Hi everyone! Well, in case you haven't noticed, in celebration of our 1-year anniversary, we've been having some discussions about changing the way co-op membership works. The main issues have been
1) privacy concerns here on the board - we have open access to all our message boards and people feel concern about posting private information, such as phone numbers or directions to their house, to the public, and
2) co-op participation concerns - not everyone registered is participating, and those who do participate do not always volunteer to help out.
If you want a summary of the changes we're planning to address these concerns, read on. After which, I'd appreciate your voting in the poll to give us an idea of how you feel. Also feel free to reply to this message with any concerns or questions you have. No final decisions have been made.
Currently, anyone visiting our web site can register to become a co-op member and receive newsletter invitations to all our activities. We want to change the way membership works. Here's a very brief summary:
1. Most of the message boards will still be open to everyone. If you don't become a co-op member, you'll be a "guest" and have access to most boards, but not the ones discussing co-op activities.
2. If you decide to become a co-op member, you will get our newsletter and have the benefits of being invited to our many tours and activities. There'll be a couple of extra message boards for members only. You also have the obligation to sponsor a minimum of 1 activity per quarter (that is, 4 per year). If you have already attended an activity (so we know who you are!), you can become a member right away. If you have not yet attended an activity, you can become a member after you do. We'll have park days and evening potlucks open to prospective members.
3. If you've already signed up to attend an activity, but decide not to become a member, you're still welcome to come to that activity.
None of these "rules" is in effect yet. I'd like your feedback in the poll and any reply you'd like to make. Thanks to everyone who discussed this all with me and helped to formulate these ideas.
Well, if nothing else, this whole membership discussion has caused people to log on and look. I don't think I've ever seen so many people browsing at once.
Elizabeth, let me know what roles you would like me to take on. Or, once it is known who wants to be member status and who wants guest status, should we schedule a meeting to delegate responsibilities?
Are you able to view who voted what way, or just the total results? In other words, based on what you can view, will you now be aware of who wants membership?
We are having the same issues here (Virginia) with our group. I will know in the next couple weeks if Manuel's transfer comes through. If all works out I would be very interested in being a Co-op member. I love the idea of hosting at least once a quarter.
I checked (not sure) for now until I know more about our move.
I wanted to put in my two cents and say I'm pleased with the changes. Hopefully this will help everyone out. You can count on me to help with anything you may need Elizabeth, just don't be worried about asking.
Thanks for everything.
By the way I too am interested, can you tell on your end who has voted and who hasen't, or which way they voted? Just curious.
The voting is completely anonymous, which I think is a good thing.
The way I was thinking we'd handle things: I want to write up and post a complete description of how to join, requirements for new members, and the benefits and obligations of membership. Then I can email all current members (130 or so) and ask them to opt in if that's what they want. Maybe we could have them email Kari, since she's volunteered to keep track of everyone.
Anyone who doesn't opt in will be converted to a guest -- that is, their current message board registration will be removed. They'll be able to visit the board without logging in to read a subset of our message boards.
Hi Eveyone, I've briefly looked over some of the current discussions and looks like there are some good suggestions. I definitely want to be part of the coop as we've definitely decided to homeschool Dane (we've recently turned down an opening at the Family School). Anyway, I would like to bring up the thought however that hosting one activity per quarter may spread members out too thin. I've been to 6 or 7 activitites that the coop has put on and there are usually only a few people at each one. The one activity that I did host it was only me and Elizabeth! I suppose my concern is that, for instance, say only half the 130 members registered (I'm sure we'd be lucky to have that many but just for the sake of example), that means there would be 65 activities per quarter or approximately 5 per week. Obviously not everyone could attend all 5 which is fine, but my concern is that only a couple people would attend each one. I much rather go to one, maybe two, activities a week where there are a number of people attending. I know its difficult to say how many people will eventually join up so this may not be a concern at all but I just thought I'd bring it up as it could potentially become an issue. On the same token, I really believe that it's nice to have a wide range of options and variety in the activites available. I would just like to be able to see a number of us together at any given one. I don't have a problem with sponsoring an activity per quarter, and in fact would like to start some sort of PE/health activities for the group. I just think at times that, even though there are many homeschoolers, we rarely cross each others paths. Would love to hear feedback. Looking forward to a great 1st year of homeschooling! Sharon Mother to Dane(5) and Skye (1)
Hi. I've created a email address for membership requests.
This way, in the event (not anticipated) that I ever move out of the area, we won't have to make any major changes to assign the duty to a new person, and I don't have my current inbox bombarded with mail from strangers who may or may not expose me to a virus.
Now, the plan then is to have those who are interested in full membership email me (at the above address, not my personal one) with their name, their spouses name, the ages of their children, their address and phone number. If they have already met (in person) one or more of those who have been participating, they will need to tell me who they have met so that I can do a reference check. If they have not yet met any of us, they will need to make a point of making it to one of the upcoming events and introduce themselves to the host or other active member. Is that right?
As for the quarterly requirment, I don't think it is really a concern that we will be spread to thin by having each of us host at least one activity per quarter. I don't think any of us plan to let up on our current efforts. Lisa is hosting at least two, maybe more, this quarter. Elizabeth is always organizing something for our children. We've been gettting about the same 3-6 families at everything. At the craft day and Easter egg hunt, in April, there were about five. I think at our first east side park day there were about the same five of us. At the east side park day, this week, it was roughly the same group of people. Until there are more contributing families, we each may need to initiate more than one activity a quarter, but it doesn't really require that much of us. We just offer to do it, check the calendar to make sure there are no conflicts, post it ourselves or send the info to Elizabeth for posting. It doesn't take much time to call and arrange a tour somewhere, post it and show up. If we were going to do the last step anyhow, it's no big deal to do the rest, allowing other homeschooled children to go at the same time and socialize with your children.
If full membership requires that each family host an event each quarter, we should start to see more activties sponsored by more individuals. If you are hosting at least one activity per quarter, you will also be attending at least one activity per quarter. There is no requirment that you attend everything or even most of it, just that you contribute at least once a quarter. If this requirement discourages those who aren't wanting to take a few minutes to make a phone call to arrange a tour day/activity day or host a craft day at their home, then we may be left with a smaller group, requiring more planning for those who are doing the work, but at least it will be made up of quality individuals who are willing to give as much as they are to take. -Kari
Sharon, You have a good point about the number of people participating in the co-op needing to balance with the number of activities planned. I think we'd like to see about 2 activities a week, at least until/if we get so many people that we need more activities to accomodate the number who want to attend. If we plan 2 activities per week, then we get 104 activities per year. If everyone plans 4, then that would work if we had 26 members. If we have fewer members, I'm sure it won't be a problem because we can pick up the slack. If we have more members, I don't think that'll be a problem either, because either more members will be able to attend more activities, or some of the people volunteering for administrative tasks can be excused from sponsoring calendar activities. Does that make sense?
I'm hoping for 15-30 people to start us up, and judging from the poll numbers, that looks doable...
Thanks for you feedback. I'm looking forward to seeing you guys again!
I agree with futurekids at this point that maybe the requirement for each member not be so many, or maybe we make it thirds, (dividing the year up that way?). As Elizabeth points out, with 2 a week times 52 weeks, that's alot of activities to attend, ontop of the other regular schoolwork, paino, church and other activities. And until we have better numbers with the new system, there may not be as many participating, thus if we have too many events in a given week/month than the number participating will most likely go down as well.
I as most of you know, set up things for several different groups. I don't mind doing more as that is what I already do and including this group for the big events, ie.. the Beach, or Cliffs, is no extra work. Also the positions that are being filled that Elizabeth mentioned, should also count for that person's contribution to the group? Yes, No? Maybe? Just a suggestion.
I also was thinking that calendar editing should be kept to a minimum number of people. I think that if too many people are working on the calendar, it will at some point mean that events are overlapping. With my LL group (VAFE), the President is notified of an intended date, and then gives the okay if it's clear. I haven't seen much of a problem with this yet, but it could pause a problem sooner or later. I guess I'm suggesting that dates be cleared with Elizabeth or even myself so as not to have a problem since the membership is changing and people will be required to plan/host something. Again just a thought.
I wanted to say that I had a great time at park day with all the ladies that showed up. I think a mom's night out would benefit all of us and I'm working on it. I am going to try to keep it during the week though, so as not to take up any family time on the weekends. I'll get back to everyone on this.
Hi! †My name is Tania and my daughter is six-year-old Alina. †I am one of the many "guests" who have recently signed up to read your messages but not joined. †I totally understand why you would be uncomfortable with unknown people viewing your activities. †I thought you might want to hear from at least one of us as to why we're "just looking". † †I admit I've felt a bit guilty just reading messages and not introducing myself or contributing!
My reason is that my husband and I have considered (but mostly decided against) full homeschooling our daughter, who just completed Kindergarten at APS Family School (a program of half-time classroom work, half-time "homeschool"). †I wanted to get an idea for your group's size, how many kids would be in Alina's age group, the frequency and type of activities you plan, etc. †It's a matter of looking into all the educational options available, I guess. †I do want to say that I really admire all of you for homeschooling your children. †Nearly everything I read about homeschooling is compelling and inspiring. †
It occurred to me to try to attend one of your activities this summer to get a better feel for your group. †I don't know if you really want folks trying the group out like this, and if your new structure would allow for that. †Would you have guests email you if they were interested in attending an activity or two without committing to become full members? †For us it's a matter of having toyed with the idea of pulling Alina out from Family School, and it would be nice to know if the grass is really as green as it seems on your side of the fence! †I do think it's perfectly reasonable to expect people to introduce themselves and provide information before being allowed to browse your message boards and activity calendar.
Thanks, and sorry for failing to introduce myself earlier! --Tania and Alina
Hello! As another outsider, I figured I'd offer my opinion as well. I have gotten your newsletter since last fall when I felt desperate to find a play group for my 6 year-old son. The Monday play days conflicted with another group activity that we are very attached to, so we never attended. We tried to attend one event this spring and didn't make it - I'll spare the details! I have enjoyed seeing what activities are available, though, and was particularly interested in the Popejoy series. It did not work out for my family last year, but I did hope to attend some next year since our baby is moving into toddlerhood.
Anyway, I understand the hesitancy to put directions and such in a public forum. It's a safety issue for our children and families. However, I must admit I'd be interested in still being able to see what events are coming up. We are very involved with another group that is co-op in nature and wouldn't attend regularly, so I'd probably be a "guest" for the time being. Does that mean I would not be able to get the newsletter or list of upcoming events? (I'd miss all those emails! ) How would a new person try out the group? (Could you attend several events to try it out?) Would it be possible to be a part-timer?
At any rate, I've enjoyed seeing what a vibrant homeschooling community we have in Albuquerque! I am always happy to rattle off for any doubting friend, relative, etc., all the wonderful activities available to us. So much to do and so little time!
Hi Everyone, Just a quick note in support of the recent posts and guests that are "getting their feet wet" in the idea of homeschooling. As most of us have probally experienced, it's a huge decision to commit to homeschooling and especially scary for those that have had no prior experience in the area. I for one didn't know anyone that had every homeschooled and wasn't even aware that people did that until I just happend to pick up a book in the library last fall while browsing. It immediatly appealed to me but it still took us quite a bit of time to completely commit. Well, 9 months later... about 2 dozen books later... and with support of this group and newsletter, we now know that it's definitely for us. Viewing possible activities available etc., was an important reassurance that homeschooling was a viable option here and that we wouldn't be totally isolated. Especially since in the beginning the "perceived" lack of socialization is one of the biggest fears that many parents have. Sorry for the rambling... I just remember what it feels like to "not be sure" and to be in the data gathering phase of the decision. As a suggestion, to allow guests to get a feel for the nature of activities available, maybe we could still post upcoming activities on the guest board without having the actual time, dates, etc. Anyway... thanks so much to you Elizabeth and to all of you here in the group! Take Care, Sharon Dane (5) and Skye (1) P.S.- Should we email Kari now to become members or is this all still in the planning stages?
All of this new stuff sounds great to me! Just in case you missed it Elizabeth (I posted this somewhere else), I would like to be "a", or "the", person that someone can contact by either email or phone to talk about our group; our philosophy, our requirements, etc. If that position is filled already just let me know what else needs to be done.
In addition, I just wanted to say how great it is for me personally to have found such a like-minded group to socialize with. We all seem to be on the same page when it comes to important things such as education and religion. Soooo, thank you all for just being yourselves and making this such an uplifting group to be with!!
I would love to have a mom's night out and am looking forward to it. The Wednesday thing at Bound to be Read sounds like a good, easy thing to arrange. After reading Lisa's post it sounds like she has taken the lead on that. Am I right? If not, Lisa, let me know. I'd be happy to arrange this too.
I first want to answer a couple of the question posted by Susan and Tania. You both asked whether you'd be able to try the group out before deciding to join. That seems very reasonable, and I think we're going to need to assume that what most prospective members will want to do (even, and maybe especially, those who haven't been reading the board for several months). When I write up the co-op description for our web site, I'll try to stress that that's fine. I was going to suggest a sort of trial membership where people would come to at least one activity per month for 3 months to meet us and see how it works. If they want to join at that point, then they would sponsor an event and that would basically be the end of the participation requirements until 3 or 4 months later, when they'd need to sponsor another event.
Sharon (I think) asked whether they could email Kari at firstname.lastname@example.org now to sign up for membership. Yes, if you want to do it now, I'm sure Kari won't mind.
Amy, what Bound to be Read thing are you talking about? Did I miss something when I left the park early on Thursday?
Oh, and to answer whoever it was who was concerned that they would not be able to see the calendar unless they were a member: it's hard to balance the need for privacy with the need to share with prospective members all the interesting things we do. I think I'll try to have pictures of some of the most recent month's calendar pages available for prospective members to look at.
Hi Elizabeth! After you left the park we discussed some ideas for a Mom's Night Out. Movies, dinner out, dinner at someone's home were mentioned. I suggested attending the Chef Series at Bound to be Read. The last Wednesday of each month there is a demonstration put on by different restaurants. The chef/owner last month was from La Piazza and Vivace. The food I sampled was excellent! We also recieved the recipes from the three samples and great tips. All recipes were rather simple and easy to prepare (under 20 minutes)! We could also go next door afterwards to TCBY for dessert and conversation. What do you think? ShannonD
Boy, I take the weekend to go to work with my husband and there's all sorts of new posts to read. Exciting!!
Thanks everyone for, everything. I too am looking forward to our next get together.
It was Shannon's idea for the Bound to be Read. I was thinking along the lines of a restaurant for the first mom's night out. That way we can talk about all this stuff that has come up and needs to be decided/worked on. Or do we want to do two things a month? Let me know Shannon and Elizabeth. I won't book anything till I hear from you both.
Okay I got lost in here somehow and didn't read the postings from Shannon and Elizabeth, with the go ahead to set up the Bound to be Read, or the every other month thing. Sorry guys. I'll work on the restaurant thing for August then? Let me know if that's okay, or do we maybe want to do something else so that we can all get toether and talk? I can do whatever.
Wow. I've missed a whole conversation. I haven't logged on since Friday. It's been a busy weekend.
I agree with most everything here.
Yes, we certainly need to allow people trial membership without obligation, and three months sounds like a good time frame. How do you work that? Can you revoke access to the website after three months if they choose not to join? I can create two membership logs...one for full members, one for trial members, to track when trial memberships begin. I can send out email reminders to individuals when it has been two months since they last hosted an event, then they will have one month to host one.
I like the idea of administrative roles, such as all that Elizabeth does with the board (CEO ), what Lisa is planning to do with the board (Activities Coordinator ), what Amy is planning to do with prospective members (Prospective Member Liaison ) and what I will be doing (Membership Coordinator ), fullfilling some membership responsibilities, although I suspect that at least the four of us will still be hosting events on a regular basis as well.
I like the idea of the Chef series at Bound '. I don't know what dates are involved, but my husband (a.k.a. my babysitter) has school on Tuesday nights. I have obligations the first and third Wednesday of each month. Don't let my schedule dictate anything though, I will understand if my schedule doesn't work for everyone else. (As far as restaurants go, there is a fun Japanese one, off of Louisianna, near Coronado. It's one of those ones where they cook the food in front of you.)
Yes, people are welcome to email me with their membership requests at email@example.com. Just to clarify, if I have participated in an event (such as going to the aquarium), but have not yet hosted anything, would they be granted trial membership, until they host an event? Currently, anyone who wants to has full access. Once the changes have been made, they will need to request membership and meet one or more of us at an event before they will be granted access to the website as trial members, right? Then, if they choose to, once they have hosted an event, they will have full membership...as long as they host a quarterly event or fullfill some kind of responsibility, right?
I think breaking up the year into thirds is a good idea also. If doing it that way doesn't give us enough actvities then we could always add more later, but if there are too many, then alot of families may not be able to attend. I'm homeschooling two now, and it will be hard staying on schedule.
Every four months is fine with me. I only suggested quarterly because that is the common term used in the business world, so that is what came to me.
I hope everyone understands that multiple activities does not mean that you are in any way required to attend all of them. No one needs to fear their ability to keep this schedule straight in their minds. Look at this calendar from time to time. If there is something you want to take your kids to, make a note of it in your palm, your day planner or your personal calendar. Forget about everything else on this calendar. Just make sure that you are planning/hosting activities/tours/events from time to time and sending them to Elizabeth or Lisa to schedule them.
At least to me, it is not as important that everyone be at everything as it is that there are options made available for us and that everybody is contributing, at least to some degree, not just taking.
Angelica, no member would be required to attend activities she doesn't want to. I'd prefer no attendance rules at all on our full members, except that I expect they would at least attend the one activity per 4 months that they sponsor. It would be totally up to you to pick and choose from other events on the calendar that appeal to you. For new members only, I think they need to attend one activity per month for 3 months just so they can get to know us.
The challenge remains, and I think it will only be resolved by trial and error, of how to balance having enough activities that there are plenty to choose from, without having so many that only a few people show up at each one. If we had a formula for how many activities we're going to have, how many people will be in the co-op, and how many activities per month each member would attend, then we might be able to figure it out, but we don't so we can't.
I have to admit I haven't been keeping up with this group as much as I would like or should. That will definitely be an immediate change for me. And I wanted to add a few things....
I think that a requirement of planning 4 activities per year is too much. Even if we only have 25 members. That makes for a lot of activities, which is great, but I would guess it would only be a very minimal attendance. My opinion on planning 4 activites a year it is an intimdating requirement for some people, and may be a deciding factor in whether some people choose a membership or a guest status. I think we want active members. My idea would be to require the planning of 1 or 2 activities per year, if you want to plan more great. We can make a list of ideas of things to do. So anyone who isn't sure of what to plan will have some ideas. We moved here from AZ last year. Although I know some of the main attractions, we are not familiar with all that Albuquerque has to offer. The groups I was in in AZ the activity planning requirements were once a year. It worked out well. There are always at least a few people who like to plan and plan more than the basic requirement.
Another thing since we haven't started the membership requirements yet. I think many people have attended an activitiy, but haven't planned anything yet. Making it a requirement to plan an activity before allowing membership priviledges is intimidating to someone who doesn't know many and maybe not anyone. It's also inconsistant if guests can just attend 3 activities for access into the group. My suggestion would be to decide on something like someone who wants membership has attended an activity in the past couple -few months, rather than having to plan an event prior to getting into the group. I think there are many semi-active members, who've been around for a while, that shouldn't be immediately excluded only because they have yet to actually host an event. When is the plan for this to go into effect?
I like the idea of membership, a close group of regularly active members, and protecting our safety as much as we can. I know we're still organizing thoughts and nothing is set in stone yet, but I think we need to keep the rules consistant in regards to gaining membership now or from a guest status later.
I also have to say something about naming those who were at an activity you went to to verify you were in fact there. I feel that this is some what disrespectful, almost an assumption that someone in this group wouldn't be honest. I know that I have personally been to several activities, but meeting some people only once or not having the chance to chit chat, I honstly just don't remember their names. Some I can remember their first names but have no clue what their last name is. Maybe we need to make the rules start from a specific date like July 1 and then plan memberships to begin in Sept? That way we all know what to expect, rather than making guidelines for the past. So we don't have to think of what event we went to, remember the date, and remember names of people we probably have only seen once or twice.
Elizabeth, if you need anymore help I'd be happy to help out as well.