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if/when you sign up for outside classes

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do you like to meet the teacher beforehand and ask questions? Dh is getting an ad together and working on planning his physics classes for next year. We're arguing over whether or not he should set up a Q&A sometime this spring for parents to meet him and ask questions before they sign up for the class......one of us thinks answering questions by email, or sending out a detailed letter would suffice................he told me to ask you :001_smile:

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I would be nice, but not necessary. I would just put together an email of common Q and As that most people have and then handle unique questions as the come up.



Some common questions may be:


How will you handle missed classes by the kids? Will there be make-ups?


Can kids try a class or two before being obligated?


Will months with holidays be pro-rated or will there be the same charge for months with out holidays?


What is the schedule, including holidays?


What is your sick kid rule?


Where will we get information regarding emergency closures in case of bad weather?


(depending on how long class will be) Will there be a snack break or regular break?


Is there any required equipment I need to buy?


Can parents /siblings be in the class too....participation level? Can child be dropped off?

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My gut was, "Cool! A question and answer session!" And then, reality set in. :D I usually talk with the teacher on the phone, and then we go to a class (for free) and I observe. Then I commit. Since he's just starting up, maybe the first class could be free and the parents are welcome to stay. Money would be due before the 2nd class, no refunds. If all of this isn't possible (because of ordering books, etc) then I would just be open to phone calls from the potential parents. I always talk to the teacher on the phone and get a feel for how the class is going to work. I am very open about my kids and their "quirks" and I like to know how teachers are going to respond to them (at least in these elementary years).




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umm...............quick question. He's doing it semester by semester, so you'd pay for a whole semester up front. (which is what the local co-op does)....I assumed this was how most classes worked.....do people really usually just pay for one class session at a time?


The kind of classes you're talking about, yes. (sorry to be confusing) The only thing is, since he's just starting out, there's no "word of mouth." There's no one to recommend the class and say it's worth the money. That's why I suggested doing a trial day instead of a question and answer session. I guess it would kind of be the same thing though, wouldn't it?:D We have someone who offers science classes and I talked to several people to get a feel for the class etc. Based on their recommendations (or lack of) I was able to make a decision before I paid the money up front. If she was in the middle of a semester, she would allow me to come observe how her class was run so I could sign up for the following semester. Since he's just starting out, he might want to give a trial run to get people hooked. That's all I was thinking. :D


Does that make more sense?



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I've been to two for Classical Conversations and one for Masters Academy of Fine Arts.


I like finding out the qualifications of the teacher and getting a feel for the person, before I commit. To me, you can learn a lot by a personal meeting.


Would I commit without a personal meeting....maybe.


Would I commit faster after a positive personal meeting.....yes.


Things I want to know:

Qualifications and background of the teacher

Mechanics of the class (textbook, lab, time, missed class policy)

What's required of my kid

What's required of me

What's required of the teacher


The info meetings I've been have followed a pattern:

1. Instructor presents basic information about the class

2. The group has a chance to ask general questions

3. Individuals have a chance to talk to instructor and ask specific questions (My 5th grader has had this math, but not this one....would she fit in with the other 5th graders in this program?)

Edited by snickelfritz
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My son will be going to a bio class in the fall and the teacher did set up a Q&A session. The attendance was good. She felt that she could better answer questions in a group setting where everyone could here the answers. It was informative. We got to look through the textbook. We were able to see what other families were thinking of being involved, and we were able to actually meet the teacher face to face.


So, I would say yes to a Q&A based on my experience.



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We've had many outside classes and only once did I think about meeting the teacher beforehand. There was a woman offering classes in her home but she wanted parents to drop off kids and come back to get them. She said her home was too small for both kids and parents. I asked her a couple of questions in an email but still felt kind of weird and I declined trying out the classes. I didn't think it was reasonable to expect homeschooling parents to just drop off their kids at someone's house.


As for all the other classes, they were held in public places like a church and a school. They have all been very positive experiences.

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I like the Q/A but not in a group setting.


For Violin, we didn't have a q/a in a group setting but I called her and we spoke on the phone a couple of times. We were invited to sit in on lessons b/f starting, which we didnt' avail ourselves of, and had *plenty* of word of mouth. So, eventhough we didn't have the group q/a, I still feel as if I had it and benefitted from plenty of individual q/a.


For piano it was originally for me and I wasn't as particular. No q/a or anything but I started using her and liked her. My daughter liked her and wanted piano with her, too. So, that was kind of a back door way in but it worked.


For Latin (online), we didn't have a q/a in the way you mean but again, she was wide open for all the private q/a we wanted and we could view recorded lessons.


For Math (online) it was the same thing. We had all the q/a we wanted but not in a group. We could also view lessons online. I had no word of mouth and w/o all the back and forth I wouldn't have signed up. Singapore math is important to me and I wanted someone I could believe able to teach specifically in the singapore way.


The above are things that we are currently involved in. We didn't have a group q/a for any of them but had all the private q/a we needed and had opportunity to view lessons. It has always worked for us.


For Classical Conversations we had a group q/a. After speaking with the woman privately I had some pretty grave concerns. I probably should not have gone to the group meeting but did. My concerns were not addressed to my satisfaction, in fact, my concerns were more concerning than ever. However, I let the atmosphere and excitement of the group sway me and I made decisions that I am ashamed of and that I should have never made. I hope that that experience has taught me something and that I will never be that easily led again. I never, ever, thought of myself as someone to be led by the will of the group before and can't believe I was then. It was a mistake and now I know.


Violin lessons before our current ones. We went to a studio that came with lots of word-of-mouth and a group q/a before starting. The fun, exciting, motivating atmosphere hooked us from the begining. They really had their thing down! However, the lessons seemed pointless wandering and the whole thing was a silly, unorganized mess. Why I hear such positive things about them in the community I have no idea. But, back to the idea of group q/a . . . again, it was cool, highly motivating staging but didn't at all represent the reality of the lessons.


What I think now about it is that my own one-on-one communication with the instructor is far more valuable to me. I can ask what I want w/o feeling too shy or inhibited in front of a group. I like to begin with email and if I feel comfortable/happy with what I hear there, move to phone. If I'm still happy, face to face/observe. With all the lessons/classes we have paid for, the ones I've done this way have been far and away the better lessons. We love our current violin lessons and latin class. Our Math just starts today so I can't tell you much about that.


I just dont' think the group q/a is a useful setting for me but . . . I'm sure it works for many. Additionally, I can imagine all that one-on-one being a lot of time/work for the instructor.


I'm thinking of teaching a class in the fall. I'll advertise and speak to ppl one-on-one and have a group q/a or informational meeting just for the ppl who sign up . . . If I do it.


So there is a looooong answer for you. The short one is, no, I dont' really find group q/a useful.

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wow, you guys have been really helpful. Every time I think we're getting in over our head, dh says 'ask the board'. LOL. It's a little interesting figuring all this out since we don't have kids old enough to have experienced any of this yet. He is going to do an informational meeting and have the curriculum he's going to use out and probably even do a mini lab lesson, so they can see his teaching style, since they won't be able to see a class beforehand.

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is a biggie for me. The teacher really needs to be responsive to inquires from both parent and student between sessions. Speed of returned emails and/or phone calls, IMO, can make a teacher great or not.


Not necessarily what you asked, just a little lagniappe!


Your DH may not be able to get a lot of word of mouth the first time out, but if you have a local home school group with a newsletter, that would be great. If there's some way he could put up a web page with those frequently asked questions, that would be helpful. Many busy home schooling mamas do this kind of info hunting in the wee hours after kids are tucked away for the night.


It is common here to pay one semester at a time, but with advanced courses, be sure the participants are aware of what type of credit can/cannot be earned if they drop at midterm. For example, "A full credit of high school physics may be granted upon successful completion of the full year. Half-credits are not appropriate to award for this course of study."

Or something similar, just to be sure they know that even though they pay for just half at a time, they are expected to take the full course. I might present the total package with a payment schedule, something like the whole cost of the class is $300, $50 due at registration no later than July 1, 1st installment of $125 due August 1, second installment of $125 due December 15. Late registrations accepted with an additional $10 late fee.


Probably waaaaay more than you were asking about....!

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We were talking about that very thing last night AuntieM. He was thinking about doing a discount if they paid for both semesters at once. And he set up a separate email account so that he can be available for questions basically at any time.


We do have a large homeschool group in the area with a newsletter, so we're getting an ad around for that....problem is, that won't hit until the beginning of June so we're going to do a few flyers and email word of mouth thru some homeschooling friends, since this month is when most ppl are signing up for co-ops and classes.

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