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What would be an optimal co-op?


PeacefulChaos
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In a town that has limited stuff for homeschoolers.  A small town, mind you - less than 10,000.  A large city about 1 hour away (if that matters).  

No statement of faith that needs to be signed, for sure.  

 

But if you were to name features of the optimal co-op, what would they be?

 

I'm just brainstorming.  :)

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I think the co-op I belong to is pretty optimal. Two semesters of classes per year, so it's not a commitment that consumes every Friday all year long. Sign up and communication on-line; streamlines the process. A hot lunch option. My kids love having pizza lunch with their buddies! Big, with a good age distribution, so all ages can have friends. Enough required that members have some investment, but not so much that it's a giant burden. A range of classes in both academic units and extracurriculars. Field trips available.

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Our co-op has been great. We meet every other week, 8 weeks each semester. We do 2 academic classes and one enrichment as well as having lunch. I started it and directed it for 2 years. We only charged supply fees and a donation to the facility. All teachers were volunteer, and every mom stayed and helped somewhere.

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Our large city is more than an hour away, and our town is also small (Les than 400, though 80% of us live rural). drop off for us isn't optimal since must of us are spending time driving to the location. I would live to see greater parent involvement. Would love to see a class taught. Currently we meet once a month for field trips and once a month for an activity. But I'd like to see actual classes (even if its only one 6 week class a year). and also like an age limit. We are CONSTANTLY telling moms of little ones that events are for school aged children.( I do get that they PLAN to homeschool, but the classes we go offer are for 10 year Olds, not 4 year Olds and a baby. Sigh, sorry for the added vent! )

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My ideal would be half a day a couple times a month for fun classes and field trips (group rates  :) ).  I would like it if parents weren't required to be involved, and especially have to teach in order to have priority to get the classes that their kids want to take.  I would also like to see one that respects that people have different worldviews and allows them to express them without judgement.  I guess I am looking for more of a "fluffy co-op" that isn't academic so much as a fun outlet for the kids to hang out.  I have academic options already for my kids if I want them to learn music, art, etc. so that isn't want I need for my kids.

 

But looking over all the posts here about co-ops it seems like there will never be an ideal co-op because everyone needs and want different things out of them.  There is a local co-op that is thriving in our area, and it works great for many parents, but it isn't for me.  It takes up way too much time and requires too much of my time for planning and teaching.

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I think people's ideal will be different. I'm another who just wants electives and hands-on stuff. Academics is one of our primary reasons for homeschooling and I'm not willing to give up core classes. I'm happy to outsource things like art, PE, science experiments, etc. and luckily we've found a place that does just that. The only thing I don't like about it is that parents are required to help in the mom's morning out twice a month watching preschoolers. Honestly, I wouldn't have that much of a problem with it if I didn't have a tiny baby this year.

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Options for drop-off. I have a medically complex toddler who couldn't just go into a nursery due to his health problems. That's limiting our co-op options for my other kids. :(

Co-op is short for cooperative. Meaning everyone chips in and helps out. If you don't teach, you volunteer. If you want a drop-off opportunity, then you need to look for paid classes. No disrespect to your situation. Now in our co-op, you only have to volunteer so many hours. There are hours you don't have to help out. If we had a drop off situation, the co-op would not work as intended since all of our volunteers that are needed would be out running errands. Co-ops are cheap as far as money cost. Your tuition is paid via teaching or volunteering.

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My ideal would be half a day a couple times a month for fun classes and field trips (group rates :) ). I would like it if parents weren't required to be involved, and especially have to teach in order to have priority to get the classes that their kids want to take. I would also like to see one that respects that people have different worldviews and allows them to express them without judgement. I guess I am looking for more of a "fluffy co-op" that isn't academic so much as a fun outlet for the kids to hang out. I have academic options already for my kids if I want them to learn music, art, etc. so that isn't want I need for my kids.

 

But looking over all the posts here about co-ops it seems like there will never be an ideal co-op because everyone needs and want different things out of them. There is a local co-op that is thriving in our area, and it works great for many parents, but it isn't for me. It takes up way too much time and requires too much of my time for planning and teaching.

Teachers get priority because it takes a lot of time to plan for classes and they are putting in way more work than a volunteer. Sometimes a volunteer is just a warm body. If we didn't give the teacher's kids priority, it would be hard to find teachers to teach. Why would I want to spend my time teaching if my kids weren't pretty much guaranteed to get the classes I wanted them in? The system is set up in a very fair way, IMO. If you want priority for your kids, get on the planning board or teach. If you want to put in little effort, volunteer.

 

Our homeschool group requires no faith statement, so we have a very diverse group. Also our co-op does not do field trips. It is a branch off of our homeschool group, and our homeschool group has specific people that plan field trips. We have field trips for preschool as well as school-age children. With homeschooling, you just have to accept that babies and toddlers will be at most field trips. Only a few field trips require no toddlers or babies. We try not to plan those.

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Co-op is short for cooperative. Meaning everyone chips in and helps out. If you don't teach, you volunteer. If you want a drop-off opportunity, then you need to look for paid classes. No disrespect to your situation. Now in our co-op, you only have to volunteer so many hours. There are hours you don't have to help out. If we had a drop off situation, the co-op would not work as intended since all of our volunteers that are needed would be out running errands. Co-ops are cheap as far as money cost. Your tuition is paid via teaching or volunteering.

Our coop is run as you describe but we do allow a drop off situation for people who need it. They pay more. Quite a bit more ;) we use the money to subsidise the parents who are there teaching AND the kids have to be at least ten. Works really well

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Teachers get priority because it takes a lot of time to plan for classes and they are putting in way more work than a volunteer. Sometimes a volunteer is just a warm body. If we didn't give the teacher's kids priority, it would be hard to find teachers to teach. Why would I want to spend my time teaching if my kids weren't pretty much guaranteed to get the classes I wanted them in? The system is set up in a very fair way, IMO. If you want priority for your kids, get on the planning board or teach. If you want to put in little effort, volunteer.

 

Our homeschool group requires no faith statement, so we have a very diverse group. Also our co-op does not do field trips. It is a branch off of our homeschool group, and our homeschool group has specific people that plan field trips. We have field trips for preschool as well as school-age children. With homeschooling, you just have to accept that babies and toddlers will be at most field trips. Only a few field trips require no toddlers or babies. We try not to plan those.

Yes yes yes!!!! We don't do that with teachers kids getting priority because everyone is require to teach something after their first term with us. But what you are saying with volunteering vs intense teaching or being on the board is so true. I get frustrated when people complain or want more but don't step up and give more. It's a lot of work.

 

With the field trips, we often (amoungst ourselves and friends not as an organized coop effort) have some moms watch babies/toddlers while their bigger kids go with the other moms. Everyone is happier that way. But I agree that with homeschooling preschoolers are just part of the package. That is why our coop accommodates all ages. There are a couple drop off kinds here we've tried but I really miss the sense of community that comes from families being there together.

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If the classes cost, volunteer hours are either not mandatory, or can be opted out of for an additional fee. There have been times that we've considered a class or co-op, where we've been allowed to participate, but the volunteer hours (even for high at-cost classes) was rather insane.

 

A variety of types of classes - core classes as well as fun *other* classes (art, drama, etc). Also some time each meeting to just let the children play and socialize.

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Teachers get priority because it takes a lot of time to plan for classes and they are putting in way more work than a volunteer. Sometimes a volunteer is just a warm body. If we didn't give the teacher's kids priority, it would be hard to find teachers to teach. Why would I want to spend my time teaching if my kids weren't pretty much guaranteed to get the classes I wanted them in? The system is set up in a very fair way, IMO. If you want priority for your kids, get on the planning board or teach. If you want to put in little effort, volunteer.

 

Our homeschool group requires no faith statement, so we have a very diverse group. Also our co-op does not do field trips. It is a branch off of our homeschool group, and our homeschool group has specific people that plan field trips. We have field trips for preschool as well as school-age children. With homeschooling, you just have to accept that babies and toddlers will be at most field trips. Only a few field trips require no toddlers or babies. We try not to plan those.

 

I get why teachers get priority, I just don't always agree.  I spend a lot of time volunteering so I get how much time it takes up.  I taught in a co-op the entire time I was there because I wanted my kids to get the classes that they wanted and that was the only way to do it.  I am not the type to just volunteer and not put in the effort.  I spent hours on lesson plans and teaching.  However, many of the other moms didn't.  Most of them were completely unorganized and it was a waste of time for my kids who had hopes of a fun class only to find out it wasn't what they had been "promised".  One class was sign language, they put in a video each class, not much prep there.  I could have done that at home.  So just because someone signs up to teach to get priority doesn't mean that they are giving more than the mom who is a helper in classes.  Some of the helpers who didn't get priority were doing much more work and got stuck with the unpopular classes.

 

For me the ideal, and I get this isn't what everyone wants, is fluff.  Knowing it isn't going to  be educational.  Knowing it is just for fun and getting together with other homeschool families.  I don't want a serious academic co-op.  I don't want pressure to give more of my time to teach another subject.  I already volunteer at least 10-20 hours a week with other things, I don't really have a lot more time to give.  I get that this isn't other peoples idea of a great co-op.  Everyone has different needs and wants, and there will never be an optimal co-op that fills everyone needs.

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With the field trips, we often (amoungst ourselves and friends not as an organized coop effort) have some moms watch babies/toddlers while their bigger kids go with the other moms. Everyone is happier that way. But I agree that with homeschooling preschoolers are just part of the package. That is why our coop accommodates all ages.

you didn't quote me so maybe you weren't referring to my post? I love babies and I love toddlers. BUT, there are times when they get in the way :-) or they are a distraction to an academic class or they walk around and eat things (like Legos or Arty supplies) that are dangerous. we have no problem when little ones join us. NONE. as long as, they have a sibling that is truly old enough to participate. when your oldest 3... This is not the place for you. Moms groups, mops groups, play dates, story tine at the library; these are for you. if you are looking to homeschool, and your oldest is 3, we have opportunities for you to come and visit throughout the year. sometimes it's a play date or a moms night out or a homeschool event, BUT it is not on our school age field trip or during classes...

(I hope that didn't come across as rude. I don't mean for it to be.)

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Co-op is short for cooperative. Meaning everyone chips in and helps out. If you don't teach, you volunteer. If you want a drop-off opportunity, then you need to look for paid classes. No disrespect to your situation. Now in our co-op, you only have to volunteer so many hours. There are hours you don't have to help out. If we had a drop off situation, the co-op would not work as intended since all of our volunteers that are needed would be out running errands. Co-ops are cheap as far as money cost. Your tuition is paid via teaching or volunteering.

 

Er, no. Not for all co-ops. The one we were considering cost quite a bit of money (hundreds per class, considering tuition and book costs) and STILL required way too many volunteer hours for us to consider.

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OP, I don't know how many families you were talking about. one thing that has been very helpful for us, towards the end of July we will have a meeting with all of the parents of school age children. for us this is less than 20 families. here we discuss what we are looking for in our co-op. we find out what everyone's ideal is. then we build the coop around those principles. I am in the minority for our group (on certain things). so I give those up. Others also make compromises. but talking about what we want helps us guide our group to meet the goals of the most family.

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WRT academic classes vs. "fluff," I am one who does not want a core class, but OTOH, I don't want classes I could just as well do at home. Those are not worth it to me. So, for example, in our co-op, there have been two types of Lego class. One is free-play, where the teacher brings in a thousand pieces, dumps them out, and the kids can do any amicable thing they want for the next hour. The other type is where the teacher has a structural goal, or a specific type of physics concept that is taught to the student. My kids have done both types (and ds9 always did like free play just fine), but I prefer the engineering style Lego class. This is a subject I know nothing about, so it's valuable to me. I can dump out a pile of Legos at home, and there is no guarantee that the kids will interact with one another or share learning in the free play class.

 

I used to be on the board at our co-op. My job was to plan the schedule. It was my aim to have three classes to choose from in each age group, and for those choices to appeal to different types of hsers. So, maybe Cooperative Games, Art and Sign Language each being offered to one age group at one time. Nice thing about this is crappy teachers or uninspired class offerings would die out from natural selection. it was always very obvious when folks were steering clear of a particular class or teacher.

 

At our co-op, every member must assist, but nobody HAS to teach. Teaching gives you priority perks and monetary perks, but if you just want to come, aide in a class, and go home, you can choose that, too. Teachers and board members do have priority, but regular members can still most often get their class choices.

 

In our co-op, we once offered "paid to aide," where a parent could pay (a lot) of money to dump their aide duties and just drop off. Nobody utilized it. It was meant to help those who work on co-op day and could not come to aide. But I assume it is not financially prudent to pay a few hundred dollars more just to have a few hours free every Friday. Personally, I'm glad, because we are not a private school; we're a co-op. A co-op really ought to be edifying to the parent(s) as well. You would not be part of the community if you just paid a big fee and never darkened the door. If all one wants is for their kids to learn something and have friends, and money is no object, it would make more sense to put them in private school or at least some club.

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you didn't quote me so maybe you weren't referring to my post? I love babies and I love toddlers. BUT, there are times when they get in the way :-) or they are a distraction to an academic class or they walk around and eat things (like Legos or Arty supplies) that are dangerous. we have no problem when little ones join us. NONE. as long as, they have a sibling that is truly old enough to participate. when your oldest 3... This is not the place for you. Moms groups, mops groups, play dates, story tine at the library; these are for you. if you are looking to homeschool, and your oldest is 3, we have opportunities for you to come and visit throughout the year. sometimes it's a play date or a moms night out or a homeschool event, BUT it is not on our school age field trip or during classes...

(I hope that didn't come across as rude. I don't mean for it to be.)

No I agree with you! I was offering up another solution to the field trips that don't work well for all ages. Because reality is that they don't always.

 

We have weekly park days open to all but our coop classes require that the oldest child in the family be 8. Not even school age. Some people really don't like this policy but we have found it works out better for all. The moms who join are more committed and stay longer. Coop days are just ok overwhelming for a mom with a new 5 year old and maybe a couple younger and a baby. So we just set the age at 8 when the child really does well and may NEED some time with peers etc outside of park days. (All younger siblings are taken care of at coop just to be clear)

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I really just want extracurricular things that don't require much extra work from me. Our last co-op did drama, art and PE. That was pretty great because it mostly gave the kids time to socialize, but also had some worth to the activities. BUT, we also paid for a Spanish class at our local homeschool store, which was nice too.

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My ideal co op would meet for 3-4 hours every other week. We would decide together what classes to do. Depending on participation level we would either all do the same set or have options. Maybe three blocks of classes? Running by semester. I would prefer mostly electives and fun over academic. Artsy stuff, music, theater, Legos, possibly games? Maybe some fun science stuff like silly "experiments" (think pinterest), or more focused topics that kids would enjoy but we don't always get to following curriculum. Kept light and interesting not trying to meet requirements or earn credits.

 

Cost wise, I think it would work well to have each class cost, but you would earn deductions for parent involvement. So if I taught two classes and volunteered for one, I'd only pay a reduced price for one class. If I volunteered for one and did nothing the other two blocks, I'd have to pay for most of it. I would want them to be reasonably priced though since it is all optional stuff and volunteer ran. Mostly materials and to cover any overhead the co op had.

 

Oh and completely secular. Not that it should often matter with electives and fun, but it comes up in surprising places. Anyone could join, but religion stays out.

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As far as cost our coop charges a building fee per family per semester. Runs about $100. This is to pay the church for use of their space (donation really)

 

Then the nursery and preschool classes cost about $5-10 per child per term to cover snacks and supplies. The other classes charge a supply fee based on need and these are all clear on the reg form. Some are free and some are up to $50 a term or maybe more(we offer may levels of iEW and this includes books etc). Anything they need for the classes is charged for up front so the parents are scrambling to bring stuff in etc. we also sometimes have to charge for outside teachers that we pay(band, art etc) when we don't have parents who can or want to teach certain subjects. Those classes usually run an extra $60 or so a term ($5 a week) but are not required. Just if they want that class. Last term we had to charge theater kids for the rights to the play but the class itself was taught by parents. (We have several dads that are the main homeschooler and bring their kids)

Myfamily pays about $350-400 a term and that is more than anyone else ;) I have 8 kids and always 3 in band which we pay a teacher for. The other fees add up though. None of the parents get anything other than a re-embursment for costs but everyone is working a class the whole time(ether actively teaching or assisting or snuggling babies)

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My ideal co-op would be very large (say, at least 15 kids in each grade) so that we can enter events/competitions where a team is needed of similar age children.   It would also be a strong community outside of co-op days (mom's and dad's nights out, parent book clubs, birthday parties, field trips. Basically we would all become the closest of friends, and share life together outside of homeschooling as well).  All the parents would take the co-op classes seriously and would spend time with their children completing work that needs to be done each week, so that the classes can progress well. 

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For me the optimal co-op would one that met in two sessions, every other week.  I'd like academic/arts classes in the morning and play/park/games in the afternoon.  I wouldn't care if it was/wasn't religiously affiliated as long as there wasn't a required SOF.

 

The reason I'd want one day every other week is because we get nothing done when we have half day activities anyway, so might as well only lose one day instead of two.

 

On the off weeks there could be low-key, optional evening meet-up type activities, so that the dads and other non-homeschooled siblings could participate: things like skating (roller/ice), games at a park (soccer, b-ball, baseball, hockey etc.) that don't require a lot of conversation in order to participate, bowling, group bike rides....

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A co-op should have a plan for progessing through math and science.  If they offer only geometry, but no algebra 1 or 2, what help is that?  There should be a focus on classes that required technical expertise or more kids than are usually contained in a single home to be successful.  Eg. Chemistry should have a chemistry teacher.  Groups are needed for drama, band, speech.  

 

I actually think it is OK for the TEACHERS to have to sign a SOF, but the classes should be open to all.  Those who sign up should know what they are getting into and should be OK with that, not expecting to come in and start a revolution.  Sometimes it is a faith or a vision that ties a group together enough to offer a co-op--if you take those things away, you won't have a co-op.  But I don't see that The People need to pony up to every last belief, nor do I think The People should get the benefit of the co-op while trying to undermine it.  

 

And yes, I have had to stay away from a couple of co-ops I could have benefited from because I couldn't buy in to the vision.  It happens.  

 

 

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Our co-op has been great. We meet every other week, 8 weeks each semester. We do 2 academic classes and one enrichment as well as having lunch. I started it and directed it for 2 years. We only charged supply fees and a donation to the facility. All teachers were volunteer, and every mom stayed and helped somewhere.

 

 

This is very similar to ours. Two eight week semesters, meeting the 1st and 3rd Friday of the month. Three classes, teach one, assist one and one free period. $55 per semester, per family,  covers everything. We pack a snack/lunch but we finish at noon. I love that it's only 2 Fridays a month. I couldn't do anymore than that. 

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A co-op should have a plan for progessing through math and science.  If they offer only geometry, but no algebra 1 or 2, what help is that?  There should be a focus on classes that required technical expertise or more kids than are usually contained in a single home to be successful.  Eg. Chemistry should have a chemistry teacher.  Groups are needed for drama, band, speech.  

 

I actually think it is OK for the TEACHERS to have to sign a SOF, but the classes should be open to all.  Those who sign up should know what they are getting into and should be OK with that, not expecting to come in and start a revolution.  Sometimes it is a faith or a vision that ties a group together enough to offer a co-op--if you take those things away, you won't have a co-op.  But I don't see that The People need to pony up to every last belief, nor do I think The People should get the benefit of the co-op while trying to undermine it.  

 

And yes, I have had to stay away from a couple of co-ops I could have benefited from because I couldn't buy in to the vision.  It happens.  

 

 

Yes.  This is exactly how I feel about it as well.

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Yes.  This is exactly how I feel about it as well.

 

The short version of the sentiment is this:  "Good fences make good neighbors."  :0)

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For me? Specialty/elective-type classes taught by people who know what they're doing. And organized field trips to places that are harder for individuals to access on their own.

I think this thread is a great example of why finding the perfect co-op is so difficult. People want such different things.

 

For example, I have zero interest in joining any co-op where every parent must teach. Less than zero interest - you couldn't pay me to participate, it is just not what I want at all. I quoted myself here to illustrate that an "every parent must teach" approach would not match my desire at all - I want people well-trained in the subject area they are teaching, not someone teaching from a curric that I could do myself at home.

 

However, I would be quite happy in a co-op where parents organized small groups wherein the children were at similar academic levels (not necessarily age) to learn a specialty area from someone. The group of parents could then split the cost of hiring the teacher and of renting space if needed. I live in a university town with a music conservatory and I could see several opportunities to hire for group music classes, native speakers of a foreign language, or grad students or professors in a variety of possible subjects.

 

Co-op does mean co-operative but that does not mean everyone participating in the same way. And it does not mean everyone being present. I belong to two (non-homeschooling) co-ops where my participation is purely or mainly financial. In one (a large natural food co-op that operates multiple store locations) I can get price breaks for volunteer hours but there is zero expectation that any individual member volunteers. In the other (a preschool co-op), I have a minimal number of volunteer hours required per year, no direct benefit to me if I go over, and I can "buy" my way out of the volunteer hours by paying an additional fee if I so choose though the volunteer hours are really expected. The cost of the preschool is comparable to others in town and staff are paid, trained staff.

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I think this thread is a great example of why finding the perfect co-op is so difficult. People want such different things.

 

For example, I have zero interest in joining any co-op where every parent must teach. Less than zero interest - you couldn't pay me to participate, it is just not what I want at all. I quoted myself here to illustrate that an "every parent must teach" approach would not match my desire at all - I want people well-trained in the subject area they are teaching, not someone teaching from a curric that I could do myself at home.

 

However, I would be quite happy in a co-op where parents organized small groups wherein the children were at similar academic levels (not necessarily age) to learn a specialty area from someone. The group of parents could then split the cost of hiring the teacher and of renting space if needed. I live in a university town with a music conservatory and I could see several opportunities to hire for group music classes, native speakers of a foreign language, or grad students or professors in a variety of possible subjects.

 

Co-op does mean co-operative but that does not mean everyone participating in the same way. And it does not mean everyone being present. I belong to two (non-homeschooling) co-ops where my participation is purely or mainly financial. In one (a large natural food co-op that operates multiple store locations) I can get price breaks for volunteer hours but there is zero expectation that any individual member volunteers. In the other (a preschool co-op), I have a minimal number of volunteer hours required per year, no direct benefit to me if I go over, and I can "buy" my way out of the volunteer hours by paying an additional fee if I so choose though the volunteer hours are really expected. The cost of the preschool is comparable to others in town and staff are paid, trained staff.

We have a diverse group of parents who choose what they want to offer for classes. This means that we have theater majors teaching theater and professional musicians teaching strings and helping in band and teaching recorder to younger ones. A "real" yoga teacher teaches short yoga sessions to different age groups. We have a professional sculptor mom who teaches art and sculpture. Etc. we have found that we are happier with mostly enrichment classes and we use the talents of the parents in the group. When the kids have an intense interest in something that no one in the group has skills in then we have hired that out.(art/drawing, computer programming, band, woodworking although that one was a parent and a volunteer who came along) We do limited academics, mainly things that work well in a group like IEW, literature and foreign languages(again being taught by parents who are fluent)

 

We may have different goals then other coops though. Our main goal was to create a community for our kids to belong to so they have a social network to fall back on when they really need it during their teen years. We felt that meeting together weekly(it's actually 2x a week with park days too) would allow them to really cement friendships and a sense of belonging so that high school especially wouldn't be a huge pull for social reasons as we were watching SO many teens go to our low performing high schools when homeschooling wasn't enough especially socially. It has worked ;) all our older kids have had NO desire to go to school because they love our coop and know that we will continue to provide outlets for them with their friends. When the kids have come to us with an idea for a class we have done what we could to accommodate them by finding a parent or hiring a teacher. We have a very consistent group of parents who are committed to this coop and we all know that some years out kids will love every class and some years it will just be mainly social time and mostly it's in between. But our goals are being met.

 

Just in case anyone is curious this group of families is approximately 28-35 families. It fluctuates but we have found this a good number to work with.

 

We do require parents to teach because those of us around the longest and most committed we're feeling a bit burnt out carrying too heavy of a load. We haven't had anyone totally opposed to teaching as we are flexible in what that means. Some surpervise PE time or lead group games. Some are in charge of the nursery. All the parents speak up for what they want to do and we accommodate desires as much as possible. Moms take a term off from anything intense while having a new baby or other times of change/stress.

 

I know I am rambling but this seemed like a thread where ideas were wanted. I love love love our coop and want to encourage others that they can be great ;) it had been a lot of work but so so worth it!

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Yes, we do have teachers that have crappy classes...as someone else pointed out, those teachers don't have kids sign up for their classes, or we ask them not to teach again. The bad classes or teachers are taken care of by natural selection. Most of our teachers really put in a lot of work. When I taught, I would spend 2-3 hours a week planning. I taught it so long that by the last year I didn't have to plan because I had done the class already.

 

I was on the board of our co-op, it is why I have the no-BS attitude.

 

We don't make anyone sign a faith statement, we do make kids sign a behavior statement. It's nice to bring it up when kids are being a PITA.

 

We have a $15 annual fee that goes as a donation to the Temple we have our co-op at. We get $150 budget from the homeschool group budget (the fee to enter our support group comes from that). That pays for our supplies.

 

We make families give us a $50 on-time check. Post-dated to a month before co-op ends. If your family is 1 minute late 4 times in a semester, we deposit that check and donate it to the Temple. We had to deposit 3 of them this past semester. The first semester we didn't have to deposit any. I used to teach the first hour and class would start 10-15 min after the hour because 1/4 of the class was on time. It sucks to have to have that rule, but homeschoolers have a hard time being on time. When I plan field trips, I give a time 15 min prior to the start. Then only one family is late rather than 5 or so.

 

Our classes are elective type classes. Teachers quickly learn not to give much homework because parents just don't make their kids do it. The older classes require homework, and the teachers many times email parents telling them, even though it's in the syllabus.

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