Thanks for your interest and engagement in Penang’s very own co-op center. On Friday Dec.10th we would be having a meeting somewhere in town beginning 7pm on to gather feedback to the following suggestions outlined in this post.
An International Lending Library / Rental of Venue for library
One of the things we need to find confidence in is whether or not we will be able to afford homeschooling. I have taken the initiative to have some books shipped over to start us off.
The intention is to eventually have us review several “packaged” curricula to get an idea of what is possible for our co-op especially books that are used to prepare for high-achieving and self-paced learning. It would be beyond the reach of the average family to purchase several brands of curricula to review and compare especially since curricula designs can differ in both grade and difficulty when compared against grades. In my experience teaching ESL I often get up to half a dozen or more books across all levels to review and then match them with my students’ interests and ability. Each time I conduct a review the materials, CD-roms, etc cost a few thousand ringgit before I even start ordering small number of books for my students’ use so I understand how difficult it would be for parents who have never had experience reviewing a wide range of available texts.
We would also see how much we can afford to rent a space at 1-stop to store our library.
Often I don’t use one particular syllabus across all levels and mix and match them throughout time. This is usually the best way to extract maximum benefit from learning and the advantage of homeschooling ; to not have to die of boredom or be underchallenged / overwhelmed by sticking to one particular way of learning over years.
A frame to discuss around.
While it is not mandatory for homeschooling parents to depend on or “outsource” their lesson planning by using a packaged curriculum I believe it would be a significant benefit based on the following :
- to gain experience of how to design lessons and benchmark learning. While I design half of my own lessons I also find it very helpful to use packaged curriculum that can be taught off the book, improvised and to learn with the beginner student.
- to have an idea of the level of difficulty and how our child could progress through each.
- to have an idea how to spread learning so that they are assured of a smooth life or scholarships for college.
- to help parents transition with security and confidence and to slowly train themselves up as teachers. On one extreme there is the regimented, dull, dumbed-down curriculum of public schools and on the other extreme is the “DIY” and “do nothing” style of homsechooling. The only “middle ground” parents today seem to have is the AO and Sonlight curriculum.
My guess at the costing?
Packaged curriculum per brand per grade could range from a few hundred to over 1,000USD. Assuming that we can have a mix of top three curriculum at USD1,000 per grade level x Year 1 – Year 12 the cost would come up to
USD1,000 x 12 = USD12,000 x 3.1 = Rm37,000+
The questions at hand would be :
1. Can we find at least 40 families to come up with RM1,000 each?
2. Can we find a way that would benefit the parents who are willing to invest in the start-up? i.e. that we limit membership just to cover our cost and then the membership can be sold to or rented out on a time-share basis to another family while the Principal Family is away on holiday / moves away?
3. That the cost of membership also serves as a prepaid service to borrow books?
4. After 2 years of, say, a cost of rm50 per month, (depending on size of family) the prepaid amount for borrowing would be used up but the membership can still be resold (like a Club membership) for a gain.
Accounting & Participation
Your attendance in this discussion would be very important to get this off the ground as soon as possible.
We would also need a volunteer accountant and Secretary to keep track of this and all future meetings.
If you are interested to attend this discussion on Friday, Dec.10th please leave a comment with your contact email on this post.
Date : Friday, Dec.10th, 2010
Time : 7pm onwards
Venue : NP Office, MAA building, Argyll Road.
Cost : RM10 per pax to be paid for by Penang Community fund.
*If you have a suitable office that can host our meeting for free please contact firstname.lastname@example.org latest by Dec. 5th.