Good, easy and cheap. Your homeschool program cannot offer all three!

Shelly wants to offer a high quality, low cost homeschool program that doesn’t require parents to volunteer.

I told her the bad news: “You cannot offer all three.”

She can’t and you can’t either!

Business success (and failure) prove it:

McDonald’s provides fast food very quickly at a fairly reasonable price; But you have to admit the quality is not the best. They offer two things consumers want, but not all three.

Another example could be Starbuck’s coffee.  At Starbuck’s they offer high quality coffee drinks provided quickly, but we know that it’s not cheap! 

Or how about MoviePass which allows you to go to a movie theater once a day for $9.95/month, or see three movies a month for $7.95. It’s cheap, convenient and high quality (these are first run movies, not oldies!)  Is Movie Pass able to offer all three! Nope! MoviePass is having serious financial problems. It is losing $40 million a month, and those loses are expected to increase. Their attempt to offer all three is crushing them and they are on the road to failure.

How does this apply to homeschool groups?

Your group can offer two of the three things that homeschool families may want:

High quality: maybe small classes, qualified, caring teachers, fun enrichment classes or rigorous academic classes

Low Cost: Affordable prices, low fees, maybe even free!

Convenient: No time commitment from the parents, maybe even a drop-off-the-kids-and-leave option for homeschool parents who need to work.

Many homeschool co-ops offer quality and low cost but have a requirement that the parents stay in the building and help by teaching or serving in a classroom or other jobs. Hence the name “cooperative.” The parents keep the cost low by cooperating together to run the classes.

A tutorial program might offer academic classes taught by highly qualified teachers with no volunteer commitment for the parents, but it will not come cheap. The tuition may approach that of private schools.

 

Shelley wanted all three (drop off academic classes at a low price) and I explained that she could not sustain the program unless she either charged more or started requiring the parents to volunteer.

“But many parents can’t pay more,” she complained to me. “And they work, so they need the drop off feature. They can’t stay and volunteer.”

She had 3 options:

  1. Find other sources of funding including fundraisers, donations and grants.
  2. Require parents to volunteer. This was going to be be very difficult since Shelly was having problems even recruiting board members to meet once a  month!
  3. Close the program and start over. The expectations of the parents was so entrenched that they should get drop-off classes at a low fee, there was no changing that! The entire program needed an overhaul.

My book Money Management in a Homeschool Organization has a chapter on fundraisers for homeschool groups.

Money Management in a Homeschool Organization available here

Carol Topp, CPA
HomeschoolCPA.com
Helping Homeschool Leaders

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