About EE, Field Trips, Classes and More
ABOUT EASTSIDE EXPLORERS
Q: What is the purpose of Eastside Explorers?
The purpose of Eastside is to provide homeschooling families in the Northeast Valley with educational, social, networking and support opportunities within a co-op framework for parents and their children with a Christian emphasis and worldview.
Q: Who runs Eastside Explorers?
Families are required to volunteer and contribute a reasonable yet minimal amount of their time by planning field trips, helping to organize events, hosting an event, etc. (see volunteer opportunities) Eastside Explorers has a Board of Directors made up by volunteer members who take into consideration the input of all families while making decisions for the group but it is truly the participation of our member families that make Eastside successful.
Q: Is Eastside Explorers a Christian group?
Eastside Explorers is led by a Christian Board of Directors, who follow and share Biblical precepts when planning and facilitating our group's activities. We do not intend to be divisive in any way, however we do ask that each of our members reads and signs our Statement of Faith and Honor Code to fully understand the basics of our faith as it pertains to our function as a Christian homeschooling co-op.
Q: Where does Eastside primarily meet?
Our activities are held in Scottsdale and northeast Phoenix. Park Days are held near Scottsdale/Cactus Rd. Optional classes are held near 60th St./Greenway Rd. Field trips are scheduled around the valley and beyond. Check our member calendar to see when and where our monthly themed park days and special events are held.
Q: Do you have a weekly park day?
Our Park days are on Fridays from 1-3pm at Cactus park in Scottsdale.
We have found that our members’ schedules vary that it was hard to have weekly park day that accommodated everyone’s busy week. Although we no longer have an organized weekly park day, some of our members may still meet weekly at a designated park and will share that information on our forum. Eastside does, however, offer a monthly themed park day to give everyone a chance to get together without the weekly commitment.
Q: What activities can I expect in Eastside Explorers?
Eastside Explorers is completely volunteer-led and the number of field trips and events is based solely on the planning of our members. These events are typically offered each year:
- Field trips
- Weekly Park Days
- Holiday Parties (Christmas, Valentine's Day & Easter)
- Fall Kick-Off
- Teen group (co-ed)
- Pre-teen & Tween/Teen Girls' groups
- Service Projects
- Special Events (vary by year) including Geography Fair, Science/History Fair, Talent Show
- Monthly Prayer Team
- Quarterly Mom's Time Out
- Drop-off Classes
Q: Do you have age-specific activities?
Homeschooling is a multi-generational adventure! Most of our activities and events can be attended by all ages, however we do have a few activities that are age-specific. These groups vary by year and the interest of our members in organizing them.
Q: Do you have a teen group?
While we have many teens in our group, participation by teens in Eastside’s offered activities varies by event and by year. All of our activities are open to teens and we encourage them to participate and be a positive role model to our younger members. Parents of teens are encouraged to plan a monthly teen event (a game night, pizza in the park or similar) for students age 13-18.
Q: Do you make accommodations for food allergies?
Eastside Explorers is sensitive to the needs and requirements of all of our members. While we do offer food items at many of our events, we do occasionally ask our members to bring nut-free, peanut-free items if a parent makes a request because of a severe allergy. We cannot, however, guarantee that exposure or cross-contamination won't happen.
Q: Are there other homeschool groups in the area?
There are many support groups in the Phoenix metropolitan area. Please see our Other Support Group Info page for more information.
MEMBERSHIP COSTS AND REQUIREMENTS:
Q: What does my membership fee cover? Are there any additional fees throughout the year?
We are a 501c3 non-profit organization, registered with the Arizona Corporation Commission.
The membership enrollment fee covers:
1. Yearly and monthly website fees,
2. An insurance policy required by the state of Arizona for all non-profit corporations,
3. PayPal fees (charged for each transaction), and
4. Additional administrative costs associated with running a non-profit organization.
- Nominal fees (with group discounts) are charged throughout the year for some events and field trips to cover the entry fee and/or facility rentals. You may purchase a copy of our yearbook for an additional fee. Our park days have no additional fees associated with them, unless you sign up to participate in an event which is held in conjunction with park day.
- We seek only to cover our costs associated with our offerings and research every avenue for keeping the fees as minimal as possible. You are welcome to share resources with which you have had a positive experience as well.
- Occasionally a fundraiser may be initiated to benefit seasonal parties, provide member scholarships, keep our yearbook costs to a minimum and/or provide items needed for service projects.
- Occasionally we are asked why an additional (small) fee is added to the group rate per person for field trips. While Eastside covers most of the PayPal fees that we are charged for each transaction, occasionally the Board may vote to add a periodic fee when our resources get below our recommended bank account amount. You may be assured that the Board of Directors has a double-accountability system in place to ensure that the monies you spend are allotted with the utmost care and responsibility.
Q: Are there membership requirements?
Yes, each family is required to select only one area to serve throughout the year. A member may choose to plan two field trips for the entire year, help at two events such as our Fall Kick-Off and Spring Showcase, join the monthly Prayer Team, help plan two holiday parties, or host a small group among other things. These volunteer opportunities are listed on our Membership Application. We value our members’ precious time, therefore these volunteer opportunities are very minimal and, when viewed over an entire academic year, require a very small amount of time given. We do ask that members do their best to fulfill these commitments after signing up.
ABOUT FIELD TRIPS AND EVENTS:
Q: How many field trips per month does Eastside offer?
Since our field trips are all planned by our members, they vary by location and frequency each month. We try to offer at least 2 field trips per month that appeal to a variety of age groups.
Q. How do I sign up for a field trip?
Once logged-in to our member site, click on Calendar then on the field trip you would like to attend. Follow the instructions on the bottom of the pop up screen to sign up.
Q: How do I pay for a field trip?
After signing up, you will be prompted to pay immediately via PayPal, credit or debit.
Registration for field trips is complete once payment is made, with PayPal as our preferred method of payment. Unpaid registrations (not paid within 24 hours of signing up) will be deleted without the requirement of providing advanced notice to the individual member family.
Q: If I can’t attend a field trip can I get a refund?
Field trip fees are non-refundable. If a member family is unable to participate in a field trip for which they have already paid, they are welcome to gift their openings to another Eastside family or sell them privately by advertising them on our website forum and/or private Facebook page.
Q: Can an extended family member bring my kids on a field trip or to an event?
Because of the size of our group and the necessity of keeping field trip spots open to as many members as possible, extended family members may be signed up to attend field trips with the member family within 24 hours of the field trip sign-up deadline if openings exist at that time UNLESS you need one family member to help you with your children. You can register that family member when you sign up for the fieldtrip. As our organization is unable to be aware of and monitor every guest at every field trip, each member family bears the responsibility of ensuring that their guest(s) pose no real or perceived safety risks to others.
Neither non-member teens nor adults may accompany children in place of the member parent(s) on field trips unless approval from the field trip coordinator. No student should be left alone on any field trip with less than two adults present (unless one adult is the student’s parent or guardian). Parents are responsible for their children at all times at both public and private venues, as Eastside offers no drop-off field trips.
Q: How do I plan a field trip?
Planning a field trip is super easy and a great way to fulfill your short-term volunteer commitment to Eastside. We offer a step-by-step outline for everything you need to ask the venue. You simply arrange it and send the info. to our EE Admin. to add to the calendar. The day of the field trip you show up, check off names and take a group photo!
Q: What events does Eastside offer throughout the year?
Eastside usually hosts a Fall Kick-Off and holiday parties such as Christmas, Valentine’s Day and Easter. If there is enough interest and parent leadership/organization, we sometimes also host a Spelling Bee, Science Fair, Geography Fair, Art Fair and Talent Show.
Q: Is my membership fee or payment for classes/field trips tax-deductible?
Although Eastside does not offer tax-deductible receipts for any payment that is made in exchange for a service or a product, feel free to check with your accountant.
Q: Can I receive a tax-right-off if I donate to Eastside Explorers?
Yes! As a 501(c)(3) public charity, Eastside Explorers gladly accepts donations in three forms: Monetary, Property/real estate, or Assets of any kind. Contributions for which tax-deductible receipts are issued are fully under the control of Eastside and are tax deductible to the full extent allowed by law. No goods or services can be received in connection with these contributions.
Q: What is done with my donation?
Eastside graciously uses contributions for homeschooling support services, events, operating expenses, and scholarships to families who would not typically be able to join Eastside Explorers or participate in field trips or classes.
ABOUT CLASSES OFFERED
Q: Why does Eastside offer classes?
Eastside has always kept the interest of our members at heart and, after member feedback and careful prayer, we feel Eastside can serve our homeschool community by providing an enriching experience. These classes are taught by qualified tutors and offer optional classes in a small group setting while providing an exciting educational and social experience.
Q: What classes are offered this year?
Classes, days and times will vary each year. Please check our current class schedule on our Class Registration page.
Q: Since Eastside will offer classes, is it considered a school?
No, Eastside is not a private, charter, or public school. The IRS recognizes Eastside Explorers as a non-profit, community service organization. Due to our non-profit status, Eastside can never become a school. The fees you pay for the tutors are paid directly to the tutors and does not go through Eastside. These tutors are independent contractors; we just provide the meeting space and the connection between the students and the tutors.
Q: Do I need to stay the entire time my child is in a class?
Parents are not required to stay for the classes; however, parents are required to stay with their child during the entire lunch hour (unless parent has agreement for another adult to oversee their child/ren). Eastside will have a member on site during class time and has performed background checks on all teachers in charge of students. We will not provide any supervision during the lunch hour that proceeds the classes so, if you wish for your child to attend the lunch hour, you will need to stay for that period.
There will also not be supervision for students not enrolled in a class but on campus. It is the parent's repsonsibility to ensure the supervision of his/her child. In addition, we ask that all parents complete and sign a Release and Liability Waiver.
Q: How do I drop-off my child?
If arriving at the start of classes, please walk your child to the back door and sign him/her in for the day. No child may be dropped off prior to 9:55am as there will not be an adult to supervise and no child may be dropped off in the parking lot. It is the parent's responsibility to ensure that his/her child enters the building.
We ask that all parents and students do their absolute best to make it to class on time each week. This will greatly help to reduce distractions and disruptions. If you are running late, the front doors will be locked so please knock and enter quietly with disrupting any ongoing classes. Doors may not be opened while classes are in session so, if you arrive early, please wait patiently until a teacher opens the door for you.
Q: How do I pick up my child?
Please be prompt when picking up your child since the teachers and supervisor(s) have a tight schedule to keep. Parents may pick up their child(ren) outside of the entrance door. Doors may not be opened while classes are in session so, if you arrive early, please wait patiently until a teacher opens the door for you. All students must be signed out of classes for the day.
Students need to inform the adult in charge when they are leaving. No student may wait in the front of the building or in the street for his or her parent. Please help us keep the children safe by notifying the supervising adult when you are taking your child and by signing out. Please also be respectful of the ongoing classes byt not entering the building unless necessary.
Q: How can we register for classes?
You may view and register for classes once logged-in to Eastside’s membership site HERE.
Members of Eastside Explorers who wish to enroll in one or more classes will have a Registration/Facility Fee of $55 per family for the entire semester.
We have uploaded a helpful video tutorial to aide in the registration and payment process.
Q: How do I pay for the classes?
You can view this year’s class offerings, register for classes and pay for classes by: 1.) Logging on to the EE member site 2.) Using the link at the upper right of the page title “Balance” 3.) Following the steps to pay for the class via PayPal.
Each class requires a minimum of the Supply Fee + 1st month's (Sept.) tuition at the time of registration to secure your child's spot. Additionally, you may select to pay the entire semester at once by selecting the remaining monthly payment checkboxes.
Your Registration/Facility Fee will be invoiced to your account separately and will also be required before classes begin.
Q: What does each class cost and are there any additional fees?
Each class semester fee varies by class and length of class however all are very reasonable priced for the quality of small group instruction. Each family enrolled in one or more classes will also be required to pay an additional $55 facility fee per semester.
Class tuition ranges from $32-$50/month for engaging classes taught by experienced teachers. Each class has a modest supply fee to cover teacher-purchased materials.
Q: What qualifies as a semester?
There are two semesters in each academic calendar year. First (1st) semester runs from Sept. - Dec. and Second (2nd) semester runs from Jan. - April. A full academic calendar will be posted online as soon as classes have been arranged.
Q: Do we have to be a member of Eastside Explorers for my child to take a class?
Yes. EE members will receive early-registration and all the year-long perks of being in Eastside such as discounted field trips, parties,active forum, and amazing fellowship.
Q: What if I need to drop out of a class after we’ve joined?
Once you enroll your child in a class, you are contractually obligated to pay for the entire semester of that class whether or not your child continues to attend the class. Special circumstances may be privately addressed with the teacher. When the semester is complete, you are not required to enroll in the Second Semester.
Q: Do I have to pay if my child misses a class or is sick?
Yes, tuition is based on each semester and no refunds are given. Please review our Sick Policy when registering for classes.
Q: Can we add a class after it has already begun?
Yes, you can add classes once the academic year has begun if there is still room in the class, at the approval of the teacher of that particular class.
Q: Do we have to pay by semester?
You may choose to pay for each class by the month or full semester. However, the Registration/Facility Fee, Supply Fee, and a minimum of the first month's tuition is due at the time of registration.
Q: Will we receive statements?
No, you will not receive statements (emailed or mailed). You are responsible for payment online by selecting either the monthly or full semester option.
Q: Are there any late fees?
Monthly tuition is due by the 5th of each new month. Any late payments will be assessed a $20 late fee.
Q: Are these classes a full curriculum? Will there be graded work?
Since this is not a school and this is considered enrichment/tutoring group sessions, classwork, for the most part, will be ungraded although the teacher may provide assignments, reading, or study guides to be completed throughout the week. They may also suggest online resources or supplemental work to assist a student in an area or concept. These assignments and recommendations will only serve as a way to support your child’s progress in this academic area. Parents are asked to encourage and assist students with weekly concepts.
Q: Does Eastside require any specific classes?
Parents and students are free to choose whatever classes they feel best compliment their homeschool endeavor.
Q: I am interested in teaching a class. Is this possible?
Yes! Please contact our President with your class idea and, after Board approval, we can coordinate adding your class.
Q: Are there any classes for high school students available?
Yes! We are blessed to have great options for high school students to earn credits. Classes will vary each year by interest and availability of tutors and students. Please check our Class Registration page to see if any are currently offered. If you have a suggestion for a high school class and a recommendation for a tutor, please contact us HERE.
Q: Does Eastside provide transcripts or send report cards?
No, Eastside is not a school; therefore, we do not provide transcripts. As home educators, each parent is responsible for creating his/her child’s transcript and assigning a final grade.
Q: Who do I talk to if I have an issue with another family, child, etc.?
We ask that all of our members adhere to our Honor Code and treat each other as brothers and sisters in Christ. However we do know that, at times, there may be conflict between families. We ask that you first come peacefully to this another member to try and resolve the issues between you and handle the manner with a Biblical approach. If there is no resolution, please reach out to our President so that we may help meditate the situation.
If your questions were not answered, please contact us HERE
and one of our Board members will get back to you shortly.