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tjohuffman@verizon.net

Co-op Drama - Help....

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I started a co-op two years ago with another gal from our church.  The first year we only did once a month, 3 classes (of which I taught 2) and had kids K-9 from 9 different families.   This year we opted to go to a weekly schedule with a stronger focus on academics.  The families with younger kids didn't return because they were looking for more enrichment than academics.  We broke the classes up into K-5, 6-9 and 9-12 for this year and we ended up with 9 students in grades 6-10.  

The gal I started the group with has a child in 7th grade, but also one in 3rd grade.   Since we only had her 1 child (and no teachers) for the lower ages, we agreed to drop the K-5 and just have middle and high school classes this year.   She enrolled the 7th grader and said she'd work one-on-one with her younger son while classes were going on, this seemed like a win/win....until the comments of "we're being excluded" started from the mom and the 7th grade son stopped talking to any of the other students and stopped doing his classwork/homework.

We're working on classes for this upcoming year, and so far we have just about maxed out the registration for middle and high school classes again, and not a single recruit for lower grades other than that 1 child, and still no teachers other than the mom of the one child, and she is only willing to teach art.  She wants a history and science class for him at the expense of whoever teachers the class, even though nobody has kids in that age. The "being excluded" comments are being passed around the group and the tension level has gotten palpable.

So, my question, how do I make this more amicable?   I'm already scheduled to teach 2 out of 5 classes for high school, and possibly a middle school class.  If I teach 2 classes for just him 1) I can't afford it, 2) it'll be make my homeschooling more difficult instead of helping as far as my time involved in preparation.   I'm wondering if  we should just drop the co-op all together, ask this family to leave (even though she's a co-founder) or?????

Help!!

 

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Unfortunately I think this is common in coops because we are all fallen people.....

That said here are my thoughts....

1. You should not have to teach 2-3 classes. Each mom in the coop should have a volunteer job and have to do something at least 1 hour of the day...teach a class, assist a class, keep nursery etc. This may help with the teacher situation and this is why it is called a CO-OP everyone helps.

2. Put the complaining mom in charge of the younger program. She helped start it and she wants something specific for her child she can make it happen. Especially with her having the only kid that age right now, she can't expect people who don't have kids that age to teach classes just to cater to her son. Tell her you would love to see a program for that age but since she is the only one with a kid that age, therefore probably has more connections with other families with kids that age she is in charge of recruiting students and teachers for those classes. 

I don't know if you have tried already but a frank conversation with this lady is probably needed (but won't be easy). Tell her you are concerned about the tension in the group and her complaints but aren't sure exactly what she wants to see happen or how to help her with it AND be fair to everyone. Ask her what her vision for the program is? What exactly would she like to see happen and what is SHE willing to do to make it happen (keeping in mind #2 above then bringing it up in a way that takes into consideration her responses and attitude). If she isn't willing to head up an effort to bring in families, teach, or do anything else to make the situation better then perhaps as gently as possible suggest that maybe this is no longer a good fit for her family. 

And yes, I realize this is all easier said than done :)

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We did decide to put her over that younger group, and she's picked the classes etc, but says she doesn't have any connections with kids that age to pull from.    I've explained all those things you mentioned, so now she's just not speaking to me, which makes an awfully uncomfortable environment.   She's said if we don't have classes for the younger they are leaving, so to be honest at this point, I'm really hoping nobody from that age bracket signs up, it would make the break easier.

Thanks for your input, I'm glad to see that you have very similar ideas to what I've tried so far.  I didn't want to not try to meet her half way, but there doesn't seem to be a middle here.

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I'm sorry you have been in this situation. It is so hard!! I understand wanting to keep everyone happy and involved but I really think the idea of putting her in charge is reasonable. Unfortunately some people just refuse to be happy. Hopefully it all works out with minimal future drama!

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On 2/4/2018 at 6:17 PM, Sabrina S said:

I'm sorry you have been in this situation. It is so hard!! I understand wanting to keep everyone happy and involved but I really think the idea of putting her in charge is reasonable. Unfortunately some people just refuse to be happy. Hopefully it all works out with minimal future drama!

I think that's where we are now, refusing to be happy and looking for reasons to get offended.   Thanks for all your encouragement!

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I don't have anything to add.  I think all you can do at this point is to pray, for your hearts, your friendship, your co-op (whether she stays or goes), and for protection from a possibly malicious attack on you and/or the co-op...  Psalm 31:10 Thou shalt hide them in the secret of thy presence from the pride of man: thou shalt keep them secretly in a pavilion from the strife of tongues.
No one wants to think they will need that prayer, especially from a friend, but be "preprayered."  {hugs}

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On 2/26/2018 at 0:31 PM, Zekesmom10 said:

I don't have anything to add.  I think all you can do at this point is to pray, for your hearts, your friendship, your co-op (whether she stays or goes), and for protection from a possibly malicious attack on you and/or the co-op...  Psalm 31:10 Thou shalt hide them in the secret of thy presence from the pride of man: thou shalt keep them secretly in a pavilion from the strife of tongues.
No one wants to think they will need that prayer, especially from a friend, but be "preprayered."  {hugs}

Wise words, and unfortunately it did get much worse.    I've had to involve the Pastor at this point because of the ugliness (we use our church for the co-op meetings).    She refuses to leave until April 28, co-op doesn't end until May 25 so she's quitting a month early, but  won't actually leave now.  She has removed her child from my class and is now having "impromptu parent meetings" as she calls them with others while I'm teaching my class...spreading division and lies.   Several of the parents have come to me about the behavior.   It's just bizarre and all so unnecessary.

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Oh man....I never understand why people do that!! It is all voluntary, don't like it? Go do something else. Seems pretty simple. Sorry you are dealing with all of this.

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On 2/28/2018 at 2:46 PM, tjohuffman@verizon.net said:

Wise words, and unfortunately it did get much worse.    I've had to involve the Pastor at this point because of the ugliness (we use our church for the co-op meetings).    She refuses to leave until April 28, co-op doesn't end until May 25 so she's quitting a month early, but  won't actually leave now.  She has removed her child from my class and is now having "impromptu parent meetings" as she calls them with others while I'm teaching my class...spreading division and lies.   Several of the parents have come to me about the behavior.   It's just bizarre and all so unnecessary.

I'm so sorry to hear that.  It's a real shame.

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On 3/15/2018 at 11:54 AM, Zekesmom10 said:

I'm so sorry to hear that.  It's a real shame.

It is a shame on many levels.   We get the church for free, and our Pastor looks for ways to get funds to us to buy equipment and items to make a great experience so we have a really great opportunity that most co-ops would just love to have.  We will press forward and get by all this, but it's just so unnecessary.

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Do you have a set of bi-laws for the group? If not that my help with getting more volunteers. I hear lots of the same things about co-ops here. It seems like its the same situation everywhere.

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On 3/23/2018 at 7:26 AM, reneeknob@gmail.com said:

Do you have a set of bi-laws for the group? If not that my help with getting more volunteers. I hear lots of the same things about co-ops here. It seems like its the same situation everywhere.

We have a participation agreement, lining out responsibilities and such.   I hadn't really thought that we'd need anything more, but you're right, we will need to add wording to cover this type of thing too.  

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9 hours ago, tjohuffman@verizon.net said:

We have a participation agreement, lining out responsibilities and such.   I hadn't really thought that we'd need anything more, but you're right, we will need to add wording to cover this type of thing too.  

Hopefully something like that will solve your dilemma. You hate to have to do something like that but, its seems like these days you need to spell it all out.

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