Faith Statements and Co-Ops - Mothering Forums

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Old 01-27-2010, 11:25 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I've been hsing my older dd since the beginning (she's in 3rd). We've been searching for a good co-op almost the entire time. We just tried a secular co-op last fall, but it just never felt comfortable, and wasn't a good fit for us.

There are many religious groups, and am surprised at the length and detail of the statements of faith they require for membership. I would think that three or four sentences should be able to sum it up, or even just use a standard statement from the church denomination. However, the ones I've found have between 5-8 items with several sentences per topic. Most get so specific and complicated that I am uncomfortable affirming.

My family and I are Christian, and go to church almost every Sunday. I have not found a religious group from our denomination, but have asked our children's minister to see if she can find something. I'm just wondering what types of faith statements are common, and what they say?
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Old 01-28-2010, 01:50 AM
 
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I've never had to deal with such a long faith statement! It sounds like those groups really want to weed out anyone not of their exact faith- which that alone would be a turn off for me.

I recommend trying to make your own co-op with a few friends. We did that last year and enjoyed it quite a bit- we just had a few families that got together and we took turns teaching the kids, having a snack and playing.

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Old 01-28-2010, 11:53 AM
 
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I've seen faith statements that are really explicit and long like you describe for faith-based preschools, but not for co-ops. I guess that would be b/c I haven't explored faith-based co-ops .

Like the pp, I'd be a bit leary, but we aren't really religious. I guess whether it is a deal killer for your family depends on a few things.

Are you seeking a faith-based co-op b/c you are hsing for religious reasons or want to interact/work with others who are choosing religious based curriculum?

Do you mind or are you turned off by people who are rigid in their beliefs? Would you be okay with your kids being exposed to and influenced by families/other kids who believe that their belief system is the only way or do you want them to have a more liberal or open minded view of different religions?

Why did you try the secular co-op first and why wasn't it a good fit?
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Old 01-28-2010, 12:49 PM
 
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I have had that experience in our area, too, with faith statements: very long and detailed.

I would suggest that besides reading the statement carefully, you ask about the curriculum they use and what their expectations are for your involvement in their church. One co-op here expects (it's in the statement of faith) you to volunteer so many hours a week at the church (no just in the co-op). Others had fees that were different depending on whether or not you attended their church. As for curriculum, some used a (for lack of better term) strict literal translation-based Christian curriculum (e.g. earth only 6,000 years old, non-Christian nations suffer because of their lack of belief in the one, true faith, etc.), whereas others just incorporated Bible study into their more secular based science and history curriculum.

I hope that helps. I'm guessing that the secular group doesn't have as much structure and organized opportunities as the religious groups?...is that your dissatisfaction? If we know why you're unhappy with the group, maybe we can offer suggestions or more ideas of what type of group would work for your family better.

"We think we're gliding down the highway when in fact we're slip sliding away." Paul Simon
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Old 01-28-2010, 01:06 PM - Thread Starter
 
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We joined the secular co-op initially b/c it met right around the corner from my house. Right after I sent my check, they move class locations to a place that was 30 minutes away. It left me with a bad first impression that no one informed me before taking my money.

We decided to go ahead and try it out. I was mostly bothered by the lack of respect the kids showed for adults (not all kids, just the younger group that my younger dd was in ages 5-7). My girls have gone to tons of activities through the years, and I have never seen kids ignoring adults to this extent. I didn't say a word to anyone about my feelings, but a couple of moms confided in me that they felt the same frustrations.

It bothered me that kids came inappropriately dressed for the weather and situation, uncombed hair etc. I didn't like hearing other parents put down churches and other faith-based co-ops. I didn't think it was respectful for parents to let their kids play in the wet sandbox, and then go inside the building with sand all over them. It was just not a group I was proud to be a member of.

The class content was good for older dd, but there was trouble with classes for younger dd. She ended up just staying with me in the first hour, and then sitting in with an older group for the second--there were no other kids her age there. There were babies, and then kids a couple of years older. She was supposed to be with the babies in the nursery, but I took her out after I saw that (she turned 5 in Nov). My older dd liked it initially, but then was turned off by lots of stuff going on.

Both girls are in lots of secular activities, and I don't limit them to only Christian based activities, and don't particularly seek them. There are just no other secular co-ops around here. I would be even happier to find just some day time enrichment classes with other homeschoolers where I didn't have to participate.
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Old 01-28-2010, 01:19 PM
 
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That sounds like a group I wouldn't be proud to be a part of either. Eeeek!

I understand your frustration. We have just found a little group that we are happy with. Could you maybe approach a couple of the families that feel as you do and suggest you start meeting for one activity? That's basically how the group I'm involved in now got rolling. Those of us in a larger group expressed to each other the desire for a weekly meeting/activity (it was just to play in the beginning) and we started doing it. Now we do a geography club together, a reader theater together, a volunteer day together, and soon we're adding a day with creative writing and science experiments. It's one day a week, and it's lovely. It took a year to really get it going, but it can be done! There is no pressure, no statement to sign, no fees. And it works!

Good luck finding a good fit for your family.

"We think we're gliding down the highway when in fact we're slip sliding away." Paul Simon
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Old 01-28-2010, 03:27 PM
 
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Our local, religious based co-op has a very detailed faith statement -- mostly to maintain a creationist, Christian focus. I actually appreciated the written detail. The statement made it very clear that we would not be comfortable with the group. Saved me a lot of frustration.

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Old 01-28-2010, 05:13 PM
 
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I second the idea to start something yourself. It can be a lot of work initially, but it's worth it in the end to have a group that fits your needs. I'm sure there are other people out there who are looking for the same thing.

When we first started looking for homeschool groups, I found lots, but none of them offered activities for younger kids (preschool and early elementary). So I started my own group and now we have a ton of kids. We're secular and totally inclusive. Personally, even if I found a group that subscribed to the exact same belief system as we do, I'd be uncomfortable with a statement of faith and excluding of those who don't believe what we do. Our group is really varied and we're all respectful of each other.

-Rachel
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Old 01-28-2010, 05:40 PM
 
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Around here, all of the co-ops and even homeschool support groups have statements of faith like that. I thought it was just what Christians do to avoid having to deal with an adult inadvertently introducing the notion that creationism isn't science. I'm kind of glad to learn that it isn't all that common.

Rynna, Mama to Bean (8), Boobah (6), Bella (4) and Bear (2)
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Old 01-28-2010, 06:22 PM
 
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I honestly havent found a co op that I was comfortable in. They, for me, were either very strict Christian beliefs or the complete opposite where just being a "C" would be a problem outright. I found that instead I just congregated towards enrichment activities open to everyone and found for us a much better mix of people. There are very few places around here that offer homeschool activites during the day. Actually its practically unheard of which is quite suprising. So most stuff starts in "after school hours" except with the occassional class during the morning hrs but they are strictly for under 5 crowd.
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Old 01-28-2010, 06:43 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I have been toying around with the idea of starting some sort of a weekly meetup to do crafts or cooking projects etc. I work part time in addition to homschooling, and just don't know how I would add something else. I feel crazy for even trying to homeschool. I might talk to our children's minister about starting something. Our church was designed to include a preschool, and has a great layout.

Also, the main reason we are looking for a co-op is to find fellow homeschoolers with whom my kids and I can make friends--We haven't made any friends in the group! I do have a couple of friends in my younger dd's preschool playgroup who are considering HSing. However, my older dd doesn't have any HS friends. She has already developed the idea from the other co-op that HSers are weird (herself excluded, of course).

We are fortunate that we are able to enroll the kids in several classes, so money isn't the issue. I just feel bad that she is always the only HSers wherever they go.
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Old 01-28-2010, 07:04 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by emily31 View Post
I have been toying around with the idea of starting some sort of a weekly meetup to do crafts or cooking projects etc. I work part time in addition to homschooling, and just don't know how I would add something else. I feel crazy for even trying to homeschool. I might talk to our children's minister about starting something. Our church was designed to include a preschool, and has a great layout.

Also, the main reason we are looking for a co-op is to find fellow homeschoolers with whom my kids and I can make friends--We haven't made any friends in the group! I do have a couple of friends in my younger dd's preschool playgroup who are considering HSing. However, my older dd doesn't have any HS friends. She has already developed the idea from the other co-op that HSers are weird (herself excluded, of course).

We are fortunate that we are able to enroll the kids in several classes, so money isn't the issue. I just feel bad that she is always the only HSers wherever they go.
I don't know where you are and what the weather's like, but when I started our group, we just had lots of park days at first. People always seem willing to show up for a park day to meet new people. I posted flyers in a few places, started a Yahoo Group, and listed our group on our state-wide support group websites.

If you're looking to have a secular group instead of a faith-based group, I'd avoid starting up in the church. People who don't want a faith-based group will probably avoid attending things that take place in a church. You'd probably get more members if you start somewhere neutral, then ask for input on having some meetings at your church.

-Rachel
Mommy to Colwyn, 10/03 ~ Lachlann, 8/05 ~ Fiona, 6/08 ~ Niall, 5/10
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Old 01-28-2010, 07:17 PM
 
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I have only been homeschooling for half a school year and when I first started homeschooling, I did join a local christian group. Mostly, I was interested in field trips. I went on one trip and it wasn't a bad trip, but the group was HUGE and I prefer trips that are just our family or maybe a trip with another homeschool family. I haven't been back. I did have to sign a faith clause or whatever they're called, but it was short and vague enough so that it didn't bother me. We are Catholic and this group is protestant. If anything, I was more concerned that there might be prejudiced against us.....some protestants, particularly those of the fundamentalist sort, have negative ideas about Catholicism and I wasn't sure if we'd be welcomed with open arms! Those fears were unfounded though. If anybody felt that way, they kept it to themselves!
Anyway, my kids have plenty of neighborhood kids to run around with and are involved in local dance/gymnastics classes. I have discovered that I just don't need a group.

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