kitchen table math, the sequel: homeschooling co-ops as cheap private schools

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

homeschooling co-ops as cheap private schools

Crimson Wife wrote:
There is a new full-time homeschooling co-op starting next year in my area. Basically the parents wanted to start a private school without having to worry about all the red tape of officially making it a school. They're charging $400/mo., which is less than half of what the typical secular private school around here costs.

Steve H wrote:
Is it possible to have a homeschool that doesn't inlcude your own kids, and to charge money? Is a "homeschooling co-op" a particular thing defined by the state?

I've always thought that group homeschools could be a great way to try out or start up a private school. Maybe that's all you ever need. Many parents are willing and able to teach certain subjects. You could pool resources to buy a van. You can take advantage of town and state-sponsored sports and music opportunities. You could be done with academics by noon.

However, I can't imagine that states would allow this to go very far, not because they don't think they will work, but because they might work too well.

I have also thought that an inexpensive, but very rigorous, college was possible. Just provide excellent teaching and keep overhead low. Professors would just teach, but they would have to teach at least 4 courses. Back when I taught math and CS full time at a college, we had a number of adjunct teachers who had regular jobs in industry. Some were leaders in their area. They wanted to teach even thought they were paid next to nothing.

What about homeschools where some of the classes are taught in the evening when many parents are available? It's more useful than baking cookies for the PTA. Parents and non-educators have a whole lot to offer academically, but they are kept out. That adds a lot to the cost.

It's nice to think of ways around the system, not ways to fix the system. Talking about the CCSSI standards is a lose-lose proposition.

Crimson Wife wrote:
Here in CA, there is no such thing under the state ed code as "homeschooling". HS kids are either enrolled in a private school (can be a single-family one or an ISP like Calvert or Seton), a public school (including virtual charters and district ISP's), or are tutored (there are very strict requirements and it's mostly child actors & athletes who do this).

I'm not 100% sure, but I would presume the students in the co-op would be legally enrolled in private schools established by their parents. There are a number of private school regulations that specifically exempt single-family schools.

The parents are free to pool their resources and hire a teacher, rent a meeting space, purchase curricula and supplies, etc. This happens frequently but typically the co-ops are part-time. The difference with this new one is that it would be 5 full-days.

Amy P wrote:
Our kids' school is about $6k a year for elementary with class sizes around 12 and separate art, music, Spanish and PE teachers. However, it's in Texas, it started as a free homeschool co-op, it's right next to a college and draws on graduate students to teach courses (like Aristotelian logic for 8th graders!), a lot of teachers have kids at the school, and the they aren't paid a bunch. The upper grades are more expensive. The high school is still a work in progress (we only have up to 10th grade right now). I still don't know if it's going to be practical to run a high school on such a small scale. I'm committed to sending our kids there until the end of 8th grade, but I'm waiting to see how the high school does. For all I know, our kids may eventually want to swim in a bigger pond with more extracurricular options. We have two kids now and basically manage on one good (but not lawyer or doctor good) salary. We have one paid-off car and we still rent. I don't know how we would pay for three or four kids in private school at the same time, but I will cross that bridge when/if I get to it.

Vicky S wrote:
Here is my idea for the homeschooling community: a homeschool center that operates during the day, say 8-5. Combination day care, tutoring center, homework help, community center, play date venue, library, computer access, exercise space, study hall, group project staging area...everything under one roof. Parent stays 100% in charge of homeschooling, but can make use of facilities, work a PT job or get to a doctor's appt. Can pay by the hour or the day, drop in or regular. You're not a school, and the government is not involved--but you provide some infrastructure that allows homeschooling to flourish in your community.

1 comment:

MiaZagora said...

In our area, there is a group of state-certified teachers who started a "school" for homeschoolers. They said they wanted to teach kids who wanted to learn. You pay by the class (anywhere from $25-65/month) and buy any books you may need. I believe they teach grades 4 through 12. They have subjects like choir, art, and drama, as well as the basics such as grammar and writing. They also provide classes that parents often feel inadequate to teach such as high school Biology (with labs), Physics, Algebra, and Geometry. The parents are required to stay on site as long as the children are there, and there are rooms where siblings can study, or students can study in between classes. We have never participated, but I hear they have great results.