How does it all work at The Homeschool Group?
Often people ask how the classes are chosen, how the class fees are set, and how it all works, so we thought we'd take a moment and share some information on exactly how the group is run ...
Gymnastics/Sports are run by YMCA. We take bookings for these classes and pay the YMCA on a per student basis.
Our costs per term are around $7,500 to $9,000. This is made up of:
Website/admin costs, bank fees, advertising if needed
Misc. (e.g. cleaning materials)
Resources (extra costs to buy resources - art paper/paint/folders etc)
Having a website means that new families can find us easily and we love the flexibility it provides for families who can book their own classes and view information. A website also gives us a place to present the awesome creative work happening on Fridays. All this convenience comes at a cost, as does art equipment, Karate certificates, and other resources.
Student's class fees only just cover our total costs. We can receive funding for the Playgroup (however this is specific to the playgroup and goes towards the hire of one half of the Don Buck Room for the time that it's occupied by the Playgroup) .
To provide affordable classes for homeschooling families we work on a very tight break even basis.
To put the cost of classes into perspective, the average class cost here is $47.70 per 8 week term ($5.96 per week).
We did some comparative pricing by looking at some (similar) after school program alternatives out there:
Class After School Program At The Homeschool Group
Hip Hop $108 (8 x 1hr sessions) $40 (8 x 1hr sessions)
Toddler Dance $85 (8 x½ hr sessions) $38.50 (8 x ½ hr sessions)
Visual Art $160 (8 x 1 ½ hr sessions) $68 (8 x 1 hr sessions)
Karate $120 (8 x 1 ½ hr sessions) $55 (8 x 1 hr sessions)
Jnr Art $135 (8 x 1hr sessions) $52 (8 x 1 hr sessions)
Gymnastics $146-$176 (10 x 1 hr sessions) $85 (8 x 45min sessions)
Being part of a collective group gives more opportunities to do more activities with our homeschooled children, at less cost. Having more classes in one place offers cost savings with travel and time.
For a further perspective, figures released this year show a huge rise in the cost of "free" state education, with reports of school related costs of up to $40,000. That's around $4,000 per year per student (a rise of 15% in the last 10 years). Click on the link here to read the article.
For our group, the more families who are involved, and the more children who attend, the more classes we can run. Apart from the YMCA, who will charge us a cost per child, all our tutors are paid per class. So the challenge for us is to make sure the classes are filled. This way, we have a better chance of covering our costs, and making the whole thing work, so that families have more options.
When classes aren't filled, we have to balance this out with classes that are. And yes, it sometimes feels like a juggling act. But "break even" is the only way to go when we want to be all about affordability.
How can families support this? It helps when families commit to a class and stick with it. We strongly encourage parents to check out classes before the new term starts to try to get a better idea of whether it's a good fit for your child. Reading the class descriptions helps, talking to the tutors and asking us questions can help too. Because refunds can be a real problem for us. If a student pulls out of a class part way through the term, or changes their mind at the last minute, it can sometimes mean we lose the fees for two class spaces - the space for which a refund is expected and the space that someone else could have filled. Sometimes we can fill the space, sometimes not.
For sports, the YMCA invoice us for all the children on their class lists in week 1. After that, there are no credits for us, so it's not possible to refund after that time.
We hope this gives an insight into how it all works. Your feedback is really important. And, as always, we are here to discuss and help. Thanks to all the wonderful families who are part of this group!
Always happy to discuss or answer any queries you may have.
From Nikki & Rae, Admin Team