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Starting a MOEMS team?


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#1 Spring Flower

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Posted 13 April 2016 - 12:14 PM

I would love to sign my DD up for MOEMS next year but there are no homeschool teams in our area. I wouldn't mind starting a group myself I just don't know how to deal with the financial part of it. I would be responsible for the initial fee which is $99-$109 dollars per team as well as providing copies of all the practice tests and any other supplies. It will also take time and preparation for me to put together activities for a weekly math meeting as well as host the meetings. It seems like a lot of work for a volunteer coach. When I taught math many years ago, I coached the MATHCOUNTS team at our school but I was paid for my extra hour of work a week. 

 

For those who have joined a MOEMS team, did you have to pay to participate? Would it be unreasonable for me to charge above what would be required to cover the basic team entry fee? Has anyone ever hosted a team themselves? Any other advice for me as I consider this idea? 



#2 dmmetler

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Posted 13 April 2016 - 12:29 PM

I haven't done MOEMS because I never have enough kids at the right grade level, but have done CML.

Yes, pass on the fee to parents, plus a bit. CML is $20/individual student or $100/team in a given grade level, and my fee is $30/child. In my experience, less than half the kids who sign up will continue to show up and actually do the competition. I entered 8 in CML this year. I had two kids actually finish all 6 rounds, plus one where I entered a 0 as her final score so she would be eligible for local awards because she had been strong all season, but her mother had given birth less than a week before the final round, and not surprisingly, she didn't get there to take it. Of the others, one did 6 rounds, but dropped down a grade level because she just plain didn't know where to start on her official grade level, which means she's not eligible for awards, one shut down and refused to even try after he didn't know where to start on the first question, and the rest just missed test days with no effort to make them up (and for CML, you can submit missed tests until the end of the full competition cycle). My most avid participants this year were the kids who couldn't actually do CML yet-the younger siblings who were doing K/1 Sunshine math. Three of them finished all the rounds-including one who isn't in kindergarten yet.

The same happened on the NME-less than half the kids actually took the test, and three of the ones who did were 2nd grade and below.

I'm pretty down right now on sponsoring groups for that reason. I'm considering half seriously charging a $75 fee per kid next year, and giving $50 Amazon gift cards as prizes to those who actually complete the assignments/take the tests.
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#3 SilverMoon

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Posted 13 April 2016 - 12:35 PM

For those who have joined a MOEMS team, did you have to pay to participate? Would it be unreasonable for me to charge above what would be required to cover the basic team entry fee? Has anyone ever hosted a team themselves? Any other advice for me as I consider this idea? 

 

I haven't started a team myself, but my middle two DC were on one together this year. We paid $50 per kid upfront for the whole season, which was to have covered registration, extra supplies the coach brought in and her paper, ink, and such. This gave her plenty of freedom to add in extras beyond the tests and homework. Handouts on concepts covered in class, games, logic puzzles, and such. I think she used it to purchase the MOEMS contest problems books she used for homework too. 

 

At the beginning of the year she stated she wanted each child to have their own binder, blank paper, and pencils. They three hole punched everything she gave them and kept it organized in that. She also gave us a calendar of expected dates, holiday breaks, and such right at the beginning.


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#4 SilverMoon

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Posted 13 April 2016 - 12:40 PM

Gosh, DMM. That's lousy. We did have one drop out on our team after one or two meetings, but they also left the homeschool group most of the team are from, so I didn't think much of it.



#5 Spring Flower

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Posted 13 April 2016 - 01:36 PM

Thanks for the replies. I tried starting a free chess club this year for kids to meet up and play chess twice a month at our local library. There was a lot of initial excitement but things died down rather quickly. I imagine this would be the same. I hoped that if parents had made a financial commitment that they would feel more obligated to participate but we'll see. Thanks for your experience dmmetler.



#6 Black-eyed Suzan

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Posted 13 April 2016 - 08:54 PM

:lurk5:

I'm glad you started this topic. I've been wishing that there was a MOEMS team nearby and wondering if I should start one. 


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#7 daijobu

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Posted 14 April 2016 - 01:01 PM

I've coached a MOEMS team for many years now.  I would say MOEMS is basically homeschool agnostic, though they really prefer to deal with regular schools.  

 

We only meet once a month, and I usually have anywhere between 3 and 10 students on a team.  I charge $10 to participate, but it doesn't really cover all my costs, as you mentioned, primarily registration and printing the exams.   I don't want money to be a reason not to join us.

 

Back when I had more time, I would hold 2 practice meetings in September and October so folks could try it out.  I'd print out an old exam from volume 2.  Then in October I'd ask for folks to pay to commit.  I don't often have students drop out.  It's only once a month, and people know what they are getting into when they register.  

 

You need to schedule your exam sometime after the official exam date posted on the website.  It seems some "learning centers" would offer the exam and students would learn the solutions before taking the exam at their regular schools.  Sometimes performance on MOEMS exams will determine placement in advanced math classes, encouraging cheating.  Which is why it's better to keep your head down as a homeschooler and not make too many waves with them.  I always feel like a 2nd class citizen to the regular schools, but OTOH, I've never really had a problem with them as a homeschooler.  

 

I schedule an hour at the library for each meeting.  We begin by taking the exam.  Then I have the students turn in their exams and I open the doors, so parents can start to trickle in.  The 2nd half hour we discuss the exam we just took.  I ask students how they solved each problem, and they describe their solution as I draw on the white board.  Often there is more than one solution.  Sometimes I add the official MOEMS solution to the discussion.  At the end of the meeting I hand out another copy of the blank exam with solutions for the students to do at home.  (MOEMS HQ does not like having digital copies available.)  

 

I take the exams home and grade them and email the parents with the students current and cumulative scores.  I log in to the MOEMS website and enter the students scores.

 

I really love MOEMS because there aren't that many opportunities for elementary students to learn how to do competition math.  (Math Kangaroo comes to mind.)  Also, MOEMS is unusual in that the exams are monthly, not annual, so the students get to know each other and learn from each other as the school year goes on.  It's only an hour (or a half hour...I let students leave early if they have another commitment) once a month, so easy for a lot of people to schedule.  

 

I don't do anything supplemental beyond review the questions the students have just taken.  If I had time to do a weekly MOEMS meetup, I'd just have them take an old practice test and review it.  Then once a month we'd take the MOEMS officially and report the scores.

 

Now that my kids are aging out of MOEMS, I have them proctor the exams for the younger kids and they lead the discussion, so there's good public speaking practice as well.

 

ETA: In April, they mail you an award package consisting of certificates, patches, pins and trophies.  Everyone gets something.  Then I schedule an award ceremony, potluck, combined elementary and middle school, to pass out awards and celebrate.  It's really quite nice.  

 

Overall, I've found MOEMS to be a big part of our homeschooling experience, and I'm rather fond of the organization.  Please LMK if you have further questions.  

 

ETA:  I also want to add that if the registration fees are too high, it's super easy to host your own MOEMS season using old exams you photocopy from volumes 2 and 3.  While the awards that MOEMS provides are nice, they aren't all that, and you can print out your own certificates at the end of the year.  You can even make up your own rules.  


Edited by daijobu, 14 April 2016 - 06:07 PM.

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#8 calbear

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Posted 08 May 2017 - 02:43 PM

So, I just spoke with the head of MOEMS, and he told me that they do allow "schools" of one student though this is not actively publicized. He said they actually have quite a number of schools with just one student. This is how you get around the individuals can't participate rule. This may also be how you get around the sheer amount of work it would take to put together a team You register your homeschool as a school of one and pay the registration fee.

 

I also found out from MOEMS that there are no rules against a homeschooled student from joining a public school team as long as that team is the school that you would normally attend if your were enrolled. The big caveat is that the principal has to agree to allow this to happen though. I am pursuing this option first and then the above option as I have no time or energy to run a group given my other commitments.


Edited by calbear, 10 May 2017 - 11:38 AM.

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#9 seaben

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Posted 08 May 2017 - 03:07 PM

I've coached a MOEMS team for many years now.  I would say MOEMS is basically homeschool agnostic, though they really prefer to deal with regular schools.  

 

We only meet once a month, and I usually have anywhere between 3 and 10 students on a team.  I charge $10 to participate, but it doesn't really cover all my costs, as you mentioned, primarily registration and printing the exams.   I don't want money to be a reason not to join us.

 

Back when I had more time, I would hold 2 practice meetings in September and October so folks could try it out.  I'd print out an old exam from volume 2.  Then in October I'd ask for folks to pay to commit.  I don't often have students drop out.  It's only once a month, and people know what they are getting into when they register.  

 

You need to schedule your exam sometime after the official exam date posted on the website.  It seems some "learning centers" would offer the exam and students would learn the solutions before taking the exam at their regular schools.  Sometimes performance on MOEMS exams will determine placement in advanced math classes, encouraging cheating.  Which is why it's better to keep your head down as a homeschooler and not make too many waves with them.  I always feel like a 2nd class citizen to the regular schools, but OTOH, I've never really had a problem with them as a homeschooler.  

 

I schedule an hour at the library for each meeting.  We begin by taking the exam.  Then I have the students turn in their exams and I open the doors, so parents can start to trickle in.  The 2nd half hour we discuss the exam we just took.  I ask students how they solved each problem, and they describe their solution as I draw on the white board.  Often there is more than one solution.  Sometimes I add the official MOEMS solution to the discussion.  At the end of the meeting I hand out another copy of the blank exam with solutions for the students to do at home.  (MOEMS HQ does not like having digital copies available.)  

 

I take the exams home and grade them and email the parents with the students current and cumulative scores.  I log in to the MOEMS website and enter the students scores.

 

I really love MOEMS because there aren't that many opportunities for elementary students to learn how to do competition math.  (Math Kangaroo comes to mind.)  Also, MOEMS is unusual in that the exams are monthly, not annual, so the students get to know each other and learn from each other as the school year goes on.  It's only an hour (or a half hour...I let students leave early if they have another commitment) once a month, so easy for a lot of people to schedule.  

 

I don't do anything supplemental beyond review the questions the students have just taken.  If I had time to do a weekly MOEMS meetup, I'd just have them take an old practice test and review it.  Then once a month we'd take the MOEMS officially and report the scores.

 

Now that my kids are aging out of MOEMS, I have them proctor the exams for the younger kids and they lead the discussion, so there's good public speaking practice as well.

 

ETA: In April, they mail you an award package consisting of certificates, patches, pins and trophies.  Everyone gets something.  Then I schedule an award ceremony, potluck, combined elementary and middle school, to pass out awards and celebrate.  It's really quite nice.  

 

Overall, I've found MOEMS to be a big part of our homeschooling experience, and I'm rather fond of the organization.  Please LMK if you have further questions.  

 

ETA:  I also want to add that if the registration fees are too high, it's super easy to host your own MOEMS season using old exams you photocopy from volumes 2 and 3.  While the awards that MOEMS provides are nice, they aren't all that, and you can print out your own certificates at the end of the year.  You can even make up your own rules.  

 

I just wanted to second the structure above. I've been doing MOEMS for 3 years and discussing the problems as soon as the test is over works out really well. The kids usually are never as excited to find out the answers and discuss their ideas than right in the moment.

 

Also since I've tended to have 10-15 kids who never finish at the same time, its really useful to have a quiet light weight activity or game to give out to the early finishers to work on so they don't distract the others.

 

 


Edited by seaben, 08 May 2017 - 04:25 PM.


#10 daijobu

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Posted 08 May 2017 - 03:11 PM

So, I just spoke with the head of MOEMS, and he told me that they does allow "schools" of one student though this is not actively publicized. He said they actually have quite a number of schools with just one student. This is how you get around the individuals can't participate rule. This may also be how you get around the sheer amount of work it would take to put together a team You register your homeschool as a school of one and pay the registration fee.

 

 

 

That's great, especially if no one else in your neighborhood wants to participate.  We usually have only 4-6 students on a team.  It's not much, but it allows everyone to compete as individuals, and over the course of a year, they get to know each other.  Often they will graduate together into MathCounts.  I hope you have a great MOEMS season. 



#11 calbear

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Posted 08 May 2017 - 04:19 PM

Hmmm...that's interesting to mull over a scaled down version of MOEMS where you are just getting together for the monthly math tests. I will have to think on that one more.



#12 SeaConquest

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Posted 09 May 2017 - 12:44 PM

Hmmm...that's interesting to mull over a scaled down version of MOEMS where you are just getting together for the monthly math tests. I will have to think on that one more.


I can help you run it, if you'd like. I know S would enjoy doing it with M.

#13 calbear

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Posted 09 May 2017 - 04:26 PM

Monique,

 

I got a positive initial response from the parent organizers from the school in our neighborhood. I am waiting to see what the principal will say when they meet in a few weeks.

 

 


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#14 SamanthaCarter

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Posted 09 May 2017 - 04:30 PM

I think that's the homeschool team we have here that costs something like $500 to participate? That's not normal? I thought it was yet another extracurricular only those with $$$$ can access.


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#15 mathnerd

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Posted 09 May 2017 - 04:34 PM

I think that's the homeschool team we have here that costs something like $500 to participate? That's not normal? I thought it was yet another extracurricular only those with $$$$ can access.


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No, it does not cost so much to participate if run by volunteers. But, it does cost that much and more if the tutor is being paid to "coach" the students - as in teaching them like all the "learning centers" with MOEMS programs in my area do - they charge upto $1000 per session for the coaching and participating.



#16 daijobu

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Posted 09 May 2017 - 06:44 PM

MOEMS team registration is roughly $100 a season.  Since my kids and I volunteer as coaches, we only charge $10 to defray part of the cost and to get some commitment from families.  



#17 calbear

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Posted 09 May 2017 - 08:46 PM

SeaConquest,

 

I think since you are enrolled in a public charter that you would have to go through your charter since he is registered there. Maybe see if you can put it together for your school? That's what all these parents are doing at the schools by putting it together.

 

 

 

 


Edited by calbear, 09 May 2017 - 11:21 PM.


#18 SeaConquest

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Posted 09 May 2017 - 11:05 PM

SeaConquest,

I think since you are enrolled in a public charter, you would have to go through your charter since he is registered there. Maybe see if you can put it together for your school? That's what all these parents are doing at the schools by putting it together.


I organized MK initially for the charter, so I will talk to them about moems.