DASCH Handbook

Updated 8/1/2017

Dunwoody Area Support for Christian Homeschoolers

What is DASCH?

  • Community- A group of interacting people, living in some proximity.  A social unit larger than a household that shares common values and has social cohesion.  Interacting together to do what we cannot do with our family alone.
  • DA- Proximity- Dunwoody Area
  • S- Support (each other and ourselves)
  • C- Christian- Statement of Faith & Family Integrated
  • H- Homeschooling Under GA Law

DASCH (Dunwoody Area Support for Christian Homeschoolers) is a family-integrated fellowship and support group organized to strengthen and encourage Christian home educators in the Dunwoody, Georgia, area. There are also families in our group who homeschool in other Atlanta areas such as Roswell, Peachtree Corners, Sandy Springs, Alpharetta, Brookhaven and Buckhead. This is a Christian group with a statement of faith. Christian home educators of all denominations who have children in 1st through 12th grade and have signed a Declaration of Intent to homeschool in Georgia are welcome.

Mission Statement

Dunwoody Area Support for Christian Homeschoolers (DASCH) is a distinctly Christian, family-integrated organization. We exist to render mutual support and encouragement to Christian parents who homeschool their children. DASCH also seeks to provide our families opportunities for regular fellowship through fun, educational, family activities that are wholesome, develop character and fall completely within the parameters of Judeo-Christian principles. DASCH also holds to the biblical tenet that parents are ultimately responsible for their children's education and that spiritual training is of the utmost importance.  As a family-integrated organization, we strive to offer whole-family activities whenever possible.

Statement of Faith

  1. The Bible is the inspired and infallible Word of God and as such contains God's completed and final revelation.
  2. God exists in three persons: God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit.
  3. All men are in violation of God's law. As a result, all are under His condemnation.
  4. Jesus Christ, fully God and fully man came to pay the penalty for man's sin through His substitutionary death.
  5. Man cannot save himself from God's condemnation by his own works, but just receive His free gift of salvation through the grace of God.

Membership

Joining DASCH

Homeschooling families can apply for DASCH at any time during the year, however we only admit new members in Aug and Jan.  DASCH caps the number of member families to maintain the depth of relationships and manageability of the group.

The steps to join DASCH are simple:

  1. A homeschooler under the GA homeschool law
  2. Read our DASCH Handbook to see if DASCH is the right fit for your family.
  3. Complete our online application using the Request Membership link (person icon on the top right of the homepage) and agree to our Statement of Faith and Disclaimer.
  4. Pay Annual Membership Dues when you are admitted  ($50).

Once your application is submitted you will receive an automated response letting you know we have it.  Applications are reviewed in July and December each year and you will be contacted by the Membership Coordinator in either Aug or Jan, depending on when you submit.  Once admitted you become an Exploring Member.

  • Exploring Members – For the first 30 days of your membership, you are considered an Exploring Member, and you are assigned a Mentor Mom to help you get settled in the group.  During the initial 30 Days, Exploring Members should participate on the Homeschool Life website, attend park days and moms meetings to get a true feel for the group.  If after 30 days you decide DASCH is the right group for your family, you should submit your membership dues. 
  • Full DASCH Members – These families have passed the 30 day mark and have paid annual dues.  Full Members are eligible to participate in all DASCH activities and events. 

Dues

Costs for membership are determined annually. Because DASCH relies on our families’ time and talents to accomplish our mission, members are required to volunteer to lead or assist with at least one program or activity per year. Both new and returning member dues are now set at a fixed fee of $50 and must earn one service point to remain a member the following year.  If you join DASCH in Jan. your dues will be prorated. The membership year runs from August through the following August (August 1, 2016-August 1, 2017). Dues can be paid starting in June for the new school year. For current members, they must be paid by July 25th in order to remain a DASCH member and continue to be on the DASCH Homeschool Life website.  If dues are not paid by this time, your membership spot will be given to someone on the waiting list beginning on August 1.

Membership Benefits & Privileges

Besides making life-long friendships and having lots of year-round activities to participate in, you will enjoy:

  • Access to membership directory (this directory cannot be downloaded or forwarded for marketing/sales purposes)
  • Discounted membership in HSLDA – Home School Legal Defense Assoc.
  • Monthly adult fellowship at Moms Meetings held in members’ homes and annual Moms Retreat
  • Weekly park days at an area park
  • Up-to-date information regarding current homeschooling events, classes and curriculum
  • The opportunity to attend group events such as clubs, parties, family outings, couples night, and our end of year Presentation Night.
  • Participation in field trips (~30 trips scheduled per year), including group discounts and access to facilities not available to the general public
  • Access to the DASCH Homeschool Life website
  • FREE Membership to the DASCH Resource Lending Library, which includes homeschooling and Christian books, curriculum, CDs and DVDs.
  • Eligibility to participate in our DASCH Day co-op program (pending eligibility and available space).

Member Expectations

In order to function smoothly and efficiently, all DASCH members are expected to:

  • Regularly read posts to the DASCH Homeschool Life website
  • Serve DASCH in at least one area each year (see service requirements below)
  • Pay dues on time and keep your family information up-to-date in your DASCH Homeschool Life profile
  • Abide by the Georgia laws concerning homeschooling
  • Be faithful and timely in paying all promised monies and attending all events for which you sign-up
  • Promote Christ-likeness and unity within the group through words and conduct
  • Handle conflict within the group using biblical peacemaking principles, beginning with raising your issue with the offending party before bringing it to the attention of another member or steering committee member.
  • Confine the sale of personal goods or services to the DASCH Classified section on the website.  No business solicitations at meetings, events, or on website forum. You may utilize the family business portion of your profile to advertize any small business endeavors you are involved in.
  • Attend the annual required March member meeting.  If you do not attend that meeting without a valid reason (submitted ahead of time to the Steering Committee for approval), then the dues penalty will be an additional $25 in order to renew the following year.  If you miss the meeting two years in a row, you are not eligible for renewal.  This meeting is a crucial time of planning for the following school year and all input is needed.  This is the only required event all year. 

Code of Conduct

  • Be responsible for your children.  This includes supervision at all DASCH events.  If you cannot attend, you must get another DASCH member to assume responsibility and supervision of your child(ren).
  • Behave in a manner that reflects positively on DASCH.
  • Respect other people.
  • Respect other people’s property.
  • Treat others like you want to be treated.
  • Practice forgiveness.  Ask for it when needed and give it easily.
  • Be a good example.
  • Follow any posted, stated or implied rules.  In all cases, err on the side of caution.
  • If you cannot live without it, do not share it, loan it, or bring it to a DASCH function.(Any personal property brought to a DASCH function is your personal responsibility.)
  • Enjoy the fellowship, treasure the friendships and celebrate the adventure that is HOMESCHOOLING.

While we expect DASCH members to police themselves, and help each other conduct themselves in a manner becoming to DASCH, if a family is found to be in breach of the above code:

1st Offense  -  Oral Warning
2nd Offense  -  Written Reprimand
3rd Offense  -  Meeting with the Steering Committee

Also, in accordance with the spirit of the above Code of Conduct, you or your child may be asked to make a written or oral apology. 

Consequences

If the Steering Committee is alerted that a DASCH member is willfully not upholding the guidelines and expectations, they will first ascertain what, if any, corrective action has already been attempted. The Steering Committee is committed and bound to using the principles of biblical peacemaking in all conflict situations. Should a member family continue to disregard the guidelines, the privilege of membership in DASCH may be revoked.

Member Service Requirements

(also known as . . . Many Hands Make Light Work)

Each member family agrees to serve in at least one DASCH activity each school year.  You may select this service from a list of more than 40 existing opportunities or you may propose another way you can contribute your God-given talents and interests to the group. You will indicate your area of service either during the March Annual meeting or via email to the coordinator for the activity/ area you are interested in. It is your responsibility to make sure that your one (1) service is accomplished during the school year. If you do not serve in at least 1 area during the year, you will be given grace for the 1st time and be required to pay $60 for dues the following year. The second year that you do not serve, you will not be able to renew the following year.


Field Trips

As listed in the membership guidelines, only DASCH members may sign up for and attend field trips. DASCH members may bring a friend to a field trip every once in awhile if they have it approved beforehand by the Membership Coordinator or Field Trip Coordinator. But the member must purchase all the tickets and be the DASCH contact for the visitor. Non-members may not attend a DASCH event without their member "sponsor" and cannot purchase or reserve tickets to DASCH events under any circumstances. Family and houseguests are handled a bit differently and are welcome anytime. In this case, the member is still the responsible party.

Field Trip Expectations

We are aware that we are representing Christ and homeschoolers wherever we go. To assist the Field Trip Planner (FTP), please abide by these guidelines:

  1. RSVP promptly and pay all fees by the due date
  2. Do not attend an event if you are not signed-up
  3. Do attend all events for which you have signed up
  4. Be punctual – we want to be courteous and not waste each other’s time and some venues will not allow other participants to start or be seated until the whole group has arrived
  5. Be courteous of the FTP and follow her instructions carefully
  6. Remind your children to respect all those in authority & to follow the DASCH code of conduct
  7. Remember to dress appropriately for the event and keep modesty in mind
  8. Be sure to thank the tour guide or spokesperson

 Paying for Field Trips & other DASCH events

Need to pay membership dues, field trip tickets, co-op classes?  Please follow the instructions below. Our primary method is via paypal, although checks and cash are also accepted.  

If using paypal...

  • Log into your account on the DASCH website
  • Click on the paypal logo in the top right corner (the 'P') that has an outstanding balance next to it.
  • Select what you are paying for, or pay for all of it at once, and hit 'pay now'
  • This will take you to paypal where you can complete your payment.

When possible, please group invoice payments together.  This cuts down on transaction fees that DASCH must pay. 

Our secondary method is to write a check out to DASCH and mail it to the current DASCH treasurer.

Payment Policy

For each event that requires payment, there will be a cancellation policy.  On the whole, unless specified, all payments are non-refundable.  Many events will allow cancellation by a certain date, and payment will not be required (for field trips, this will often correspond with the payment deadline.)  Some events will not allow cancellation (such as when the price is determined by how many will attend, like some of the parties).  Once you have signed up for an event and the cancellation date has passed (if applicable) then you are liable for that payment.  Any outstanding payments must be made before you will be able to renew your membership.

In the case that a field trip is a free event, your sign-up is a commitment that you will be there.  If you fail to show up for this event and have not cancelled by the time designated in the trip details, your family will be charged a $10 fee.  This is because many venues offer free events, but there is often a minimum for the group size and need to be able to rely on the sign-up numbers.

Field Trip Planner Expectations

  • The field trip planner must provide steering with initial details (venue, month) by June 1st.
  • The field trip should be posted on the DASCH calendar with as many details as possible by August 1st.
  • The field trip planner is responsible for reading the entire Field Trip Planner Handbook.
  • The field trip planner must keep a written account/spreadsheet of sign-ups, payments and actual field trip attendance. The planner can use the Planner Worksheet provided on the website or create her own, but it must be submitted to the treasurer when payment is due.
     

Reimbursement Guidelines

  • Requests for reimbursements should be submitted to the treasurer no later than 2 weeks after an event.
  • All reimbursements for the school year will be paid by June 15th. All requests for reimbursement should be submitted by June 1st.
  • Reimbursements will be mailed promptly. In general, they will be mailed within two days of submission, which results in your receipt of the check within one week of the request. However, it may take up to two weeks, if the treasurer is traveling. If you know ahead of time that you will need a reimbursement by a certain date, just let the treasurer know in advance.
  • Requests for reimbursement can be submitted in person, by mail, or by email. The required forms are available on the website at https://www.homeschool-life.com/sysfiles/member/custom/file_retrieve.cfm?memberid=613&customid=7113 . Receipts for all expenses must be kept and submitted to the treasurer, regardless of the amount.
  • All co-op related reimbursements should be submitted to a DASCH Day coordinator for approval first. She will in turn forward the request to the treasurer.


Mom’s Meeting & Retreats

Monthly Moms’ Meetings are designed to refresh, encourage, and support each other in our journey as home educators.  This environment is held on the 1st or 2nd Tuesday of each month at a member's home.  Please check the calendar and RSVP!  There is no childcare available; therefore, only nursing infants (12 weeks or younger) are allowed to be brought along to these events.  We also have quarterly Mom’s Support meetings for moms of Tweens/Teens to address the challenges to this specific age group.  Additionally, each time a new “class” of members join, we host some additional meetings to help integrate them into the group and provide support as they begin their journey of homeschooling. 

Our annual retreat is designed to promote fellowship, spiritual growth, and inspiration for the mid-year blues.  Since this is such a coveted event for moms to really get away from the normal grind; no children are allowed.  Moms may bring their nursing infant (12 weeks or younger) during the daytime but infants are not allowed to stay the night.  Due to the size of our group, the retreat is limited to a first come, first basis.  Commitment and payment for the retreat is due in the fall so we can secure housing and budget for the weekend. 


DASCH Homeschool Life Website

All content posted on the DASCH forums should be in keeping with the DASCH Statement of Faith and reflect those shared values. We are a very active and large group. To improve communication, we ask that you post your topic to the appropriate forum category and that you not make non-substantive replies to the whole group. For instance, many members may be interested in a response about a curriculum topic or homeschooling issue so please post your response to the whole forum. But if you are making a brief comment or a personal message (such as “thanks,” “me too,” “praying for you,” etc.) please send a response privately. If you would like to post a forum topic and do not see an appropriate category for it, please contact the appropriate Steering Committee member for assistance. 

Roster

The DASCH roster is there for our member’s convenience.  You may print it or download it to automatically update your phone and address lists, however, please respect everyone’s privacy and remember that the DASCH roster may not be downloaded for marketing or sharing purposes. 

Forwards

If you are sending a forward about some product or warning, please check www.snopes.com or www.truthorfiction.com to make certain it is not a rumor, myth, or urban legend.

Disagreements

You may contact a steering committee member with any questions about the appropriateness of an email that you want to send or one that has already been posted. Please do not rebuke someone openly. If you have a disagreement with someone, please email them privately.