What is a co-op?

So, Planet Homeschool is a homeschool co-op, but what does that mean? 

We are using the word co-op as an abbreviation for "cooperative" in the sense Merriam-Webster defines as "an enterprise or organization owned by and operated for the benefit of those using its services."  PHS member families cooperate by pooling their finances and their time so that their children can attend group classes once a week, usually taught by paid instructors.

As a member of Planet Homeschool, you will be expected to help in running the cooperative. Most families volunteer 2-4 times each year as Parent Monitors during the co-op day, but other opportunities are available as well. 

A privilege of being a member is being part of the process of choosing classes for the next year. Each January we begin the class selection process with a meeting where we take suggestions from our entire community (instructors, parents and students). Then we have two rounds of polling where our member families let us know what classes their children would like to take in the coming year. With the poll results in hand, PHS leadership puts together next year's class schedule. Because of this collaborative process, PHS has a wonderful variety of classes where there is always something new but our favorites remain. 

At first glance Planet Homeschool can appear to be a school that meets once a week, but we are not a school. The state of Minnesota defines a school as:

For the purpose of compulsory attendance, a "school" means a public school, as defined in section 120A.05, subdivisions 9, 11, 13, and 17, or a nonpublic school, church or religious organization, or home school in which a child is provided instruction in compliance with this section and section120A.24.

While Planet Homeschool may offer instruction in the areas required by the compulsory attendance law, we are not in compliance with the sections mentioned above. We do not report to the Superintendents of our member families, or 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 or an online charter school or some other means. 

If you would like to know more about how to homeschool legally in Minnesota, we recommend you begin with the Minnesota Homeschoolers' Alliance website.