CUCO’s Frequently Asked Questions

General

Membership

General

Where do we meet?

We meet at Feddersen Community Center, 3911 Dresden St. Columbus (map). Please be very careful with your belongings. Feddersen does not keep lost and found items for more than a few days.

When do we meet?

We meet every Tuesday during sessions, which last approximately six-eight weeks each, with occasional other meetings in advance for signup, orientation, and getting to know each other. See the calendar for specific dates.

Our first class begins promptly at 10:00 and the day ends by 3:00. There are four 55-minute periods for classes:

Many of our members attend the full day, but it is not necessary to attend for the entire day.

Parents may not drop off children. A parent must remain with children and be available to work while their children are there. If you occasionally need to leave, you must make arrangements with another co-op parent to be responsible for your children.

If you are just curious and would like to see CUCO in action before becoming a member or offering to teach, please contact help@columbusunschoolers.com to make arrangements.

What if I can't afford the fees?

Financial assistance is available. We can give a partial or total waiver of the membership fee. There is no form to fill out. Simply contact our treasurer at fees@columbusunschoolers.com. The treasurer is authorized to waive fees without consulting with anyone else, so your privacy is assured. Class fees are more challenging since those are simply passed along to individual teachers who use them for supplies. There are always free options each period. But if there is a need, we can consider changing our policies, so don't be afraid to ask.

What do you mean by "unschooling principles"?

We recognize that some of our members will not have much knowledge of or experience with unschooling. Pam Sorooshian wrote an informative essay called Principles of Unschooling. Being an unschooling co-op does not mean that we expect each member family will live these principles all the time. However, it is expected that while at CUCO, certain core principles will be followed:

Anyone who is unsure of how to approach teaching a class in this manner is welcome to volunteer in other ways, and/or consult with the e-group or other members to become more comfortable with how to apply unschooling principles.

Membership

How much does it cost to become a member?

Members pay a per-family membership fee of $25 per session (typically three-four sessions per year, usually about six-eight weeks each) to cover administrative costs, including our donation to the rec center. Financial records will be available for review by any member or prospective member. Financial aid is available to families that need it. (see What if I can't afford the fees?)

In addition to the membership fee, some classes will have a fee associated with them in order to cover supplies or pay outside teachers. Our class offerings are limited to what our members offer so the number of free classes varies each session. However, there is always at least one free class each period.

See our refund policy for information about refunds.

Can I bring kids that are not part of my family?

As a co-op, full participation from most families is required for everything to run smoothly. However, there are a few rare cases where a family is already engaged in a child care arrangement or where a family would like to be involved in CUCO but the parent(s) need to work and are unable to bring their own children. As long as this remains a rare exception, we are happy to try to accommodate everyone. Each family must pay the full membership fee, the host family should try to contribute a little extra volunteering or an absent parent can volunteer away from co-op, and each exception needs to be approved by the board of directors. Please request approval from help@columbusunschoolers.com.

If you are caring for a baby, there is no need for their family to pay the membership fee. Once the child is two, is not always under your direct supervision, or wants to sign up for a class, their family needs to join.

What are the volunteer requirements?

The specific requirements may vary from session to session. Typically, each family needs adults to do at least three jobs each session. If all jobs have already been taken, or you are unable to volunteer in any of the available jobs, let us know and we can find something else for you to do. In addition, each family must also sign up help with either setup before co-op, or cleanup after co-op. These are typically quick jobs that everyone must help out with in addition to their other jobs. Setup and cleanup managers must be the first and last ones there, and these do count as one of your jobs. Others may be asked to fill in if the setup or cleanup managers call in sick.

Some job possibilities are:

Every effort will be made to take your preferences into consideration, however, there may be times when you’ll need to play a role that is not your first choice. Our members need to be flexible and willing to cover whatever needs to be covered.

What are CUCO participation requirements?

You must be willing to make a firm commitment to:

  1. Arrive on time for your classes.
  2. Attend and participate on a weekly basis.
  3. Abide by the CUCO Expectations.
  4. Ensure that your children understand and agree to abide by the CUCO Expectations.
  5. Pay all applicable fees (see How much does it cost to become a member?)
  6. Become a member of the CUCO Google group.
  7. Be willing to help out during the day as needed (see What are the volunteer requirements?)
  8. Check the master schedule posted online or in the lobby as soon as you arrive each week to see where you are assigned during each period. This generally stays the same, but if someone is absent the volunteer coordinator(s) may need to move some things around. Just look for your name.
  9. Let the CUCO Google group and the volunteer coordinator(s) know if for some reason you cannot attend one of the weeks of the session.

Parents may not drop off children. A parent must remain with children and be available to work while their children are there. If you occasionally need to leave, you must make arrangements with another co-op parent to be responsible for your children.

In an effort to reinforce the fact that we are a community and not just a source of classes, students must plan to attend at least two periods and lunch every week.

When a family signs up for CUCO, they are making a commitment to attend and participate every week, barring emergency. Teachers have purchased supplies, organized games, and prepared materials and activities based on who is supposed to be in the class. The assistants have been assigned to specific classes and, if there isn't enough assistance in a given class, it can be a hardship on both the teachers and the students.

When a family does need to miss a week, it is that family’s responsibility to let CUCO know as far in advance as possible that they won't be there.

Once you become a member, you will be added to the CUCO Google group, where you can post information and ask questions. The Google group is the only formal communication vehicle for CUCO.

Do I get a refund if I drop out of CUCO?

If you drop out before class fees are due, you are entitled to a 100% refund of your membership fee. If you drop out between when class fees are due and the day before the second class, you will receive a 50% refund of your membership fee. If you drop any time after the second class, we will not be able to refund your membership fee. After class fees are paid, they are refundable at the discretion of the teacher. If teachers have already bought materials or made plans, it is unfair to expect them to provide a refund.

Can my kids bring toy weapons to CUCO?

Out of respect for families that choose not to play with toy guns, we ask that you not bring them to CUCO. Sometimes a nerf class is offered, and nerf guns are, of course, needed for that. They should only be played with in the class. During other times, if they are large or proving hard for kids to avoid, they can be stored out of sight behind a door by the stage.

Swords are fine to bring. "Boffer" weapons (large swords made of PVC and pool noodles) can be brought, but should not be played with in the auditorium or lobby. When the weather is nice, they should be used only outside. In bad weather, they can be used in the gym when it is available.