Volunteer Commitment Overview


Planet Homeschool Is a Homeschool Co-op

Planet Homeschool is a homeschool cooperative, not a school. All members of Planet Homeschool are expected to volunteer to help run our co-op.

Volunteering at our Co-op

Onsite Volunteers

Overview   Essentials   FAQ

All families who have students enrolled in in-person classes are expected to volunteer for Onsite Volunteer shifts during the co-op day.

Overview of Onsite Volunteer Responsibilities

  • Wear an Onsite Volunteer lanyard badge so students, their parents, guardians and caregivers, instructors, church staff, and visitors can easily identify you.

  • Remind students of their responsibilities for setup, cleanup, and classroom transitions and ensure all tasks are completed.

  • Walk through Planet Homeschool’s indoor and outdoor spaces every 20 to 30 minutes.

    • If both Onsite Volunteers are walking through our space every 20 to 30 minutes, then our space is being check every 10 to 15 minutes.

  • Remind students of our Community Expectations if needed.

  • Offer assistance to students, instructors, parents and guardians, church staff, and visitors as needed.

  • Report any concerns related to supplies, equipment, damage to Faith UMC property, health and safety issues (injuries or illnesses), or behavior using the Onsite Volunteer Shift Lognever post to our co-op forum about behavior concerns.

  • 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 arriving by city bus into the building.

  • At least one Onsite Volunteer must be in the Fellowship Hall during the lunch period.

  • At least one Onsite Volunteer must remain at Planet Homeschool until every student has left the premises.

Detailed Guidelines

First Shift
8:45 AM–10:45 AM

Second Shift
10:30 AM–12:30 PM

Third Shift
11:45 AM–1:45 PM

Fourth Shift
1:30 PM–3:30 PM

Essential Information about our Onsite Volunteers

  1. The names of each week’s Onsite Volunteers can be found in the Onsite Volunteer Schedule Google Sheet linked to in the sidebar menu (this link changes each semester).

    • The names of each week’s Onsite Volunteers are posted on the schedule on the bulletin board.

    • A printed checklist of volunteer duties is available in the Onsite Volunteer File Box, which is kept on the table in the hallway at the Onsite Volunteer Station when Planet Homeschool is in session.

  2. Onsite Volunteer duties are supervisory duties. Planet Homeschool is a co-op, which means that everyone should plan to cooperate with setup, takedown, and cleanup.

    • Students on site for the first period should plan to arrive by 9 AM in order to help set up our classrooms and the common areas.

    • All students on site should plan to help with transitions during the 5-minute breaks between classes.

    • All students on site should plan to help with setting up and cleaning up the Fellowship Hall before and after the lunch period.

    • Students on site for the fourth period should plan to stay for up to 30 minutes at the end of the day for takedown and cleanup.

      • If everyone participates, takedown and cleanup can usually be completed in 15 minutes or less, but particularly messy days may take more time, so plan for it.

  3. Onsite Volunteers cannot leave Planet Homeschool until every student has left, so please plan to arrive no later than 3:15 PM for pickup. If you are delayed for any reason:

    • Get in touch with either an Onsite Volunteer or your child(ren).

      • Do NOT contact the lead volunteers. There may be no lead volunteers on site that day, and the PHS email account is not monitored 24-7.

    • If you contact your child(ren) directly, be sure they know that they must share their situation with the adults present.

    • Make arrangements for your child(ren) to be picked up as soon as possible so that the Onsite Volunteers may leave in as timely a manner as possible.

graphic showing how Onsite Volunteer shifts overlap with class periods and each otherFrequently Asked Questions

How do I find out which Onsite Volunteer shifts I am assigned to cover?

  • Because the schedule depends on which students are enrolled in which classes, the Onsite Volunteer schedule is not usually set until the week before classes begin.

  • The shifts for the first and last week of each semester are typically assigned to members of our co-op’s Leadership Team (who generally need to be onsite anyway).

  • Because class registration can still be in flux even during the final week before classes begin, an initial schedule covering only the first few weeks of the semester may be released. (So please renew and register early!)

  • Once the schedule is set, a link to the Onsite Volunteer Schedule Google Sheet will be posted to our co-op’s forum and linked to in the sidebar menu (under Volunteer Information).

How many Onsite Volunteer shifts are there?

  • Every Friday, we have 4 2-hour Onsite Volunteer shifts to fill with a minimum of 2 volunteers each.

  • For our 12-week fall semester, there are a total of 96 Onsite Volunteer shifts.

  • For our 16-week spring semester, there are a total of 128 Onsite Volunteer shifts.

  • For the full year, there are a total of 224 Onsite Volunteer shifts.

How many Onsite Volunteer shifts will I be assigned?

  • The number of Onsite Volunteer shifts each family needs to staff varies with the number of member families in a given semester.

  • Our co-op averages around 60 member families per year, so plan on volunteering for a minimum of 2 2-hour Onsite Volunteer shifts per Fall Semester and 3 2-hour shifts per Spring Semester.

  • It is possible that low membership numbers will mean that each family will need to cover additional Onsite Volunteer shifts.

  • Shifts are also assigned based on the number of students a family has enrolled and the number of classes they are taking. A family with three students enrolled in four class each will be assigned more shifts than a family with one student enrolled in one class.

  • Shift assignments are also impacted by the total number of students enrolled for each class period. If there are fewer students overall enrolled in classes for a given class period, those families may be assigned to more shifts than usual to ensure that all shifts are covered.

What should I do if I need to cancel or reschedule a shift I am scheduled to cover?

  1. Post to our co-op forum to request to trade your shift with another member.

    • Include the date and time of the shift you wish to trade.

    • List the dates and times of shifts you are available to accept.

  2. After you arrange your trade, update the Onsite Volunteer Schedule Google Sheet (linked to in the sidebar menu).

  3. If you swap shifts after the “Volunteer Team for Friday …” co-op forum post is sent, please reply to that thread to inform everyone of the change.

    • Please provide your replacement’s contact information. Contact information can be found in our Member Directory.

What should I do if I’m going to be late for my scheduled shift?

  1. Directly inform the current Onsite Volunteer team members about the delay, so they can make plans as needed.

    • The names, phone numbers, and email addresses of the week’s volunteer team are in our co-op forum under the latest “Volunteer Team for Friday …” co-op forum post.

      • If you are the Keyholder, call the other Keyholder.

      • If you have the First Shift, call the Keyholder.

      • If you have the Second Shift, call the First Shift volunteers.

      • If you have the Third Shift, call the Second Shift volunteers.

      • If you have the Fourth Shift, call the Third Shift volunteers.

      • It is a good idea to have the phone numbers of a few other members of Planet Homeschool on hand in case of an emergency.

    • Mobile phone reception inside Faith UMC can be poor. If you are unable to connect with a current volunteer team member, call another member of PHS who is likely to be on site and ask for assistance reaching the current volunteers.

  2. Post to our co-op forum requesting assistance.

    • Include your estimated arrival time to help with planning.

    • If your circumstances prevent you from posting to the co-op forum, if possible, call another member of Planet Homeschool and ask them to post for you.

  3. Please do not reach out solely to PHS Lead Volunteers, as those volunteers may be unavailable at that moment; reaching out to someone you know is onsite at PHS is best.

What should I do if an emergency prevents me from volunteering for my shift at all?

  • Follow the same procedures as above.

Can I volunteer to cover multiple shifts in a single day?

  • Yes.

If I volunteer for consecutive shifts, do I need to “make up” the overlap time?

  • No, you’ll receive full credit for each consecutive 2-hour shift.

Can I volunteer with a friend?

  • Yes! We need at least two adults to cover each Onsite Volunteer shift. You are free to swap assigned shifts to create a schedule that works best for you.

    • After you arrange your trade, update the Onsite Volunteer Schedule Google Sheet (linked to in the sidebar menu).

Why am I paired with another volunteer?

Having teams of at least two volunteers per shift addresses several concerns raised by PHS members:

  • New members nervous about their responsibilities will always have another member there to help them out.

  • As a matter of due diligence, two-adult policies keep minors and all co-op members safer.

  • Having a second volunteer provides you with some delightful company for the duration of your shift.

  • Should a volunteer have an emergency situation and be unable to find a replacement, there will still be at least one adult on site — but because of the above, volunteers should strive to find emergency replacements whenever possible.

Who can serve as an Onsite Volunteer?

  • While this responsibility is most commonly fulfilled by a parent or guardian, you may recruit other dependable adult family members, such as a grandparent, aunt, or uncle, to help out.

  • Because it can be challenging for young adults to effectively supervise older teens, your older children may not serve as onsite volunteers.

About Our Keyholders

  • The Keyholders’ sole responsibility is to lock and unlock doors.

  • These volunteers have to show up early and stay late every single week.

  • Everyone should go out of their way to make sure these volunteers never need to invest even more of their time in our co-op!

Detailed Guidelines

Keyholder for Opening
8:45 AM–9:00 AM
Keyholder for Closing
3:15 PM–3:30 PM

Offsite Volunteering

There are many ways to contribute to our co-op while gaining valuable skills and experience and building your resume!

  • Become a Support Volunteer — These are co-op members who fulfill important specific roles at our co-op (these tasks typically benefit from a team effort).

  • Join the Executive Volunteers — Our co-op is regularly seeking to bring in new leadership as other members prepare to transition out.

You can also offer a suggestion of your own that plays to your strengths.

COVID-19 Information

Our Volunteer Coordinator(s) will work with members not taking in-person classes to find other ways we can all contribute to the success of our co-op.

Below is a small sampling of offsite tasks that need doing. If you have a particular skill or a new idea about what needs to get done, please don’t hesitate to contact the Lead Volunteers to let them know you’re interested in volunteering to do it!

  • Marketing & Social Media
  • Website Maintenance
  • Coordinate or give an online presentation
  • Host virtual social opportunities
  • Welcoming Committee
  • Fundraising
  • Outreach