Parents Not Allowed Into Homeschool Classes At The Museum - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 47 Old 12-10-2010, 12:42 PM - Thread Starter
 
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We have a local children's museum - very science orientated - that hosts homeschool days every few months.  They offer a list of classes throughout the day.  Classes are 45 minutes long and are geared toward different age groups.  The youngest group is for 5 year olds through 2nd graders.  Parents are not allowed to stay in the classroom.

 

I was wondering what you all might think of this. 

 

Thanks

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#2 of 47 Old 12-10-2010, 12:44 PM
 
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Nothing, really.  Drop off classes start at 3 for everything where I am.  


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#3 of 47 Old 12-10-2010, 01:20 PM
 
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Personally, l think it's great.  l don't know how many times I've seen parents do everything for their kids in these kinds of classes,or interrupt and ask their own questions  (acting like the student).  lt really bothers me and  feel like my own child (as well as theirs) gets less from the class due to these parents.  Some kids act out more with their parents in the class.  Some act shy or helpless.  Some teachers can't really get into their roll with parents in the class. 


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#4 of 47 Old 12-10-2010, 01:22 PM
 
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Yep, this.  Everything from special needs therapies to sports practices to homeschool co-op to museum classes are drop off once the child is potty trained and 3.  I don't really think much of it.  I think it's a great chance for my homeschooler to get experience receiving instruction from another authority and help her develop a bit of independence (and gives me some time to catch my breath a bit from having to be on all-day-instruction-mode. ;) )

 

Age 5 is kindergarten age, and if the child wasn't homeschooled, you wouldn't be allowed in the kindy classroom either. :lol:  No-parents classes help the homeschooler begin to develop her own relationships outside of the family unit, which is a good thing.  I've noticed my own little girl is more outgoing and willing to interact with others if she's without a parent (I peeked inside the window of her co-op class once to see how she was doing, and she was having a fantastic time!  This is the child who is typically so very shy and reserved.)  Plus, parents can be a distraction to the other kids in the room too, who might get distracted by other adults in the room they have not built a repoire with.

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Nothing, really.  Drop off classes start at 3 for everything where I am.  




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#5 of 47 Old 12-10-2010, 01:57 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Great to get other's perspectives. It helps me temper my reaction.

 

Obviously I'm not comfortable with it.  I think we'll skip until he's older.  I don't know of anything "drop off" for the under 5 year old set unless they are in preschool.  I've never run into any classes where this happens.  Around here at that age parent participation is often required as I've experienced.  Or they sit on the sidelines and watch from afar.   

 

As a former special ed preschool teacher I never saw special needs therapists exclude the parents from therapy.  The goal was to teach the parents how to continue the learning away from therapy.  So it was all geared as much for the parent as for the child.

 

My son does get instruction and has developed relationships outside the family.  He happily participates in Karate twice a week.  I get to observe from the side of the room.  He happily goes to Sunday school every week with teachers I have personal ongoing friendships with and I'd be welcome to sit in at any time, every time if I wanted.  He is also involved in basketball where I can sit on the sidelines and watch every practice and game.

 

I think I'd be ok with a COOP because it would be ongoing and I'd get to know all of the adults involved. If I couldn't well then I'd have to rethink it. We don't have coops near me.  This museum is a situation where I'd have to walk him into a space he's never seen, with a room full of children he's never met and pretty much won't ever see again, to listen to a teacher he's never laid eyes.

 

And, well, my kid isn't in kindergarten in part because I'm not on board with being excluded from my children's life and learning.  Especially from adults I know nothing about.

 

Leaving my child doesn't give me a breather either.  It's a children's museum.  There is no space for adults.  Parents stand in the hallway or sit on the stairs until their children come out. It isn't like I can really kick back with a book or anything. You could go to another part of the museum with younger kids.  But there is no way for the teacher to contact a parent if there were an issue.  There is no sign in or out process.  Children are just released from the room to anyone or no one waiting outside. 

 

I do agree that parents can be a huge distraction.  We are often rude and chit chat and distract.  I've lived that as a former teacher myself.  So I guess it works for others but it doesn't work for us.  Maybe when he's older.

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#6 of 47 Old 12-10-2010, 02:07 PM
 
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Plus, if you have other kids what are you supposed to do with them while you sit in the 5 year old's class?  Most homeschooling families that I know have more than 1 child, so they'd never be able to sign their kids up for classes that they were expected to participate in.


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#7 of 47 Old 12-10-2010, 02:09 PM
 
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This year we started attending a few museum classes, roughly 1x/mo, that are meant for 1st & 2nd grade age kids (homeschoolers, during the day).  I can see that having parents in the class would be disruptive, much moreso if they had younger siblings like so many of us do, but the only reason DD is interested/willing is because she's attending with a friend. 

 

It's not an ongoing daily/weekly setting where she could build much of a relationship with the teacher, unlike school or Sunday school or co-op classes, and the kids attending are likely to change at least somewhat from class to class (you sign up for classes individually, not an entire series at once).  We have a co-op we attend, it's weekly and we see the same kids, same parents, on an ongoing basis and she's very comfortable with all of them, whether I'm there or not--but this type of class is a step beyond that, in terms of interacting with strangers that she has no relationship with. 

 

My DD just turned 7 and wouldn't be ok with me leaving her alone in an entire room of strangers, people that she may see again in a month, or may never see again.  But with a friend, she has someone she knows well and it looks like the two have a lot of fun at class.  Last year I don't think she would've been ready. 

 

I've also not seen drop-off homeschool-geared activities for kids under kindy age, but it's quite possible I'm just not aware of things in my community. 

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#8 of 47 Old 12-10-2010, 02:16 PM
 
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I think it's awful to do that. I know my six year old would be anxious the entire time and get nothing from the class, my almost five year old would be the same way. Some homeschooled kids are not used to being away from their parents and it's not ok to exclude them. It's also a great way to teach parents things to do to continue what the class started. We did homeschool days at Jamestown settlement and parents were welcome to stay or not, it was up to them. I stayed and none of the parents asked any questions or even interacted with the kids. The two exceptions were when an antsy five year old who needed to use the bathroom and the one question from a parent that was asked at the end when the instructor asked the parents if they had any questions. I know I wouldn't do a class that wouldn't allow me to stay until the kids are older. 

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#9 of 47 Old 12-10-2010, 03:34 PM
 
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Unless adults can take the class as well, I see no reason the parent should be in the class w/ the kids. I don't think the museum should project their philosophy that 5 yr old NEED to be away from their parents... so if that why they have this rule, that a bit odd.... I would be happy that there was a drop off class available, grab a coffee near by, have a few minutes to myself...

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#10 of 47 Old 12-10-2010, 04:08 PM
 
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I wouldn't think anything of it. It's only 45 minutes, and I'm assuming they ask parents not to attend because there's limited space in the classroom. My six year old and almost 5 year old would be fine with it, I would think. If your child was on the fence about you not attending, maybe you could speak to the instructor ahead of time and let them know that you'll be right outside or close by if your child is anxious and needs you?


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#11 of 47 Old 12-10-2010, 04:42 PM - Thread Starter
 
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My understanding is they don't allow parents because the first time they did it the parents talked too much.  The instructors didn't know how to control the crowd so they took the parents out.  It is 45 minutes times 3.  45 minutes per class, 3 classes in a day. 

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#12 of 47 Old 12-10-2010, 04:59 PM
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So do kids have to take all three classes? Or are there just three classes offered every day?

 

I don't think it's the teachers' job to control a crowd of parents, honestly. This is kind of a natural consequence when parents can't control themselves. Rain got really frustrated with some of the moms who insisted in joining classes at the homeschooling coop class she took - and their kids were teens.

 

IME most 5-8 year olds would be comfortable being away from a parent for 45 minutes. If yours isn't, then of course, wait a year or two. I do think the issue is more that the class requirements aren't a good fit for your child right now rather than that they're bad requirements.


 
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#13 of 47 Old 12-10-2010, 10:17 PM
 
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My son will be 5 in 2 weeks. There's no way he'd take a class without me there. We homeschool for a reason. I think parental attendance should be allowed, if optional. If the parents talk, the teacher should ask them to be quiet.


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#14 of 47 Old 12-10-2010, 11:12 PM
 
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I wouldn't send my 6.5 year old into a class where parents were not allowed. He would not be comfortable with that. He does go to a club once a week in the evenings, but it is offered through our church and he got to know all the teachers and volunteers and most of the other kids prior to going. I wouldn't want to send him somewhere alone with no one that he knew. I remember having to go to an afterschool activity thing for a full week. I was so uncomfortable that I didn't learn anything except that I truely suck at archery.

 

I can see why they don't want parents there though...if they allow 1 parent they have to allow them all, and that could be disruptive. Anyways, I'm saving classes like that until my kids are older because that is where our comfort level is.

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#15 of 47 Old 12-10-2010, 11:56 PM
 
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My son wasn't ready for that at age 5 and, really, he didn't need it either. It sounds cool but it should still be there when he's ready for it and if it's not there will be other cool things to do.

It's funny though because IME some stuff is not drop-off, even now my son is 9. Parents stayed at both his swimming and soccer classes (until it got so cold that the few who still showed up waited in their cars) and when he took a 4-week fencing class last summer in the U.S. I was the only parent (out of four) who didn't stay. We were also the only homeschoolers there. The library lego days in my parents' town (which we sometimes attend) require adult participation. My son doesn't need me to help him build with legos! So it's funny to me how sometimes there is such a strict drop-off policy for some things and for others parents are almost expected or even required to stay.
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#16 of 47 Old 12-11-2010, 04:46 AM
 
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My son will be 5 in 2 weeks. There's no way he'd take a class without me there. We homeschool for a reason. I think parental attendance should be allowed, if optional. If the parents talk, the teacher should ask them to be quiet.





Or leave. I can't see my DD being comfortable with this for quite a few years but I don@t see anything wrong with parents attending and being asked to remove themselves if they are causing a disturbance.

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#17 of 47 Old 12-11-2010, 05:17 AM
 
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We have a museum nearby that does this kind of program. Lack of space was part of the reason they decided not to allow parents in the classroom -- I suspect parents' behavior was another reason. I'm fine with this for the most part. However, they also billed their teachers as experienced and capable of working with children on the spectrum. A friend of mine brought her daughter to one of their homeschool days. She prepped the museum ahead of time about her daughter's Aspergers and some things to watch out for, like bolting. She prepped the teacher again when they arrived. Within 10 minutes of the first class starting, another parent brought her daughter back from clear across the other side of the museum. The teacher hadn't even noticed she was gone.

 

Needless to say, she hasn't been back. I would be ok with my neurotypical child attending a class like that, but I wouldn't be comfortable leaving my special needs child with a teacher who's only seeing him once and doesn't have any specific teacher training or training working with children with special needs. He'll be safer and get far more out of a class or activity if he's working with staff who's going to get to know him over a period of time and has some training or experience beyond just a willingness to work with kids.

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#18 of 47 Old 12-11-2010, 06:54 AM
 
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yea, i don't think it's a big deal at all. plus, if my kids hated it, they'd totally tell me and i wouldn't force them to go back.  since they know this, they're really comfortable trying new things, classes. etc.


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#19 of 47 Old 12-11-2010, 07:16 AM
 
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IME most 5-8 year olds would be comfortable being away from a parent for 45 minutes. If yours isn't, then of course, wait a year or two. I do think the issue is more that the class requirements aren't a good fit for your child right now rather than that they're bad requirements.

 

Yes, this.  It really depends on what works for your kid.  I have 2 that would have loved this type of thing at age 5 and 2 that would have lost it if I wasn't in the room with them.  For those 2, I would not have done a class like this or would have found something that I could be in the room with them.  Our library, for instance, set up story times specifically where parents could be in the room with their kids because they did not want the parents hanging out in all the drop-off sessions.  Good solution, I think.
 

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#20 of 47 Old 12-11-2010, 07:51 AM
 
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IME most 5-8 year olds would be comfortable being away from a parent for 45 minutes. If yours isn't, then of course, wait a year or two. I do think the issue is more that the class requirements aren't a good fit for your child right now rather than that they're bad requirements.

This. I think they're perfectly reasonable requirements and my DS would have been fine at 5.

If your kid isn't, that's also completely fine and kudos to you for knowing your kid and listening to what s/he would be comfortable with.
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#21 of 47 Old 12-11-2010, 09:52 AM
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Or leave. I can't see my DD being comfortable with this for quite a few years but I don@t see anything wrong with parents attending and being asked to remove themselves if they are causing a disturbance.


This puts the teacher in the really awkward position of having to single out an adult and ask her to leave the class because of her behavior. I don't think most adults would deal with this very gracefully, and I think parents who have insisted that they need to accompany their kids to a class like this would tend to deal less gracefully than most. And if the parent truly believe that she need to be with her child in the class, why would she then be willing to leave her child alone in the class and leave if the teacher asked her to go?

 

I actually found some of the classes and homeschool events when I wasn't supposed to leave to be more problematic... Often my kid didn't particularly care if I was around or not, and there were definitely things I would have liked to be able to do without having her with me, like errands and such. Nowadays, with cell phones, there wouldn't even be the issue of not being able to reach me if something went wrong (I finally got a cell phone when my daughter was 9 after she broke her arm while at a friend's house).


 
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#22 of 47 Old 12-11-2010, 10:09 AM
 
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This is a hard question! There are some activities where I think that not allowing parents is perfectly acceptable and it would be odd for a parent to want to stay (for example, a day camp), and others where it would seem very strange to not allow at least parental observation.

 

In this case...

If the kids are supervised between classes by staff members, it's a situation where I'd expect it to be drop-off unless parental participation was explicitly required, and probably not appropriate for a child who isn't ready to separate from their parent. In this case, not allowing parents indiscriminately seems reasonable.

 

If the parents are responsible for the kids between classes, I'd expect more consideration to be given to parents and siblings who are stuck waiting around for three hours.

 

I would feel most comfortable if they allowed/encouraged/required one or two parents to stay as assistants/observers. I don't know if I would have said this a few weeks ago, but we recently had a presenter at a homeschooling event asking the kids if they really had more fun homeschooling instead of spending all day playing with other kids at school and things like that. 

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#23 of 47 Old 12-11-2010, 10:41 AM
 
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Quote:
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IME most 5-8 year olds would be comfortable being away from a parent for 45 minutes. If yours isn't, then of course, wait a year or two. I do think the issue is more that the class requirements aren't a good fit for your child right now rather than that they're bad requirements.

 

I agree with Dar on this one.

 

OP - It also sounds like you are concerned about the lack of sign-in and sign-out which I could understand. You could ask the staff to address this. Also, most museums have a PA system and they should be able to call you back to the classroom via the PA system if they needed you. If you are unsure how they would handle emergencies, I would ask them how they would handle things. Or just wait a while before signing up for a class like this.

 

A co-op sounds like a good fit for you.


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#24 of 47 Old 12-11-2010, 11:14 AM
 
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Quote:
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Or leave. I can't see my DD being comfortable with this for quite a few years but I don@t see anything wrong with parents attending and being asked to remove themselves if they are causing a disturbance.


This puts the teacher in the really awkward position of having to single out an adult and ask her to leave the class because of her behavior. I don't think most adults would deal with this very gracefully, and I think parents who have insisted that they need to accompany their kids to a class like this would tend to deal less gracefully than most. And if the parent truly believe that she need to be with her child in the class, why would she then be willing to leave her child alone in the class and leave if the teacher asked her to go?

 

 

and see I would assume that a parent who knew his/her child needed them to stay close would be less likely to disturb the class since they woudn't want to have to deal with leaving their child or removing them from an activity they wanted to do. As for putting the teacher in an awkward position, teaching often is an awkward position. TBH I'm surprised that an unschooler would have a problem with an adult being singled out. If a child was causing the disturbance then sending them out would be ok but not an adult?


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#25 of 47 Old 12-11-2010, 11:48 AM
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and see I would assume that a parent who knew his/her child needed them to stay close would be less likely to disturb the class since they woudn't want to have to deal with leaving their child or removing them from an activity they wanted to do. As for putting the teacher in an awkward position, teaching often is an awkward position. TBH I'm surprised that an unschooler would have a problem with an adult being singled out. If a child was causing the disturbance then sending them out would be ok but not an adult?

 

Well, it would be nice if things worked out that way, but the OP said that parents who chose to stay when they were permitted to the first time were talking and being disruptive... so it seems that it didn't.

 

I didn't read anywhere about disruptive children being sent out of the class... only adults. The class is for the kids, not for the mothers, so it seems reasonable that the teachers would expect to have to spend some time dealing with disruptive kids, and have mechanisms in place for that - like having the child come up and help one of the teachers, for example. That's part of their job, because they're there to teach a group of kids, and it's expected that some of their time will be devoted to maintaining order among the kids.

 

I don't think it's part of their job to have to police adults who are not signed up the class, and who are not there to take part in the class. In Rain's coop class the teacher did say things like, "Could everyone please step outside if you need to take a call," and the mothers ignored him and chatted away on their cell phones. He chose to ignore it rather than pointedly say to a group of women 15 years older than he was, "You, you, and you need to leave right now, because you're being disruptive and not respecting the rules" and while Rain wished he had, she also acknowledged that they probably would have made a scene and she understood why he didn't. 

 

And I don't understand what unschooling has to do with any of this...?

 

And there are classes intended for parents and kids together, and that's fine, too... we did some of those and enjoyed them. However, those classes were structured for an adult/child team, and parents were part of the activity by design. That's a perfectly valid way to design a class for kids, but not the only way.


 
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#26 of 47 Old 12-11-2010, 04:53 PM
 
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Personally, l think it's great.  l don't know how many times I've seen parents do everything for their kids in these kinds of classes,or interrupt and ask their own questions  (acting like the student). . 

 

This is interesting.  I have seen parents in class ask lots of questions and I usually think it is great!  It role models life long learning, inquisitiveness, etc.  I do not think it should monopolize the teacher but there is a place for it.

 

I have a different opinion than most here.  As a general rule I think parents should be allowed in all classes.  The idea that I would not be allowed in a class puts my hackles up a bit - not for my older 2, certainly, but for my 8 year old.  Whether or not I would enroll a child in a class

I was not welcome in would depend on how my lack of welcome was expressed.  If it was a "we do not really have the room for parents, so we encourage drop off, but if you really want to quietly observe a bit you can"  would go over way better than a "no parents allowed".

 

Now the fact that I am allowed to stay does not necessarily mean I would.  It is dependant on a bunch of circumstances.  I tend to drop off as much as the next gal - but I always know i am welcome if need be.

 

I also question how hard it would be to accomodate parents.  I have run programs through  Girl Guides, a township and the library.  I have rarely had issues with parents.  On the contrary - they are often usefull, lol.   TBH if the class were quite intense I could see it being an issue - but I do not think classes for 5 yr olds (the OP's childs age) should be intense.  YMMV.

 

Many of the activities I have been in with HSers have been family friendly. Indeed the museums, etc, are often informed ahead of time that it will be mixed age, there will probably be a bunch of parents about, etc.  It has always worked fairly well.  To a degree I think that if they are going to offer classes to HSers they should be accomodating of how HSing often works.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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#27 of 47 Old 12-12-2010, 06:11 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MommaCrystal View PostYou could go to another part of the museum with younger kids.  But there is no way for the teacher to contact a parent if there were an issue.  There is no sign in or out process.  Children are just released from the room to anyone or no one waiting outside.

I'd address this with the museum. Obviously, parents would come back to be there for the end of class, but what if a student has a problem or a class ends early for some reason?
 

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#28 of 47 Old 12-12-2010, 08:51 AM
 
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Originally Posted by Dar View Post

So do kids have to take all three classes? Or are there just three classes offered every day?

 

I don't think it's the teachers' job to control a crowd of parents, honestly. This is kind of a natural consequence when parents can't control themselves. Rain got really frustrated with some of the moms who insisted in joining classes at the homeschooling coop class she took - and their kids were teens.

 

IME most 5-8 year olds would be comfortable being away from a parent for 45 minutes. If yours isn't, then of course, wait a year or two. I do think the issue is more that the class requirements aren't a good fit for your child right now rather than that they're bad requirements.



 



Quote:
Originally Posted by DariusMom View Post



This. I think they're perfectly reasonable requirements and my DS would have been fine at 5.

If your kid isn't, that's also completely fine and kudos to you for knowing your kid and listening to what s/he would be comfortable with.



 

 

Yes to this.  My dd is a clinger, and we took toddler/preschool classes at the local rec center, and parents always attended with the kids.  Well..unbeknownst to me, there was ONE class that didn't allow parents in the room.  It never said this, but the teacher made it clear at the first class.  I could have had my money refunded, but chose to try it out...it went..uh...50/50?  DD would get scared a lot and leave class to come out to the hallway where I was....but she would also sometimes stay in class and have fun.  She did ask after that not to have a class like that again, and I respected that.  (the class in question was princess ballet for 3 year olds, by the way) So since then, I have had to search out classes that allow parents, which yes, has gotten harder and harder as she has gotten older.  (she is 6 now).  At this point, she still prefers to have me there for most classes, but is 100% fine with going to her beloved Art Class by herself.  I think we are going to try the Zoo classes next..they only allow parents for kids up to 4 years old, for 5 and up it is a drop off class, so she will need to be dropped off.  BUT..at this point..her love for all things Animal is overcoming her shyness and reticence to seperate, just like it did with Art Class   By spring session, I think she will be asking to go.  :)

 


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#29 of 47 Old 12-13-2010, 05:11 PM
 
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I used to be irked by this because my oldest never wanted to do anything without me - she's 11 and still doesn't.  My almost 7 year old only recently is ok with it - *sometimes*.  My baby will go anywhere without me :)  So, we missed out on zoo classes and museum classes, but we did get to do some smaller classes as a family at a nature center.

 

Anyway, I just didn't sign up for anything that I couldn't go to.  AND anything I couldn't bring the younger siblings to.  It was harder when I had a baby, who was a major source of distraction, and I participated less when she was younger, but for me personally, the REASON we homeschool is so that I can be involved in their lives, so I can learn with them, and so that we can all enjoy the learning experience, if at all possible.  Also, it's really not convenient for me to drop off the children at random different places - because that means the other kids spend too much time in the car.  It's better if we can all do something together.

 

So, now, I can sign up the middle child for things, but the oldest has no interest in being on her own.  We're working on it, though, and I'm less frustrated because NOW, I understand that it's more about crowd-control than anything.  I don't think there is a subversive plot to teach my children something I don't want them exposed to - which I confess is how I felt originally!  


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#30 of 47 Old 12-14-2010, 09:17 AM
 
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We have a local museum that has classes. They don't encourage or discourage you from coming with your child, but they do make you pay for a museum admission even if all you are doing is sitting in the hall outside of the classroom! We went to a couple of classes there which my oldest liked but I hate the fact that there is a charge for every freaking little thing, even storytime. read.gif

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