PATCH Co-op (Pierce and Thurston County Homeschoolers) email patch.coop@gmail.com PATCH Meets Tuesdays from 11-2:30 In Tacoma at 38th & Pacific Now Accepting New Members, Join Today!
 

FAQs

Q:

What is PATCH?

A:

PATCH is a collective group of homeschooling families that meets once a week. We offer several enrichment classes from 11am to 2:30pm taught by parent volunteers. We also offer field trips and parent support meetings. 

Q:

How did PATCH get started?

A:

PATCH was founded in the spring of 2014 by Mechelle Gilbert and Becky Owen. They were neighbors and homeschool moms looking for a group that wouldn't exclude them based on their beliefs. At the time, there was no local co-op they could find that fit that requirement so they decided to form one. Mechelle's background in business and Becky's background with co-ops both resulted in PATCH. 

Q:

How do I join PATCH?

A:

You can request membership through this website by filling out a registration request and submitting it for review.  You need to be aware of the responsibility of volunteering as part of your membership. 

Q:

How old do my children have to be to participate?

A:

You must have at least one school age child age 5 by Sept 1st. Exceptions to this policy are made on a case by case basis. 

Nursery is for siblings of active participating children only.

Q:

What does it cost to join and participate in PATCH?

A:

PATCH has a membership fee which pays building rent and administrative costs such as website hosting, cleaning supplies, printing costs and alike.  There is also a 7.50 cent charge for insurance each session for each regularly attending child and parent, including infants.

Class costs vary depending on how large your family is and what classes you choose. The cost of the classes are between 0.00 and 25.00 per class per person. We offer several classes per age group each week. Please check the current class schedule to see what we are offering. The classes run for 10 to 12 weeks per sessoion. The class fees are for the entire session they are NOT weekly fees. If you're on a budget you have great flexibility to keep your costs down by choosing low cost classes. 

Q:

Do you offer any other activities, like Field Trips or Socials?

A:

Yes we try to offer two field trips during the school year. These field trips may have their own costs attached to them. They are completley optional. We also will offer parties throught the year for the kids to just socialize and have fun. Additionally we like to have a moms meetup on occaion outside of the weekly group meetings. 

 

Q:

Can I drop my children off?

A:

The short answer is NO. You need to be aware of the fact that all families must volunteer in two positions each session in order to participate in PATCH. This is one way we keep costs down and keep parents involved. This is not a drop off site for your kids. A parent must be on site with their children or have a designated adult responsible for their children at the site. 

Q:

Why do I have to volunteer?

A:

We require every family to volunteer in two positions. It can be a class leader, class helper, admin, or on site position. We need leaders and helpers for the group to function and to keep costs down. Its that simple. In order to offer classes, we need leaders. In order to use the building we need to pick up after our group. In a nut shell without volunteers we would have to pay others to do these things and the cost would push many families out of being able to afford PATCH. 

So here are the volunteer guidelines

Each Family must volunteer in at least two positions.

** Starting January 2015, each participating family MUST be willing to Lead at least one class, and hold at least one other position.

Your volunteer requirement can be met in a few ways.

1) Lead 1 Class and Volunteer in a Helper Position

2) Lead 2 Classes

3) Lead 1 Class with Mentor Support and Volunteer in a Helper Position

We offer the third option for parents that are still finding their way in leading a class. If you feel you need guidance in leading please let Admin know so that you can be paired with a Mentor to help you find your way through your first lead experience. 

** All Nursery Positions count as a Helper Positions, they do not count as Lead Positions. Other support positions such as hall monitor, and of course class room helper counts as 1 Helper Position.  Admin counts as 1 Leader Position. 

 

Q:

Does PATCH do fundraisers?

A:

As of now PATCH is not participating in fundraisers. If you would like to organize a fundraiser it will be proposed to the general membership and if voted in it would be offered as optional participation. 

Q:

Why do I have to update my profile when I log in?

A:

On occasion we add questions or find there is missing information that the administration needs to better serve the members. If we add a question we set the system to force you to update your profile so we can have the most up to date information in offering classes, field trips and social events. 

Q:

How often does PATCH meet, and where?

A:

PATCH meets on Tuesdays from 11-2:30. Our current location is in Tacoma about a mile east of the Tacoma Mall. We do not publish our exact meeting site for safety and security reasons. 

Q:

Do I have to be religious to participate?

A:

No, PATCH is an all inclusive group.  

Q:

What curriculum does PATCH use?

A:

PATCH does not use any specified curriculum. Our classes are thought up, organized and planned by the volunteering parents and based on the interests of the children and parents. The volunteers can utilize many resources in their classes. There is no curriculum or standard achievement measurement used or given for the volunteers. These classes are meant to enhance and enrichment homeschool education not replace it. Each class is approved by the PATCH Administration but curriculum is not specifically reviewed. It is the parents job to inquire with the teacher volunteer for information on class resources being used. 

 

Q:

What is the refund policy?

A:

Refund Policy, In an effort to keep costs down we only charge fees that are directly related to our costs and therefore we do not offer refunds. 

Q:

Does PATCH accommodate food allergies?

A:

Allergy policy

PATCH recognizes Dr. confirmed anaphylaxis food allergies of children that are not yet old enough to protect themselves from exposure.

The following is an example of a previouly needed food restriction for a 2 year old with nut aggergies. 

PATCH co-op is a Nut Restricted Co-op.

This restriction is for all nuts except Almonds at this time. Both Almond Butter and Whole Almonds are okay to bring.

What does this mean for you?

For the families of children with food allergies:

  • It is your responsibility to wipe down tables before use.

  • It is your responsibility to wash your childs hands before eating.

  • Do not to assume another group or person using the facility is nut free.

For the families that do not have food allergies:

  • Can students without nut allergies bring in foods whose labels say, “Processed in a facility that also produces nuts” or “processed on a machine that also processes nuts”or “may include nuts”?

  • Food labels that say: “Processed in a facility that also processes nuts” or “Processed on a machine that also processes nuts” (or similar wording) are OK to bring to co-op for personal consumption. Examples: California Pizza Kitchen Cheese Pizza label states, “Contains: Wheat, Milk, Soy. Manufactured on equipment that processes peanuts.”

  • Food labels that say, “May contain peanut or tree nuts” (or similar wording) are NOT OK to bring to co-opl to eat. Examples: Quaker Granola Bars S’mores flavor label states, “May Contain Traces of Peanuts”.

  • If labels have no allergy information those food items, in most circumstances, are considered OK for children without nut allergies to consume in co-op. However, these food items that are not labeled with allergy information should not be given to children with nut allergies and the ingredients list should be consulted to make the determination. Our wish would be to have members error on the side of caution.

What will happen if a student or parent forgets and brings in a nut product to co-op for lunch or snack?

  • While we want to remain vigilant, we understand that this may happen on a rare occasion. If a family brings a nut product, we will ask that the item be immediately bagged and put away, that the family go wash their hands and clean the area. A reminder that, PATCH is a Nut Restricted Co-op will be issued and the Board notified of the incident.  

  • If the child knowingly brings nut items into co-op without the knowledge of the parent, the parent will be required to sit with the child/children at lunch time to monitor their child for the rest of the session.

  • The Board will review these incident reports for determination of there is merit for further action.

How can I explain to my child that nuts aren’t allowed in their school, especially when all he/she will eat is peanut butter?

Empathy and compassion are the key elements here, with a feeling of good fortune that

your own child doesn’t suffer from this potentially life-threatening allergy. Help your

child understand that while some allergies can be a nuisance with low level reactions (i.e. stuffed-up noses and sneezing) students who suffer from peanut allergies can have very dangerous, even life-threatening reactions. Explain to your child that by not bringing nut products to school, he/she is helping take care of, keep safe, and even protect these students with nut allergies. Children will feel proud to be able to help out in this way, as well as maybe even feeling a bit fortunate that they don’t suffer from this allergy.

Can my child bring nut products on field trips? What if no children who are allergic to nuts are attending the trip?

Since the co-op children share the same space on field trips, we are asking for this nut restriction be applied to all field trips as well.

Q:

What if the session is cut short or classes are cancelled? Will we be refunded for cancelled classes?

A:

PATCH is run by volunteers, and as such, we understand that we do not have control of sickness that may affect a number of members causing us to cancel classes. Inclement weather is another factor that may result in cancelled classes. We try to have two extra days available to extend the session to make up for these lost days. There are no refunds given for these losses, this is part of being run by volunteers and at such a low cost. We do not collect extra funds for "just in case" refunds. By doing so we would have to raise the fees by almost double, which many groups do. We feel the cost savings is worth the risk or losing a day or two each session, and that the activities that we plan in addition to class days also helps to negate this loss.