Menu
Jump to content

What's with the ads?

Targhee

Homeschool group expectations - need input

Recommended Posts

I and two other homeschool moms are offering enrichment classes this year, in an effort to build community for our kids. This is not a co-op. The three of us are teaching the classes, the classes rotate each week, one hour a week for three weeks a month, three different age groups, using the library, and not charging anything (just asking for donated arts and crafts materials, telling people they have to procure their own book for the book group).  We are having an informational meeting in two days and I want to be sure to communicate clearly (and tactfully) the expectations.  Here are some things I thought of, but what am I missing? Or how else could I word things? Where could I be more concise?

- We are holding these classes in an attempt to give our kids an opportunity for regular association with peers in a learning environment, without overburdening families with too much commitment. 

- We are moms, like everyone else, and we have families and homeschools and other outside commitments. We want this to be a mutually beneficial experience, and therefore ask participating families to respect the following the expectations:

- Although there are three different classes, participation with our group means participation in all the classes (it is not a la carte).

- We expect families to be committed to coming each week

- We are not collecting or evaluating any work, but outside work is necessary to fully participate in class. Discussing a book necessitates reading the book; sharing solutions to math problems necessitates attempting the math problems; participating in an art project necessitates bringing any needed materials. We expect families to be committed by being prepared to participate in class

- We need to cap the K-2nd age group to 10 kids, and depending on how your child does in class you may be asked to stay and help out, or we may decide that your child is not ready for class yet and ask you find a better suited situation.

- Please be respectful of the situation (non-professional mom leading a large group of kids with varying skill levels) and realistic about whether your child is ready and wanting to fully participate in group learning, before committing. Participation is required.

- This is not a drop-off babysitting service. You need to remain close by (eg in the library, in the park, at the shopping center across the street) We must be able to contact you by text, otherwise plan to stay in the class with your child. In the event that you are needed to help your child you must be free to come right away. 

- We expect parents to come to the rooms to get their children promptly at the end of class 

- In the event there are more interested families than there is room in classes priority will be given to families with children in multiple age groups

- Only respectful speech and action will be accepted from participants

- Families need to procure their own copy of the books for book club

- Families may be asked to donate materials or a nominal dollar amount for art supplies

- We will communicate about upcoming classes, photos of projects done in and outside of class, any extension of the activities in class, etc via a private Facebook page. Parents should check it regularly, especially within an hour before class, to be up to date and in case of cancelation

- In the event there is any incompatibility between participants or their parents and these expectations we reserve the right to ask you find (or start) an alternate group, and afford you the same right to part ways.

 

Especially after the long thread about parents wanting free, hands off, un-connected programs for their kids, I want to spell it out up front that there’s no free-loading (and really it isn’t a huge commitment). We are doing this because we want to and we don’t have to allow you to participate if you aren’t meeting expectations.

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I am concerned that you will not find a plurality of homeschoolers who all want the same three classes. If you somehow find a few that want all three classes, they won't all want the same classes the next quarter or session. 

My other initial question is what does full participation mean, as required for each child?

  • Like 7

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

As far as tone, I hope you understand that I could not be more sympathetic - you see me participating in the threads about homeschool flakes and co-op failures, and you are obviously trying to forestall those situations - but I'm honestly turned off by the whole thing. I get the impression that you want me and my child to get in line and stay in line, but I can't figure out what's in it for us? My advice would be to sell the program - enthusiastically describe it and make people want to join - and then make the rules and regs more concise and neutral in tone.

  • Like 6

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
9 minutes ago, Tibbie Dunbar said:

As far as tone, I hope you understand that I could not be more sympathetic - you see me participating in the threads about homeschool flakes and co-op failures, and you are obviously trying to forestall those situations - but I'm honestly turned off by the whole thing. I get the impression that you want me and my child to get in line and stay in line, but I can't figure out what's in it for us? My advice would be to sell the program - enthusiastically describe it and make people want to join - and then make the rules and regs more concise and neutral in tone.

We’ve already sold it! There’s more interest than capacity. There’s not much going on in this town as far as homeschool groups, and I’m hoping that those who don’t like what we are offering will make their own group.

As far as tone, I agree it’s pretty cold/strict sounding. So, what can I change and retain clear expectation that we are after community and not just a freebie class people will be wishy washy about?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
17 minutes ago, Tibbie Dunbar said:

I am concerned that you will not find a plurality of homeschoolers who all want the same three classes. If you somehow find a few that want all three classes, they won't all want the same classes the next quarter or session. 

My other initial question is what does full participation mean, as required for each child?

Ya, that’s tough for them. It’s ONE HOUR a week, art, book group, math enrichment. But we are after a consistent group of people.  Perhaps it will be sufficient to say “priority will be given to families who participate in all three classes”?

ETA full participation means you come every week and do try the activities, take part in discussion, etc vs “mom made me come but she can’t make me like it” or “mom made me come but I’m scared so I won’t talk or do what teacher asked”

I know i sound cynical right now, but I was very bothered by some of the responses on the FB invitation and want to make sure  that people aren’t doing it because THEY (not their children) want it

Edited by Targhee

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
2 minutes ago, Targhee said:

We’ve already sold it! There’s more interest than capacity. There’s not much going on in this town as far as homeschool groups, and I’m hoping that those who don’t like what we are offering will make their own group.

As far as tone, I agree it’s pretty cold/strict sounding. So, what can I change and retain clear expectation that we are after community and not just a freebie class people will be wishy washy about?

 

(I wish I had let someone else do this, I feel like a really mean person with a hatpin to your balloon):

You'll have to charge, and make them pay up front for each quarter, or they will be wishy washy every single week. Stating expectations is like writing a wishlist to Santa Claus; it just goes out into the ether. I, and many others on these boards, have had the experience of watching literally dozens of people get excited for something and promise to join, only to see ONE person actually follow through - and then she'll leave because nobody else came. 

I am literally wincing as I type. I'm sorry.

  • Like 16

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
3 minutes ago, Tibbie Dunbar said:

 

(I wish I had let someone else do this, I feel like a really mean person with a hatpin to your balloon):

You'll have to charge, and make them pay up front for each quarter, or they will be wishy washy every single week. Stating expectations is like writing a wishlist to Santa Claus; it just goes out into the ether. I, and many others on these boards, have had the experience of watching literally dozens of people get excited for something and promise to join, only to see ONE person actually follow through - and then she'll leave because nobody else came. 

I am literally wincing as I type. I'm sorry.

Oh no need to wince. This isn’t my first foray into offering classes.  It is my first in THIS location, and they seem to be flakier than the average flakey homeschooler. But I can’t charge them or I cannot use the library. Also, charging them does give them buy-in but it also can make some people think they can run the show or make unrealistic demands of those trying to do their best.  Perhaps my stern tone was an attempt to ward off the flakes, but you’re right they are just words.

Edited by Targhee
  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I was in a similar situation last year with a co-op I organized. I did all the upfront work. It was more than a co-op really, it was almost a full curriculum and the families had assignments to complete all week and only had to add math, spelling, and grammar. It was a BIG commitment and I made it abundantly clear up front. I was clear. We had 6 families. One dropped out at the semester, and one more at the end. Very few of the families put in the effort needed. My kids had an amazing year, but I was frustrated. We didn't do it again this  year. I needed a break. I was approached by some other families and we are starting a Brave Writer style writing class/book club. Twice a month, writing and reading assignments at home. I have not expressed many expectations for this.... I basically have none. I know at least a couple of the families involved and know they will take it seriously , beyond that I have decided I am ok with this being a social situation for my kids to engage on whatever level we can attain. 

It can be frustrating. It's why we don't do co-ops in general. I have decided I will make plans for my kids and if some other families want to join in on what I already have planned (what we are doing this year) great. If they actually contribute? bonus. Sad, I know...but it's reality in the homeschool world sometimes. 

  • Like 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

This is the only part that confuses me, because I don’t understand the reasoning:

- In the event there are more interested families than there is room in classes priority will be given to families with children in multiple age groups

Does this mean that a family with one child will be bypassed for a family with multiple children?  This doesn’t really make sense as the family with multiple children may miss more often due to one of the kids getting sick, etc.

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
3 minutes ago, school17777 said:

This is the only part that confuses me, because I don’t understand the reasoning:

- In the event there are more interested families than there is room in classes priority will be given to families with children in multiple age groups

Does this mean that a family with one child will be bypassed for a family with multiple children?  This doesn’t really make sense as the family with multiple children may miss more often due to one of the kids getting sick, etc.

I do see your point. But we seem to have a million families with kids 6 and under and much, much fewer with kids in middle school. The reason for the expectation is because our main purpose is to build a community of families and particularly with the older kids - between the three of us instructors we have 5 kids in the upper two age groups and only two in the youngest (plus high schoolers and beyond), the youngers don’t really need it but are along for the ride.  And we noticed there’s a huge interest by families where their oldest kid is 5 or 6.  If we didn’t give priority to families with multiple ages we’d hit the 10 child capacity for the youngest group and the few families with kids in both older and younger groups would not be able to do it.

So maybe that doesn’t seem fair, but how do we address that we are really looking primarily for families that skew older? This older-younger disproportion has been an issue in every group homeschool setting in every state I’ve lived in. It would be difficult to build a sense of community for the kids if the families of the instructors have participating kids who are 7-14 and the majority of other families have kids 6 and younger.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

We have had that problem in my area too.  I think it is because the older students are too busy to participate in things that are more supplemental than part of their core curriculum.  The older students tend to participate in “co-ops” (I think more private school than co-op because drop-off and paid teachers) where they meet once a week all school year and get credit for that class.  Since they do that, those students don’t have time to do other groups the other days because they need the time to get all their lessons done.

You could make a rule families need to have at least one student in the 7-14 age range (or whatever age range you want) to participate since that is your target age range. 

My old co-op had a rule that you had to have a student at least K age per your school district, otherwise, we had families with the oldest student only being 4 trying to join saying that student was in K.  (I made one expection over 15 years because the mom was teaching her 4 year old twins k curriculum and the mom had a lot to offer our co-op that it was a win-win for both of us)

  • Like 8

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
8 minutes ago, Targhee said:

I do see your point. But we seem to have a million families with kids 6 and under and much, much fewer with kids in middle school. The reason for the expectation is because our main purpose is to build a community of families and particularly with the older kids - between the three of us instructors we have 5 kids in the upper two age groups and only two in the youngest (plus high schoolers and beyond), the youngers don’t really need it but are along for the ride.  And we noticed there’s a huge interest by families where their oldest kid is 5 or 6.  If we didn’t give priority to families with multiple ages we’d hit the 10 child capacity for the youngest group and the few families with kids in both older and younger groups would not be able to do it.

So maybe that doesn’t seem fair, but how do we address that we are really looking primarily for families that skew older? This older-younger disproportion has been an issue in every group homeschool setting in every state I’ve lived in. It would be difficult to build a sense of community for the kids if the families of the instructors have participating kids who are 7-14 and the majority of other families have kids 6 and younger.

 

That being the case, perhaps you should open enrollment for your 3rd grade and up classes first.  A week or so later, offer slots in a k-2 session to siblings of enrolled students. 

 

 

  • Like 8

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
26 minutes ago, Sherry in OH said:

 

That being the case, perhaps you should open enrollment for your 3rd grade and up classes first.  A week or so later, offer slots in a k-2 session to siblings of enrolled students. 

 

 

Never thought of this, I’ll consider it.  It is essential saying “priority given to families in upper age groups” but maybe not so bluntly. Thanks.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
29 minutes ago, school17777 said:

We have had that problem in my area too.  I think it is because the older students are too busy to participate in things that are more supplemental than part of their core curriculum.  The older students tend to participate in “co-ops” (I think more private school than co-op because drop-off and paid teachers) where they meet once a week all school year and get credit for that class.  Since they do that, those students don’t have time to do other groups the other days because they need the time to get all their lessons done.

You could make a rule families need to have at least one student in the 7-14 age range (or whatever age range you want) to participate since that is your target age range. 

My old co-op had a rule that you had to have a student at least K age per your school district, otherwise, we had families with the oldest student only being 4 trying to join saying that student was in K.  (I made one expection over 15 years because the mom was teaching her 4 year old twins k curriculum and the mom had a lot to offer our co-op that it was a win-win for both of us)

Yes, it bugs me when the K4 moms do this. I was a parent of a precocious 4 year old oldest child who was grade accelerated by our cover school, but I always went by age for activities. 

We once lost a family at co-op that had two teenagers and the director invited a family from the wait list with 5 kids 6 and under ? Our nursery was already overflowing and mom nursery leaders were burned out. I totally understand the family that wa Ted to join - I was once the mom of three kids age 4 and younger and it was an exhausting time of life, but it’s also not the time of life where kids need co-op.

I understand about older kids getting serious about studies - that’s why we are only meeting once a week for one hour close to the end of the school day. There is one co-op in town and it’s exclusive and honestly the classes aren’t very rigorous. Other than that there are play groups, and soon there will be a field trip group. So in my mind this is all the more reason to give preference to older kids.

  • Like 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
12 hours ago, Targhee said:

 - This is not a drop-off babysitting service. You need to remain close by (eg in the library, in the park, at the shopping center across the street) We must be able to contact you by text, otherwise plan to stay in the class with your child. In the event that you are needed to help your child you must be free to come right away. 

2

 

I absolutely detest parents staying in class with their child, lol, so I would never say this. It is my experience that kids act differently when a parent is around, and don't participate as much. And the parents tend to be more disruptive than the kids! 

Charge a fee. This will weed out some people who aren't really interested and increase commitment among those who are. You're planning to ask for craft supplies and/or money, and that tends to be a nightmare. If somebody doesn't want to pay at least twenty bucks per kid upfront, they are not interested in the class and are just looking for free babysitting. 

Drop the first half of this sentence: We are not collecting or evaluating any work, but outside work is necessary to fully participate in class.  Stating that you are not collecting or evaluating any work attracts the wrong kind of parent. You can still do it this way, just no reason to spell it out. The important part is that outside work is required (I'd also drop the word "fully" and just stay outside work is necessary to participate). 

  • Like 4

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
15 minutes ago, katilac said:

 

I absolutely detest parents staying in class with their child, lol, so I would never say this. It is my experience that kids act differently when a parent is around, and don't participate as much. And the parents tend to be more disruptive than the kids! 

Charge a fee. This will weed out some people who aren't really interested and increase commitment among those who are. You're planning to ask for craft supplies and/or money, and that tends to be a nightmare. If somebody doesn't want to pay at least twenty bucks per kid upfront, they are not interested in the class and are just looking for free babysitting. 

Drop the first half of this sentence: We are not collecting or evaluating any work, but outside work is necessary to fully participate in class.  Stating that you are not collecting or evaluating any work attracts the wrong kind of parent. You can still do it this way, just no reason to spell it out. The important part is that outside work is required (I'd also drop the word "fully" and just stay outside work is necessary to participate). 

Thanks for the specific suggestions!

I think you are right that some kids act very differently with mom right there. So how do you ensure that parents are immediately reachable? 

We cannot charge a fee (library use policy, if we charge we can’t use the library).

Yes, dropping the first phrase in that sentence is probably a good idea. Thanks!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

“I think you are right that some kids act very differently with mom right there. So how do you ensure that parents are immediately reachable? ”

We stated that a parent had to remain on the premises.

 

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I agree with some of the previous posters that with the restrictions you have, it will be very difficult to have the kind of commitment that you want from this group. I'm not terribly experienced with this type of thing, being more of a wallflower than a leader, but in my experience free and committed only works if the families already have strong relationships. Starting something like this from scratch with random families seems difficult. I would complain about flakey homeschoolers, but honestly, I'm one of them. ? 

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Can you establish a set amount of time for the outside class work. “For middle school level classes, you should expect to have 2 hours of homework per week. For grades 3-5, expect to have 1.5 hours of homework per week. For grades k-2, expect to do 1 hour per werk.” 

Id be more likely to participate knowing the amount of time it would take.

  • Like 4

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Also, as far as charging, can you talk to your library about charging a nominal fee at the beginning—say $5 per class per sturdent. It will be refunded when the student attends class. If someone doesn’t show, the money goes to the library. This is to keep peOple from flaking out. People show up more when there’s money on the line. 

Also, no exceptions for refunds. Sickness, car problems, whatever but no exceptions. Otherwise people will offer every excuse in the world to claim a refund. Our music teachers work like this already.

Edited by fairfarmhand
  • Like 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
7 minutes ago, fairfarmhand said:

Can you establish a set amount of time for the outside class work. “For middle school level classes, you should expect to have 2 hours of homework per week. For grades 3-5, expect to have 1.5 hours of homework per week. For grades k-2, expect to do 1 hour per werk.” 

Id be more likely to participate knowing the amount of time it would take.

Hmmm... possibly? But probably not time frames, instead tasks (eg 6-8th will have one novel a month, math problem set of 4-8 problems, and need to bring required materials for art class).

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
7 minutes ago, fairfarmhand said:

Also, as far as charging, can you talk to your library about charging a nominal fee at the beginning—say $5 per class per sturdent. It will be refunded when the student attends class. If someone doesn’t show, the money goes to the library. This is to keep peOple from flaking out. People show up more when there’s money on the line. 

Also, no exceptions for refunds. Sickness, car problems, whatever but no exceptions. Otherwise people will offer every excuse in the world to claim a refund. Our music teachers work like this already.

Our music teachers work this way too, and I get it.

I do not want to be in charge of funds being redistributed - too big a chance for people to claim they didn’t get their refund and I don’t want to track with receipts - much bigger hassle than we want.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
32 minutes ago, mellifera33 said:

I agree with some of the previous posters that with the restrictions you have, it will be very difficult to have the kind of commitment that you want from this group. I'm not terribly experienced with this type of thing, being more of a wallflower than a leader, but in my experience free and committed only works if the families already have strong relationships. Starting something like this from scratch with random families seems difficult. I would complain about flakey homeschoolers, but honestly, I'm one of them. ? 

 

Ya, I’m not sure how to strike the balance. That’s why I’m seeking the advice here.  We have three families with shared values and are just trying to add 3-5 more. I’m 2 years new in this place and don’t know lots of people, and of those few Homeschoolers, so that is why we made a public invitation.  I tried joining up with a similar group attempt the year we moved here and it fell apart from non-commitment. At this point I’ve had it with flakiness. Life happens (that’s fine, I understand) but more often it is people who just want to enjoy the benefits on their terms without the commitment. I’ve been burned enough times, but it has more to do with the general rise in flakiness, expectation that things are “free,” and expectation to have it customized to what you want. I see this everywhere around me - it is so antithetical to what I value.  The way I see this is we are offering something - a community for regular group learning and association, with minimal required of families in terms of time or funds, but instead with commitment to the group/people by being consistent and responsible - and if you share those expectations then we are excited to have you join us.  If you don’t then maybe you will be inspired to make your own group. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
40 minutes ago, Targhee said:

Our music teachers work this way too, and I get it.

I do not want to be in charge of funds being redistributed - too big a chance for people to claim they didn’t get their refund and I don’t want to track with receipts - much bigger hassle than we want.

You could just match it with the attendance chart that Parents must initial each week and stuff the envelope the following week. At check in the following week, they pick up their refund for the prior week. 

Without some kind of money outlay I fear the flakes will ruin it for you. Good luck!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Kudos to you for taking on this responsibility. I've been in homeschool group leadership for many years, and it's been a very rewarding journey. A heck of a lot of work, but worth it nonetheless.

That said, I agree with the others about some kind of financial commitment. No skin in the game = no commitment, and homeschoolers are already flakey enough. I understand the library's policy--ours does that, too. Can you make it so the classes, specifically the events that are using the library, are free, but there is some kind of enrollment/registration fee? It seems you are trying to keep this really casual and not an official group, but IME belonging to something raises the commitment level and the spirit of community. So you make a small, informal group with the purpose of holding free classes at the library. Families interested contact you, receive a group agreement containing the items you've outlined, sign it to indicate agreement, and pay a $20 fee. At the end of the year have a party at the park where you spend the money on food for everyone. $20 isn't much, but it's way too easy to say, "We just won't go today, it's raining" when you've put $0 down on the experience.

I love expectations in writing, and yours are good, but perhaps too wordy (and I'm the queen of wordy, so I ought to know). How about:

*Families must commit to attending each week.

*Families must attend all classes, not just those that interest them.

*Completion of outside work is expected--students must come to class prepared.

*Classes are for K- 2 students ready for a classroom environment. If your child is not ready, don’t sign up.

*Families with children who have difficulty adjusting to classroom expectations will first be asked to have an adult stay with the child, then removed from enrollment if the situation does not improve.

*An adult must stay on the premises at all times for liability reasons. We are not a babysitting service.

*Class begins at _____ o’clock and ends at __________ o’clock. We expect prompt arrival and departure.

*Disrespectful words and actions are not tolerated.

*Families are responsible for providing their own books and supplies.

*Communication is done via Facebook. It is the responsibility of the family to check it regularly for information and updates.

*We reserve the right to discontinue enrollment if these expectations are not met.

 

 

 

Edited by mom2att
  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
15 hours ago, Targhee said:

- This is not a drop-off babysitting service. You need to remain close by (eg in the library, in the park, at the shopping center across the street) We must be able to contact you by text, otherwise plan to stay in the class with your child. 

 

Have you check the library rules for unaccompanied children?

My local library is rather strict about unaccompanied children and city police (which is across the street) has been called when the parent can’t be found for a young child (about kindergarten age and no cellphone or contact information on him). Even though the local librarians can recognize my kids, they still have their cellphones with them whenever I go to the supermarket next to the library to buy stuff. Below quoted is the policy for my local library 

Children age 9 and younger must be accompanied continually by a parent or responsible adult caregiver. A parent or responsible adult caregiver must remain with the children at all times and in the case of an adult caregiver, have emergency contact information with them or available to them. 

• If a child age 9 or younger is found to be unaccompanied in the Library, staff will try to locate the parent or responsible adult caregiver to remedy the situation. If a parent or responsible adult caregiver is unavailable, the Police, Santa Clara County Child Protective Services, or other appropriate government agency will be called. 

• Children age 10 and older may use the Library without a parent or responsible adult caregiver present, but must be able to reach a parent or responsible adult caregiver immediately, either in person or by phone.”

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
2 hours ago, Targhee said:

Thanks for the specific suggestions!

I think you are right that some kids act very differently with mom right there. So how do you ensure that parents are immediately reachable? 

We cannot charge a fee (library use policy, if we charge we can’t use the library).

Yes, dropping the first phrase in that sentence is probably a good idea. Thanks!

 

Use the rest of your wording: You need to remain close by (eg in the library, in the park, at the shopping center across the street) We must be able to contact you by text

That will help, but you really just have to be prepared to deal with the kids for the hour. Phones die, cars break down, whatever. If it's a decent-sized library, you can say they must stay on the premises if it's really important to you, but that would be a negative for me as a parent (particularly if I had older kids). 

Will the age groups be together or separate? My experience is that having much younger kids in the same class is a big turn-off to older kids, even if they get separate activities. You might be stuck for this time if you have already advertised for K-2, but, if you're targeting older kids, my advice is to only offer classes for older kids. It's in a library, mom can bring the littles to the kid section or to the park. I used to give parents a list of nearby coffee shops, lol. That also eliminates much of the babysitting issues and reasons you'd have to call a parent back right away. 

If you can't charge a fee, simply collect the donations for supplies upfront. Any amount of money does increase commitment, but I myself would want it to be at least $20. So much so that I would add a non-library event at the end, say a class party at the park when finished. Or buy a fun math game for them to use, 'supplies' is a very broad term. 

Are you planning math one week, art one week, book club one week? If so, people WILL skip classes. They will say it's bc their car broke down or the kids were sick, but they will frequently skip what they are least interested in. I would make it a mix of things every week. Even if one activity is the focus and will take 45 minutes of the hour, even if you decide the occasional class will be entirely one thing, don't announce that. These classes will be a mix of art, math, and books, period. Say some of the more fun or exciting things you will be doing in general, but do NOT specify which weeks. 

You need to have parents sign a hold-harmless agreement, just google for examples. 

  • Like 3

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
7 minutes ago, Arcadia said:

Have you check the library rules for unaccompanied children?

1

 

KIds in a class will not be considered unaccompanied. The teachers will be considered the adult caregivers. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I feel for you. Flakiness has ruined every co op I've seen. I agree with others that I would charge a fee up front. If the family participates for the entire semester, you give it back. Make it clear that if they do not see the class through, their deposit will be donated to the library. 

I have seen several groups say that priority will go to families with at least one child over 9 years old, etc. That's much clearer than for families with multiple children.

Good luck! It is thankless!

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
6 minutes ago, katilac said:

Kids in a class will not be considered unaccompanied. The teachers will be considered the adult caregivers. 

 

Not where I am, the adult has to stay at the back of the community room or in the library depending on how young the child is.  The adult caregivers are like nannies or family tutor category. In OP’s scenario, we (parents) have to sign a liability form for the activities as well as the sign in and sign out form which has parents cellphone numbers for our kids drop off activities in the library, as well as having to stay in the building. The librarians use the public announcement system at the library if they can’t locate the parent. So it really depends on the particular library policies.

The general cutoff around here is 6th grade and up so I don’t need to stay around anymore at the library for my kids activities. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
44 minutes ago, Arcadia said:

 

Have you check the library rules for unaccompanied children?

My local library is rather strict about unaccompanied children and city police (which is across the street) has been called when the parent can’t be found for a young child (about kindergarten age and no cellphone or contact information on him). Even though the local librarians can recognize my kids, they still have their cellphones with them whenever I go to the supermarket next to the library to buy stuff. Below quoted is the policy for my local library 

Children age 9 and younger must be accompanied continually by a parent or responsible adult caregiver. A parent or responsible adult caregiver must remain with the children at all times and in the case of an adult caregiver, have emergency contact information with them or available to them. 

• If a child age 9 or younger is found to be unaccompanied in the Library, staff will try to locate the parent or responsible adult caregiver to remedy the situation. If a parent or responsible adult caregiver is unavailable, the Police, Santa Clara County Child Protective Services, or other appropriate government agency will be called. 

• Children age 10 and older may use the Library without a parent or responsible adult caregiver present, but must be able to reach a parent or responsible adult caregiver immediately, either in person or by phone.”

No, I hadn’t even considered it. We live in a state with “free range child” laws in place so it would surprise me, but I will definitely check. Thanks!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
7 hours ago, fairfarmhand said:

Also, as far as charging, can you talk to your library about charging a nominal fee at the beginning—say $5 per class per sturdent. It will be refunded when the student attends class. If someone doesn’t show, the money goes to the library. This is to keep peOple from flaking out. People show up more when there’s money on the line. 

 

I was going to suggest this. I set up a field trip this way. Show up-- you get your $5 back. Otherwise, it gets donated to the nature center we were visiting. I think its a win-win. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I changed a few things and ended up with the below expectations. We will explain with some specifics at our meeting tomorrow. Thanks to all for input.

 We are teaching these classes with the intention of providing our kids regular association with a community of peers in a learning environment, at the same time without overburdening families with too great a commitment. We are parents, like you, and have families, homeschools, and outside responsibilities which all need our time and attention. However, we also recognize the value of community and know that it takes effort to establish one. We want this to be a mutually beneficial experience and therefore ask participating families to meet these expectations:
• Families should be committed by attending each week
• Families should be committed by being prepared having done any outside work
• Families should be committed by participating in class activities
• Parents must stay close by (in the library or at the park) and be available by text to
come right away if needed. This is not a drop-off child-watching service.
• Parents need to pick up their children promptly at the end of class
• Parents need to be certain about their child(ren)’s ability and desire to participate in
group learning, and whether the group is a good fit, before committing
• Only respectful speech and action will be accepted from participants and teachers
• Families are responsible to obtain their own copy of the book club book each month
• Families will be asked to donate some materials and possibly pay a small amount to
cover art supplies
• Families should check our group Facebook page regularly, and definitely in the hour before class, to be up to date and in case of cancelation
• Priority for space in classes will be given to families with older children participating, and there will be a 10 child cap for the 5-7 year old classes
• Priority for space in classes will be given to families participating in all three classes (Book Club, Math Circle, and Art)
• In the event there is any incompatibility between participants or their parents and these expectations you will be asked to find (or start) an alternate group, and we afford you this same right to part ways
We believe establishing these expectations up front is important to forming a community that will operate well and be long-lasting.

 

 

 

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I still don't see how parents can be 100% sure their child will be ready for the class and like it. That insistence will keep out decent people who make no guarantees on their 7yo...I'd rather see what that means (readiness and participation), and know whether my older children can stay if my younger washes out. IOW, requirements and consequences, briefly, and not an expectation that parents can tell the future. 

They also cannot possibly tell that the group is a good fit before even meeting everyone and trying a class. (We went to a new group once, after I got along very nicely with the other parents online, only to learn when we got there that they were radical unschoolers, Y2k preppers, and gun fanatics. This translated to crazy paranoid talk about the government, open carry of loaded weapons, and feral kids, at the meet&greet coffee hour.)

Affording them the right to part ways if they want - no, you don't. You have no authority over whether people leave and what they do next. That's authoritarian and condescending in tone.

"This is not a drop off child watching service," is also condescending. You already defined the goals of the group and you already required parents to stay nearby and alert.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
12 minutes ago, Tibbie Dunbar said:

I still don't see how parents can be 100% sure their child will be ready for the class and like it. That insistence will keep out decent people who make no guarantees on their 7yo...I'd rather see what that means (readiness and participation), and know whether my older children can stay if my younger washes out. IOW, requirements and consequences, briefly, and not an expectation that parents can tell the future. 

They also cannot possibly tell that the group is a good fit before even meeting everyone and trying a class. (We went to a new group once, after I got along very nicely with the other parents online, only to learn when we got there that they were radical unschoolers, Y2k preppers, and gun fanatics. This translated to crazy paranoid talk about the government, open carry of loaded weapons, and feral kids, at the meet&greet coffee hour.)

Affording them the right to part ways if they want - no, you don't. You have no authority over whether people leave and what they do next. That's authoritarian and condescending in tone.

"This is not a drop off child watching service," is also condescending. You already defined the goals of the group and you already required parents to stay nearby and alert.

Tomorrow is an over and a preview. Each point on here will be more thoroughly explained in discussion then, including what constitutes readiness in our best estimation. I am planning a 10 minute math activity for each age group, and I’m not sure what the other moms are doing as a preview.  When I put the offer out for math circles 5 months ago I answered a lot of questions and let everyone know I would do a preview at the end of August. That’s the best I can do.

As far as baby sitting comment, maybe it is condescending but if you never intended to use it as a baby sitting service I doubt you’d be offended.  If you have another suggestion I do have time to change it before the morning. 

As far as “afford you the right” it was intended to convey a mutual equal footing, to say that this isn’t some kind of binding contract (and you stand to lose nothing if you leave, like $$) and you don’t need our permission and neither do we need your permission to say “this isn’t a good fit.”  I don’t want to be authoritarian or condescending, but I do want to be clear and up front, so how would you convey the idea?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

 Maybe a more upbeat tone would be something about how the (board?) will make the final decisions about enrollment, as we are hoping to find students and families who share our vision and feel ready to help make (Academy Name) a success. Also, if families find that our program is not a good match, after all, that's why we aren't signing contracts. We are looking for commitment to the group if you love what we are doing, but no hard feelings if you give us a try and decide not to stay.

WDYT?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The babysitting comment - remove that part, leave where they have to stay nearby and available, then state the consequence if they are alerted and fail to respond. 

Maybe reassure that teachers will only call them to come for xyz circumstances, such as emergency of any kind on premises, child becomes ill, class arrangements are changed, or egregious behavior that requires parental intervention.

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
6 hours ago, Tibbie Dunbar said:

I still don't see how parents can be 100% sure their child will be ready for the class and like it. That insistence will keep out decent people who make no guarantees on their 7yo...

 

This would be my concern. Having taught Kish-2ish classes, I've seen parents truly believe that their children could handle a class when they could not.  I've BEEN a parent who believed her kid(s) could handle particular classes and later discovered that aliens had replaced them and they were making me look like a clueless idiot.  Little people can get so weird when they're not around their parents or they're trying something new!

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
On 8/27/2018 at 10:43 PM, Targhee said:

Oh no need to wince. This isn’t my first foray into offering classes.  It is my first in THIS location, and they seem to be flakier than the average flakey homeschooler. But I can’t charge them or I cannot use the library. Also, charging them does give them buy-in but it also can make some people think they can run the show or make unrealistic demands of those trying to do their best.  Perhaps my stern tone was an attempt to ward off the flakes, but you’re right they are just words.

 

Will the library allow you to collect a supply donation?   Our local ones will allow that, and its a way to get some financial commitment out of the parents.

22 hours ago, school17777 said:

This is the only part that confuses me, because I don’t understand the reasoning:

- In the event there are more interested families than there is room in classes priority will be given to families with children in multiple age groups

Does this mean that a family with one child will be bypassed for a family with multiple children?  This doesn’t really make sense as the family with multiple children may miss more often due to one of the kids getting sick, etc.


I would give priority to families with older kids if that is your actual goal.   Or I like the enroll older groups first idea.

I'm not sure I understand how this is supposed to work.  You offer three classes - art, math, and literature.  Does each grade do each class on a rotating basis so they are doing math once a month, art once a month and lit once a month?  or do all the older kids do math, the middle lit and the younger art?    I think once a month isn't enough to get into a groove doing a subject and I think you'll have a lot of people flake out on the week covering whatever it is they are least interested in.   A lot of kids won't be interested in all three unless they are really fun, project/not academic.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I have no advice, just wishing you good luck! We are not part of any homeschool groups anymore because I couldn't stand the flakiness. It drives me nuts!  Keep us updated on how it goes! 

  • Thanks 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
10 hours ago, Targhee said:

As far as baby sitting comment, maybe it is condescending but if you never intended to use it as a baby sitting service I doubt you’d be offended.  If you have another suggestion I do have time to change it before the morning. 

 

Hmm.  I have middle schoolers and would find the comment sort of off-putting.  At this point I would only consider drop-off classes for my 13yo not because I am looking for babysitting -- he is old enough to stay home by himself -- but because it seems bizarre to require me to stay nearby.  I would interpret such a requirement as meaning that either the teacher is very anxious about teaching middle schoolers and/or the class is anticipated to be full of children with serious behavioral difficulties.  

Can I ask what the rationale is for requiring parents of older children to stay nearby?  Is the class drawing from a very large geographical area?  Are you worried primarily about genuine emergencies or just children being difficult?  I am just wondering if there is a perhaps a friendlier/more neutral way to express the requirement.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
3 hours ago, Where's Toto? said:

 

Will the library allow you to collect a supply donation?   Our local ones will allow that, and its a way to get some financial commitment out of the parents.


I would give priority to families with older kids if that is your actual goal.   Or I like the enroll older groups first idea.

I'm not sure I understand how this is supposed to work.  You offer three classes - art, math, and literature.  Does each grade do each class on a rotating basis so they are doing math once a month, art once a month and lit once a month?  or do all the older kids do math, the middle lit and the younger art?    I think once a month isn't enough to get into a groove doing a subject and I think you'll have a lot of people flake out on the week covering whatever it is they are least interested in.   A lot of kids won't be interested in all three unless they are really fun, project/not academic.

They are once a month. They are enrichment, project/theme based and intended to be fun group activities. There are very very few academic Homeschoolers in this town, and there are very few enrichment options for Homeschoolers (eg no art classes for kids at all in town, no math/Sci/tech except summer or through school, basically nothing geared towards HSers)

Edited by Targhee

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
8 minutes ago, JennyD said:

 

Hmm.  I have middle schoolers and would find the comment sort of off-putting.  At this point I would only consider drop-off classes for my 13yo not because I am looking for babysitting -- he is old enough to stay home by himself -- but because it seems bizarre to require me to stay nearby.  I would interpret such a requirement as meaning that either the teacher is very anxious about teaching middle schoolers and/or the class is anticipated to be full of children with serious behavioral difficulties.  

Can I ask what the rationale is for requiring parents of older children to stay nearby?  Is the class drawing from a very large geographical area?  Are you worried primarily about genuine emergencies or just children being difficult?  I am just wondering if there is a perhaps a friendlier/more neutral way to express the requirement.

Fair point. The expectation because of younger kids. We could put an age limit, ie if your child is under the age of 8 please stay on the premises and be readily available if needed.  

  • Like 3

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I didn't see you mention that you would like parents to contact you prior to class if the child will be absent.  Is that something you would wish to include?

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
47 minutes ago, Targhee said:

Fair point. The expectation because of younger kids. We could put an age limit, ie if your child is under the age of 8 please stay on the premises and be readily available if needed.  

 

That seems perfect to me.  

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

We were in a co-op with similar expectations, and I think this sounds reasonable and it's good that you cover things up front.

The only thing I saw that I might change was the last expectation, which I think could be worded better.

"In the event there is any incompatibility between participants or their parents and these expectations you will be asked to find (or start) an alternate group, and we afford you this same right to part ways"

I would say in stead  "Participants or parents  not able to meet these expectations, or causing other conflicts, will be asked to leave the group.   If you find after starting that this group doesn't meet your needs, you have no obligation to stay,  and we hope that you find (or start) another group that better suits you." 

 

  • Like 4

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I don't have time to read all the responses, but do you have enough help if all the moms want to leave the kids and stay close? That would be a big concern for me. Our co-op requires all the moms to stay and work somewhere the whole time. Lead teachers get a planning period, though. We never have less than 2 adults in any room, with the exception of high school classes if someone is out. 

Do you know all these families?  I wouldn't allow drop offs if I didn't know the families personally, or I would at least require the parent to stay the first 2-3 weeks until I saw that all the kids were behaving well and parents were open to how the teachers managed classroom behavior. 

Are they going to have to sign a liability waiver that you, your volunteer staff, and the facility are not responsible if anything happens to the children? Are they responsible for any damage their children do to the facility? I can send you a copy of my co-op's membership application and waivers if you would like for me to do so. 

 

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Thanks for all the input! I made some minor changes to wording taking in the suggestions. Moms all seemed to respect it, i think there was only one family out of 10 at the meeting who didn’t sign up.  Onward to starting classes in two weeks!

  • Like 3

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
On 8/28/2018 at 8:37 PM, Targhee said:

I changed a few things and ended up with the below expectations. We will explain with some specifics at our meeting tomorrow. Thanks to all for input.

 We are teaching these classes with the intention of providing our kids regular association with a community of peers in a learning environment, at the same time without overburdening families with too great a commitment. We are parents, like you, and have families, homeschools, and outside responsibilities which all need our time and attention. However, we also recognize the value of community and know that it takes effort to establish one. We want this to be a mutually beneficial experience and therefore ask participating families to meet these expectations:
• Families should be committed by attending each week
• Families should be committed by being prepared having done any outside work
• Families should be committed by participating in class activities
• Parents must stay close by (in the library or at the park) and be available by text to
come right away if needed. This is not a drop-off child-watching service.
• Parents need to pick up their children promptly at the end of class
• Parents need to be certain about their child(ren)’s ability and desire to participate in
group learning, and whether the group is a good fit, before committing
• Only respectful speech and action will be accepted from participants and teachers
• Families are responsible to obtain their own copy of the book club book each month
• Families will be asked to donate some materials and possibly pay a small amount to
cover art supplies
• Families should check our group Facebook page regularly, and definitely in the hour before class, to be up to date and in case of cancelation
• Priority for space in classes will be given to families with older children participating, and there will be a 10 child cap for the 5-7 year old classes
• Priority for space in classes will be given to families participating in all three classes (Book Club, Math Circle, and Art)
• In the event there is any incompatibility between participants or their parents and these expectations you will be asked to find (or start) an alternate group, and we afford you this same right to part ways
We believe establishing these expectations up front is important to forming a community that will operate well and be long-lasting.

 

I'm probably too late to the conversation to be of much use, but I'm wondering if you could shorten the list a bit.  (I was glad to see you've  turned these into bullets.)  A shorter list is more likely to be read by your parents.   Specific rules are helpful.  No need to provide justification.  Your class, your rules.  Also I'm curious  your library could possibly know or figure out if your families are paying or coming for free?

Class Enrollment priority will be given to:

  • families with older participating children
  • families enrolling in all 3 classes

Families must

  • attend each week unless a student is ill
  • complete all homework
  • actively participate (what does this mean?  can you leave this out? or be more specific?)
  • obtain a copy of the book club book every week
  • donate $10 or equivalent amount in art supplies
  • check our FB at least once between Monday at 6am and Tuesday at midnight for announcements

Parents must:

  • Be at the library, the park, or able to return within 10 minutes of a text message
  • Pick up children at 2pm.  Students who are not picked up on time will join Targhee's family and taken home or on errands with them.  (This was a policy at our girl scout day camp!)

We retain the right to determine what is inappropriate behavior by parents or students and to disenroll families who do not adhere to the rules above.   

Edited by daijobu

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The priority thing.  If I had one 10 year old I would be a bit upset being told I was low priority because I only had one kid.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now

×
×
  • Create New...