Co-op? No, thank you.

I’ve just come to the disappointing decision that our family will not be participating in the local elementary homeschool coop this winter and spring.  The leader worked hard to bring the cost down, the activities sounded interesting, and I know and like the other mom leading the group.  Why are we skipping it then?  In a word: asynchrony; I don’t think the overarching paradigm of the group (designed for ages 5-10, but younger siblings welcome, in theory) will be a good fit for my kids.  

The plan to start the once a week meetings with circle time and a story.  Sounds great, except I have the sneaking suspicion that they expect kids to actually sit still for it, and I have what I euphemistically call kinesthetic listeners.  Younger sibs are welcome to participate (if they can behave appropriately) in this part of the program, but parents should bring something for the little ones to do when the activities are ‘too advanced’ for them.  My little guy?  Sit and play with, oh, *anything* when he wants to be trying what the other kids are doing?  Yeah, right.  I have learned from experience that letting him try something and even fail miserably at it is still quieter (and less messy) than telling him no at the outset!

The leader wrote that she was game to have him try stuff, which I HUGELY appreciate, but I can still feel her reservations in there, and one of the reasons we homeschool is so that we do NOT need to ask for accommodations!  They don’t need the headache of us, and, quite frankly, I don’t need the stress of trying to both meet my kids’ needs while not stepping on anyone’s toes.  Yes, it would be fun, but I’m really thinking that, at this point, it just ain’t worth the headaches, you know?

Made a fun discovery though: the leader made a comment that “the origami activity would obviously be WAY over the head of a [soon-to-be] three and a half year old,” and I was curious to see if she was right.  While I didn’t see him folding paper cranes any time soon, I thought he might be able to manage some basic stuff with guidance, and asked him if he’d do an experiment with me.  I got some computer paper, folded and tore it to make a square for each of us, and showed Buddy how to make a fortune teller, what my husband says young boys used to call a cootie-catcher.  I thought he might need me to repeatedly demonstrate some steps for him.  Instead, he started *anticipating* steps, and finished parts of it before I did.  Yes, his folding was fairly sloppy, but yo – he’s three!  Without touching his work other than prepping the square, showing him how to make a firm crease, and opening the flaps (where your fingers go when done), he made a VERY credible fortune-teller.  I think we need to add origami to list of crafty plans for this winter!

Buddy (still sugar-shocky from hitting his Santa-provided stocking stash) holding both his and my completed fortune tellers. Hard to tell them apart, eh?

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This entry was posted in ain't a bowl full of cherries, arts and craftiness, Asynchronous development, Educational Paradigms, Giftedness, Overexcitabilities & SPD and tagged . Bookmark the permalink.

6 Responses to Co-op? No, thank you.

  1. Theresa says:

    I totally feel your pain re the co-op thing. We were very lucky to belong to a co-op that grouped kids by ability, not age, and 99% of the time that worked. Occasionally we would get some crazed person who really believed that her 18 month old would fit right in with the twelve year old Physics experiment, but for the most part homeschool parents are usually sane and honest about their kids’ abilities.

    We haven’t had such good luck with co-ops since that one great one. I’m thinking about starting one of my own, if someone doesn’t do an intervention on me beforehand. :)

    • Siggi says:

      Yeah, finding enough kids of similar abilities and interests who are homeschooling with a similar philosophy with parents who can work together harmoniously is, well, if you find that perfect blend, buy a lottery ticket, because it is your lucky day.

      The idea of co-ops really appeal to me, but just finding a single other family we’re aligned with that well that is also in reasonable driving distance has proved futile so far, so I’m not holding my breath.

      Good luck to you, and I’m happy to be your interventionist if you decide you could benefit from one!

  2. freya46 says:

    One of my non-SCA kids used to teach origami. Would you like to get in contact with her? She just had a baby, so, she’s usually home. :-)

    I understand perfectly why you’ve chosen as you have. The kids are simply too bright and advanced in too many areas to fit in any predetermined *box*. Good decision. :-)

    • Siggi says:

      I have done a fair amount of origami work myself, so I’m not feeling out of my depth YET, but thanks. ;)

      I’m not steering away from the co-op because of the ways my kids are advanced (or at least interested in ‘advanced’ things), but because of the ways in which they are NOT advanced. Sure, Buddy plays chess with his Daddy, but he cries when he loses, you know? I want to make sure that they are in environments where we can positively support ALL (or at least *most*) of their needs, and still not wreck it for others. Worrying about the boundaries of ‘acceptable behavior’ every two seconds just sounds plain stressful, anyway.

  3. Pingback: Identifying GT students in Pre-K: Choose your criteria wisely! | Turkeydoodles

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