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28 minutes ago, kand said:

In my experience, most of the things you say would be normal things to do. Sleeping in the car is the one you’d have to ask about. Some co-ops allow parents to wait in cars, and some don’t count that as being on site. I’d expect taking your laptop and working would be totally fine. 

Thanks!  Do you think I could send an elderly relative?  

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For both co-ops we’ve done, at least some of that time involved required volunteer hours. Also teaching, substituting for teachers or volunteers, helping teachers or volunteer crews where needed. Keeping an eye on little kids for a minute, helping lost kids find parents, minor first aid, possibly running an errand for the co-op, parent/planning meetings, general socializing.

With downtime, lots of us did homeschool planning, household planning, and actual employed work stuff. Reading, knitting, other hobbies. Our internet wasn’t the greatest in either place.

Both of ours allowed drop off for kids 13 and up. Other adults could stand in for parents with documentation (and criminal and child abuse clearances.) Being in the car was technically allowed at one, but parking was a nightmare for the other, so that would be a no. We’d never find a parent that way!

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Here it means you are required to “volunteer” while your child is there.  Or as I call it at one point- The test to see how much patience I really did have.  Who you are with/assigned to can make or break it.  One of my last one’s was helping teach a class that the person should have never been teaching as they had no clue on what they were teaching.  

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When our kids were taking co-op classes, I absolutely napped in the car. They were about your ds's age at the time, so I didn't feel like I needed to be in the building (I think they were past the age when the rules stated I had to be there). Other times I hung out inside, read, chatted. Internet there also wasn't great, so I couldn't count on access. We didn't have any volunteer requirements, and the kids were only there for a few classes.

Edited by Innisfree
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I now teach at our co-op during two of the three class hours. Last year, when I didn’t teach, I helped out in classrooms the same amount of time. We have a two-deep policy, so parents are required to help out in classrooms. The third hour, parents are free to socialize with each other or work quietly on their own. I spent a lot of time catching up on things on my to-do list that could be accomplished online or over the phone, planning future lessons, etc.

It’s usually the moms who are there, but I’ve seen dads and grandparents fill in when needed, too. The church where we meet requires us to have a responsible adult on site for each kid, but it doesn’t necessarily have to be a parent. 

I really think co-ops are going to vary on this, so best to check with the specific one you’re considering. 

 

Edited by Gobblygook
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Those coops with work requirements usually have social goals, with people hanging and talking the rest of the time. Also the quality of the instruction can be really scattered. You might make sure you know someone who goes there and will like it before you get too committed. I did one like that one year with my dd and it was so not my cuppa. Haha, I should think about it for my ds and get over myself. But really I didn't enjoy it as a person. 

Some will do work opt outs where you pay a fee and can opt out of the work. We're doing a group this year with no volunteer requirements but sign up fees that (I assume) are enough to cover their rent and expenses. That works for me. Actually it has to, because my SIL has been taking my ds while I go each day for HBOT, lol.

Edited by PeterPan
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8 hours ago, BaseballandHockey said:

I send my GFIL

He might be lovely for that. You might talk with their leadershp and make sure. Not all these places background check people, so the more tertiary you get (inlaws vs. parents) the more they might get concerned. 

In my experience they wanted workers to either clean/work (sign in, picking up common spaces, making coffee, etc.) or they wanted classroom assistants (handing out papers, helping kids stay on track). Not having an opinion on how instruction is being done can be a plus in this situation. ;) But yeah, a grandpa could do it.

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You might need to fill out additional paperwork to allow someone other than a parent to be the one on site during co-op. The ones near us were fine as long as they knew who it was- and probably want that person to sign the paperwork that says they understand the rules and agree to them.   For instance, if they have dress code rules they want your adult in charge to back them up in case your kid isn’t dress code complaint. Stuff like that.  And most want parents to have a volunteer job, not necessarily one every week, but if you sign to help clean after the kids take a lunch break, your adult will be expected to do that, without being told. 

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I co-ran a successful co-op for 10 years.  Parents were expected to be present and assissting.  That's what made it co operative.  Everyone was working together for the good of the students.   Two deep in each classroom plus a nursery for teachers little ones as needed.  Each year we met to discuss upcoming classes and parents, after having been there for a year at least, were expected to jump in and teach classes.  Towards the end we could not get enough families who were willing to do that (they wanted a drop-off for their kids) and we dissolved.  

So, ask. What you are describing wanting would be something I would consider a cottage school or a tutoring situation not a co-op.   But they might be calling it a co-op but not really running it that way.   I would not join a co-op assuming that I could nap or get work done while other parents did the work.  

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9 hours ago, kand said:

In my experience, most of the things you say would be normal things to do. Sleeping in the car is the one you’d have to ask about. Some co-ops allow parents to wait in cars, and some don’t count that as being on site. I’d expect taking your laptop and working would be totally fine. 

Agreed.  We only did one coop and it was pretty liberal.  Everyone was supposed to have a volunteer job, but usually it was only a few that did and lots who didn't.  Some parents taught classes.  I socialized, worked my job, and took care of my young kids who were not in class.  You would have to ask about the FIL you might have to fill out more things.  Ours would have been fine.

People worked.  I think one father did sleep.  But most of the moms where there to socialize as SAHMs it was our outing too. 

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In our area, we do have drop-off tutorials that are sometimes incorrectly called co-ops. Or, parents might have responsibilities only a few times a year. We almost joined one this year like that — I would have to volunteer 2-3x a semester, but could otherwise drop off my kids once a week. It didn’t work out because they advertised following Covid precautions but in reality, did not. 

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I was part of a large tutorial. Teachers were paid, parents who wanted a discount on class tuition volunteered. I volunteered during registration every semester then not during the semester .

Every child not able to drive themself was expected to have an adult onsite. Paperwork was filled out for the expected adult(s) and others (grandparents, adult siblings, etc.) would have to be signed off by those parents.  

I did not volunteer.  I took those few hours for myself. I would read. I would walk laps around the perimeter of the campus and listen to podcasts. I would bring my crafts or my work along and do that at a table.  I was annoyed by it at the beginning - felt like I should be doing other things but I kind of liked that forced time after a while. I'm not comfortable napping in my car I only did that if I was not feeling well. One family would bring their camper every week and mom would hang out in the camper in the parking lot lol I assume she napped sometimes. 

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33 minutes ago, BaseballandHockey said:

So, to be clear, I'm not looking to shirk my duties.  But the coop says "Parents are required to contribute X number of hours of work".  So I was thinking that DH or I could sign up for something that has a designated time (e.g. teach a first or last period class, or be the person who mops the floors and empties the trash can at the end, or something) and then have my GFIL be the person for the rest of the time.    Because if they're requiring say 2 hours of work and 8 hours on campus, and I don't have the info in front of me so i'm making those numbers up, then being there 2 hours is doable but 8 is hard.   

I get it I'm just explaining what co-op means to me. If that is not how they are running it then great, it works for your needs. I would think it should cost more and the parents teaching should be paid or otherwise compensated if the duties aren't shared evenly. 

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14 minutes ago, theelfqueen said:

I was part of a large tutorial. Teachers were paid, parents who wanted a discount on class tuition volunteered.

Okay, ours was more like this. I guess the term "co-op" may have been inappropriate. For what it's worth, they didn't call themselves that, but had in the past.

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When we did a co-op several years ago, a parent was required to be in the building at all times that the co-op was running, plus we were assigned a cleaning task after co-op each week.  We were in charge of our own kids in the assembly before classes started and were expected to either teach or assist for the rest of the time, with one class period off for a break. Also, parents who taught at least one class would get first pick of classes when they were signing up.  Parents were also expected to deal with their own children if there was a discipline problem.

My first year, I worked in the toddler room as an assistant, because that is where my youngest was.  I needed to be with him due to a number of factors.  The next year I assisted in his room for all but one class period.

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I've been involved with a number of co-op setups and they've all had professional paid teachers (though some were also parents). They did require parents to volunteer in some capacity.  Some allowed drop off (generally for older kids) and some did not.  

As someone who has been on the board/leadership of co-op for many years, it is so much easier in terms of problems/liability if adults are on site.  Our drop off co-op has at least one super dramatic blow up every year.  

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3 hours ago, BaseballandHockey said:

So, to be clear, I'm not looking to shirk my duties.  But the coop says "Parents are required to contribute X number of hours of work".  So I was thinking that DH or I could sign up for something that has a designated time (e.g. teach a first or last period class, or be the person who mops the floors and empties the trash can at the end, or something) and then have my GFIL be the person for the rest of the time.    Because if they're requiring say 2 hours of work and 8 hours on campus, and I don't have the info in front of me so i'm making those numbers up, then being there 2 hours is doable but 8 is hard.   

It sounds like you need more information about what the co-op specifically means by having a responsible adult on campus and contributing x number of hours of work. I would guess that you could lay it out to the co-op board of directors what you just described here, and they could tell you whether that works with their set-up or not.

Edited by Lori D.
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Everything you describe would have been allowed at the co-op we used and once the child was a teenager, the parental on-campus requirement was waived, as many teens used public transportation to get there by themselves. Volunteer hours were a requirement, but they were much lower than attendance hours, and some could be fulfilled at special events outside of normal co-op times. I don’t know if it matters, but our co-op paid teachers and many of them were not parents. And most of the parent teachers were very highly educated. Edited to add that I don’t think they technically used the term co-op.

Edited by Frances
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