PLANT, Inc. Blog
Encouraging Parent Led Education
By Mona K. Koerner
Perhaps the best way to evaluate whether a class has a reasonable cost is to establish some kind of comparison. For example, what do you pay your babysitter for an hour? $7.50/hour? $8.50/hour? $10/hour? Indeed.com reports that the average babysitter in Albuquerque gets paid $14.28/hour but the most commonly reported is $7.25/hour. Isn't a class with a dynamic and experienced teacher that can impart new ways of learning in a loving environment worth more than that? How should you evaluate a class with an instructor who is passionate and knowledgeable and who will invest in our children and offer opportunities you can not - such as opportunities to learn from another adult, opportunities to interact with other students, opportunities to utilize materials, supplies, tools that may not be available to us, and opportunities to learn from a different perspective. Many people think public school is 'affordable' but perhaps that is only because someone else is paying for it.
Perhaps we should compare it to time spent in a homeschool co-op. Let's assume a typical homeschool co-op meets for 2 hours twice a month for a total of 28 hours in a semester. That means that a parent has to invest 28 hours of time to teach in that co-op. If we assume your time is worth minimum wage (again a conservative estimate because we know loving and teaching children is worth much more than minimum wage) of $8.95/hour, then you are 'investing' i.e. paying $250.60 per semester not including any co-op fees to be a part of the co-op. This is obviously a very affordable option for families with multiple students who can all participate for that one cost. Economists measure the value of your time in terms of 'opportunity cost'. That is, what could you earn during that 28 hours if you did something else or what is and hour or two of free time worth to you? Using the 'opportunity cost' method, the cost of investing in a co-op may be much higher for you. It was for me. There are limits to co-ops as well, such as, what if the class offerings don't fit your needs? Or what if you don't have 28 hours to invest? Then paying for an independent class might be a good alternative, especially if it costs any where near $8.95/hour. After all, how much might you value an hour of free time for yourself?
How do independent classes advertised by PLANT, Inc. compare?
Of course, there are factors besides price to consider when evaluating an independent class. These factors include:
These additional factors are attributable to those classes that are more that $8.95/hour. For example, Apologia Biology is a high school lab science class taught by an experienced teacher, which requires a number of supplies (such as dissection supplies) and might be something you would rather someone else teach. The Robotics class makes use of a Lego Mindstorm robot. The Nature Study course is taught by a PhD in Biology who will assist the students to actually participate in scientific discovery. Spanish is taught by a native Spanish speaker from Mexico. STEAM requires a number of supplies. Fine Art makes use of professional art supplies, is taught by a Fine Artist, and has very small class sizes to ensure individual attention.
How do these classes compare to other available classes in Albuquerque?
Using a similar methodology by taking the advertised price of a class, calculating the total number of hours and determining the hourly rate for the class, here's how various classes compare. Any registration fees or membership fees have not been included nor have any eligible discounts been considered.
PLANT, Inc. Blog is written by local parent educators and supporters of parent led education.