Information for Prospective Teachers at PHS

What sort of classes are taught at Planet Homeschool?

Planet Homeschool offers classes for middle school and high school students, ages 10 and up. Classes may be restricted further in age or grade level (most commonly to either middle school or high school students.

Planet Homeschool is a secular co-op that welcomes students from diverse backgrounds. Our families have a variety of educational philosophies and styles.

Classes in all subjects are of interest to PHS students, and the following have been offered at PHS: sciences, engineering, mathematics, humanities, visual arts, performing arts, literature, English, foreign languages, history, physical education, social sciences, trades and crafts, and more.

Instructors set their own course plans. Instructors should be familiar with co-op policies but may set their own classroom policies for their classes, including policies for late registrations and expected and acceptable behavior during class.

Who can teach a class?

Instructors with a strong background in working with teens and who are actively engaged in their fields are highly sought at Planet Homeschool.

We are also seeking local instructors comfortable teaching online for Fall 2020 only. We will be moving to an all-online class format due to COVID-19 uncertainties; however, we plan to move back to in-person classes starting in January 2021 if the public health situation permits, and we aim to continue holding in-person classes going forward in 2021-2022.

Instructors may be interested members of the community or parents of current and past PHS students.

Instructors may make use of student assistants.

How to suggest a class

Classes can be submitted in one of three ways:

  1. Using our Class Proposal Form
    • This is our preferred method as it will guide you through the information we need.
  2. Via email to the Lead Volunteers at PlanetHomeschoolMN@gmail.com.
    • If a class you want to teach is selected for inclusion on the schedule, you will need to submit the Class Proposal Form by early April so that volunteers have all the information needed for our website.
  3. At the student brainstorming session held in late January or early February
    • Open to current PHS students only.

While we recognize that class concepts may be in the early planning stages and so you may not have all the details, the more complete you are in your proposal, the more likely you’ve provided enough of a teaser for your class to be selected by our students.

Current and past instructors do not need to fill out a new Class Proposal Form to repeat a previously offered class, but they do need to let the Lead Volunteers know at PlanetHomeschoolMN@gmail.com that they are interested in teaching the class again.

Early December to mid-January is an especially good time to propose classes for the following academic year.

Who can suggest a class?

Proposals can be made by current students and their parents, current instructors, and prospective instructors.

How classes are chosen

Classes are selected by current students via run-off voting.

The Lead Volunteers then work together to use the winning suggestions to create a class schedule with a balance of age ranges and subjects taking into account teacher availability and available classroom space.

A tentative schedule of classes is available around the time of our co-op’s spring Open House.

Most instructors require a minimum number of enrolled students to run a class. Decisions on whether or not a class has enough students to continue are made 6 weeks prior to the start of Fall Semester classes and 5 weeks prior to the start of Spring Semester classes. Instructors are encouraged to monitor the Planet Homeschool website for their registration numbers as any requests to adjust minimum enrollment numbers must be made before these deadlines.

How are instructors paid?

Instructors at Planet Homeschool are independent contractors hired and paid directly by parents to teach their children. Payments to instructors must be made via PayPal through a Homeschool-Life-generated invoice.*

Instructors may charge a separate materials fee in addition to tuition. Fees will be invoiced with tuition when a student enrolls in the course.

Tuition is typically between $8 to $16 per hour. There are 15 hours per 12-week Fall Semester and 20 hours per 16-week Semester Semester. Tuition should reflect the instructor’s educational qualifications, expertise in the subject matter, and experience with teaching. When setting your tuition and materials fees, also keep in mind the economic reality that homeschool families tend to be single-income families with limited budgets.

Payments cannot be classified as “Friends and Family” transactions and PayPal fees will be deducted, so those deductions should be taken into account when setting your tuition and materials fees.

Payments must be made through the Homeschool-Life invoicing system to be recorded and instructors are expected to inform the Lead Volunteers of any payments they receive outside of that system.

When are classes held?

Fridays during the academic year.

  • Our 12-week fall semester runs from mid-September to mid-December.
  • Our 16-week spring semester runs from mid-January to mid-May.

Classes can be a single semester or full-year (28 weeks) programs.

  • Proposals should specify if the class is to be 12-weeks, 16-weeks, or 28-weeks. If a class can be adapted to any length, be sure to state that.
  • While this is not common, it is possible to teach a half-semester class (6 weeks or 8 weeks).

Classes are 75-minutes long.

  • Set-Up Period: 9:00 AM – 9:15 AM
  • First Period: 9:15 AM – 10:30 AM
  • Second Period: 10:35 AM – 11:50 AM
  • Lunch Period: 11:55 AM –12:25 PM
  • Third Period: 12:30 PM – 1:45 PM
  • Fourth Period: 1:50 PM – 3:05 PM
  • Clean-Up Period: 3:05 PM – 3:20 PM

Proposals should specify (1) which class periods an instructor prefers, (2) which class periods an instructor can make work, and (3) which class periods are not an option for an instructor.

There is a 5-minute break between classes.

There is a 30-minute lunch break between 2nd and 3rd period (40 minutes if you include the 5-minute break before and after lunch, but that time may be needed for setting up the fellowship hall for lunch and then for cleaning up lunch and setting the room up for its third-period class).

Location

All classes take place at Faith United Methodist Church, 2708 33rd Ave NE, Saint Anthony Village, MN 55418. Faith UMC is on 33rd Ave between Stinson Blvd and Silver Lake Rd.

Instructors, students, and parents should enter Faith UMC using the south door at the back of the building (this door leads directly into the ground-floor classroom hallway, so it is also the most convenient door to use). An exception is made for instructors bringing in and removing supplies for classes in the fellowship hall and kitchen, who may make use of the closer east door for loading and unloading purposes only.

Faith UMC has a large parking lot and a bike rack.

Metro Transit Route 25 stops at the corner.

Because Saint Anthony Village shares the 55418 ZIP Code and Post Office with northeast Minneapolis, the address for Faith UMC will sometimes come up as in Minneapolis rather than as in Saint Anthony Village.

Classroom resources

Planet Homeschool’s website is hosted on Homeschool-Life.com which offers many tools to homeschool co-ops including an online Instructor Classroom Dashboard for communication between instructors, students, and parents. It provides instructors with an easy way to email individual students and their parents, post class announcements and assignments, track student attendance, send a class reminder before the first day of classes, and encourage student discussions in the dedicated online class forum.

Planet Homeschool has access to 7 classroom spaces, including the church’s kitchen and fellowship hall.

The fellowship hall is generally reserved for classes needing space for significant student movement (fencing, dancing, acting, etc.).

Two of the five regular classrooms have a sink.

One classroom has an electric stove in addition to its sink.

Two classrooms and the fellowship hall have a piano.

Three classrooms are approximately 23x20 feet (including the room with a sink and stove), one is closer to 20x20 feet, and one is about 14x16 feet (and has the other sink). Church furniture takes up some floor space in each room.

All but one classroom has a whiteboard, but we have a portable whiteboard for use in that room. The kitchen does not have a whiteboard. The fellowship hall does. PHS supplies markers and cleaner.

Our kitchen access includes use of stoves, ovens, refrigerators, and sinks. Additional equipment should be supplied by the instructor, including bowls, utensils, and cleaning supplies. (Instructors may require students to supply some or all of their tools.) Health regulations must be followed for food handling and clean up.

It is helpful if proposals can include information about physical space needs such as access to a sink, stove, piano, larger floor space, etc.

On-site storage is limited but available. Instructors should expect to transport the bulk of their materials and equipment to and from PHS weekly. If equipment or supplies need to be stored on site, arrangements should be made with the PHS Lead Volunteers in advance to ensure adequate space can be made available.

Tables are standard plastic-topped 6x2½-foot banquet tables. Depending on the preferred room layout and tabletop space needed by students, tables can seat between 2 to 6 students.

Chairs are standard metal folding chairs.

Students are responsible for setting up their classrooms according to the instructor’s preferences and for cleaning up at the end of class and at the end of co-op. Instructors are asked to remind students of this responsibility if necessary. 

Accessibility

All classrooms are located on the ground floor. The fellowship hall and kitchen are a third-floor lower than the classrooms but there is a ramp between the two levels.

Doors are not automatic or power-assisted and door handles are old-fashioned knobs rather than levers.

How are PHS classes promoted?

Planet Homeschool volunteers will promote upcoming classes internally via our online forum and publicly via our Facebook Page. Information about upcoming classes is also shared with other local homeschooling groups. We also hold an open house on the second-to-last week of Spring Semester classes each year.

Instructors are asked to assist Planet Homeschool with promoting their class by providing both a class description and bio plus photos of themselves and of class materials, projects or concepts. Parent permission should be obtained before sharing photos of students online.

Instructors are expected and encouraged to assist with spreading the word about their upcoming classes.

Timeline

Exact dates can be found on our co-op’s calendar.

  • End of January
    • While class proposals may be submitted at any time, they need to be received by the end of January to be considered for the upcoming academic year.
  • Early February through Late March
    • Run-off voting begins for classes offered the upcoming academic year.
  • Late March through Late April
    • Final voting round
    • Instructors are contacted to confirm or are recruited if needed
    • Class schedule for the following academic year is finalized and published
  • Late May through late July
    • Registration for Fall Semester
  • Late July
    • Tuition and materials due for Fall Semester classes
    • Cancelation of Fall Semester classes with low enrollment
  • August
    • Registration continues for Fall classes that still have space for additional students.
  • Mid-November through mid-December
    • Registration for Spring Semester
  • Mid December
    • Tuition and materials due for Spring Semester classes
    • Cancelation of Spring Semester classes with low enrollment
  • Late December
    • Registration continues for Spring classes that still have space for additional students.

Exact dates can be found on our co-op’s calendar.

 


* Some instructors who have been teaching at PHS since before we had an online invoicing system still accept payments only via check. This requires additional volunteer hours to manage, as the checks are mailed to the co-op’s Treasurer who records payment manually and then passes the collected checks on to the instructor on the first day of class. For this reason, all new instructors are expected to accept payments via PayPal. Instructors do not need an invoicing system, as invoicing is handled by Homeschool-Life. They do need to have a PayPal account