Jump to content

Menu

spin off: what if a co-op director *is* concerned about slacker attitudes?


Recommended Posts

In the other thread, it seemed like the director of the co-op wasn't concerned about kids being slackers.

 

Our co-op is different. The director is disappointed that the kids aren't prepared for class.

Her kids and mine are the only ones who are prepared for class on a consistant basis.

We're talking simple stuff like reading the book for book club, preparing a 1-2 minute

presentation for presentation class, etc.

 

One thing that makes it harder for us is that we bill ourselves as an enrichment co-op,

because we aren't interested in having classes that completely take over a core subject.

Plus, we don't have any high school age kids in the co-op. Our kids are among the oldest

at 6th and 7th grades. Yet, we want enriching classes that aren't just social fluff.

Some of the interresting classes we want to have would require homework.

 

We like the other families and want to continue the co-op. The other moms say that

they want their kids to be prepared, but it still doesn't seem to happen consistantly.

I teach one class, and two of the students who didn't do their homework dropped out

because they couldn't keep up. Half of the other students don't do their homework

until after the due date.

 

I am wondering if teaching a study-skills class would help solve the problem.

One of the big things would be to teach the kids to use a planner and make

sure that their co-op homework would get into that planner!

 

Any thoughts?

What can a co-op director do to foster being prepared for class?

What kind of consequences can we give for kids not being prepared?

Should we just give up on having kids prepared?

Would a study skills class help?

  • Like 1
Link to post
Share on other sites

I don't have a good solution for you, but I've never understood kids coming without being prepared (other than something occasional that comes up--it's not like it's a surprise). But when my kids did a co-op, I worked it into our daily routine (speech was part of our writing curriculum, reading a book was part of our lit or Bible time, depending on the book, etc...) Some moms may not do that.

 

We used to throw candy to kids who could discuss/answer questions, but I don't think that really increased the number who read the book.

Link to post
Share on other sites

I think that if you are an elective co-op, then most of your classes should be for enrichment only and not have homework. That seems to be the expectation of most of the group.

 

However, that doesn't mean you can't also have a more academic option or two where homework is given and completion of it is expected, especially as an option for the co-op's oldest students. Set the expectation up front--this class will have X hours of homework per week and students are expected to come to class prepared with homework completed--so that people know what to expect when they sign their kids up for the class. Will this eliminate the problem of kids not doing the homework--no. But it will lessen it considerably. You will need to also have a true enrichment option offered at the same time for the families who truly don't want a homework-based class, or you will get people signing up because it's the only option and trust me, they will not complete the homework.

 

I've found it is helpful to talk to families about the importance of giving their kids an opportunity to take a "class that counts" at co-op when they get to middle school. A class that has homework, and due dates, and tests, and grades, and a teacher who is not mom can be so helpful in preparing kids for what's next, whether it is public or homeschool high school. It also helps if parents know that a class offered at co-op can take the place of a subject they would teach at home, and if they take middle school Biology at co-op they don't also have to do Earth Science at home. I've had people surprised at this revelation, like they never thought of that, and they didn't want to sign up for Biology at co-op because then they'd have to do two sciences. They are relieved when I tell them that the co-op science is enough!

 

If you and the director want to offer some academic options, go for it. But don't expect co-operation from others who don't necessarily want to go along for the ride, especially if their kids are younger. Look for people who do share that same vision and add them to the co-op, while the others can continue with the enrichment classes that appeal to them.

 

FTR: I lead a large co-op. It's our policy to offer classes according to whatever people want to teach. This means we have mostly enrichment-type, no-homework classes, especially through elementary. By middle school we have some parents looking for science or writing classes, and we are very specific in our class description as to the expectations and requirements of each class. Setting the expectation ahead of time has helped tremendously in terms of class participation and homework completion.

 

 

 

 

Edited by mom2att
  • Like 2
Link to post
Share on other sites

You might consider labeling the classes that are going to require some prep as clearly more demanding and ask that only students who can keep up with the outside work sign up.  Also send a letter home with parents at the beginning of class explaining the expectations in the classroom and the rough due dates for anything expected to be done outside class.  You might consider sending email reminders to parents at the end of each class,too.

 

But yes, a study skills class might be a great help.

  • Like 3
Link to post
Share on other sites

I'd be clear in the expectations of the class. Make sure that everyone knows when they sign up that there are expectations that work will be done outside of class.

 

For this instance, I don't really think a study skills class would help as it is usually the attitude of the families in the "enrichment" co-op that they won't be work outside of class. I've always taught in this setting and occasionally I've taught classes that require homework - I'm upfront in my course descriptions before they sign up and then very upfront with everyone the first day. I also give them a chance to back out if they can't meet the requirements. It doesn't make sense to be in a book discussion if you aren't going to read the book or in a writing class if you aren't going to write. It does no one any good.

  • Like 1
Link to post
Share on other sites

Most of our classes are straight enrichment with no homework required.

The only classes that require homework are offered at times where there is

also a no-homework option available. Both of the kids that dropped my class

switched to the no-homework option. But I don't want to teach a teeny, tiny class.

It isn't worth my time.

 

We were upfront about the homework required for my class and all of the moms

were onboard with the idea of homework. However, in practice, the moms

seem to expect their kids to stay on top of their homework completely on their own.

 

The moms ask their kids if they have done their homework, and the kids say yes,

but in reality, they may have done only half of the assignments.

I ask the kids how they decide what they need to do and when to do it, and I get blank looks.

 

I don't understand it. I ride herd on my kids to make sure they do their work.

I know that my kids won't get stuff done unless I do.

  • Like 1
Link to post
Share on other sites

I think it would be interesting to touch base with the moms at this point and ask them how they think it is going.  As you suggested, maybe the kids are telling the moms the work is done, and the moms are just taking their word on it and not checking.  I could see myself doing that!   Or maybe the moms liked the idea of homework but it turned out the kids themselves weren't on board...so when push came to shove as the year went on, the moms decided it was not a battle they wanted to fight to get an unwilling kid to do homework for enrichment co-op?

 

This sort of happened to me at our co-op, though it was with my 3rd grader (so, much younger).  I asked him if he was supposed to be prepared to perform his monologue in drama class at our next meeting.  He said, "no, I'm already done with that."   Well, it turned out he was totally wrong (they had performed them once in class with scripts, but were going to be performing them without scripts for another class).  A reminder was sent out on the day of co-op, but he hadn't been preparing so he wasn't ready.   I just took DS8's word for it when he said he didn't need to practice it any further, since no assignment sheet came home with him from class letting me know one way or the other.   I think for elementary age, it should have been on the teacher to better communicate with the parents the homework expectation in our case.  But even for middle schoolers who aren't used to having homework or assignments from anyone other than mom, I can see how they might easily forget, get confused, or even decide they don't care because it isn't for a "grade" or something like that.

Edited by kirstenhill
  • Like 1
Link to post
Share on other sites

We were upfront about the homework required for my class and all of the moms

were onboard with the idea of homework. However, in practice, the moms

seem to expect their kids to stay on top of their homework completely on their own.

 

 

In this case, since you were upfront about the homework and the moms agreed to it, you need to have a conversation with the moms. And it probably should be an ongoing conversation, not just a one time thing. I think expecting kids who are at the oldest 6th or 7th grade to stay on top of weekly homework on their own for a class that only meets once per week is expecting too much. And you can tell them I said so ;-)

 

I teach a middle school science class. Each week I send an e-mail to the parents detailing the assignments for the week. Some of the parents forward it to their kids, others have asked that their kid's email is included so they get it as well, but every parent gets the e-mail so there is no question about what is due come Friday.

 

It sounds like there is a step missing in the accountability process, that the parents are expecting their kids to keep track of the homework and get it done.  A gentle reminder to the parents is in order, indicating that they need monitor their student's homework and make sure everything is done for class, as was agreed to when they signed up for the class.

 

I don't think your issue is study skills, I think it's parents not following through. I'm like you and am ON my kids to get their work done for co-op, but that's not the case for everyone.

 

  • Like 1
Link to post
Share on other sites

As I said in the othe thread my dd's co-op is definitely Enrichment but it is a full history class. The homework is optional so I understand if it doesn't get done. The teacher did come up with a good idea in that If the class turns in 60 homework papers they will earn a pizza party. That is three per kid for the YEAR. They still have not met their quota. My kid has already turned in 11. If they don't earn the pizza party she will be really bummed. But what can she do? However I do think it was a super creative idea from the teacher!

 

The presentations at this co-op are NOT optional. They are supposed to be THREE minutes. They have those presentation days scheduled up front for the entire year and each kid does four per year. Not only that but the teacher sends a reminder email every week about whose presentations are due the following week. So far only about five of the 20 kids consistently do their presentations.

 

I cannot understand why the moms don't realize it's not fair to the other kids because when they come unprepared the teacher does an "interview" asking them about their life, hobbies, recent travels, family culture etc. well these interviews are very boring!

 

I just don't really get it and never will. They are asking SO LITTLE.

 

Anyway, you could try the pizza party idea??

  • Like 1
Link to post
Share on other sites

Kids eat pizza and attend pizza birthday parties all the time.  A pizza party isn't an incentive for most kids in America-they can heat up frozen pizza at home or eat it the next time mom orders one because she doesn't feel like cooking. 

This is not about a lack of study skills. I think co-ops are just a reflection of the mindset most parents have when they send their children to institutional settings. Most people (certainly not all) send their kids to someone else to teach because they don't want to deal with it. Homework is dealing with it, so most parents won't insist the homework get done on parental time.  I know that we, as conscientious homeschoolers who insist out kids show up prepared, often don't want to face the cold reality that many homeschoolers are not conscientious people about such things.  It's hard to process and scary to think about, but it's the truth for most of them in that kind of situation.  

This is why stealth groups with hand picked invitees exist.  We don't advertise because we only want people who fit with our mindset (academic and behavioral)  to join. 
 

If I were ever inclined to teach another class (not likely) there would be a parent orientation and written materials that were very direct and blunt about expectations.  In a matter of fact tone I would say something like, "This class is only for the children of parents who expect to always supervise homework, meet the prerequisite criteria, remain in contact with the teacher about how their child is doing, show up on time, show up prepared, contact teachers when an emergency comes up, familiarize themselves with and agree to written policies, contact the teacher with concerns or questions as soon as they come up, follow through with their responsibilities, enforce behavioral standards, meet deadlines, etc. It is not for the children of parents who are uncomfortable, unsure or unwilling to do all of those things the entire time the child is enrolled. Let me repeat that so we're clear, if you don't want to do all of those things to the fullest at all times, this co-op is not the co-op for you. " Serious parents will appreciate that.  Those who aren't serious won't stick around.  Win win!

People running serious, academic cop-ops and classes need stop sounding like all inclusive resorts and start sound more like selective colleges.  If they did, they'd probably increase the chances of finding like minded parents. They need to stop telling themselves and others that they're open to any homeschoolers-they're not.  They're only open to people who take the academics seriously and who want meet the expectations of the co-op.  This isn't a Valentine's Day party where everyone get's a card even if no one likes them because they're jerks, this is an academic setting where people have gone to a lot of trouble to create a quality teaching environment and it should only be open to students whose parents fully respect and cooperate with that. Laying down a soft fuzzy presentation of their co-op will probably pick up parents soft on deadlines and fuzzy on expectations. 

  • Like 7
Link to post
Share on other sites

Totally agree with OneStepAtATime.

 

Honestly, I think charging a good-sized fee for the classes that have homework is the very best thing you can do to get everyone to take it more seriously -- but esp. to get the MOMS on-board with making sure the students are doing the work. Tell families the fee goes for grading and all of the extra time it takes for preparing for the "academic" or "non-elective" classes, which is true.

 

I suggest $60-120 per semester (comes out to $5-10 a week for a 12-week semester). That's just enough of an investment to make people make the effort to come prepared every week, and not so much that it drives families away. Perhaps also offer a scholarship option -- parents get 1 student free for working as in-class assistant for 1/3 to 1/2 of the classes for the semester. That also gets parents on-board with making sure students get work done when they see first-hand each week how vital that is for getting the most out of class.

 

Since you mentioned that moms expect the kids to stay on top of the homework, then you may also need to implement some sort of helps for the students:

 

1. Initial accountability (student AND parent):

At the start of the semester, give each student a form to take home and discuss with the parent that must to signed by both parent and student -- something like:

 

"We, ____(parent)_____ and  ____(student)_____, understand that  ____(name of class)_____ will require approximately 2 hours per week of work outside of class, and we commit to scheduling that into each week on this day _______________ at this time _____________.

 

Now you have something to refer to for having a little chat with both student and parent if several weeks go by and the work is not getting done:

 

"Hey, this class really relies on everyone doing the at-home work in order to be prepared for class, and I noticed (student) hasn't had the work done for the past few weeks. From the at-home work agreement, it looks like you guys decided to get that work done on Thursday afternoons. Is that no longer a good time and you need to reschedule it? Or did some outside circumstance come up that sidetracked the family and you're getting back on schedule now? Or do you need to possibly re-think participating in the class if it's not going to be possible to keep up with the at-home work? How can I help work with your family on this?"

 

2. Weekly accountability:

Mail students each week 2 days before class to remind them of the homework.

 

3. Weekly incentive:

Collect and grade, or at least comment on, homework and make sure to include comments on the homework with lots of praise and ideas for where they could improve -- my Lit. students LOVE getting papers back with comments all over them -- lots of praise and encouragement, plus ideas for where/how they can improve.

Edited by Lori D.
  • Like 1
Link to post
Share on other sites

I think a study skills and attitudes class might well help.

 

I think students themselves being part of a meeting to discuss what they might want out of a particular class might help.

 

I think clear expectations would help.

 

I gather that at our co-op the director (whose training is in education) taught a class that was mostly independent research and writing and presentations based, and that the kids did do the work, which makes me think that some of the problems could also be teachers who do not have class management skills.

 

Yet another question might be who decides what classes the kids take and whether the kids want to take them or not. I learned that my ds is apparently the only one who was consulted on or decided on his classes. Otherwise parents just signed the kids up for what they thought they should take, and the kids are not necessarily on board. 

 

 

 

As I am thinking about the idea of extension into high school, I am not sure how that can be handled. I expect that there are not enough homeschoolers in our area who are very serious minded and academically oriented to allow an academic high sch co-op to run. I am not sure if it would be possible to teach classes at an AP level with multiple options for kids who are not up to doing that level of work, and with counseling at the start to let kids know that different levels of work are expected for different life path aims. And there are not enough for two different co-ops, academic and social at that level. So it might need very clear delineation of what class is academic, and what is merely social. And at least here, I do think study skills are needed.

Edited by Pen
  • Like 1
Link to post
Share on other sites

In the other thread, it seemed like the director of the co-op wasn't concerned about kids being slackers.

 

 

 

Assuming you are referring to my thread, in all honesty, I don't know if that is true.

 

I accepted what I thought was the general Hive view on my thread that the attitude must be coming down from the director or tolerated by her, and that communicating with her would not help. 

 

Our director may be extremely concerned. Or she may not know what is happening in the class that is an issue, because this sort of thing does not happen in the classes she teaches or assists with.

 

It could be that our director and someone else are having a similar discussion as you and your director, feeling they are alone.

 

 And it may be that in your situation there are others out there like me who want something different, but have not communicated with your director, and don't know what to do either, and maybe have even been told that the problem must be coming down from the top there. ?????

 

Maybe a group meeting?  

Link to post
Share on other sites

LoriD I think your suggestions are great for fostering the outcomes OP and the other thread's OP are looking for. But it really saddens me that the parents should need this much hand-holding.

 

Pen, IMO, I think that by high school age, the burden shouldn't be on the co-op to be all things to all people. It's not like parents should be using it for enrichment (child care?) for a junior or senior. The student can go to a coffee shop or the library in between classes if there's nothing offered during a class time block. Obviously I'm thinking more of a UM type model. Enrichment (and offering everyone an option for every time slot) strikes me as more of an Elementary obligation.

 

But that's me. I have a generally low tolerance.

  • Like 1
Link to post
Share on other sites

 

 

Totally agree with OneStepAtATime.

 

Honestly, I think charging a good-sized fee for the classes that have homework is the very best thing you can do to get everyone to take it more seriously -- but esp. to get the MOMS on-board with making sure the students are doing the work. Tell families the fee goes for grading and all of the extra time it takes for preparing for the "academic" or "non-elective" classes, which is true.

 

I suggest $60-120 per semester (comes out to $5-10 a week for a 12-week semester). That's just enough of an investment to make people make the effort to come prepared every week, and not so much that it drives families away. Perhaps also offer a scholarship option -- parents get 1 student free for working as in-class assistant for 1/3 to 1/2 of the classes for the semester. That also gets parents on-board with making sure students get work done when they see first-hand each week how vital that is for getting the most out of class.

I do admit that money does help make parents more serious. But that fee would drive my family away, especially with 4 kids.... that would be up to $480 for 12 weeks.... way out of our budget!

 

Sent from my SM-T530NU using Tapatalk

Link to post
Share on other sites

Thank you all for your insightful comments.

 

I looks like I should be doing more to remind the kids and their parents to do their homework.

The first few weeks, I would email the parents just before the due date, and the kids would

suddently start turning in work. I was hoping that I wouldn't have to continue doing that, but

it looks like I will have to.

 

It also looks like either the parents aren't aware that their kids don't have the study skills in

place, or the parents don't know how to instill those skills.

I guess that I am more of an odd-ball than I realized: I taught my 4th grader to look up

her assignments on her own (for two different online classes) and enter them into her planner by herself.

(I still have to put scheduling her assignments as a line item in her planner, make sure

that she actually does everything in her planner, and sometimes explain assignments.)

 

I am considering charging if I teach a class with homework next year. Currently our co-op has

a nominal supply fee per kid no matter what classes the kids take, so my classes are essentially free.

 

It would be nice to be able to cherry-pick the families in our co-op, but it just

isn't feasible right now. We are a young co-op with large families, and we need the

adults to staff the classes. I'd love to be able to continue the co-op as my kid enters

high school, but I'm not sure how that will pan out.

 

If anyone has any additional comments or suggestions I'd love to hear them.

  • Like 1
Link to post
Share on other sites

I just don't think the hand holding is worth it in the end.  If you have to hold mommy's hand, mommy shouldn't be part of it.  Sorry.  Adults should be able to keep track of deadlines by themselves. Not only that, they should teach the kids how to keep track of their own deadlines without the co-op telling them to.  Anyone who needs that level of hand holding is a drag on everyone and not worth the trouble.

I agree that charging fees as a substitute for hand holding is a bad idea because it shuts out large families and lower income families who may be perfectly willing to follow up and make sure their kids are prepared, on time, teachable and well behaved.  In other words it may end up of punishing some people who are perfectly innocent.

Another option is to turn it into a true cooperative where every parent who has a kid signed up is required to prepare and teach something.  There's nothing like walking a mile in a teacher's shoes to provide some insight into people who don't really get it.  One of the huge true co-ops here, the criteria for signing your kid up means you have to have teach something first then you're allowed to sign your kids up for something.  

When I wanted to enroll my kid in a Tae Kwon Do school (not part of a homeschooling co-op) they interviewed me before they agreed to let me sign up my kid.  They wanted to know:
Why do you want your child to take TKD?

What do you see as your role in helping your child in TKD?
What kind of support do you expect to provide your child and this TKD school?

The big secular co-op here has an interview process or did when I was considering it 10 years ago. I opted out because they didn't have things we were interested in on our side of town, so the drive time would've been really tough on our school time and the couple of scheduled lessons we already had.  Some people grumbled about it but I thought it was perfectly acceptable for them to set up some ground rules and get a better sense of the kind of parents they were dealing with up front.

  • Like 1
Link to post
Share on other sites

I do admit that money does help make parents more serious. But that fee would drive my family away, especially with 4 kids.... that would be up to $480 for 12 weeks.... way out of our budget!

 

Sent from my SM-T530NU using Tapatalk

 

Well, I was only suggesting the fee for the classes that require outside-the-home time. ;)

 

And, there are lots of ways families can be brought on board via some skin in the game without it involving $$. :) That's why I offer the scholarships, or other work-arounds for the families in my co-op class. I do find that if they have to contribute in some way -- and if not $$, then time at the class or something the parent can do for me administratively or other during the week at home (maybe send out the emails, do photocopies/collate, etc), that it makes a world of difference for at-home work.

 

To me co-op means CO-OPperating together to find workable solutions for students, parents, AND teacher. At least, that's how I roll with my class. :) Warmest regards, Lori D.

Edited by Lori D.
  • Like 1
Link to post
Share on other sites

Thank you all for your insightful comments.

 

I looks like I should be doing more to remind the kids and their parents to do their homework. The first few weeks, I would email the parents just before the due date, and the kids would suddenly start turning in work. I was hoping that I wouldn't have to continue doing that, but it looks like I will have to.

 

I know it is time-consuming and a pain, but I do this for both my middle school AND high school classes.

 

I email PARENTS and students within 24 hours of the class of what we DID cover in that class, and what WILL be due the following class. And then on the morning 2 days before class, I send out the reminder again: "This is what's due in 2 days in class."

 

I added doing the second reminder partway through this school year at the students' request, and they tell me it really does make a big (positive) difference for them. I think it also helps that I include in email some fun link to something tangentially related to whatever we covered in class so they look forward to the emails and LOOK for them and read them. ;)

 

Eventually I hope to set up a website so that I don't have to do so many emails -- get it down to just once, 2 days before class, do a mass email that says "Paper due in class this week -- remember to check the website for all the details, and you can see the entire semester schedule there, too, to help you plan for the rest of the semester!"

  • Like 2
Link to post
Share on other sites

LoriD I think your suggestions are great for fostering the outcomes OP and the other thread's OP are looking for. But it really saddens me that the parents should need this much hand-holding.

 

Pen, IMO, I think that by high school age, the burden shouldn't be on the co-op to be all things to all people. It's not like parents should be using it for enrichment (child care?) for a junior or senior. The student can go to a coffee shop or the library in between classes if there's nothing offered during a class time block. Obviously I'm thinking more of a UM type model. Enrichment (and offering everyone an option for every time slot) strikes me as more of an Elementary obligation.

 

But that's me. I have a generally low tolerance.

 

 

What is a "UM type model"?

 

Enrichment means childcare to you?  Is that generally the way people understand it?  I didn't know.

 

 

By "enrichment" I am meaning things like acting or dance classes, maybe something like yearbook or indeed study skills or career exploration.

 

By "social" I mean something like hosting a dance, maybe providing a place for things like a chess or other club, maybe group recreation or outings.  

 

These types of enrichment and social activities are pretty normal even at college level. Though I realize some people think college should be 100% academic.

 

By "project-oriented," I'd mean something like my ds's current class where they are hands-on building shelters for the homeless and learning about that at the same time.  Some colleges even have this sort of learning. It doesn't have to be just for little kids.

 

 By "academic", I mean something like a high school level, ideally AP level, standard academic class, e.g. biology, chemistry--classes in the core subjects required for graduation by our state and by many/most colleges for entrance. Classes that involve labs or otherwise are harder to do at home would be especially nice to have at co-op.

 

I've been working with my ds to be able to take the bus from one activity to another of his in the city. But realistically until the kids get to be driving age, I don't think they could get to the library or a coffee shop and be back to the co-op site during a free period, and even driving it might well take up so much of the free period as to make the time basically a waste just going somewhere and back again. They'd be better off with a room on site where they can do their work independently when they have a free period, and probably a separate other place on site where they could socialize during a free period.  A co-op site near the library could be convenient, but the current site isn't and I'm not sure there'd be anything available there. A previous site used to be walking distance to a park and coffee shop, and 12YO and up were allowed to go on their own, but the current site doesn't have much like that.

 

I have to admit that I've not been thinking much of jr. and sr. years. 9th at the moment is more in my mind.

  • Like 1
Link to post
Share on other sites

Eventually I hope to set up a website so that I don't have to do so many emails -- get it down to just once, 2 days before class, do a mass email that says "Paper due in class this week -- remember to check the website for all the details, and you can see the entire semester schedule there, too, to help you plan for the rest of the semester!"

I am using Schoology - a free online learning management system.

Maybe something like that would work for you.

 

All of the assignments are posted to the website, and kids turn in the assignments electronically.

I can post updates that get sent out to everyone in the class.

Schoology can also send an automated email if an assignment isn't submitted by the due date.

Of course, the student has to have notifications turned on in order for it to work,

and the email has to go to an address that the student actualy checks. :-(

 

Schoology isn't as rubust as other learning management services like Moodle,

but it is completely free and easier to learn.

 

Because we meet every other Wednesday, I have all assignments due the Friday before class,

which gives them a full week and a half to do their homework. Still, almost all of the assignments

are submitted between the Saturday and Tuesday before class.

So, at least most of the assignments are done before the next class.

I still tell students (and parents) that I am not obligated to grade any homework turned in late.

 

Maybe I need to insist that parents turn on notifications, make sure that the notifications

are actually sent to an email address that the parent checks. As far as I know, only two

of my students have their own email addresses.

Link to post
Share on other sites

I am using Schoology - a free online learning management system. Maybe something like that would work for you.

 

Thank you! I really appreciate the info! I will look in that along with a few other options I've jotted down that others use to start checking into this over the summer.

 

 

All of the assignments are posted to the website, and kids turn in the assignments electronically. I can post updates that get sent out to everyone in the class. Schoology can also send an automated email if an assignment isn't submitted by the due date. Of course, the student has to have notifications turned on in order for it to work, and the email has to go to an address that the student actualy checks. :-(

 

Yes, I was already thinking that I would still do the reminders as a direct email reminder each week, and not an automated email. Thanks for the reminder. :)

 

 

Because we meet every other Wednesday, I have all assignments due the Friday before class, which gives them a full week and a half to do their homework. Still, almost all of the assignments are submitted between the Saturday and Tuesday before class. So, at least most of the assignments are done before the next class. I still tell students (and parents) that I am not obligated to grade any homework turned in late.

 

Great policies! :)

Link to post
Share on other sites

I am using Schoology - a free online learning management system.

Maybe something like that would work for you.

 

 

 

 

I appreciate this too as it may help in our co-op as well.  

 

Currently some, but not most, of our co-op's classes are using google-groups to keep people notified of what is happening. As a parent, I find that helpful. 

Link to post
Share on other sites

What is a "UM type model"?

 

Enrichment means childcare to you?  Is that generally the way people understand it?  I didn't know.

 

 

By "enrichment" I am meaning things like acting or dance classes, maybe something like yearbook or indeed study skills or career exploration.

 

By "social" I mean something like hosting a dance, maybe providing a place for things like a chess or other club, maybe group recreation or outings.  

 

These types of enrichment and social activities are pretty normal even at college level. Though I realize some people think college should be 100% academic.

 

By "project-oriented," I'd mean something like my ds's current class where they are hands-on building shelters for the homeless and learning about that at the same time.  Some colleges even have this sort of learning. It doesn't have to be just for little kids.

 

 By "academic", I mean something like a high school level, ideally AP level, standard academic class, e.g. biology, chemistry--classes in the core subjects required for graduation by our state and by many/most colleges for entrance. Classes that involve labs or otherwise are harder to do at home would be especially nice to have at co-op.

 

I've been working with my ds to be able to take the bus from one activity to another of his in the city. But realistically until the kids get to be driving age, I don't think they could get to the library or a coffee shop and be back to the co-op site during a free period, and even driving it might well take up so much of the free period as to make the time basically a waste just going somewhere and back again. They'd be better off with a room on site where they can do their work independently when they have a free period, and probably a separate other place on site where they could socialize during a free period.  A co-op site near the library could be convenient, but the current site isn't and I'm not sure there'd be anything available there. A previous site used to be walking distance to a park and coffee shop, and 12YO and up were allowed to go on their own, but the current site doesn't have much like that.

 

I have to admit that I've not been thinking much of jr. and sr. years. 9th at the moment is more in my mind.

 

Oops, UM type model is a embarrassingly redundant way to say University-Model type program. I understand UM to mean that people are expected to pick and choose only the courses that fit with their specific needs/goals.

 

I am perhaps being a little ungenerous when I use "child care" to refer to the type of families that the OPs expressed concern about. It comes across as a rather destination-oriented, rather than process-oriented mentality. I drop off my child and you pour a little something into him and then I pick him up when you're done, and I don't have to do anything in between sessions. And if I am just here to use your services to fill my child's time with an activity (however beneficial it might be), then of course I expect you to make it as convenient as possible for me to do so. That is, I don't want to have to find a way to fill a block of time when the only thing offered during that time slot didn't meet my (enrichment) needs. A University Model puts the burden back on me to figure out the balance between meeting needs and effective use of my/our time. If I want to fill a time slot between academic courses with an enrichment course, then that's MY choice, not an expectation on the leadership to fix it for me by offering the ideal sequencing and availability. By that reasoning, when you get to high school would there be 2-4 different math or science tracks offered at the same time block for each grade level?

 

While I understand that you are not thinking in terms of Junior/Senior years, they ARE high school students and could reasonably be expected to find an alternative to taking a class that doesn't fit their needs - and it would vary according to community- while you seem to have public transportation options, in our community that's not really an option but many Juniors and Seniors would be driving and able to find -somewhere- to go for, say, 1.5 hours between classes. For two particular co-ops near me, there is a coffee shop within walking distance (although on a high traffic road so I'd expect students to drive or catch a ride) and a library within a 5-10 minute drive. Another site has a coffee shop two doors down. But I understand that not all locations will be like that and I think that the options you mentioned are a very reasonable alternative and that I think co-ops who aren't trying to be all things to all people could reasonably be asked to consider providing. 

 

While colleges can offer each kind of course availability (enrichment to rigorous academic), they have a far larger student and teacher base than any co-op. I would think that a co-op serving high school students will really find it a challenge to be eclectic (e.g., PBL plus enrichment plus academic) and the co-op will do better to forge their identity and then let people participate or not as they choose.There is a very rigorous academic co-op in our area that I seriously considered but they require enrollment in the designated grade-level sequencing of courses for all students (and all students must enroll in all courses for their grade level). While much of what this co-op offers fits with my goals, because they lack flexibility for math/science sequencing and pacing I opted not to participate.

 

 

 

 

 

 

  • Like 1
Link to post
Share on other sites

With my middle schoolers I'm pretty lenient and allow them to turn in an assignment late if they forget, which they rarely do. For our high school academic classes, however, students are deducted 10 points per day when assignments are turned in late. Different teachers enforce this differently, but I've found with my high school History class that it only takes one or two incidents of a student losing 10 points right off the top of a 30 point assignment for a different attitude to emerge about the responsibility of turning in work on time.

 

Engrade is another free option for an online gradebook/assignment tool. It's what our co-op uses.

  • Like 1
Link to post
Share on other sites

Oops, UM type model is a embarrassingly redundant way to say University-Model type program. I understand UM to mean that people are expected to pick and choose only the courses that fit with their specific needs/goals.

 

I am perhaps being a little ungenerous when I use "child care" to refer to the type of families that the OPs expressed concern about. It comes across as a rather destination-oriented, rather than process-oriented mentality. I drop off my child and you pour a little something into him and then I pick him up when you're done, and I don't have to do anything in between sessions. And if I am just here to use your services to fill my child's time with an activity (however beneficial it might be), then of course I expect you to make it as convenient as possible for me to do so. That is, I don't want to have to find a way to fill a block of time when the only thing offered during that time slot didn't meet my (enrichment) needs. A University Model puts the burden back on me to figure out the balance between meeting needs and effective use of my/our time. If I want to fill a time slot between academic courses with an enrichment course, then that's MY choice, not an expectation on the leadership to fix it for me by offering the ideal sequencing and availability. By that reasoning, when you get to high school would there be 2-4 different math or science tracks offered at the same time block for each grade level?

 

While I understand that you are not thinking in terms of Junior/Senior years, they ARE high school students and could reasonably be expected to find an alternative to taking a class that doesn't fit their needs - and it would vary according to community- while you seem to have public transportation options, in our community that's not really an option but many Juniors and Seniors would be driving and able to find -somewhere- to go for, say, 1.5 hours between classes. For two particular co-ops near me, there is a coffee shop within walking distance (although on a high traffic road so I'd expect students to drive or catch a ride) and a library within a 5-10 minute drive. Another site has a coffee shop two doors down. But I understand that not all locations will be like that and I think that the options you mentioned are a very reasonable alternative and that I think co-ops who aren't trying to be all things to all people could reasonably be asked to consider providing. 

 

While colleges can offer each kind of course availability (enrichment to rigorous academic), they have a far larger student and teacher base than any co-op. I would think that a co-op serving high school students will really find it a challenge to be eclectic (e.g., PBL plus enrichment plus academic) and the co-op will do better to forge their identity and then let people participate or not as they choose.There is a very rigorous academic co-op in our area that I seriously considered but they require enrollment in the designated grade-level sequencing of courses for all students (and all students must enroll in all courses for their grade level). While much of what this co-op offers fits with my goals, because they lack flexibility for math/science sequencing and pacing I opted not to participate.

 

 

Ah. I agree w/ UM model being a good model now that I understand the term.

 

 

 "If I want to fill a time slot between academic courses with an enrichment course, then that's MY choice, not an expectation on the leadership to fix it for me by offering the ideal sequencing and availability. By that reasoning, when you get to high school would there be 2-4 different math or science tracks offered at the same time block for each grade level?"

 

Personally, I think that a model that might work would be having it 3 days per week. On two days in the morning there could be paid, knowledgeable at the subject and at teaching it, teachers leading academic subjects: either 3 classes from 9 to noon each getting one hour, or 2 each for 1 and 1/2 hours. The main work would be done independently during other parts of the week. On those same two days after a lunch break, there could be two  1 and 1/2 hour slots in the afternoon for enrichment or PBL type subjects / classes, perhaps led by parents, or students themselves, or professionals.  On the 3rd day there could be time for the kids to be together for independent studies without teachers...could be time to do online classes there, Coursera type things, social time, go out in the community and explore careers, group volunteering, language table, etc. And all could be a la carte, so to speak, that is, a student could go to just 1 class of any type that fit needs, or to several, or just to the part or all of the social / independent study day, or could attend all of it all 3 days.

 

I don't think there are likely to be enough students for there to be more than maybe 2 full year main science subjects total during a year, but until info meetings happen in the wider community, I guess that is hard to know. My own druthers would be something offered at AP level, but with differentiation possible for kids wanting/needing a lower level, but I do not know if that is possible to do--I think it may be since I essentially had that for a bio class in high school, but it may have been a rare teacher able to do that, certainly she was one of the best in my school time. Alternatively, all could be offered at honors level, w/ some differentiation for those needing a little less possible, and students wanting AP level could independently prep the higher level.

 

Right now there seem to be about 8-10 interested potential students heading toward 9th out of the existing co-op. But they are not all at the same level in subjects. I think something like math might have to be handled as a time when a professional, knowledgeable and capable math teacher(s) is(are) available to help with problems that students have encountered while working on their own (maybe follow their progress / stuck points on Alcumus or Khan if they use that?).  This could be one-on-one, but it also could be for the group as a whole and either review for those who already had that, or 1st exposure to something new for those who are not there yet--prob. would depend on number of problem areas to address and time available. Possibly 2 teachers in one class would be a better model, allowing both things to happen. I think it would also be helpful to have a math class introduce some interesting challenging problems, puzzles or other challenges for the group to work on as a whole, maybe in groups, a la ideas from a coursera course on how math should be taught, at a level that seems to fit for group's range..  If the co-op grew in numbers or grade/age-range, maybe there could be more such.

Link to post
Share on other sites

The teacher did come up with a good idea in that If the class turns in 60 homework papers they will earn a pizza party. That is three per kid for the YEAR. They still have not met their quota. My kid has already turned in 11. If they don't earn the pizza party she will be really bummed. But what can she do? However I do think it was a super creative idea from the teacher!

 

 

 

 

Can I ask what folks think of this sort of collective reward/punishment system for classroom management?  It seems like it would be more fair if individual students who turned in a certain number of homework assignments would earn, say, a gift certificate for an ice cream cone.  Those students who don't, don't get the ice cream.  

 

I'm writing this as someone who has never taught a group class before, so I'm curious whether the group reward does in fact get results.  

  • Like 1
Link to post
Share on other sites

Can I ask what folks think of this sort of collective reward/punishment system for classroom management?  It seems like it would be more fair if individual students who turned in a certain number of homework assignments would earn, say, a gift certificate for an ice cream cone.  Those students who don't, don't get the ice cream.  

 

I'm writing this as someone who has never taught a group class before, so I'm curious whether the group reward does in fact get results.  

It's NOT working.  But I guess it's just an idea she had...

 

In fact, there are the same 5 students who are either very motivated or have moms like me that require the homework or both, who are doing all the work and the pizza part motivated very few of the kids who don't do the homework.  Of the 15 that don't do homework or presentations, only 3 were motivated do actually do something and even then, it only lasted a week or two.  

 

I think individual rewards would work a lot better, too.

 

But in the end it also has to do with work ethic in general.  I suspect that some kids are in homes where work ethic is more valued than others.  A few are in homes where the mom had tons of kids and sees the optional history homework as something they just cant be bothered with.  

 

The presentations are NOT optional and that's what really bugs me. I see that as pure laziness to not follow through on something your child is supposed to do, that is also scheduled out.

 

So, I don't even know if ice cream gift certificates would work.

  • Like 1
Link to post
Share on other sites

Can I ask what folks think of this sort of collective reward/punishment system for classroom management?  It seems like it would be more fair if individual students who turned in a certain number of homework assignments would earn, say, a gift certificate for an ice cream cone.  Those students who don't, don't get the ice cream.  

 

I'm writing this as someone who has never taught a group class before, so I'm curious whether the group reward does in fact get results.  

 

The following is totally JMO :) :

 

I've never found that group rewards work. The dynamics of a classroom (or the adult workplace!) are similar -- you will always have slackers, and you will always have diligent people, and honestly, the only reason the group gets the reward is that the diligent people want it enough that they do double the work -- theirs and the slackers' work that the slackers won't do. So all group rewards do is end up rewarding the slackers for continuing to slack, and doubling the work of diligent people if they want that reward while also making them feel resentful of the slackers.

 

I think it's fine to do some sort of individual reward system -- you get what you were willing to work for.

 

But I also don't think it's the teacher's job to have to threaten or beg, or dance or stand on their heads, or come up with rewards/punishments, just to get families to do what they agreed to in the first place. I think that's something that is not being taken into consideration here -- some way of addressing things for the TEACHERS who end up with slackers in their classes.

 

It is a real slap in the face to the teacher when families do not do the at-home work. While I know many co-op classes are a situation of just showing up for class for the teacher as well as the student (which is a great set-up for many types of classes), there are also many co-op classes that take a fair amount of advance prep work and after-class grading/going over of material, as well as answering questions outside of class and doing administrative work. By not following through with the class requirements or giving the class genuine effort, it's breaking the implicit contract that the parent and student are making with the teacher -- "Teacher, please give us YOUR best, and your time and effort, and we, the parent and student, will give you OUR best, and our time and effort."

 

Perhaps this needs to be made MUCH more clear when signing up for the class, with some sort of consequence for families who just blow off the at-home work. Maybe a deposit made at the start of the semester that the family loses if they fail to uphold their side of the contract (and given to the teacher in compensation for their time/effort that was "dissed" by the family failing to keep up their end). And yes, of course, make exceptions when life circumstances caused disruption to a family so they couldn't do the work, and allow them to either make up the work or withdraw, or whatever is appropriate...

 

Guess I'm just feeling crabby and just venting here ;) , as I think this is really a symptom of a much wider-spread problem in our society of not thinking it's a big deal to disregard the labor and efforts of others on our behalf.

 

 

ETA -- PS

Just want to clarify that I am VERY blessed and fortunate in that none of the families in my classes are slackers -- everyone knows what the workload is, and the students are coming prepared and turning in work as it is due. They are a GREAT bunch of people to work with. :)

Edited by Lori D.
  • Like 6
Link to post
Share on other sites

I think in most cases group rewards do not work well at all. Exceptions are where the group can function as a group in some way, for example, at one point when I was a kid and had a long bus ride, one of our drivers used to stop and treat us to ice cream from time to time as a reward for general good behaviour, not just that day, but over a stretch that he felt was significant and deserving of ice cream (or perhaps if it was a hot day and he really felt like stopping himself :) )

 

In addition, my experience with my ds when he was in brick and mortar school was that individual rewards generally did not work either, or were even counter productive, particularly when the reward had nothing to do with the thing being rewarded and perhaps was not of value to or usable to the person it was meant to reward. 

 

Sometimes though something that would encourage an attitude in a group seemed helpful, for example, our library had a summer reading program with T-shirts given out in advance, not as an end reward, that had pictures and words (cannot recall what now exactly) that seemed to inspire the idea: "I am part of a special club of special readers." That did seem to help.

 

I think a general school or co-op ethos that made the kids feel a part of something greater than themselves, a group that works hard, that enjoys learning,  could be helpful.

Link to post
Share on other sites

I haven't read ahead yet, but we had a similar problem and one thing that really made a difference was labeling some classes as graded. Not all of them, but the ones that required prep or out of class work. The teachers send an email each week also listing the requirements for the upcoming week and a general line about some kids receiving zeros or not being prepared, or that they all were. I think the thought of their kids getting a grade helped them teach their kids to take it more seriously and I darn sure made sure my kiddo knew it was his responsibility to write down any homework that needed to be done so he wouldn't forget.

  • Like 1
Link to post
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.

×
×
  • Create New...