The Richmond Register


April 9, 2014

Open for learning

Red Cedar Co-op welcomes families with spring picnic

BEREA — While some may not have known all of the words or the exact notes to sing, parents and children in the Red Cedar Learning Cooperative enjoyed an afternoon jam session together Tuesday, complete with guitars, a ukulele, drums and a harmonica.

Young musician Sayer Kobersmith, 10, was called on to perform a few harmonica solos, while even younger musician Soren Burns, 2, let loose on the drums.

The picnic continued with miniature boat-making, bubbles, splashing in the creek and do-it-yourself ice cream sundaes.

The Berea-based home school cooperative meets from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. every Tuesday, August through May, at the Friends Meeting House on Harrison Road.

Established in 2005, Red Cedar offers support and training to families pursuing active and self-directed community-based learning, said member Kim Kobersmith.

“Believing that learning is a lifelong process that arises naturally, we strive to nurture the natural love of learning and encourage active engagement in one’s own learning process with the help of mentors,” she said. “Co-opers value honoring the particular gifts and talents of individuals, interaction within a community of diverse ages and practicing win-win conflict resolution.”

Each week, community members are brought in to lead workshops on some basics, like music, science, writing and math. However, parents also collaborate to plan projects in other topics in which the children are interested, such as carpentry, peace and justice, drama, cheese making, needlework or sewing, said co-op member Katie Gardner.

Workshops and projects are conducted from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m., followed by a musical jam session and plenty of free play. Home school families who are not members of the co-op are invited to come by from 2 to 4 p.m. each Tuesday afternoon to play with the other children or learn more about the program, Gardner said.

Amy Burns, of Lexington, came down Tuesday to see what the co-op was all about. She said she was interested in homeschooling her 2-year-old but knows that it will be challenging.

“You definitely need a community to take this on,” she said.

The co-op is currently made up of eight families, with children ranging in age from 6 to 16. But Red Cedar had more than 20 families at one point, so workshops and projects are adapted each year to cater to the differing age groups, said Thyne Rutrough, one of the co-op’s founding members.

“All members have a voice,” she said, when it comes to making decisions about the co-op.

“It is great to have a network of friends that are sailing the same seas and can listen, share ideas and support us in our choice to home school,” said member Laura Poulette.

The Friends Meeting House on Harrison Road features a backyard play area, creative play materials and an art room. Children also can enjoy nearby biking and walking trails and a creek.

For details, visit the website at or contact Michelle Hayden at 859-353-7721 or 

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