Planet Homeschool’s mission statement is: “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.”
Our community functions best when we strive to be kind and respectful of both ourselves and our fellow members. All of PHS is a shared space and we must work together to ensure it is a welcoming and safe space for everyone.
As a parent at PHS, I agree to the following member expectations:
1. I will be informed about member responsibilities at PHS.
This includes becoming familiar with behavior and membership policies at PHS by reviewing information on our website, attending a fall or spring member meeting each year, keeping up with forum announcements, and fulfilling volunteer requirements.
2. I will make sure my student is aware of expectations for students at PHS, as spelled out in the Planet Homeschool Student Agreement.
I also will make sure my student knows the following:
- On occasion, parent volunteers, teachers, or other students at PHS may speak to students to ask them to modify behavior. Students are expected to respond courteously to these requests.
- Parent volunteers, teachers, or other students at PHS may ask students to help with morning set-up, classroom transitions, clean-up after lunch, and clean-up at the end of the day. All students are expected to pitch in alongside their fellow co-op members. If a student is registered in a first-period class, please have them plan to arrive by at least 9:05 to help with set-up. If a student is registered in a fourth-period class, please have them plan to stay until at least 3:20 to help with clean-up.
- If a conflict persists in spite of requests to modify behavior, all co-op members need to understand that parents and students involved in a disagreement will be expected to work cooperatively with other impacted co-op members to figure out a solution that will work for everyone. (See the Planet Homeschool website for more information on the conflict resolution process at our co-op.)
3. I will help my student anticipate and plan for possible challenges of attending PHS.
Taking classes at Planet Homeschool is a wonderful way for students to learn and meet people, but it can also be a challenging environment. There are overhead fluorescent lights that can be triggering for people with sensory issues. Classroom temperatures can get chilly in the winter and hot in the fall and spring. Hallways and classrooms are sometimes loud when they’re full of energetic students. A day at PHS involves interacting with a wide range of personality types, backgrounds, and learning styles.
PHS volunteers and teachers will do their best to make the co-op a welcoming, safe environment for all kinds of learners, but parents need to understand and acknowledge that PHS is not a school, but a co-op with fellow parents serving as unpaid volunteers.
With all this in mind, I agree to coach my children on strategies for coping with challenges they might face at PHS and make sure they’re clear on what’s expected of them in a group learning environment. If needed for the good of my child and others interacting with them, I will also communicate proactively with teachers and other adult volunteers about how best to work with my child.
Occasionally, teachers or volunteers may suggest that it’s necessary for a parent to stay on-site while a student is at PHS. As a member of a cooperative endeavor, I agree to abide by that suggestion if needed for the benefit of my student and others.
4. I agree to pitch in and do my volunteer hours as required of all members.
Planet Homeschool is a homeschool cooperative which means that we are a group of families working together to create a vibrant, welcoming learning community. There is no school board, no principal, no administrative staff, no school nurse, no school counselor, and no custodian. Because we are a co-op that runs on volunteer energy and has no paid staff, we rely on all members to do their required volunteer hours.
The volunteer requirement for fall semester is 6 hours. For the longer spring semester, the requirement is 8 hours.
The volunteer requirement is most commonly filled by doing two-hour shifts as on-site parent monitors. On-site parent monitors greet visitors, help students find needed items, call parents if needed, and very occasionally address behavior issues outside of classrooms.
5. I agree to do my best to interact with students kindly and considerately.
Student behavioral issues are rare at PHS, and most parent volunteer shifts go smoothly and uneventfully. However, if a need arises to speak to a student about a behavior issue, I agree to try to take a restorative, compassionate approach rather than a punitive, shaming approach. That means starting by using short, simple affective statements to let students know how their actions are affecting others. For example, “Your conversation is getting too loud and it’s making it hard for the class across the hall to concentrate” or “Jokes that stereotype gay people can make people feel unsafe and unwelcome at PHS, so please don’t tell them here.”
The vast majority of the time, that kind of interaction will be all that’s needed to resolve an issue. But in the very rare instances when affective statements and a request for a change in behavior don’t resolve the issue, we encourage volunteers to follow the same basic process each time for consistency and predictability.
With empathy and awareness that students learn through mistakes and may just need information and support to modify their behavior for the good of the group, volunteers will do our best to ask each involved party:
- What happened? (or What’s happening?)
- What were you thinking about while this happened?
- What does everyone involved in this situation need right now?
- What needs to happen so everyone’s boundaries are respected?
Cards with these questions will be provided to all parent monitor volunteers during each shift to help them remember the basic process. Parent volunteers can ask other adults on site to help them have these conversations with students if they don’t feel comfortable approaching these conversations on their own. Some students may not be able to answer these questions right away or may need time to cue in on what’s being asked or to think a bit before responding; as a volunteer, I agree to strive to be sensitive to individual needs and not rush students to respond before they’re ready.
If a quick reminder or short conversation doesn’t resolve the issue, volunteers can call a student’s parents for help using the directory on-site at PHS. The next step if a problem doesn’t get resolved would be for the people most directly impacted to meet to work out a solution together, either on their own or with support from PHS volunteers trained in restorative practices. If a student adversely affected by another student’s actions doesn’t want to meet in person, they will not be required to do so, but their parents will be expected to speak on their student’s behalf.
6. I agree to directly address problems and conflicts my family might experience at PHS.
If my student or I have a conflict with another member of our community, I understand that the best approach, if possible, is for me to speak directly to the person or people involved in the conflict. Addressing small problems before they escalate into big ones keeps our community healthier, stronger, and more peaceful.
No one at PHS has the role of a principal or school counselor, and lead volunteers at PHS have limited power to solve problems that are best worked out by the people most directly involved in those problems. Some members of PHS have volunteered to receive restorative practices and conflict resolution training, and they are willing to help support others through a conflict resolution process on request via an email to email@example.com.
If lead volunteers are made aware that a member’s behavior has made others feel unsafe or unwelcome, the first course of action will be to reach out to the families involved to initiate further conversation among the people most directly impacted by the situation. Members are expected to be willing to engage in any conversations necessary for ensuring that everyone here feels safe and welcome.
If conversations don’t resolve the issue or a family has been unwilling to engage in finding mutually satisfactory solutions to a problem, lead volunteers may decline to allow a family to re-join the co-op the following semester. They also reserve the right to ask a student or family to leave the co-op immediately if necessary for the functioning of the co-op or for safety reasons.
Individual instructors may set their own policies regarding behavior in the classroom and the removal of students from their classes for cause.
The community may choose to amend this policy for the well-being of the PHS community.