FAQ


BASIC CO-OP INFORMATION

Where and When Do We Meet
What Does Red Cedar Have to Offer
What Ages Participate
How Does Learning Happen
How Decisions Are Made
Authority Structure
Cost & Fees
Learning More
A Typical Tuesday

MEMBERS

What Will Be Expected
Decision Making
Work
What is Expected of Children
Financial Assistance
New Member “Loop”
Communication
How Long to Stay
Can I Drop Them Off
Can’t Make It
Snow Days
Visitors & Guests
What is ‘Pause’?
Lunchtime!
How Are Decisions Made
Co-op Council
Authority Structure
Violent Themes

Basic Co-op Information

Where and when do we meet?
We meet at the Berea Friends Meeting House located at 300 Harrison Road in Berea, Kentucky. Click here for directions and we meet every Tuesday from 10am to 4 pm; see below for a sample of what our day looks like.
What does Red Cedar offer?
We offer support and training to families pursuing active and self-directed community-based learning.

What ages participate in the co-op?
There is no minimum age for participation. Age groups are formed at the beginning of the year based on the needs of the participants. This year, our preschool group includes children from two to five, while our oldest group includes junior high as well as high school students.

How does learning happen at Red Cedar?
We offer several venues for both traditional and non-traditional learning for children including math and writing tutors, musical jam sessions , age group projects, clubs as well as plenty of time for free  play. Members choose which venues work best for their child. For more information, see “What does a typical (Tues)day look like?” below.Adults model lifelong learning by bringing in projects to share with one another like cheese making, clothes design, needle work, etc. We also bring in outside speakers to facilitate parenting and learning discussions.

How are decisions made?
All decisions about age groups are made by members of each age group.
Some whole co-op issues may be handled informally, through members reaching general agreement by talking at co-op. Bigger issues are decided at co-op council meetings.
We use consensus process for all co-op decisions: all perspectives are important to reach a good decision. Members stay connected to decision making by attending council meetings, reading agendas and minutes, keeping up-to-date through our yahoo group or talking with someone who is on council.

What is the authority structure at co-op?
Our co-op is built on mutual trust among adults and children, but children must follow the requests/directions of adults at co-op. If a significant question arises, it may be brought to pause time or a council meeting for consideration.

How much does co-op cost?
The membership fee for a family for the year is $300.  The fee is due at the August Welcome Potluck and Orientation.  For new families, the fee may be paid one semester at a time, with $150 due at orientation and the second semester payment in November.  There are scholarship funds available to any members. Age groups may decide to spend additional money, if all members of their group agree to do so.

Fees are not refundable except in extraordinary circumstances as agreed upon by the Co-op Council. We create a budget and enter into contracts at the beginning of the year based on the needs of the members and the fees we have collected. When members drop out, a withdrawal of fees make meeting the co-op’s financial commitments difficult.

Fees cover the cost of rent, tutors, supplies, learning discussions, homeschool consultations, publicity and parties for the co-op.

We tried to pack this site with enough information to give you an idea of what we do but we also invite you to visit during one of our co-op days to see how we put our vision into action. You can drop in on a Tuesday afternoon after 12:15 during our homeschooling year to see the facility, hang out and chat, or you can make an appointment to visit during our more structured mornings. For more information or to make an appointment, contact Edwin Woodruff Tait at Amandil101@gmail.com or phone: (260) 366 7632 or (423) 768-2297.
New members enter co-op at the beginning of the semester (August and January). Activities of the co-op are based on the needs of the membership at the beginning of the year and updated at the beginning of the second semester. It is critical that new members are included in these formative planning stages so that their family’s integration into co-op life runs smoothly.
  • 10:00am – 11am Tutors work with kids on various learning skills such as math, writing, science, etc…
  • 11:00 – 11:15 Pause
  • 11:15am – 12:15pm Kids separate into groups divided by developmental maturity. They work on projects of their own choosing within subject areas that the parents have designated. For instance, parents of the oldest group chose the subject of science and the kids chose to experiment in making a voice recorder.
    Also from 11:15pm – 12:15pm the 3-5 year olds gather for play, songs and stories based on rotating monthly themes.
  • 12:15pm – 1:00pm Lunch
  • 1:00pm – 2:00pm Members bring their voices and instruments to our weekly “jam sessions” where they hone their musical skills.
  • 2:00pm – 3:30pm Members participate in a variety of clubs (nature, singing, weather, art) lead by both children and adults.
  • 2:00pm – 4:00pm Open House. All area homeschoolers are welcome to come socialize, learn and play with us.
  • 3:30-4:00pm adults, children and guests participate in clean-up before leaving.

Note: Respecting those engaged in structured activities, those who choose not to participate engage in quiet study, reading from our library, indoor and outdoor games, outdoor explorations in a nearby creek, art projects, imaginary play or a wide variety of other projects using materials that we keep on hand for creative play.

As a Member…

This is a cooperative, so each member holds equal responsibility for how co-op is going, and for getting co-op work done.
Decision Making
It is vital to keep informed, so that you are aware of upcoming decisions that need to be made. Your opinions matter to us but we request that you observe for a semester before taking on a strong decision making role since weaving together diverse perspectives works much better once we have built relationships of trust.
Work
Members are expected to attend all age group meetings for their child as this is where most decisions about what activities are done and who will be responsible for them are made. We are expected to equally participate in the learning of the co-op by helping to organize and facilitate activities that we do together. Age specific planning is done in the age group meetings. Multi-aged learning activities (clubs, field trips, free time activities) are organized by those who are interested in that activity and can be initiated and organized by children or adults, but are not required work for members. In addition, we all take responsibility for or help out with one of the co-op jobs listed below.
Children are active members in this co-op and along with the freedoms they have, we expect a healthy dose of responsibility. We teach them consensus building skills and encourage their participation in decisions that most affect them including learning activity selection and rules of the co-op. They are then expected to follow through on agreements they have made. Like all members of co-op, children are expected to listen thoughtfully, speak respectfully, and to resolve differences through non-violent conflict resolution (see co-op notebooks). Each child will be responsible for completing a daily clean-up chore before leaving co-op.
Your written request should specify how much of the membership fee you are requesting. You can give your scholarship request to any council member. We ask that everyone receiving scholarship money make a special effort to help with fundraising during the year. Request forms can be found in the files on the listserve or in our files at the co-op.
There is a learning curve in joining any new organization. New members should consider their first semester as a time to listen, watch, ask questions, and get to know people to fully experience life in this learning community. Join the yahoo listserve to receive the most current co-op information. We also encourage you to familiarize yourself with this website, where there is a wealth of information giving the background of who we are and why we operate as we do.
The key to staying “in the loop” is simply hanging out enough at co-op, asking questions, and checking the listserve or bulletin board regularly. This is each member’s responsibility.
No. Co-op is designed to be used in whatever way best suits your family’s current situation. For example, a family might decide to come only in the mornings or only in the afternoons. It is also fine to skip any co-op day altogether, if you do not have commitments to a group on that day. Typically, the more people stick around, the more they feel part of the community.
Each family is expected to be with their child unless other arrangements have been made. Families can make standing or spontaneous arrangements with one another to swap childcare.
Parents should only leave co-op after making sure their child will continuously be under another adult’s care. For instance, if you leave child with a tutor or parent project leader, you should return by the end of the session unless you have made previous arrangements for supervision of your child after the structured time is over.
If a parent project leader will unexpectedly be unavailable, first contact would be any co-leader in your project. If you don’t have a co-leader, then you should start with parents of the children in the project group you are leading. If a child needs to miss a tutoring session, project or club meeting, notice should be given to the leaders of any tutoring/projects/clubs that will be missed.
We follow Madison County Schools’ inclement weather policy so that if Madison County Schools are DELAYED OR CANCELED we will NOT MEET. If they are on a 2 hour delay or closed for the day, we will not have co-op that day. All tutoring, workshops and other structured activities will be cancelled. However, if some families want to get together informally at the facility, they may make their own arrangements.
All Madison County Schools’ cancellation and delay announcements are posted on the Madison County Schools homepage at www.madison.k12.ky.us, broadcast on Lexington television stations WLEX-TV (Channel 18), WKYT-TV (Channel 27) and WTVQ-TV (Channel 36), and given to other regional media outlets. Generally, the information is available by listeners/viewers by 6 a.m.
Yes! Visits are arranged through the new member contact person. Guests are welcome to come with families to co-op at any time. If a family brings a guest, the parent in the member family stays as well. Afternoons are typically better times to bring guests.
Our daily gathering that we call Pause is like a big kids’ version of circle time with sharing about accomplishments, special nature sightings and personal events, like birthdays! It also serves our cooperative lives as a venue for addressing concerns and minor problems that arise.
We also take care of some business at Pause, such as announcements about schedule changes, upcoming events, other needs and opportunities. We model and practice and encourage respectful speaking and listening at Pause.
Most frequently, we eat together in the lunchroom (or outside on picnic-y kinds of days) with each family bringing their own lunches. There are plates, cups and cutlery available for our use, as well as one microwave and a stove/oven. Everyone, including kids, is responsible to wash their own dishes (very young kids and parents can work together on this one).
From time to time, the lunchroom will not be available for our use if the Quakers have another group renting the building. Occasionally, we optionally order pizza together or have a potluck lunch for a special party day.
All decisions about age groups are made by members of each age group.
Some whole co-op issues may be handled informally, through members reaching general agreement by talking at co-op. Bigger issues are decided at co-op council meetings.
We use consensus process for all co-op decisions: all perspectives are important to reach a good decision. Members stay connected to decision making by attending council meetings, reading agendas and minutes, or talking with someone who is on council.
Instead of having lots of required all-member meetings, we have established a Council to handle organizational decision making and administrative work. The council consists of parent representatives from each age group of kids, and membership changes year to year.
Agendas are published before meetings and all are welcome and encouraged to participate in council meetings as they are interested. If you can’t attend a meeting, but would like to have your ideas represented, please give input to a council member.
Our co-op is built on mutual trust among adults and children, but children must follow the requests/directions of adults at co-op. If a significant question arises, it may be brought to pause time or a council meeting for consideration.
We are mindful of the proliferation of violence in our world and teach both the reality of weapons as well as nonviolent alternatives to conflict resolution. We also recognize the role of children physically engaging each other in play—as age appropriate—which can potentially help children become more aware of others’ boundaries and their own, as well as to channel exuberant energy.
Physical Weapons. Learning co-op does not own any weapons, real or pretend. If weapon toys are brought from home, they should be put away or left in vehicles until the appropriate use time.
Tools. Tools such as knives, bows and arrows, and hammers are used only for appropriate constructive purposes.
Preschool Age. No weapon play. Toys or other objects that are turned into weapons, pretend or real, need to be returned to a constructive purpose or put away for a while. We use such phrases as “No weapons are needed in a safe place” and “We are all friends here.”

Older Children. No weapon play when preschool children are present unless it’s a part of a pre-approved dramatic play. Physically engaging play among older children (such as dueling or wrestling) is acceptable under the following conditions: Outside only, and with an adult present who agrees to advise and monitor the play.  As needed, the children and adult should work out mutually acceptable guidelines around physical play before they begin, as levels of acceptable roughness vary from child to child.

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