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mom31257

In a co-op that doesn't collect tuition...

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If you are in a co-op in which you aren't paying tuition to the lead teachers, how do the moms who aren't lead teachers contribute? Do non-lead teachers try to contribute more in other ways to offset the time the lead teachers are spending at home?

 

Thanks for sharing your experiences!

 

 

Edited by mom31257

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We pay for Co-Op but the teachers aren’t paid. Fees go for supplies.

 

Every parent has a job. Ours is divided into three class periods. Parents work two periods and have one off. The off period is a support group time with food, sometimes speakers, or just time to hang out.

 

If you aren’t a Lead teacher you can be an assistant. You can work on the nursery or preschool classes. We also have a group that does support for the co-op...collects payments and paperwork, organizes things, runs the website, plans field trip.

 

We also have a group of people who are floaters, they aren’t assigned to a class but fill in if someone is sick.

Edited by Alice
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In our co-op we only charge for the cost of supplies for each class.  One of the perks of teaching is that your registration is processed before non teachers.  

 

We require that everyone helps for at least approx. 1/2 the time they are in the building(our co-op is a la cart so some come in for 1  period some for all 5).  We do a point system to try and make it fair for everyone.  

 

5 periods - need 3 points

3-4 periods - need 2 points

2 periods - need 1 point

1 period - need 0 points

 

Positions that Qualifying for Teacher Registration

Teacher - present in the room teaching, prepping for class - gets 2 pts

Co-teacher - present in the room, part aide part teacher - gets 1.5 pts

Facilitator (class with no prep such as Lego Lab, Veggietales, Snack and Play…) - gets 1 pt

 

Positions that do not qualify for Teacher Registration

Aide/Hall Monitor - present in the room, assists teacher as needed, gets credit for being in the room - gets 1 pt

Nursery - 1.5 pts

 

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I was in a co-op where the teachers were not paid. Probably about 80% of the moms taught. I could not teach because I would not sign the Statement of Faith. I was a helper in a classroom.

 

I tried to be as helpful as I could and would jump to handle all the big messes, make sure the rooms were left in perfect condition, monitor the most rowdy kids. Ultimately, it was very uncomfortable being one of the few non-teachers because the work was obviously so inequitable. The teachers did a good job and obviously spent quite a bit of time planning.

 

It was a nice co-op but didn't work out for us because I felt awkward about not contributing equitably. So, I can see how the teachers would feel it was an unfair situation.

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One thing our co-op did recently which I think was great.   Lead teachers signed their kids up first, and if the class filled up before the others could sign up, then Too bad, So Sad.  After the lead teachers has a couple of days to send in their requests, then it was opened up to others.  A parent has to either teach or co-teach for every class.  

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We charge a small fee to cover materials, but everyone has to help somehow because a co-op with multiple class options means a lot of helpers. If you’re not teaching, you’re helping all three class periods. If you’re teaching, you get one or more class periods off. I technically have off one class period because I teach the other two, although in reality, I use the free period to get my papers set up and all for my one class.

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We charge a small fee to cover materials, but everyone has to help somehow because a co-op with multiple class options means a lot of helpers. If you’re not teaching, you’re helping all three class periods. If you’re teaching, you get one or more class periods off. I technically have off one class period because I teach the other two, although in reality, I use the free period to get my papers set up and all for my one class.

 

That's exactly how ours is working now. We have some who have taught every year that are feeling that's not enough and people not teaching should be doing more. 

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At our co-op we only pay for the use of the facilities and supplies. I'm a lead teacher for two classes. Other moms help me, teach other classes, or teach the kindergarten class or work in the nursery. I do not have to work in the nursery, take a turn at leading the devotion, or set up the coffee area. I like to teach and am happiest when I'm teaching science. I feel like everyone does their part. We are a good support network for each other. 

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Unless you require people to teach, it's going to be inequitable. At our co-op, we have found through experience that even among homeschool moms, not everyone is cut out to be a teacher (of more than their own children). So we require everyone to teach OR assist in one hour of our two hours of programming. We also encourage co-teaching, which might pair someone who is uncomfortable teaching, but has great ideas, with someone who is a GREAT teacher but may not have time to be the idea factory. Then there are those who love to teach and volunteer to teach in both hours, while someone else does the minimum and only assists in the easiest class they can.  The only benefit our teachers get from the extra commitment of teaching a class is, as others have mentioned, early registration. This seems like no big deal, but for some of our classes it makes all of the difference in the world, as they are full only minutes after the opening of teacher registration.

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In my old co-op, everyone had to teach. Being in the nursery or preschool two periods counted as teaching (because most ladies did not want to be in there, but it was necessary to have a nursery and preschool). If someone joined late, or had something going on that semester that teaching would be difficult, they could be a helper three periods AND be responsible for the clean-up at the end each week we met. That worked out to be equitable because no one wanted to be assigned a cleaning day. (If there was no designated cleaner, everyone was assigned a week to stay and clean.)

Edited by school17777
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Of the co-ops I've seen locally, it's very similar to what Alice and mom2att described, up-thread. :)

 

 

Diverging now from O.P.'s question to share what I see with co-ops in our area:

 

Unfortunately, what I have (repeatedly) seen with local co-ops that are strictly "co-operative" -- i.e., only parents teach classes and are not paid -- is that the co-op fizzles after 2-3 years because the parents who teach burn out, and the other parents who weren't teaching don't step up because they don't have the time or ability or desire to lead a co-op class. For many families, the reason they want to do a once a week co-op class is to get a break from teaching, and to have some social/group activities for their kids. And frankly, when these co-ops try to force people to teach, thinking it will balance the time/effort inequality, it backfires -- families just drop, or, if the parent does lead a class, they put absolutely NO effort or prep into it, and it's a waste of time and a frustration to everyone.

 

I think a strictly co-operative situation works well when it is limited to about 6-8 families who sit down together in advance of the year, plan out what will be happening, and everyone shares a roughly equivalent load that falls in their strong area. For example, families who are doing the science experiments together for the high school science. Or families who are doing Tapestry of Grace activities together. 

 

At least in our area, the only co-op that has kept going for more than 3 years has been a hybrid that offers "two tracks" of classes -- everyone pays a small per-family fee to cover the cost of the facility and supplies (say, $15-35 per semester), and then some classes are free (offered co-operatively by a mom), but other classes have a per student fee (say $60-$150 per semester) that are led by an outside instructor -- i.e., someone who is not currently homeschooling and has expertise in an area. The "for-a-fee" classes give the co-op stability from year to year, while the "free" classes run by parents shift every year, depending on who is willing/able to lead a class.

 

I have also seen a local co-op that slowly moved from all co-operative to all "for-a-fee" fail as well -- eventually, all of the teachers ended up charging a per-class fee in order to make a little money, to the point that it would cost $400-600 dollars per semester to have 3 children in 3 classes that would have previously been offered by parent volunteers.

 

Co-ops are a tricky thing to keep going.

Edited by Lori D.

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We are very informal, but small. We do have some moms who I am not sure what they do besides show up, but very few. Most moms who do not teach are big cleaner uppers or snack bringers on party days and such. I don't bring snacks often. I don't do a super lot of deep cleaning. I teach a lot of classes and plan a lot of our activities. There is one person, our president, who does way more than I do, but I do a lot. I don't feel guilty about not doing the things I don't do. But teaching is something I enjoy doing and can do. Others who can't or don't enjoy it would rather clean up. Other moms do a lot of playground duty with the littles and art projects and clean up with them. I appreciate that. If I am busy teaching a class, I need someone watching over my 3 yr old! 

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Of the co-ops I've seen locally, it's very similar to what Alice and mom2att described, up-thread. :)

 

 

Diverging now from O.P.'s question to share what I see with co-ops in our area:

 

Unfortunately, what I have (repeatedly) seen with local co-ops that are strictly "co-operative" -- i.e., only parents teach classes and are not paid -- is that the co-op fizzles after 2-3 years because the parents who teach burn out, and the other parents who weren't teaching don't step up because they don't have the time or ability or desire to lead a co-op class. For many families, the reason they want to do a once a week co-op class is to get a break from teaching, and to have some social/group activities for their kids. And frankly, when these co-ops try to force people to teach, thinking it will balance the time/effort inequality, it backfires -- families just drop, or, if the parent does lead a class, they put absolutely NO effort or prep into it, and it's a waste of time and a frustration to everyone.

 

I think a strictly co-operative situation works well when it is limited to about 6-8 families who sit down together in advance of the year, plan out what will be happening, and everyone shares a roughly equivalent load that falls in their strong area. For example, families who are doing the science experiments together for the high school science. Or families who are doing Tapestry of Grace activities together. 

 

At least in our area, the only co-op that has kept going for more than 3 years has been a hybrid that offers "two tracks" of classes -- everyone pays a small per-family fee to cover the cost of the facility and supplies (say, $15-35 per semester), and then some classes are free (offered co-operatively by a mom), but other classes have a per student fee (say $60-$150 per semester) that are led by an outside instructor -- i.e., someone who is not currently homeschooling and has expertise in an area. The "for-a-fee" classes give the co-op stability from year to year, while the "free" classes run by parents shift every year, depending on who is willing/able to lead a class.

 

I have also seen a local co-op that slowly moved from all co-operative to all "for-a-fee" fail as well -- eventually, all of the teachers ended up charging a per-class fee in order to make a little money, to the point that it would cost $400-600 dollars per semester to have 3 children in 3 classes that would have previously been offered by parent volunteers.

 

Co-ops are a tricky thing to keep going.

 

 

I think the main reason that ours works is that it’s sponsored by a church and the pastor who started it many years ago does most of the organizational/support work. Also, it’s very large and has a mix of all ages. There are about 70 high schoolers, for example. That means that there are enough teachers that people can teach and also take years off of being the main teacher without feeling like there aren’t other classes to be offered. And there are enough people so that it works out that people can choose the jobs that fit their skills and stage of life. I did nursery and preschool when my youngest was that age, because I thought it would be fun to be with her. But that is not at all what I enjoy and I was happy to stop doing it. There are other Moms who have all high schoolers but who really love preschool and who keep teaching in there. 

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The one I ran had a teaching requirement.

 

The new one I just joined doesn't have a teaching requirement.  It's been going for many, many years (I don't know how long, but over 10 for sure).  It has awesome classes offered and moms and dads teach.  I am still trying to figure out how it works without resentment.  They don't guilt for classes either, just announce there is still a need and that there are folks willing to help you with ideas.  One thing might be that it is every other week.  And one of the classes is just bring your book and read.  There are a few paid teachers.

 

The academic part which meets on a different day isn't consistent in what it offers.  It also doesn't pay, so understandably has fewer teachers as it is harder to find people willing to teach a high school class for no pay.

 

I am actually a bit mystified.  I guess enough people recognize that it takes all hands to keep it going and if they want cool classes they need to be part of it.

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Of the co-ops I've seen locally, it's very similar to what Alice and mom2att described, up-thread. :)

 

 

Diverging now from O.P.'s question to share what I see with co-ops in our area:

 

Unfortunately, what I have (repeatedly) seen with local co-ops that are strictly "co-operative" -- i.e., only parents teach classes and are not paid -- is that the co-op fizzles after 2-3 years because the parents who teach burn out, and the other parents who weren't teaching don't step up because they don't have the time or ability or desire to lead a co-op class. For many families, the reason they want to do a once a week co-op class is to get a break from teaching, and to have some social/group activities for their kids. And frankly, when these co-ops try to force people to teach, thinking it will balance the time/effort inequality, it backfires -- families just drop, or, if the parent does lead a class, they put absolutely NO effort or prep into it, and it's a waste of time and a frustration to everyone.

 

I think a strictly co-operative situation works well when it is limited to about 6-8 families who sit down together in advance of the year, plan out what will be happening, and everyone shares a roughly equivalent load that falls in their strong area. For example, families who are doing the science experiments together for the high school science. Or families who are doing Tapestry of Grace activities together. 

 

At least in our area, the only co-op that has kept going for more than 3 years has been a hybrid that offers "two tracks" of classes -- everyone pays a small per-family fee to cover the cost of the facility and supplies (say, $15-35 per semester), and then some classes are free (offered co-operatively by a mom), but other classes have a per student fee (say $60-$150 per semester) that are led by an outside instructor -- i.e., someone who is not currently homeschooling and has expertise in an area. The "for-a-fee" classes give the co-op stability from year to year, while the "free" classes run by parents shift every year, depending on who is willing/able to lead a class.

 

I have also seen a local co-op that slowly moved from all co-operative to all "for-a-fee" fail as well -- eventually, all of the teachers ended up charging a per-class fee in order to make a little money, to the point that it would cost $400-600 dollars per semester to have 3 children in 3 classes that would have previously been offered by parent volunteers.

 

Co-ops are a tricky thing to keep going.

 

I'm glad to know we must be beating the odds, Lori! This is our co-op's 6th year. We have had families come and go, but we have a good base of 10 families who have been there the entire time. It's really only a couple of people on our board who seem to feel this way, but their kids love the co-op, so they come anyway. 

 

We do have quite a few moms who truly enjoy teaching, so that might be the difference. Some were teachers before having kids. 

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I'm glad to know we must be beating the odds, Lori! This is our co-op's 6th year. We have had families come and go, but we have a good base of 10 families who have been there the entire time. It's really only a couple of people on our board who seem to feel this way, but their kids love the co-op, so they come anyway.

 

We do have quite a few moms who truly enjoy teaching, so that might be the difference. Some were teachers before having kids.

 

Our old co-op has beat the odds too. We are 20 some years going ranging from 10-40 some families. It is getting harder to attract new families as new homeschoolers seem to want a drop-off option where they pay more, but don’t teach (and are not technically co-ops imo, but are still labeled as such)

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I think the main reason that ours works is that it’s sponsored by a church and the pastor who started it many years ago does most of the organizational/support work. ...

 

I suspect this is the reason there are so many more church co-ops than secular ones.  The church ones often have a spine to keep it going.  

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Our co-op is small - maybe 18 kids? It's pretty relaxed. There is a requirement on paper that each parent has to contribute - but to be honest, several don't. We have two class blocks, and 3 classes going on during each block. I think each parent should be teaching or assisting for one of those blocks. Our first class of this term was Friday, and I taught a class of 9 kids with a helper (bless her!), and then afterwards I facilitated the second class. I did have two moms pop in during part of the time, but I think we need to assign someone in there. It's just time for the kids to play games, which doesn't need a teacher - but I brought the games and had to explain rules. One of the kids told me he doesn't have any games at his house because they were all broken. I told him he'd better not break mine! 

 

We don't have a solid system for tracking parent duties. I think we need to set that up. We just used Sign Up Genius to enroll in classes - maybe we should do that for parents too.

 

 

 

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I'm glad to know we must be beating the odds, Lori! This is our co-op's 6th year. We have had families come and go, but we have a good base of 10 families who have been there the entire time. It's really only a couple of people on our board who seem to feel this way, but their kids love the co-op, so they come anyway. 

 

We do have quite a few moms who truly enjoy teaching, so that might be the difference. Some were teachers before having kids. 

 

 

Ours is beating the odds too then.  Our co-op has been around for more that 10 years.  It started out (before me) with around 30 families and this coming session we are going to have around 74 families involved.  When I started with the group 9 years ago there were 40-50 families and it continued to grow.  We have hung steady at around 70 families a session for the past 2 years.

 

Same as with other co-ops some families leave and then we get some new families.    We keep thinking that we are going to loose families and get a bit smaller but that has not happen.   It helps that there is a strong homeschool community in our area and this co-op has a fairly good reputation.   I know there are several different style co-ops in our are one that requires everyone to teach, one that does not require any help except set up and clean up, a drop off program with paid teachers and other co-ops small and large although ours is one of the larger ones.  I think having a strong dedicated core is central to the longevity of a co-op.  We have an administrative board that helps organize everything and a solid group that keeps coming back.  

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