This is not a piece about complaining or anything but more about how a co-op works. If you are thinking about starting your own homeschool group, this one is for you.
I remember a time when I was just a member of a homeschool group. I would receive a multitude of emails reminding me that I needed to pay for classes, or don’t forget to sign up for this, or that we have a special meeting and so on. You understand that right? As a member, I would also be asked how I could help or get involved in the homeschool group. I shall not lie here but there were some days that it felt overwhelming to be part of group. I have other things to do beside that group. But I am also a mom, who still thinks that having classes with other is good for her child. That having someone else teaches something that I could not even try to teach, because of my lack of knowledge in the subject, is great! There are always pros and cons in any of that stuff but the pros won and I stick around.
Now, as I am writing this piece, I have seen the “other side” of things. I am at my second year of being a director and I finally understand the why of it all. The leaders of a group might show a united front to their members, but the discussions that are going on are sometime endless and without resolution. Friendships can be damage because of that, which is why I recommend that you have a set of guidelines on how to do things. How do you pass a vote? What is the goal of your homeschool group? It can academic or social? You have to keep that in mind. You have to have meetings to talk about how things are, what need to be changed or just keep everyone up to date on things. So, you need to commit more time as a leader than you do as a member and of course there is no pay at the end of the day, just the fact that you are doing it for your children.
The thing that makes everyone uncomfortable is the talk about money. Yes, you need to have a budget, and you need to be on top of it. If members are not paying on time, it does become costly to your organization that doesn’t have a lot, or even if any, extra cash flow. You have to pay the teachers on time (so they can purchase the material needed), pay the location where you are and get some snacks. Last year, a lot of the leaders, actually all of them ended up spending out of pocket to help paying for things. That is not a good habit to take my friends, not a good one. Which is why, you have to make your members understand the importance of respecting their side of the bargain. You can see big, but you have to be down to earth about what you need to do and keep your organization going. It is exactly like a business and some choices have to be made and sometime it just is not fun.
I would say that you need to try to not overload yourself with work as a leader. It is easy to take on a lot but it will affect you at home. You need to be able to define some task that you do, and pass them on to members that are good at those things. Maybe create a “how to” manual but you want to make it easy for other leaders down the line and not make everyone run away from that job. So if someone is good with numbers, maybe treasurer? Some are good at talking with new people, maybe they could meet with possible new members? You see how it is done? It is just a matter of finding what people are good at!
This could go on for more chapters but I will stop here. I want to finish with what I think is the most important. If you want to start your homeschool group, make it happens for your children, commit to it and pray God that He guides you and don’t forget to enjoy it!