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What do you wish you had made clear to parents?

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    What do you wish you had made clear to parents?

    Hello MP Cottage School friends,

    I am having my first parent meeting on Wednesday to gauge interest and commitment level for an Academic Tutorial (aka Cottage School) next year. (I'm not using the term Cottage School, because in my state, calling oneself a "school" can potentially lead to some regulatory issue that I don't want to deal with.)

    Anyway, I'm wondering if others who are leading or participating in Cottage Schools might share some of the practical expectations you have expressed (or wished you had expressed) to participating parents and students? Issues such a pick up and drop off expectations, absences, tuition payment timeliness, withdrawal procedures, behavior expectation for student and parents--any grounds for discontinuing a student or parents participation? I'd sure love to learn from your experiences!

    Thank you!

    Shawna

    #2
    Hi, Shawna.

    You might benefit from this resource of our sister schools' websites; https://highlandslatin.org/cottage-schools-2/

    My immediate thought about this is that you make sure the parents understand that this is a partnership between you and them. And you need to come up with the parameters of what that partnership looks like. Since you are a hybrid of homeschooling/classroom schooling, you will need to determine what the parent is responsible for. Some cottage schools have the parents do all the grading and testing, so your classroom time is spent in teacher direction. When my kids were in the first HLS hybrid, they came home with a list of things they needed to complete, so my responsibility was to get them through that list. All the testing was completed in school. But we also only had 3-4 classes that were quite long (3-4 hrs. each), so the teachers had more time than is normal in this kind of setting. As we added class subjects, there was obviously less time for each class.

    Tanya

    Comment


      #3
      Tanya is right--what are their responsibilities and what you will provide; what their life will look like if their kids are enrolled at your school. Your purpose and form: what you teach, how you teach it, why you teach it. If this applies, that you are curriculum-centric, about MP, and the trajectory. Also, some humility is key. I love the Tracy Lee Simmons quote (I'm paraphrasing), "A classical education is not the only education worth having, but it is one worth having." If possible, you can provide them a preliminary parent/student handbook handout (or website link) with all the nitty-gritty details like you mentioned.
      Big meetings are for big ideas; face to face time is of the essence. Who is your audience-are you talking to parents or students? If they will both be there you can acknowledge the kids, but address the parents. Their big questions are probably:
      1) What are you doing? And to a lesser extent, why?
      2) How much will it cost?
      3) What will be required of me as the parent?
      4) This is odd; how do you know this will work?

      This is just off the top of my head. Please reply back with clarifying questions. If you haven't already seen it, Google "Cheryl Lowe Tribute video Vimeo" for a 4 minute pep-talk.
      Festina lentē,
      Jessica P

      SY2019-2020 · 8th MP Year
      @ Home, HLN, & MPOA
      S · 10th, MPOA Henle 3
      D · 8th
      D · 5th
      S · 2nd

      Highlands Latin Nashville Cottage School

      Comment


        #4
        Great advice Jessica and Tanya, as always! And very good questions Jessica. To answer:

        My group will be parents-only and there will probably be about 10 present. Yes, I am using MP exclusively, except for our 5th-grade math next year. (That group has been using Saxon via a live online class and will continue up to Pre-Algebra.)

        And, you are giving me confidence because, at this point, everything you list here is on my list and in my quickie handbook/printout. Jessica, your Hybrid Homeschooling presentation at Sodalitas helped me a lot in articulating my vision. As did the Cheryl Lowe tribute. I have watched that about ten times! So inspiring and insightful in so few minutes. I am sad not to have known her in person.

        Also, I put up a very quick, down-and-dirty website yesterday, just to hold information. Grammar policing is still needed, so please withhold judgment! Some of the language describing classical education, a traditional classroom, and the Christian focus has been borrowed from the HLS site. I plan to go back and revise to make it my own, but for the moment, I was pushed for time to get something up before my meeting. I would love feedback if anyone has time.

        https://shawnabarr.wixsite.com/mtscholars
        Thank you!

        Comment


          #5
          Shawna,
          Just know that tomorrow night will be a foretaste. Time will fly. You'll feel like you've only begun and it'll be over. That's ok. Articulating your vision never stops. You are just getting started on your "forever task." I pray for a few families to exhale with delight at what you share; that your vision will be an answer to their prayers. And, that some will come up and say, "We love this We are on board. How do we help this come to fruition?" Please report back! I'm off to look at your site.
          Festina lentē,
          Jessica P

          SY2019-2020 · 8th MP Year
          @ Home, HLN, & MPOA
          S · 10th, MPOA Henle 3
          D · 8th
          D · 5th
          S · 2nd

          Highlands Latin Nashville Cottage School

          Comment


            #6
            Just clicked over to the site and my very first thought, "Hey, that kid is writing in Arabic." Just saying. First immediate impression. He's writing right to left and not in English given the background.

            I would select a different opening picture.

            Also, the hyperlink "learn more" on top of the picture doesn't work. At least, I thought it was a hyperlink to the "about" page. If that's not your intention I would remove that wording.

            There's also a few spots where you say "mom" or "mom's" as in "at Mom's elbow". I would change that to "parent"...more inclusive.

            The top sentence on your about page has "homeschooling" three times. I would eliminate the last one or change your wording to be less repetitive.

            You hyperlink to all sorts of other schools your students also attend. I might just say, "our students often attend other academically rigorous courses" or something, but not actually list them nor hyperlink to them. Seems like free advertising for them, to me.

            Buried at the very bottom of that page is your Statement of Faith. I would put that on it's own page, so you click on your menu button on the right and it's listed there.

            Not trying to nit-pick, just trying to point out possible edits as you find time to streamline your pages.
            Last edited by Colomama; 03-05-2019, 09:22 PM.
            Married to DH for 14 years. Living the rural life in the Colorado mountains

            DS11- Simply Classical 5/6
            DD9- Simply Classical 5/6 (neurotypical, but schooling with big brother to save mom's sanity)
            DD 6- Classic Core First Grade

            We've completed:
            Classic Core Jr. kindergarten, kindergarten, first grade, and second grade.
            Simply Classical levels B, C, 1, 2, 3, and 4.

            Comment


              #7
              Oh my goodness, Colomama THANK YOU!! That is wonderful! I can't' believe you took the time to edit for me like that. I am so grateful!! And too funny about the kid writing in Arabic! LOL! I didn't even notice that...that photo came up as a place holder until I could get some photos of our actual kids.


              Last edited by ShawnaB; 03-05-2019, 09:35 PM.

              Comment


                #8
                My parents would be so proud that my University degree in journalism and communication was being used all these years later. Ha!
                Married to DH for 14 years. Living the rural life in the Colorado mountains

                DS11- Simply Classical 5/6
                DD9- Simply Classical 5/6 (neurotypical, but schooling with big brother to save mom's sanity)
                DD 6- Classic Core First Grade

                We've completed:
                Classic Core Jr. kindergarten, kindergarten, first grade, and second grade.
                Simply Classical levels B, C, 1, 2, 3, and 4.

                Comment


                  #9
                  Colomama,
                  Indeed! You communicate very effectively and ask great questions!
                  Festina lentē,
                  Jessica P

                  SY2019-2020 · 8th MP Year
                  @ Home, HLN, & MPOA
                  S · 10th, MPOA Henle 3
                  D · 8th
                  D · 5th
                  S · 2nd

                  Highlands Latin Nashville Cottage School

                  Comment


                    #10
                    Yes, you do! I made some edits, with more to come for sure. It ditched the Arabic student and replaced him with a real Mt. Scholar. Not the best picture, but it will do for now! I realize that I didn't even include a part about the program being classical because I didn't have the bandwidth to write something concise, and I didn't want to just verbatim steal from one of the HLS's! I'll put that on the list for later.

                    Also to clarify, my hope is that our program will continue into 6th grade and beyond as the years go by. Right now, we have about 17 middle and high school students who have been working together at our church four days a week, doing live online classes from two classical academies. It's really not working, for a number of reasons--too many parent-volunteer hours, too many different classes, too many different schedules-- too many homeschoolers all wanting to do their own thing, but do it together! So for this group, it is really too late in the game to transition them to a totally new thing, nor do we have classroom space or teachers, even if they did want to shift to a tutorial model.

                    So for this group, most are continuing with their online classes at the school of their choice, including my own three high school kids. And, our co-op is going to provide some enrichment and social one afternoon a week, and a few special events during the school year. I imagine that this will eventually phase out and give way to some form of a classical tutorial for our rising 5th graders and beyond.

                    I'm beyond thrilled to learn just tonight that my parent-teacher of our 5th-grade group wants to switch to MP for language arts next year. I think she is going to love it so much as compared to the hodgepodge that she's been using.

                    So Jessica, thank you for that needful reminder that articulating vision is a forever task. Reading that, I literally took a deep breath! So important not to try to get it all in all at once. It's surely a process. That vision within myself is continuing to change and grow. And, that is probably something that I need to communicate as well--that this homeschool hybrid is a work-in-process.

                    Comment


                      #11
                      Shawna,
                      How did today's meeting go? Younger kids' parents, right?
                      Festina lentē,
                      Jessica P

                      SY2019-2020 · 8th MP Year
                      @ Home, HLN, & MPOA
                      S · 10th, MPOA Henle 3
                      D · 8th
                      D · 5th
                      S · 2nd

                      Highlands Latin Nashville Cottage School

                      Comment


                        #12
                        I went GREAT! Although, I came home and almost immediately succumbed to a nasty cold and have barely raised my head until just now. But the meeting was, I believe, overall quite successful. I have a committed group of eleven students so far this first year, with potential room for a few more. The "early adopters" are in, and I think feeling inspired and supported in their homeschool plans for next year, with the infusion of help and direction from the tutorial. It seemed like the vision, as it is right now, was clearly communicated. There were a few parents who came who decided it was not for them, and I consider that a success as well because it means I was clear about what I'm offering and what I'm not.

                        So thank you so much for helping me to think things through. There is still much to think though...particularly as it relates to actually planning what I'm going to teach. Looks like for next year, I"ll be teaching the majority of the 2nd grade LA and Math core, and my fellow teacher will be teaching 5th. My hope is that eventually, as our numbers increase, we will add a 1st grade, 2nd/3rd, and 4th/5h, but for this year, our numbers and grade levels are pretty much right in line for a true 2nd grade and true 5th...which actually makes curriculum planning a lot easier!

                        Thank you again,

                        Shawna

                        Comment


                          #13
                          PS: I'm also really working on the logistics of coming to Sodalitas this year, with my co-teacher.

                          Comment


                            #14
                            Shawna,

                            We would love for you to come to SG and hang with us! I think you will find it inspiring, but also loads of fun!

                            Tanya

                            Comment


                              #15
                              Originally posted by ShawnaB View Post
                              PS: I'm also really working on the logistics of coming to Sodalitas this year, with my co-teacher.
                              Wonderful report and I also hope you can both make it work!
                              Festina lentē,
                              Jessica P

                              SY2019-2020 · 8th MP Year
                              @ Home, HLN, & MPOA
                              S · 10th, MPOA Henle 3
                              D · 8th
                              D · 5th
                              S · 2nd

                              Highlands Latin Nashville Cottage School

                              Comment

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