationalities. Just lately have I become wary of 'Tiger moms' and am developing antenna to detect them... A big hint is that they think HS is a school that is privately set up in someone's home. They want to send their kid. Doesn't happen too often.

bovinesituation
02-13-2012, 10:37 AM
I've gotten that line that I'm not *really* homeschooling my kids because the oldest is only 4.5, which is fine (actually, I find it mean-spirited, but whatever) except I'd say 99% of kids around here start some sort of preschool when they are 2, even the families claiming they are planning to homeschool. That last bit is completely odd to me, but I'm not going to say anything to them because again, who cares?

I run a homeschooling meetup group and pretty much all of the members are parents of very young kids. I don't know how many of them are really planning to homeschool or how many are just using the group to fill their afternoons (after they pick their kids up from preschool lol). I can say that the group is very inactive with people not coming to the events I list on the calendar *shrug*

As an aside, I was in another meetup group for parents of young kids and the group used to be really active until the kids aged out (at 2, like I said). The playdates for babies and toddlers are popular, but after 18 months or so old, there's nothing because the kids are all in school.

Avalon
02-14-2012, 07:04 PM
This is well off-topic from the original post, but I am surprised at how pervasive "pre-school" is in some places! Around here, "pre-school" is synonymous with "playschool" and I would be surprised if even half of kids attend. It's usually only two or three mornings a week for three and four year olds. At two hours per day, it's only 4 or 6 hours a week. I think it's a popular choice for stay-at-home parents, as opposed to those whose kids are in daycare all day.

Both of my kids went. I sent my oldest in the afternoons so that I could have a nap with the baby. I think it saved my life. By the time I sent the youngest, we were homeschooling, and it gave me 90 minutes of one-on-one time with the oldest. The #1 value of playschool, aside from napping, was the fact that they always made a craft. I hate crafts (or "art"), so off-loading that onto someone else was GREAT.

dbmamaz
02-14-2012, 07:11 PM
yeah, its gotten really hard to find preschools that arent 5 days a week. otoh, i'm shocked that 1-week half-day summer camps can be 200/week . .. wow