Blue Springs Enrichment
 

Frequently Asked Questions

Q:

What are the requirements for joining BSE?

A:

  • You must agree with our statement of faith.
  • To be a member you must have at least one child 8 years old and in the 3rd grade or older.  Then younger siblings ages 4-7 can be in the classes offered for them.
  • The membership fee is $200 per family.
  • Class fees are separate from the membership fee and vary by class.
  • A Background check must be completed through the link on site.  It cost about $17.

Q:

What is BSE? Isn’t this like a private school? Is this a church school? 

A:

BSE classes are a cooperative effort among several families to supplement their children’s home education by working together on subjects that are difficult to teach at home or best taught in group settings. We believe that we can accomplish more as a group by taking advantage of each other’s strengths and experiences. This is not forming a private school but applying homeschooling methods to a group larger than just one family. Parents are still the primary teachers for classes taught at BSE.

Q:

Who manages BSE? What is the Leadership Team? Why isn’t it an elected board rather than self-perpetuating?

A:

BSE has a Leadership Team of two current members. The team is self-perpetuating, meaning the leaders serve until they step down and the existing team determines the replacement.

A fundamental rationale for a self-perpetuating board structure is its ability to provide continuity of purpose over a long period of time. Existing Leadership Team members select those new Leadership Team members who they believe are best able to preserve BSE’s core values and carry out its mission. All Leadership Team members are BSE members. We also seek Leadership Team members who are homeschoolers of more than five years and are well respected and active within the homeschool community.

Q:

If I sign up my children for BSE classes, does that mean that I don’t have to teach them at home? 

A:

No! The parent is still the primary teacher for classes taught at BSE. While our classes are designed to provide students with specialized instruction, BSE classes do not absolve the parents from their responsibility for their children’s education. Parents must ensure that their students keep up with assigned work each week as well as administer tests and determine final grades.

Q:

We participate in another co-op, too. Can we be involved with that one and BSE?

A:

This is completely up to you. Generally, we recommend that if your high school student attends another co-op, you probably should not register for BSE, due to the time and expense. However, some students and families have been able to handle two co-ops successfully, so it is up to you to decide.

Q:

What if we must quit BSE unexpectedly?

A:

 Please understand that BSE will not “fit” every family, so we ask you to prayerfully consider your decision to join before you sign up. Perhaps read the article “11 Reasons You Should Not Join BSE” before you pre-register because by enrolling your children you are committing to participating for the full year and fees are non-refundable. When even just one parent is late or absent or quits, it puts a heavier burden on the rest of us, and consequently, the children suffer.

Nevertheless, we understand that family comes first in a crisis. If an unexpected emergency, such as moving, serious illness, or death in the family, has made it impossible for you to continue at BSE, please go to the Leadership Team for prayer and help. If necessary, ask your team teachers or helpers to take over your classes temporarily and make arrangements to give them class fees, supplies, and materials, if any.

Q:

What is the schedule of classes?

A:

The student’s schedule are independent and will vary according to the classes choosen.

Q:

Do you have a lunch break?

A:

Classes will conclude at 12:30.   Families are welcome to stay for lunch or leave if desired.  BSE does not provide lunch. Most families bring lunch and eat in the cafeteria where we have access to a kitchen with a microwave. We also have a Snack Shack available for snacks, chips, & drinks. 

Q:

What if my child has a food allergy?

A:

We have no control over what individual families bring for lunch. When we are alerted to a food allergy situation, the most we can do is ask children and parents to wash their hands with soap and water after eating. For group meals and potlucks we do our best to inform BSE members of the allergy risk and label shared dishes to the best of our ability. Otherwise, parents and children are responsible for monitoring their own food allergies and sensitivities. If your child has a serious allergy, please make sure you carry an Epi Pen with you at all times in the event your child is exposed. Also, please notify your child’s teachers in case food is planned for a class activity.

Q:

How are classes filled? How can I guarantee my child will get into BSE?

A:

Families currently involved in BSE are given the chance to pre-register for the next year first, followed by families on the notification list (waiting list) for that semester, then pre-registration is open to the public.

Q:

How are classes divided? Since we homeschool, how do I know what “grade” my child is in?

A:

Classes are divided by grade and/or age as of September 1st:

High School                         grades 9-12                                        14+ years old

Junior High School                grades 6-8                                       11-14 years old

Elementary                          grades 3-5                                         8-11 years old

Lower Elementary                 grades 1-2                                          5-8 years old

Preschool                             pre-K/K4/K5                                        3-6 years old

All preschoolers must be potty-trained.

 

Q:

My child is Junior High/Elementary age but does High School level work. Or my child is very interested in one of the High School classes. Why can’t he take a High School class?

A:

We request that students not be more than two years below their grade peers in age for many reasons. Most of our classes are limited by the space of the rooms and by the abilities of the teachers, who may be equipped to handle only a certain age-range with an expected maturity level. Furthermore, for many courses, particularly those offering credit hours to high school students, separation by age is necessary based on the skills required; after all, we want upper-level courses to be challenging for high school students trying to earn high school credit. As a result, sometimes the skills required for a class outweigh the student’s interest in that class.

Additionally, when a student is far advanced in academics but young in age and maturity, he may not “fit” in most high school courses. An older student can effectively sit in on a class meant for a slightly younger age group, but a younger student may not work out as well in a class intended for older students. While accelerated learners may have an advantage in academics, they usually have not achieved the maturity to go with it. Even though they can handle algebra and read high school literature, they would not be able to discuss many of the broader topics that the other high school students are interested in discussing and studying.

Furthermore, although accelerated learners may be intellectual equals of the teens, they are not equipped emotionally, physically, or in any other way to participate in the teens’ social events, and one of the benefits of BSE is making friends and developing a social life. Fellow classmates, who would be so much older and more mature, may not accept them as equals or friends. In other words, their emotional/philosophical level is still in elementary school, where their age places them. For their self-esteem alone, it would be better for them to be with their age peers.

This will not be the only chance your child has to take that interesting class. Most classes are taught again every 2-3 years, so those upper-level courses give your accelerated learner something to look forward to as they approach the junior high and high school years.

Q:

Do you accommodate children with special needs or learning differences?

A:

The terms “special needs” and “learning differences” cover a vast array of diagnoses. Children with special needs may have mild learning differences or profound mental challenges; food allergies or terminal illness; developmental delays that catch up quickly or remain entrenched; occasional panic attacks or serious psychiatric problems. Because most parent-teachers are not equipped to teach or maintain discipline in classrooms containing children with severe learning differences, please prayerfully consider if BSE is right for your special needs child before enrolling. Depending on the parent, teacher, and Leadership Team’s assessment of a child’s ability to participate in classes with minimal disruption to the learning process, it may be necessary for the parent of any child to be assigned as a helper or teacher in some or all of their child’s classes.

Q:

How does my high schooler earn high school credit hours?

A:

When your child signs up for BSE, he or she is participating in an enrichment program. As such, parents are still the primary teachers of their children. We would not presume to take that responsibility from the parents. To earn the high school credits suggested for each class, parents should not only ensure that their students complete all homework, but also discuss topics during the week with their children in preparation for further class discussion.

Q:

What exactly is done in the classes? Is it lecture format or projects, etc.?

A:

BSE classes are only one day a week and include but are not limited to lecture, experiment, performance, and introduction to subject matter. Junior high and high school students are expected to read and study during the week in preparation for what they do at BSE.

Elementary classes involve mostly hands-on activities as lecture and discussion would bore young children. Elementary classes are enrichment, and their activities supplement academics at home. Indeed, we consider elementary classes to be like field trips or clubs — fun, hands-on activities where the children learn without knowing they are learning! Nevertheless, we consider grades 3-5 to be “transition” classes as students move from elementary activities to junior high expectations of completing homework on time, being attentive when teachers talk, sitting still during class, working well with others in group projects, following directions, etc. Classes for grades 3-5 prepare students for junior high classes while still provide enrichment and fun activities.

Q:

What curriculum do you use? Do we have to use the same curriculum at home?

A:

Each teacher determines the books and materials to be used in her class. The class description will note if the student must purchase the book or if the teacher will provide handouts from the book, making purchase by students unnecessary. High school classes usually require the purchase of the book. Sometimes junior high classes require the book. On the other hand, all elementary classes are enrichment, so buying the book or using the same curriculum as the elementary class is not required and is not necessary.

Q:

Why do junior high and high school classes have homework?

A:

Some junior high classes have homework, and all high school classes have homework. To earn the high school credits suggested for each class, students must complete all homework. If not, they may be asked to go to study hall or to their parent. Habitually unprepared students will be suspended or expelled from the class.

It is virtually impossible to cover all necessary topics of a subject or even go in-depth on one issue in only one hour for only one day per week. No one expects high school students to retain everything in one day; instead, they are expected to work during the week to reinforce and prepare for what they do at BSE. Remember, one benefit of BSE is to serve as a basis for accountability. For students to earn the high school credit, parents should make sure high school assignments are completed during the week. Also, they should discuss topics during the week with their children in preparation for further class discussion, and they should assign any additional coursework they feel may be necessary to complete the subject.

Q:

What do you mean when you say BSE is “enrichment only” for elementary grades? Why can’t they be more challenging, academic classes like the high school classes?

A:

Co-op classes are enrichment only for elementary classes for several reasons.

*  We meet only once a week. There is no way to teach all there is to know in one given subject in only one hour a week. That is the parent’s job, not ours. Teachers will give parents a schedule (syllabus) that they can follow at home if they want, but following it is not mandatory or even necessary.

*  Also, some students unschool while other children may have developmental delays while still others may be advanced – there is a wide range of abilities in the classroom, and we don’t want to leave anyone out. Our goal is not to conform to the majority and produce cookie-cutter students. That’s not what homeschooling is all about!

*  Plus, as one mom puts it, the attention span of a child is very short, so children need lessons and activities that will be hands-on and will keep them busy. In other words, we want them to learn without knowing that they’re learning! So we keep the lessons and handouts to a minimum, or better yet, we incorporate them into the activity.

*  It’s very difficult to find volunteer teachers for high school courses as they must prepare lesson plans and homework as well as correct homework. We can’t imagine asking that of elementary teachers as well.

*  Finally, different families use different curricula at home. We don’t know what they may be learning in that subject at home, but we can certainly find hands-on activities that will enrich anything they might possibly be doing at home.

Q:

What is a syllabus?

A:

Each teacher writes a class syllabus, which is simply a brief outline or list of what will be done each week. The syllabus supplies structure to the class and lets the teacher hand off to a helper or newcomer if she is absent. It also provides a guideline that parents can use to devise supplemental lessons at home and to ensure their children are prepared for class each week.

Q:

What size are the classes?

A:

We intentionally keep our classes small. The teachers of each class set the limit on the number of students they can handle.

Q:

Are parents allowed to sit in on classes?

A:

Parents may sit in on any class (just understand that most classrooms are small and there may not be available seats). Also, parents are used as “helpers” in all classes, so each class usually has 2 or 3 adult teachers and/or helpers. We believe that more interaction between students and adults leads to a more relaxed relationship between both groups. Extra hands are always a blessing. Besides, homeschooled children are accustomed to having a parent close by to give quick responses to their questions, so more adults in the room means more attentive help for the students.

Q:

Why don’t you allow drop-offs? Why do parents have to stay all day?

A:

Parental participation at BSE is mandatory. If your child is at BSE, then you must be at BSE too. BSE is truly a “cooperative effort.” As homeschoolers, we parents are the primary teachers of our children, and this responsibility does not end with BSE.

Occasionally, we all could use the opportunity of dropping off our children while we attend to other business. However, if you want such a situation, then BSE is not right for you. Of course, rushing one child to the nearest ER for stitches is always an acceptable reason for asking someone at BSE to watch your other children unexpectedly; grocery shopping or cleaning the house for weekend guests is not. We do not want BSE to become a “Mom’s-day-out” type of babysitting service – that takes the “cooperation” right out of co-op.

Q:

Do you have a nursery?

A:

No. The youngest child must be at least 3 years old and fully potty trained in order to take a preschool class.

Q:

Are classes ever canceled?

A:

If Jackson County schools are closed due to bad weather, BSE will be canceled. If BSE must be canceled, members will be notified via email and through our private Facebook group.

Q:

What do you mean when you say we must volunteer or “work” at BSE? Can I specify where I want to volunteer?

A:

BSE is truly a cooperative effort. We need every participating parent to keep BSE functioning smoothly. By registering your children, you agree to work during their class periods as a teacher, team teacher, teacher’s helper or on the set-up or clean-up crew, with at least one period as your break time.

When you pre-register your children, please specify the classes in which you would like to volunteer. If your children feel more comfortable having you with them or if you need help teaching that subject at home, you can request their classes. If your children do better without you present or they prefer the independence of a class without mom, this can be arranged, too. Just indicate this option when you pre-register your children and specify if you would rather help preschool, elementary, junior high or high school. Also, let us know if you would prefer serving on the set-up/clean-up crew. Those who do not indicate a preference will be assigned where they are needed most.

Q:

What is the difference between a teacher, a team teacher, and a helper?

A:

Every class has at least one teacher and one helper, but they are two different jobs. A teacher plans and teaches the class, including writing a description, setting fees, buying materials, organizing lessons and activities, and implementing them each week. Two or more team teachers in a class share those responsibilities equally, in any way they wish. They can take turns each week or each month, or one can plan while the other implements.

A helper assists the teacher during class time and fills in when the teacher is absent. A helper can volunteer for a class, and we will try our best to accommodate her request. However, we cannot guarantee that a helper will be in the class she specifies, especially if there is a need in another class.

Q:

Do you have a dress code?

A:

Dress in modest clothing with decency and good sense.

Q:

How can I let other BSE families know about an upcoming event?

A:

Events are posted to our website calendar.  Our members are notified by email as events are posted and receive updates. BSE communicates with our members via our website using a forum, email, and our calendar. BSE also post regularly to a private Facebook group.