We are a secular organization open to all faiths, beliefs, and educational styles. In all that we do, we work to include, respect and learn from individual differences in ability, gender, culture, race, religion, ethnicity, national origin, sexual orientation, and educational philosophy.
Planet Homeschool is a secular homeschool co-op for middle school and high school students (ages 10 to 19 years).
Co-op is short for cooperative. Co-op members volunteer their time so that their children can attend group classes once a week, pool their finances to pay for the costs of providing a space for those classes to take place, and work together to find instructors for the classes they want their children to be able to take.
Every member of Planet Homeschool is expected to help run the co-op. For many families, that is as simple as volunteering to serve as an Onsite Volunteer during the co-op day. Other members volunteer to take on decision-maker roles or to complete specific tasks.
Executive Volunteers take on the responsibility of developing and implementing the best strategies and policies to achieve our co-op’s goals and for ensuring that all essential tasks are completed. They are committed to knowing, learning, understanding, discussing, researching, setting, explaining, clarifying, revising, and (if necessary) enforcing co-op policies and practices that are in alignment with our co-op’s mission and values, to both soliciting and listening to the preferences and suggestions of our members, and to being discreet with any private information shared by our past, current, or prospective members and instructors. Members who volunteer to serve as Executive Volunteers should expect to regularly engage in conversations about co-op policies and practices and to help communicate those policies and practices and our co-op’s mission and goals to the larger membership.
Our co-op’s goal is to have a core Executive Volunteer team of at least three experienced co-op members who are (1) committed to ensuring that all essential tasks are completed and (2) willing to take on decision-making responsibilities. Decisions that fall to the members of this team include, but aren’t limited to, setting our co-op’s membership fee so it covers our co-op’s expenses, ensuring those bills are paid, determining how much our co-op needs to hold in reserve to survive the occasional dip in membership (or a deadly pandemic), ensuring our co-op has a space to meet every week, ensuring our co-op has adequate and appropriate insurance, fostering an inclusive atmosphere where everyone feels welcome, included, and valued just as they are, deciding whether or not to cancel in-person classes due to inclement weather, and ensuring all volunteer responsibilities are covered including all Onsite Volunteer shifts.
Executive Volunteers are not tasked with doing all the work themselves but with ensuring the work gets done. In addition to the Executive Volunteers team, there are typically many co-op members who volunteer to do particular tasks but who do not participate in the overall decision-making process (outside of those needed to accomplish their chosen duties). Examples of Support Volunteer roles include taking on a social media and marketing campaign to bolster awareness of our co-op and the classes offered, planning our spring open house party, welcoming new members, hosting our semi-annual potluck picnics, coordinating the Onsite Volunteer shifts to ensure our co-op always has at least 2 adult members on-site, entering important dates onto our website calendar, helping new instructors understand our co-op’s policies and website resources, and more.
The co-op’s executive and support volunteers may make general appeals for assistance or ask specific members to take on specific roles. Any member of the co-op who sees that something needs to be done can and should volunteer to do it.
All families who have students enrolled in in-person classes, including Executive and Support Volunteers, are expected to be available to cover Onsite Volunteer shifts during the co-op day. Onsite Volunteers supervise setup, cleanup, and lunch. (These duties are supervisory duties. Planet Homeschool is a co-op, which means that everyone should plan to cooperate with setup and cleanup — including for lunch.) In between, the Onsite Volunteers walk through Planet Homeschool’s indoor and outdoor spaces, remind students of our Community Expectations, offer assistance to students, instructors, parents, guardians and caregivers, church staff, and visitors, and report concerns related to supplies, equipment, damage to Faith UMC property, health and safety issues (injuries or illnesses), or behavior. Because no students may be on the premises without an adult co-op member present, at least one Onsite Volunteer must be at Planet Homeschool by 8:45 AM to let students into the building and at least one must remain at PHS until every student has safely left the premises.
Your Planet Homeschool membership fee covers our co-op’s overhead costs:
It is the responsibility of the Executive Volunteers to determine what our expenses are and to set a membership fee that will cover them. Because membership numbers can fluctuate in unpredictable ways, the Executive Volunteers are also tasked with ensuring our co-op has the financial reserves to survive the occasional dip in membership and may hold fundraisers to cover budget shortfalls or replenish our reserves.
All current members of the co-op participate in the process of selecting classes for the following academic year.
Suggestions for classes can come from any current co-op student, parent, guardian, or caregiver, current and prospective instructors, and even from prospective students. Suggestions should be made by the end of January.
Current members (students, parents, guardians, and caregivers) participate in voting on those suggestions. Executive Volunteers can opt to also solicit prospective members about their interests, but the preferences of current members take priority. Voting usually takes place in February.
While Executive Volunteers strive to honor the preferences of members as shown by their votes on the Course Interest Survey, there will be decisions that must be made based on available classroom space and in order to create a course schedule with a good balance between ages and topics. Classes may also get dropped if no instructor can be found. The Executive Volunteers are the ones who make those decisions. While the search for instructors can delay this process, the goal is to have the course schedule for the following year finalized by early to mid-April of our Spring Semester.
Because of this collaborative process, PHS has a wonderful variety of classes in the arts, engineering, humanities, mathematics, physical education, sciences, social sciences, technology, and more.
Planet Homeschool offers middle-school and high-school classes for homeschooled students ages 10 through 19 years.
PHS is focused on providing a unique community with learning opportunities for preteens and teens that are often hard to find, and our age policy reflects this goal. To best serve our targeted community, we do not accept class registrations for any children younger than 10 years old.
Instructors set the age ranges for their classes and develop their curriculum accordingly. Students need to be the minimum age for any given class by the time the class begins. In limited circumstances for a few classes and only with prior instructor approval, registration may be accepted for a child who will be the minimum age by the second week of class.
PHS classes are restricted by age, not by grade level. Exceptions are not granted to academically advanced younger children. Many of our older students are also academically advanced, and success in a group learning environment depends on more than academic readiness.
However, instructors may, at their discretion, broaden the age range for a class to allow more students to register if it is in danger of not meeting the instructor’s minimum registration goal. Even in this circumstance, we do not accept students younger than 10 years of age.
Planet Homeschool is a secular co-op. We have no religious requirements or affiliations and welcome members and instructors regardless of religious beliefs. There will be no attempt or intent to convert participants, whether overt, subtle, or covert.
LGTBQ+ students, their parents, guardians and caregivers, and instructors are welcome here just as they are.
Classes at Planet Homeschool are secular. While religious content may be included from a cultural, historical, sociological, or anthropological perspective, classes at PHS have no religious teachings or practices. Science classes at PHS use curriculum and materials that include and present scientific facts, principles, models, and theories as recommended by the majority of practicing experts in the field of study. Topics covered include evolution, the Big Bang, climate change, and global warming.
At first glance, Planet Homeschool can appear to be a school that meets once a week, but we are not a school.
Planet Homeschool is a homeschool co-op. The instructors who teach those classes are hired directly by the individual families whose children enroll in their classes, not by Planet Homeschool. Tuition and materials fees are paid directly to the instructors by the families of the enrolled children, using a Homeschool-Life-generated invoice.
While our members choose the classes to offer, each instructor sets their own curriculum, sometimes dynamically based on the kids registered for a class. While instructors are expected to abide by co-op policies, they are free to set additional guidelines for their classrooms.
While Planet Homeschool classes may offer instruction in the areas required by the compulsory attendance law, we do not report to the various Superintendents of our member families, maintain the required records, or perform the required testing. Member families are responsible for ensuring their children are meeting the compulsory attendance law another way, whether that is via homeschooling, an online school, an alternative school, or some other means. To learn more about Minnesota’s homeschool laws, visit the Minnesota Homeschoolers’ Alliance website.