Homeschool-life ,the popular website hosting service for homeschool groups, has a Leaders Forum. (If you’re a leader you can join the forum here) Recently a question about co-op drop off policies was asked.
Does anyone run a home school co-op that has a drop off policy?
Do you have any tips that make it successful?
The forum members were full of advice.
“In our group a parent may only drop off for an activity if they have made an arrangement ahead of time with another parent in the group be in charge of their child for that day/time/activity. So if there is a injury, behavior issue or other need, it’s addressed by the parent who has volunteered to be assigned to this child. Our group is not huge (20 families) but this has worked out so far.”
“We are primarily a drop-off co-op. Parents are not required to teach or assist in classes, but they are required to volunteer 6 times a year or pay a maintenance fee. Children under 10 are required to have a parent or other responsible adult present to help them move between classes and supervise the child during free time and lunch. We have made a few exceptions due to special circumstances. Some of those exceptions have worked out, others have been more difficult. We have not had any difficulty with our students 11 and older acting responsibly. We have volunteers that monitor lunch time which is our busiest time.
“We have actually found that we have a wonderful community of parents and students. The parents who stay with their younger students have built friendships and have been able to support and help each other. We have many parents of older students who stay for part or all of the day because of distance, enjoying the community, also working with their students during free time.
“We have just completed our co-op year, my first in leadership. One my blessings this year has been the opportunity to watch the sense of community build in our co-op, something that has been missing in the past.”
We do have a successful drop off program. It is approved on a case by case basis. It is usually older students. We have found it to be mutually beneficial because we charge a fee for this privilege. Our drop-off fee is $35 per student, per class.The money from these drop offs is then used towards events/programming that benefits everyone involved. We have had elementary students involved all the way up to high school but they were screened and would not have been allowed to continue if they had behavior issues.
Our enrichment classes are all drop off except that we require one volunteer hour per week and one cleaning day per semester. Parents are welcome to stay but there’s not a specific spot for them to be. We have forms to fill out and code of conduct forms for parents and students. It’s all worked out for the 20+ years our group has been doing it.
Another leader shared,
We also have returned to a no drop-off policy. We did allow what we called independent students to attend for a while. They had to be high school aged. The hope was that we could fill more seats in our high school classes. But the reality was we just needed to have more parents on site to work in classrooms as teachers and assistants. The kids were very well behaved and we wish we could still have an opportunity to have them in classes, but there needs to be a mutually beneficial relationship between co-op and families. I would never consider drop-offs for younger students. Too many obstacles and challenges for simple unpaid volunteers.
Melissa P. wrote,
Our co-op used to allow drop offs for children ages 13 and up. We stopped allowing it, because it diminished the sense of community among moms. There were also some behavior issues which would have been better able to be addressed with a parent on campus.
We make exceptions for emergency circumstances, and have a sign-out sheet, which requires another mom to be present with the children and responsible for them. A mother’s illness would be included in that. Mothers who have chronic illnesses are not, as we feel that we support a whole family, and a parent who is never in attendance is difficult to support.
Our decision was based on us wanting to diminish the feeling that we were a school, and remain true to our roots as a cooperative support group. It’s not always a popular choice for the parents, but we decided that we preferred our membership to be those who want community, not those who simply want classes.
As a consideration, your insurance may not cover you if parents are not on campus. In our state, if parents drop off, it creates a school/daycare situation, which has other licensing requirements.
As a rule, my co-op does not allow drop-offs. We do make exceptions, using a pre-authorized form, that gives us all the parental location, phone number info and the adult at the co-op who is responsible for the child. In the case of an emergency, there needs to be an acknowledged adult responsible for the child.
So as you see these are lots of ideas for drop-off students at your co-op. There does seem to be a consensus that a drop-off program should be for older students, not younger ones.
Carol Topp, CPA