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#1 of 53 Old 01-30-2007, 10:43 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Does your town have a resource center or community center that homeschoolers and unschoolers can use throughout the day? You know, like what John Taylor Gatto talks about?

Free schools, Sudbury schools, Steiner, Waldorf, Montessori, Summerhill all are intriguing. But I am not interested in dropping my kids off. I want to be near my kids, yet I want to have resources at our fingertips--including other adults and kids! I would also like to be able to work on things I am passionate about.
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#2 of 53 Old 01-31-2007, 02:01 AM
 
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No but if I won tonnes of money it would be one of the things I would love to do.

We have a drop in infant/preschool program in Ontario which would be a great model. There are a wide range of programs for kids, parents and families, parenting 'experts', resources like lending libraries and toy libraries, guest speakers, drop in free play, reading and math 'circles', field trips, nutrition and health education programs etc. But sadly they won't even let my 8.5 y/o in the door although the rest of my kids "qualify".

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#3 of 53 Old 01-31-2007, 02:19 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Here is one in Niles, MI:
http://www.hshub.org/

I was told about it:
"People can go in and work (or play) on the computers, and use any area they want. Most people don't though, they just come if they have signed up for an enrichment class. After the class is done they sometimes hang out for quite a while."
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#4 of 53 Old 01-31-2007, 02:24 AM
 
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Ditto to Karen. (Did you and I share an "if I won a million bucks ..." thread about this once, Karen?). David Guterson talks about this idea in his "Family Matters" book too. A 'learning centre' where people can share resources and learn from each other. It's what I'd do with my million bucks. I live in a town of 600 with a catchment population of 1,400 or so. We don't even have a library, so I guess I'd need to win more than a million -- since along with a tool library and a craft library and a toy library and a game library and a greenhouse and a woodshop and art workshop and meeting rooms and a performance space, we'd need the regular sort of book library.

But... we've got a lot of things in our little community that work a little bit like this. We have a new community gym, and people are bringing in their sports equipment (we donated a volleyball net and a basketball) and other are starting to show up and offer to lead classes in yoga, tai chi, aerobics ... for free. We started a community children's garden a couple of years ago, and a family club to support it. We were donated space, tools, plants, supplies, fencing, expertise and sweat equity. Adult members (mostly seniors) of the local garden society act as mentors and cheerleaders for the kids. We have a local school that views itself as a community school; the school library is open to the community, as are the classrooms, after hours, for community groups. I just got back from there with my kids from an intergenerational community string orchestra rehearsal. We use the space, their music stands, and the piano that we donated to the music school last summer, that is stored at, and used by, the school.

All this happens because people can see that in a small community it just makes sense to share what resources we have. No one fusses about rules and insurance and enrollment and funding and the like. It's become a community tradition.

Miranda

Mountain mama to three great kids and one great grown-up

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#5 of 53 Old 01-31-2007, 02:47 AM
 
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Ditto to Karen. (Did you and I share an "if I won a million bucks ..." thread about this once, Karen?).
Miranda
I think we might have

There is a small unused rural school just on the edge of town - on a bus route even. It is sitting empty. It has a gym, library space, probably 6 or 7 classrooms, a kitchen. It's on a hill surrounded by some rural land, a short walk to a small river and an organic farm/orchard. It has a soccer pitch and ball diamond, flat space for a winter rink.

I would LOVE to have access to it as homeschooler. It would be a perfect spot. But the logistics are overwhelming - mostly insurance and the association with the school board.

We have community options available which are great - a youth music centre which rents rooms and covers the insurance for just a few dollars an hour and hosts really inexpensive workshops, art classes etc, a rec department and a board of ed which holds classes for homeschoolers without requiring any type of association, a drop in program at a nearby nature centre, a community library which houses our own library of resources, a senior's centre which offers free adult meeting space.

But it would be so great to have dedicated space. All these things are spread all over town and what's missing is a cohesive place to be together without an agenda, a play to house all our resources and hold free classes/programs/worshops. We are working on the board of ed to see if they will allow us to use some space to host a weekly teen drop in program of some sort.

Hopefully the 649 pays off soon - lol.

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#6 of 53 Old 01-31-2007, 08:21 AM
 
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I think this would be ideal for my family. If only! Hopefully more of these will spring up (or at least let us have the public school "cast-offs"). Keep asking!!!
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#7 of 53 Old 01-31-2007, 01:14 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Open Connections is in Philadelphia, PA:

Quote:
Open Connections (OC):
An educational resource center and learning community for young people and their families

  • facilitates family-directed learning with an emphasis on life-based curriculum, Real Work, multiple intelligences and a child-directed experience
  • provides programs for youth and their families
  • offers a collaborative, developmental approach for each individual (No enforced content curriculum, grades, age-separated classrooms, testing/punitive evaluations, etc.)
  • creates an environment for life-long learning
  • honors individual passions in the context of community
  • bridges the pathway from conventional schooling to homeschooling/unschooling for those new to family-directed learning
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#8 of 53 Old 01-31-2007, 01:24 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Intergenerational Recreational Center

At minimum, a recreational space will have/be
- A room for scheduled and spontaneous activities and classes, plus a quiet
space
- A larger space for socializing, spontaneous play, hanging out
- Intergenerational: age infant through senior citizen
- Open to the public, walk-ins and loitering encouraged

Additional features:
- Open 9 a.m. to 10 p.m.
- Gym with climbing & throwing things (foam cubes, mats & balls), plus floor
hockey, etc.; also for community dances
- Basketball/volleyball court
- Billiard/Game Room with pool tables, ping pong tables, foosball
- Lounge with couches & tables (for playing cards/board games/puzzles,
socializing)
- Arts & crafts room; with art supplies & creative volunteers
- Courtyard (car-free zone): green/grassy space for community gardening,
picnicking, playing, sledding; plus a playground
- Stage (for concerts, speakers, playing)
- Café
- Community kitchen

Benefits of recreational center:
- Encourages sense of community
- Allows all generations to enjoy and learn from one another
- Promotes creative, spontaneous work and play among all the generations
- Fosters well-being via sense of belonging and contributing to all
generations
- Creates free space during the _daytime_ hours (seniors, preschoolers,
homeschoolers, night-shift workers, teens in the afternoons)
- Provides free space during the _evening_ (all ages--including school
students, day-time workers, and families)
- Saves money and resources--All-in-one facility:
* Minimizes need to drive often and far to participate in community
and activities of interest; thus, minimizing carbon dioxide emissions and
gasoline use
* Minimizes maintenance, utility use, fossil fuels, carbon dioxide
emissions, staff, supplies, etc. that several facilities would require

Here are a few links to some community centers for some ideas: http://www.kairosdance.org/ (Minneapolis intergenerational dance company) http://www.pinellas-park.com/Departm...on/BrodCtr.asp
http://www.durangogov.org/resident/p...reccenter.html
http://www.ymcarockies.org/page.php?code=17
http://www.cityoftulsa.org/recreatio...CommCenter.asp
http://www.mapleridge.org/parks/faci...acilities.html
http://www.carbusters.org/magazine/i...24&go=feature2 (article)
http://www.pps.org/topics/gps/gr_place_feat (article)
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#9 of 53 Old 02-01-2007, 05:12 AM
 
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Not exactly what you are looking for but I know a lot of people utilize the Chaska community center.

http://www.chaskacommunitycenter.com/

Maybe you could talk to some people who spearheaded that project for ideas on how to connect with your city gov't etc.

Hmm...I remember when the Chaska and Waconia community centers were built and there was a decent amount of community involvement. (not just sponsored by city gov't etc.)

I know these centers are not exactly what you had in mind but they might be good models to look at if you are trying to raise support etc.

In an odd way I think the Sabes Jewish Community Center has some similarities to the community center you want to create.
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#10 of 53 Old 02-01-2007, 11:40 AM
 
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Originally Posted by AmyMN View Post
I have talked to people in my city about getting an intergenerational community/recreational center here. There is one being talked about (but that'll be years and millions of dollars from now).

Anyway, this is what I'd really like for homeschoolers/unschoolers (intergenerational community/recreational center):

The benefits of such a space are
- Encouraging sense of community in our city
- Allowing people of all ages to enjoy and learn from one another
- Encouraging creative, spontaneous work and play among all the generations
- Fostering well-being via sense of belonging and contributing to people of all ages
- Having a free space for people to make use of during the _daytime_ hours (seniors, homeschoolers, preschoolers, night-shift workers, teens in the
afternoons)
- Having a free space for people to make use of in the _evening_ (all ages--including school students, day-time workers, and families)

This recreational space will be
- Open from 9 a.m. to 10 p.m.
- Intergenerational: age infant through senior citizens
- Open to the public, walk-ins encouraged

At minimum the space will have
- A classroom or conference room for scheduled and spontaneous activities and classes, as well as for a quiet space
- A larger space for socializing, spontaneous playing and hanging out

Additional features include
- Basketball/volleyball court
- Gym w/ climbing (like foam cubes & mats) & throwing things, plus floor hockey, etc.; also for community dances
- Billiard/Game Room w/ pool tables, ping pong tables, and foosball
- Café
- Lounge w/ couches & tables (for playing cards and socializing)
- Arts & crafts supplies and room; w/ creative volunteers
- Stage (for concerts, speakers, playing)
- Kitchen
- Courtyard (car-free zone): green/grassy space for community gardening, picnicking, playing, sledding; plus a playground

Here are a few links to some community centers for some ideas: http://www.kairosdance.org/ (Minneapolis intergenerational dance company) http://www.pinellas-park.com/Departm...on/BrodCtr.asp
http://www.durangogov.org/resident/p...reccenter.html
http://www.ymcarockies.org/page.php?code=17
http://www.cityoftulsa.org/recreatio...CommCenter.asp
http://www.mapleridge.org/parks/faci...acilities.html
http://www.carbusters.org/magazine/i...24&go=feature2 (article)
http://www.pps.org/topics/gps/gr_place_feat (article)
wow, that is an amazing bunch of info!
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#11 of 53 Old 02-01-2007, 12:24 PM
 
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Open Connections is in Philadelphia, PA:
This is a few hours from us and is on my list of places to look into. I have been receiving their newsletters via email and it looks fantastic.
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#12 of 53 Old 02-01-2007, 02:25 PM
 
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Well.....what can we do to make this happen? : :

Mama to 9 so far:Mother of Joey (20), Dominick (13), Abigail (11), Angelo (8), Mylee (6), Delainey (3), Colton (2) and Baby 8 and Baby 9 coming sometime in July 2013.   If evolution were true, mothers would have three arms!

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#13 of 53 Old 02-01-2007, 02:54 PM
 
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AB...that's what dp and I have been wondering....
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#14 of 53 Old 02-01-2007, 03:06 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Well.....what can we do to make this happen? : :
It definitely takes interest from other people. For example, here in the Twin Cities (Minneapolis/St. Paul in Minnesota), to get people to want to be together outside of scheduled "playdates", "classes" and "field trips" seems to be like pulling teeth. I've been so frustrated with this. But I suppose it's a cultural thing. I'm really sick of swimming upstream; so I think often about moving out of state (or even out of the country) and to a place that has an existing community.

Once you've got the interest, any space(s) can be a start; as some posters above are doing in their communities.

My vision is if you were to pluck out the common areas out of a co-housing community, you'd have this dream recreational center. Or imagine the common areas in a nursing home, college, military base.

As I said above, At minimum the space will have
- A classroom or conference room for scheduled and spontaneous activities and classes, as well as for a quiet space
- A larger space for socializing, spontaneous playing and hanging out

Angelbee has offered her dance studio in the Twin Cities here to give this a try. It's across the metro from me, but hey why not.
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#15 of 53 Old 02-01-2007, 03:11 PM
 
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Last year I was holding meetings with other homeschoolers with the intention of getting something like this happening. It never went very far - I think the main obstacle people had was that real estate is so ridiculously expensive in our area that no one could fathom an affordable space. I wasn't going to let that deter me, but I just couldn't get enough people on board. I still have hopes of getting something like this happening.

If anyone is in the Bay Area and wants to be involved, let me know!
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#16 of 53 Old 02-01-2007, 03:15 PM
 
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I was even thinking of starting a few moms that rotate house to house to clean and kids play or whatever.

Mama to 9 so far:Mother of Joey (20), Dominick (13), Abigail (11), Angelo (8), Mylee (6), Delainey (3), Colton (2) and Baby 8 and Baby 9 coming sometime in July 2013.   If evolution were true, mothers would have three arms!

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#17 of 53 Old 02-01-2007, 03:17 PM
 
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As I said above, At minimum the space will have
- A classroom or conference room for scheduled and spontaneous activities and classes, as well as for a quiet space
- A larger space for socializing, spontaneous playing and hanging out

Angelbee has offered her dance studio in the Twin Cities here to give this a try. It's across the metro from me, but hey why not.
This could actually work for now


The one room could be for more quiet activities and the larger double room more social

Mama to 9 so far:Mother of Joey (20), Dominick (13), Abigail (11), Angelo (8), Mylee (6), Delainey (3), Colton (2) and Baby 8 and Baby 9 coming sometime in July 2013.   If evolution were true, mothers would have three arms!

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#18 of 53 Old 02-01-2007, 03:27 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I was even thinking of starting a few moms that rotate house to house to clean and kids play or whatever.
That's a really good idea and "CC-like"...but I would go crazy with tons of people in my home. Oh, and I don't like to clean too much. I guess I like my private space, and then have the common areas everyone shares (like cohousing)
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#19 of 53 Old 02-01-2007, 03:32 PM
 
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That's a really good idea and "CC-like"...but I would go crazy with tons of people in my home. Oh, and I don't like to clean too much. I guess I like my private space, and then have the common areas everyone shares (like cohousing)
Just because I hate "playgroups" .....not the playgroups themselves so much but that I am sitting and chatting .....and getting nothing done usually. I am really working on not gossipping (doing a Bible study) I never realized that I gossip. I am not what you would normally consider when you think of gossipping, but even listening to others gossip is wrong (to me) My gossip is usually disguished as "venting"

Reading CC made me really think about how I view work/play. Well, when women are secluded in their homes with minimal peer interaction, no wonder it seems like work!

Though I am kind of a private person and a home body!

Mama to 9 so far:Mother of Joey (20), Dominick (13), Abigail (11), Angelo (8), Mylee (6), Delainey (3), Colton (2) and Baby 8 and Baby 9 coming sometime in July 2013.   If evolution were true, mothers would have three arms!

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#20 of 53 Old 02-01-2007, 03:33 PM
 
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That all said, I love to "discuss" stuff. Books, topics, how to's.......

Mama to 9 so far:Mother of Joey (20), Dominick (13), Abigail (11), Angelo (8), Mylee (6), Delainey (3), Colton (2) and Baby 8 and Baby 9 coming sometime in July 2013.   If evolution were true, mothers would have three arms!

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#21 of 53 Old 02-01-2007, 03:35 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Last year I was holding meetings with other homeschoolers with the intention of getting something like this happening. It never went very far - I think the main obstacle people had was that real estate is so ridiculously expensive in our area that no one could fathom an affordable space. I wasn't going to let that deter me, but I just couldn't get enough people on board. I still have hopes of getting something like this happening.

If anyone is in the Bay Area and wants to be involved, let me know!
Yes, it's frustrating when people will only go so far, giving up easily.

The Bay Area is one of the places I've dreamed about moving

This rec center in Florida looks fantastic!
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#22 of 53 Old 02-01-2007, 03:39 PM
 
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There is one in Northglenn Colorado. I wish there was one closer to me. Its quite a drive to get there.
http://www.hangoutlearningcenter.com/

Shianne
I am just me. Cert. HHP and Herbalist and mom to three wonderful home educated boys.
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#23 of 53 Old 02-01-2007, 04:31 PM
 
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Sometimes I wonder if part of the problem is that people get together for "playgroups" etc but there is never anything for the "moms." I don't understand it frankly, I see my friends (who at the moment are mostly childless) we talk about tons of stuff, conversation is not an issue and we do a wide range of activities frequently.Heck, I can talk to a stranger in Starbucks and come up with a variety of topics etc etc Maybe that is why it seems odd that if a "playgroup" gets together suddenly everything is "kid-focused" and even all of the discussion is about children.

(not that I have a problem with kid-focused events it just seems like it would be easier to maintain a sense of real community if people got together to talk about MORE stuff, books, movies etc and had a place where the kids could hang out; in the same room but more freedom for everyone to wander in and out of activities.)

How would this space work in practicality? Has anyone been to one that functioned and was well used? If a room and space is available how would I know that if I show up people will even be there? (call me crazy but I would like to at least see other people in the space! We can be home alone as much as we would like)

The centers in CO and PA look really interesting! Has anyone been there?
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#24 of 53 Old 02-01-2007, 05:19 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Just because I hate "playgroups" .....not the playgroups themselves so much but that I am sitting and chatting .....and getting nothing done usually. I am really working on not gossipping (doing a Bible study) I never realized that I gossip. I am not what you would normally consider when you think of gossipping, but even listening to others gossip is wrong (to me) My gossip is usually disguished as "venting"

Reading CC made me really think about how I view work/play. Well, when women are secluded in their homes with minimal peer interaction, no wonder it seems like work!

Though I am kind of a private person and a home body!
I think I need a certain level of developed trust pertaining to "working" with others inside of my or others' homes--like the same level as my extended family. Also, everyone has different ways and expectations surrounding cleaning. I think in a tribe setting, people are like family and pretty much do things the same way. And also there are probably more common areas than there are personal space. I don't dislike working, per se; but I need that level of comfort with others--past the point of needing to serve or entertain or getting-to-know them.

Are you concerned with gossiping in a rec center environment?

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Sometimes I wonder if part of the problem is that people get together for "playgroups" etc but there is never anything for the "moms." I don't understand it frankly, I see my friends (who at the moment are mostly childless) we talk about tons of stuff, conversation is not an issue and we do a wide range of activities frequently.Heck, I can talk to a stranger in Starbucks and come up with a variety of topics etc etc Maybe that is why it seems odd that if a "playgroup" gets together suddenly everything is "kid-focused" and even all of the discussion is about children.
...
How would this space work in practicality? Has anyone been to one that functioned and was well used? If a room and space is available how would I know that if I show up people will even be there? (call me crazy but I would like to at least see other people in the space! We can be home alone as much as we would like)
Hm, I don't know if I'm one of those people that only talk about children. But I could be. I talk a lot about my own healing process, and that has *a lot* to do with being a parent, and about how to make this stay-at-home-mom, unschooling-thing work with my kids and me. This is a huge part of my life. It's kind of like trying to separate "education" from living life (which isn't what we unschoolers do). So what kind of talk are you speaking of? I know some people talk about their kids as if they were a project, rather than a part of life. Is that what you're talking about?

I have a good friend (that is moving out of the country unfortunately) and we talk about everything from movies to books to husbands to cultures to nutrition. And a lot of times family life/kids/parenting weaves itself right into those topics.

Anyway, this pertains to a rec center because I want going to the center to be like living life, not like a field trip. When I was in the Air Force, going to the rec center was just a continuation of living life. It wasn't like, "I'm going to make an appointment to go to the rec center." We just showed up, played, talked, whatever. Kinda like walking into your living room, except there are more than just your family there.

About other people actually being there, that's why I like the idea of a public rec center or else a learning center for several (like 35-50) families--where there would always be at least 5 other families there at any given time.
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#25 of 53 Old 02-01-2007, 05:26 PM
 
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I am working on becoming gossip-proof.....so I am not too worries

I totally agree about the trust thing Makes alot of sense.

Mama to 9 so far:Mother of Joey (20), Dominick (13), Abigail (11), Angelo (8), Mylee (6), Delainey (3), Colton (2) and Baby 8 and Baby 9 coming sometime in July 2013.   If evolution were true, mothers would have three arms!

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#26 of 53 Old 02-01-2007, 06:10 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Northern Light Learning Center

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Northern Light is a Cooperative Homesechool Learning Center located in Ithaca, NY. To find out more about our program, please visit about us.

NLLC is off to a fantastic second year, with 70 member families enjoying our new space, and a full schedule of classes of events!

NLLC is a place to learn new things, hang out with friends, share your talents and interests with others, and make use of shared learning resources. Our community-based learning center is a place to connect with mentors, learn about the many resources our wider community has to offer, and to give and get support from other families who are also growing and learning together.
I was also told this by one of the members "This group has taken a lot of effort by the part of the board members to get started....I am sure that it is possible to do something simpler. The liability of having our own space is a huge issue, as is supervision of kids in relation to that, as well as how to distribute the work load more fairly."
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#27 of 53 Old 02-01-2007, 06:41 PM
 
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We've been able to actually get out in our community as hsers. I dont think I would want to be a slave to a building, since there are already so many places we can go to participate in in our community, right in the community. (lol long sentences R Us).

Fi, when we want to do a book club, we meet and talk about books, we've also done knitting and cooking groups, drumminng, and seed exchanges. We have a CSA program, food coop, library programs etc. We've also met at various ice and roller rinks, and Y's, 4 -H club programming, community centers etc. We've done inter generational programming at nursing homes as well. (Some of those folks can't easily be moved to a separate location, and it often works better for folks to come to them).

I don't think a new and separate building and the use of resources to create something new is necessary most often. I think it's possible to work within the community to get what you need. The town hall has let us meet in the buidling, the local UU church has, the community room at the zoo is available to us, the indie book store etc etc.

The other thing that bothers me a bit is that I have seen some hsers try and create school out of school. My family isn't interested in gathering a lot for classes...it feels much more authentic to us to learn what we need at the place that actually does what we want to learn...I want to avoid that classroom and class room thinking mentality as much as I can.
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#28 of 53 Old 02-01-2007, 06:56 PM
 
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I started one a couple of years ago. Originally, I tried to organize a board, and then look for space. The board didn't work because, as you probably already know, homeschooling parents are pretty determined individuals and it was hard to get a consensus on what everyone wanted. I wanted a *place* where classes could be held, kids could play together, and traditional holiday parties could happen (valentines day in particular - I always loved that one!) but others were looking more for an organized co-op.

In the end, I just decided to take it on solo. It's a lot of work - but my kids did love it. At first we rented space at a senior center, but they had a different idea of what home"schooling" meant : . Then we rented space from a church. It was an awesome space, but it was also challenging because the needs of a church don't always align with the needs of children, iykwim.

I have since moved out of the area, and a loose board was set up to run it. It's currently struggling becuase there's no one person necessarily wanting to be in charge.

If I were to do it over, I would look at running it almost for profit. In other words, I would build in a reasonable $ for me to organize it and then find outside resources for classes, etc. There's a belief that homeschoolers don't have $$ but if you think about it, most do, it's just a matter of priorities, so it needs to be of high value/quality to get buy in. I think getting compensated would have offset the level of burn-out that I felt when I left.

Ideally, I would have found a parks & rec dept that would buy into meeting the needs of homeschoolers by offering a drop in sort of thing, but it was a tough sell. I think we are terribly unrepresented as far as public support.

Also, I understand that it is possible to get group insurance for homeschoolers through HSLDA, but don't know all of the details.
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#29 of 53 Old 02-02-2007, 05:45 AM
 
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"The other thing that bothers me a bit is that I have seen some hsers try and create school out of school. My family isn't interested in gathering a lot for classes...it feels much more authentic to us to learn what we need at the place that actually does what we want to learn...I want to avoid that classroom and class room thinking mentality as much as I can.[/QUOTE]"

I am totally one of these people. My son thrives on social and very structured situations, but I can't see myself just handing him over to a public or private school because I really think the 1 to 1 ratio is important and I want him to go at his pace and no one elses, and to follow his interests. That being said, we are more traditional than unschoolers. So, I would love a space that offered a lot of different classes for different ages (Not separated by age, but things even young or older kids could do). I would definitely be willing to pay, but he would get to pick the classes and whether he took 1 or 5 at a time. I would love to live near a parent participation elementary school but those don't seem to exist outside California.
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#30 of 53 Old 02-02-2007, 12:27 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Originally Posted by Rikki Gard View Post
I would definitely be willing to pay, but he would get to pick the classes and whether he took 1 or 5 at a time. I would love to live near a parent participation elementary school but those don't seem to exist outside California.
You would like this ala carte homeschooling we have here.

We're unschoolers, but it wouldn't bother me to have classes taking place within the learning center. I think, in order for something like this to work, it would need to cater to all homeschoolers. As long as it had all the spontaneous space, I'd be fine with it!
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