A tough situation with our homeschool group - what to do?

Discussion in 'All Other Discussions' started by annsni, Jan 5, 2011.

  1. annsni

    annsni
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    We have a family that came to the homeschool group midway through the year last year. There are 7 children. The problems started when we spoke to mom about the annual dues and she said she couldn't pay them in full - could we take a payment plan? We don't even do that with our regular members who have been there for years unless there are extenuating circumstances and we didn't know this lady from Adam so we told her "No, we're sorry but we need the dues in full." We DID have her pay only half of the dues since she came in halfway through the year but it ended up being like pulling teeth to get money out of her. I understand that she has money problems but if that's the case, a homeschool group is not a requirement or a necessity of life and maybe she just needs to not join the group.

    The other issue we found out quickly was that she was a perpetually late person. She never showed up less than 30 minutes late and was usually more like 45 minute late every week which was SO disruptive to each of the groups (she has children in all of the age groups so this affects all of the classes). Because we only have 2.5 hours together, we usually get started right away so that we can get the two full "classes" and gym fit in there. So now her children show up in a class 45 minutes into the class and one of the teachers now needs to take those children individually and get them started on the project at another table because the other kids are quite a ways ahead of them. They usually have to stay with them the entire time period because it will take them that long to maybe get close to catching up - if they ever do. So we spoke to her about being late and she always has a good excuse but we told her that others make the decision that if they're going to be that late, they will not come because it's just not fair to everyone involved. We explained it all to her and asked her that if she can't be there at 1pm, to please do what she needs to do with her family and just not come. Well, that didn't seem to work because she still was forever late.

    The last time we saw her, we addressed everything again because she had been coming to the group for 2 months and still had not paid the dues for this year and I had reminded her of the full cost and told her we need all that up front - that we don't do "payments". We also laid down the law that she cannot show up late like that anymore and that if she can't be there on time, it's best not to come then. So the next week she shows up 50 minutes late and with only half of the dues. UGH!!! (Understand that this is a lady who we've been finding out from the pastors is trying to play the system and get help from multiple churches while she and her husband refuse to work for what really amounts to frivolous reasons). So we once again laid down the law and explained to her this is it. If she shows up late again, we're going to ask her to not return at all. We also needed the remainder of the dues the next time she shows up - no excuses. We tried to be kind but also very firm because we feel we were being taken advantage of. I think she was shocked that someone stood up to her because she looked like a deer in the headlights. ARG!! She did not show up to the last 3 meetings we had and to tell you the truth, we were relieved.

    So, I just got an e-mail from one of the other leaders who is on vacation this week. Another member offered to pay the remainder of the dues for her so that she can come back because she can't afford the dues. SIGH - I would accept that offer if this woman were cooperative in getting to the group on time but I'm really not wanting to take it because of this issue!! Additionally, I know that the same issue will come up next year and will someone step in to help out then as well? I don't know. I was just going over my e-mail to the member who offered to pay with my older daughter to see if i worded it well and my two little ones who are in the homeschool group said "Those kids are mean. They are very fresh to the teachers and they say mean things to the other kids behind the teacher's backs. We don't like those kids." My kids like everyone. I was shocked. Ugh - it's just so much easier if these kids don't come back and I just refund the money to the mom and be done with it but then again, I don't want to just use my human nature to make the decision. Am I being mean? Should I show more grace to this lady? I don't know what to do. PLEASE - what would you think about this situation??
     
  2. Jim1999

    Jim1999
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    You have more patience than would I!

    Cheers,

    Jim
     
  3. PamelaK

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    Wow - that's a tough choice as far as the final decision!! But maybe I would throw something in the pot for you to consider as you think things through. If i understand correctly, the condition that she not arrive late again in order to remain in the group would still hold. Is the person who offered to pay the dues aware of this, and would the dues be returned to this person if the lady did indeed arrive late again and were not allowed to come back?

    As far as grace, it seems to me you have been MORE than gracious enough already! But I think it is wonderful you are open to the Lord's leading in this last option and are considering it. In the end I think it is your decision to accept the person's offer or not, after prayer, but I thinkk you are doing the right thing by being open to it.

    Edited to say I wasn't sure if when you said refund money to the mom if you meant the offending mom - what she did pay - or the member who was offering to pay the rest.
     
    #3 PamelaK, Jan 5, 2011
    Last edited by a moderator: Jan 5, 2011
  4. Gina B

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    Here's a thought...if the person donating will consider it.

    Let her pay the dues for the woman but don't tell her it has been done. Sounds like she feels that if she pays, she's justified in being late. Kinda makes me want to wonder why she even bothers if she's not going to come for almost half the time anyhow...could she be wanting to keep up appearances or something with family or social workers so she's wanting to say she's involved but not do the right thing?
    Back to the idea...don't let her know the money has been donated. Just say "we decided we aren't going to expect any money from you this year, but in order to keep things fair to everyone as far as our group time and activities, we have to insist on the following.

    1. If you are more than fifteen minutes late, we can't let you in.

    2. If you are late more than three times, we'll have to ask you to leave.

    Don't use the money...give it back to the person who donated it if you have to ask her to leave.

    Another thing to try: If the activities are tightly scheduled and she really has a reason she can't be there on time (appointments that day or lack of vehicle until a certain time) then let her know that she can come in transition time from one activity to the next, but she can't come late at all for that since she already missed the other part.

    Another...maybe you could also keep track of complaints and set up a system where if there is a complaint about the kids being disruptive, it gets marked and after x number of times, she'll be asked to leave the group for the sake of the majority.

    I'd keep some notes anyhow. That way if she ends up with complaints, you can show her the list and say "here's how late you were on this, this, and this date. Here's a report that S____ hit another kid. Here's a complaint that J____ was disrespectful to the group leader. Here's where W____ disrupted the group and the other kids couldn't take full advantage of the learning experience we're trying to help these kids with.

    Notes are a wonderful thing.

    Maybe have her sign an agreement about being on time and not having kids be disruptive or rude so when she is asked to leave, she can't try to say you changed the rules or that she didn't understand them.
    For the sake of her not being able to do something ridiculous like sue (you never know) make copies of agreement for the group and have them all sign. Since it sounds like she's the only one with the problem, that shouldn't bother anyone else. Likely they'll realize who it's really for and why....
     
  5. annsni

    annsni
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    Thanks for the ideas. A few more bits of info:

    At this point, I have half the fee from the offending mom. I'm willing to give it all back to her.

    I would absolutely tell her that someone else paid for her and not that we're letting the dues go because she's expecting us to do something for her and I'd expect that next year, she'd be wanting the same thing. She already said to me "Well, you took half the dues from me last year - can't I pay in two payments this year?" (Which just thinking about it means that this next time she comes, she'd be paying the balance anyway - but not sure if she was planning to do so).

    She has already signed an agreement that she is expected to help out (which she never does because her 3 year old is asleep in the car and she "can't wake him or he gets cranky" - not that we ALL have done that for years) and that the kids are expected to behave. It also expresses the need to be there on time as well. So all of that was set forth right from the beginning so there are no misunderstandings. It's all in writing and signed by her AND her children.

    Gina - She can't sue us because we're just a support group, not even a ministry of our church. We're volunteer run and we work with membership dues - of which she has not paid in full. I'm not worried at all about her suing us because there's nothing to sue us for. She signed the agreement, she didn't meet the agreement - so.....
     
  6. Jerome

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    Have the benefactor deal directly with the latecomer.
    Why further complicate things with some third party arrangement?
    Let her give the money directly to the woman (may cause her to rethink:thumbs:)
     
  7. annsni

    annsni
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    The benefactor wants to remain anonymous.
     
  8. Gina B

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    Wow. Starting to think in the opposite direction with the kid sleeping in the car. Could she herself just be totally exhausted? Never know...maybe she does everything in the home herself.
    I can well remember being in a fog homeschooling and doing every single bit of housework and laundry by hand while previous hubby sabotaged my getting work cuz he wanted me home but refused to give money for anything at all without it getting really nasty.

    And you really just don't tell people that stuff. He'd always force me to try every other venue for everything, even food.

    My first response was thoughtless. It's too easy to forget where I was before when things are so much better and normal now.
     
  9. billwald

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    This family is in deep doodoo and should not be home teaching. Your group is enabling bad behavior. Don't harm the good kids with bad examples. "One rotten apple . . . ."
     
  10. Salty

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    This really hurts to say, :eek:, but I do agree with my good buddy Bill.
    Also, as far as suing, anybody can sue anybody else for anything.... Suppose she went to a doctor for medication to calm her down, because you all upset her so much. I'm just saying.....

    Salty
     
  11. annsni

    annsni
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    If she goes to a doctor because we upset her, she could TRY to sue us (you can sue anyone) but she's got a snowball's chance in a fire of winning. :)

    I definitely don't want her to come back - there's something about her that just bothers me. It's like she expects everyone to accomodate her "neediness" and feel sorry for her. I told her that the dues were $70. She knew the dues were $70. I told her I needed the full amount the next week. "Do you understand?" "Yes" So the following week she walks up to me and hands me $40. Me: "Loretta, the dues are $70." her:"Oh, I thought I could pay part now and part after Christmas." Me: "No, I'm sorry but everyone pays the dues up front so we can buy supplies to be able to do the classes. I need the full amount." her: "Well, I had $60 but I am holding $20 in case I need it for an emergency." HUH??? What part of "I need the full amount next week" does she not get? My gut says to not allow the lady to pay for her and just send her back her $40 and be done with it all. See, while she may get someone to pay for her for this year, she will expect someone to bail her out again next year. This homeschool group is not required for homeschooling. It's an "extra" and honestly, if I didn't have money, it would be the first thing to go. But not for her. UGH!
     
  12. Salty

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    She may not, but then again,its up to the judge. Even if you win the case, look how much time an effort you put into it, that may never get recovered
     
  13. Jim1999

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    Some people are poor for a good reason, then some people are poor for a reason.

    Cheers,

    Jim
     
  14. abcgrad94

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    If this were happening in my group, I'd deny her access to every group class/activity/event until the dues were paid in full. I'd have a written requirement that students not be more than 10 minutes late for a class, otherwise, they will not be admitted to the class. Period. No refunds if she's late, either. About the annon. donor--I'd politely decline on the grounds that you don't feel the family is serious about fulfilling their terms of agreement with the group.

    Seven kids, getting money from different churches, not working by choice, etc? Does not sound like the kids are homeschooled for educational purposes. We had some folks like this in a former homeschool group and they were bad apples. All of them, even the kids. You might want to give a heads up to the county school superintendent if you feel they really aren't schooling the kids. It's people like this who give the rest of us homeschool families a bad name.
     
  15. Arbo

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    Who is your group beholden to, those who pay the required fees and follow the rules or those who don't?
     
  16. mcdirector

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    I'd tell her she can't come back. Her lateness and the disruption this causes is reason enough.

    I do think in the future that I'd require all fees before the first day of attendance, and I like what ABC said about more than 10 minutes late, you can't come. Three times late, you are withdrawn. No refunds. That certainly needs to be in writing for the more stubborn among us. ;)

    This is an entitlement issue - the more you give, the more she will take. You must stand your ground.
     
  17. Salty

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    I would say the group is beholden to the kids!
    They should not be subjet to constant tardiness, other interruptions, and ect
     

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