Monday, September 10, 2007

More Info on the CHEC

The Community Homeschool Enrichment Center (CHEC) offers 8-week courses for homeschoolers, and friends & families of homeschoolers, in Charlottesville, VA. We rent space from the Sojourners church, corner of Monticello & Elliott Aves., just south of downtown Our first classes were held in Fall '06, and were followed by a Winter Session and a Spring Session. We plan to follow the same pattern this year, perhaps adding a Summer '08 session. Classes meet on Tuesdays &/or Fridays. Most are once-per-week courses. Everything happens between 10am and 3pm.

Students commit to CHEC classes just 8 weeks at a time. Our teachers are also only asked for an 8-week commitment, though many teach in 2 or 3 sessions. This provides great flexibility for families and teachers alike. Sometimes classes have a "part 2" in the next session and sometimes not. Teacher availability and student interest determine that. There are always at least several new classes offered each session. We encourage inter-generational learning & love it when mom or grandpa takes a course with the homeschoolers. We've had teens taking a CPR course with some of their friends' parents, while their own parent took a watercolor class.

Parents are not required to stay, and there is no work commitment; this is not a co-op. The atmosphere is pretty relaxed, but we're very careful about child safety. Most of the forms and procedures we use come from that perspective. There is an "expected behavior" policy, but that basically just says that we need to treat each other kindly and with respect. We don't want/need a statement about your religious preference, we don't ask to see your IRS 1040, and we don't much care what you drive, as long as you're careful about the kids as you pull into the parking lot. :-)

The CHEC is a non-stock corporation and is operated as a non-profit. We are preparing the federal forms requesting tax-exempt status (501c3). CHEC is run by a 5-member Board of Directors: Mary P, Ellen E, Silvia B, Sue R and Sabine S.

The class fees paid by students go to:

  • paying teachers
  • paying classroom space rent (& initial deposit)
  • paying the required insurance policy
  • beginning to repay loans made to CHEC for the lawyer fees incurred in "becoming a legal entity"
  • the next priority is a steady, small level of work-scholarship we'd like to support
A very conservative estimate of the number of volunteer hours put in by Board members in the first year : 1200 hours. That took us from kitchen-table-dreaming to what we tangibly have today.

So, that's who we are & what we are. Always open to questions - ask away!
If you'd like to see the Fall Session course listings, or need more detailed registration or policy info, just drop me a brief email & I'll get things to you as quickly as I can.

Mary P
CHEC Program Coordinator
cedartree@cstone.net

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