Jump to content

Menu

Is this normal? The incredible shrinking co-op


Recommended Posts

We're on our first year in a co-op, and I've been a little shocked by the drop-off in families. It seems like almost every week we get a "So and So has left the co-op. ". Which then leaves holes in the teaching schedule, since parents teach on a rotation basis, and leaves the groups smaller and smaller. My DD's group started with 10 and is down to 6, and the older age groups have lost similar percentages. One reason we started doing the co-op this year was so DD could meet other homeschooled kids, and to have her group shrinking by almost 50% since Labor Day is VERY troubling.

 

This is the first time we've ever done a class where the parents weren't paying the teacher, and the first time I've ever seen this sort of attrition rate. I'm wondering if this is typical for co-ops, or if something isn't working the way it should.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Hmm...I know that this did happen in the co-op I was in last year. People made commitments to teach but than became sporadic with their attendance or dropped out. It really is frustrating. If you are in leadership, it keeps you scrambling. Our co-op wasn't that big, so I am thinking perhaps the smaller the co-op is the more others feel the hit of people leaving.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

We formed our co-op partly in reaction to this mindset. We now interview families before accepting them, because we can't function without commitment of our members. Ours is a completely academic co-op and you must have a student in 7th grade or higher to even be considered for membership. We found that families with older students value the co-op and teachers because they are receiving something of true value; families with only younger children often attend a co-op for reasons one may attend a play group. The need for a "play group" can wax and wane; the need for academics remains steady even when resolve doesn't.

 

I think the real reason co-ops end up in trouble is that people are meeting one need (socialization and fellowship) with something that was not designed to specifically meet that need (co-op classes).

Edited by Leanna
clarity
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Is there a common reason that the families have left? Perhaps that could be addressed.

 

If a weekly schedule turned out to be too much of a commitment, perhaps some classes could be offered on a biweekly basis instead, especially the classes for the smaller pupils.

 

I would definitely try to institute some sort of cost, if only to offset the price of materials. It seems that when folks pay for something, they are more motivated to participate.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I would definitely try to institute some sort of cost, if only to offset the price of materials. It seems that when folks pay for something, they are more motivated to participate.

 

:iagree: I've been involved with co-ops with low costs and major attendance issues. The tutorial my son attends, and I teach at, has a high commitment rate. I think it's because of the costs. People value what they pay for more than what is free.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

One of the many reasons I've never joined our big local coop is I keep hearing that often classes get cut mid-year (I think probably due to attrition of students or parent/teachers). But you still pay the same $ for the coop. No thanks!!

 

I've stuck to small coops for a single purpose that include people I know and trust not to flake out. And they're usually free.

 

This goes hand-in-hand with the situation mentioned in another thread about hsers that sign up for field trips and then don't show. I.don't.get.it.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

We don't attend a co-op but my sister-in-law does for my nine year old niece. She says they have experienced a huge drop in attendance and parents having to re-nig on promises to teach. The reasoning here is economics.

 

Several moms, after signing up to teach classes, had to start day cares in their homes when their husbands lost their jobs or because of pay cuts and rising cost of living...others are taking on higher paying tutoring jobs because the pay-out for teaching at the co-op is very, very small and in some cases nil. Some have cars that need repairs which they can no longer afford to make, so if hubby has the car at work, mom isn't going anywhere and some are choosing to become one car families and sell a working vehicle just to reduce costs.

 

Co-op costs went up significantly when the church that housed the co-op had to start charging rent for the use of the facilities because offerings were down and the church family could no longer provide lights and heat in the educational wing four Fridays per month for multiple rooms. The substantial increase in membership fees caused many families to drop out.

 

Is it possible that economics is a contributing factor to the drop-out rate in your co-op?

 

Just asking because in our area the standard of living is shrinking rapidly.

Faith

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I don't know what reason they've been giving, but given that our space is donated and supply costs have been minimal so far (I didn't even bother to collect supply fees for my lessons, simply because it would have been under $1 a child), I don't think it's economics.

 

It frustrates me-especially since we arranged our upcoming trip specifically AROUND co-op!

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I think co-ops can be great, but often when you join you may have higher expectations than the co-op actually delivers. I paid our tuition in advance this year so that I wouldn't be tempted to bail. My kids love co-op. I do not.

I put down all kind of classes and jobs to volunteer for and yet again this year I got stuck with the class that I absolutely can not deal with at all. This class was the reason I quit last year and I dream of not having to deal with this class every time the co-op day rolls around.

The truth is that all homeschoolers are not alike and that some kids are not prepared for a group environment. I am sticking it out b/c my oldest is 6th grade next year and I want her to be able to partake in the for credit foreign language classes and such next year.

I am stuck dealing with the classes I hate b/c my youngest is a preschooler.

Maybe some of the parents couldn't handle the classes they were given? Maybe they weren't given the option of teaching something they were good at or comfortable with? I know that it happens in our co-op and it does contribute to the drop out rate. Around Halloween, drop out rates spike.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I don't know what reason they've been giving, but given that our space is donated and supply costs have been minimal so far (I didn't even bother to collect supply fees for my lessons, simply because it would have been under $1 a child), I don't think it's economics.

 

It frustrates me-especially since we arranged our upcoming trip specifically AROUND co-op!

The other poster was pointing out economics, not based on the cost of the co-op, but on the need of some Moms to stay home and use that time doing Day Care or tutoring to earn money for their family. I know some families are having a hard time even getting places due to the cost of gasoline.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I think co-ops can be great, but often when you join you may have higher expectations than the co-op actually delivers. I paid our tuition in advance this year so that I wouldn't be tempted to bail. My kids love co-op. I do not.

I put down all kind of classes and jobs to volunteer for and yet again this year I got stuck with the class that I absolutely can not deal with at all. This class was the reason I quit last year and I dream of not having to deal with this class every time the co-op day rolls around.

The truth is that all homeschoolers are not alike and that some kids are not prepared for a group environment. I am sticking it out b/c my oldest is 6th grade next year and I want her to be able to partake in the for credit foreign language classes and such next year.

I am stuck dealing with the classes I hate b/c my youngest is a preschooler.

Maybe some of the parents couldn't handle the classes they were given? Maybe they weren't given the option of teaching something they were good at or comfortable with? I know that it happens in our co-op and it does contribute to the drop out rate. Around Halloween, drop out rates spike.

 

perhaps the class assignments need to be given out differently? Perhaps on a questionnaire there needs to be place for "The class I LEAST want to teach is...." And then if NOONE wants to teach that class, it could be assigned on a rotating basis. Perhaps questions like.. "I am most passionate about teaching...." or "My favorite age to work with is...."

 

I completely understand this, having had Sunday School Classes that I dread each week.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

One thing about co-ops is, I think they sometimes end up with classes that NO ONE really even wants to be in, but they are in them because they have to be in SOMETHING for a particular time slot . It seems like some people that run co-ops get some kind of satisfaction about there being a lot of classes, lets keep everyone busy for x length of time regardless of whether the classes are beneficial or not. We wanted to do co-op this year but my dd would have ended up in classes that were not helpful at all or of any interest whatsoever to her in order to be able to attend the one class she was highly interested in. It would have been a lot of time and energy and gas money and being bored for several hours that day just for the sake of one class.

 

I was so upset it didn't work out because she had been looking forward to the one class.

We ended up putting her in a private art class that we pay for.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

 Share

×
×
  • Create New...