The Learning Tree Homeschool Group
Handbook For Members
The Learning Tree Homeschool Group depends on the active involvement of our member families to ensure program delivery. This Handbook is a guide to help our member families understand these expectations and to ensure each family meets the expectations of a member in good standing.
The Learning Tree Homeschool Group provides homeschooling families with Christian-viewpoint based enrichment and supplemental classes in a group setting. All homeschooling families are welcome. Classes and activities are organized by homeschooling parents for their children. Each session we actively seek input from member families regarding the types of classes desired, and work with our members to identify teachers of good character to serve as instructors. The Board is responsible for organizing the overall class schedule, managing parent and youth volunteers, and finding active parents to take the lead on our many social, educational, and community-oriented activities.
Statement of Purpose
1. To provide support and encouragement for homeschooling families by offering group classroom experiences, particularly in areas where subject expertise, expensive supplies, or a group setting is preferable.
2. To provide experiences and a community that will help to prepare students to bring the light of Christ into a secular world, through the cultivation of knowledge, love of God, and love of neighbor.
3. To foster a community of support, respect, kindness, encouragement, and spiritual unity of believers in our Lord Jesus Christ.
4. To encourage and support God-honoring relationships within our community. We affirm that since God created marriage to mirror the love of Christ and His Church, and that it was ordained to be between one man and one woman in a lifelong relationship, therefore sexual relationships before or outside of that marriage relationship are not in accordance with God’s plan. We believe that God created male and female with distinct characterizations which should be honored and upheld.
5. To provide information, materials, and a community in accordance with a Biblical worldview that will support and supplement, but not replace, the training and education that God authorizes parents to provide for their children.
Our Host Church
The Learning Tree Homeschool Group meets at Reynoldsburg Church of the Nazarene, but we are completely autonomous from the church. The church assumes no liability regarding the Learning Tree Homeschool Group or its activities. The church graciously allows us to use their facilities, but is not involved in our classes nor provides supervision of any kind.
Out of respect for our host church, each time we use their building, property, or grounds, we endeavor to leave it in better condition than we found it. Members must stay within church grounds to avoid trespassing onto neighbor properties. All members are responsible to help, by cleaning up after themselves and respecting all church property. The Learning Tree group has access to the church building and grounds from 8 am until 3 pm each Thursday. Any times or days requested outside of this range need advance permission with the church, via communication with the board's Church Liaison.
Please do not call the church or send correspondence to the church regarding The Learning Tree Homeschool Group.
In order to qualify for membership in The Learning Tree Homeschool Group:
1. You must be an actively homeschooling family with at least one child being homeschooled.
2. Membership exceptions are granted for some select course teachers, as they are often sought out for their experience. However, the teachers we seek are supportive of the purpose of the co-op and to the philosophy of the primary role of parents in home education.
3. If your child is not of homeschool age, as space permits you may participate in our pre-k programs if you are actively considering homeschooling your child.
4. You must pay your Session Membership Dues prior to class registration week.
To maintain membership in The Learning Tree Homeschool Group:
1. Each family must have at least one child enrolled and attending Learning Tree Co-op while in session, except as noted in #2 above.
2. Members should commit to attending at least seven of the ten weeks each session. Membership might be revoked if absences exceed three per session. Exceptions might be granted for extenuating, health, or emergency circumstances.
3. Members must agree to respect and abide by the group Statement of Purpose. While understanding that some participating members or students might not personally affirm these beliefs, the Biblical Worldview will be respected and upheld at all group activities and gatherings by students, parents, and teachers, regardless of personal belief
4. Members who have not attended two sessions will be removed from the Facebook group for privacy reasons. Members who don't return for three sessions must attend a new member meeting in order to qualify for membership consideration.
The primary form of communication between members and the Learning Tree Homeschool Group is email. Members should expect to check email regularly during the session and close to registration dates for important updates. Questions and concerns for the Learning Tree board should be directed to the Learning Tree email address, and not to individual board members via private emails, private messages, or texts.
Additional information is available on the website, on the Learning Tree member (closed) Facebook group, and via the weekly newsletter updates. Make sure Learning Tree emails and Homeschool Life emails are not going to spam or junk mail folders.
Membership Registration Priority
Class registration priority is given in the following order:
- Board Members
- Returning Member Families
- New Member Families
Class registration is based on the student's age as noted in your family profile, not by grade grouping. Students who meet the minimum age requirements have priority in ALL classes, with the exception of a teacher's own child as mentioned in the note below. Class registration for students follows an "Age on First Day of Classes" policy. This policy is enforced as follows:
1. All classes are established with a preferred age range and grade range.
2. Age/grade ranges follow common age/grade practices for public schools in the US (e.g. a freshman in high school is 14 turning 15, a Kindergartner must be 5 to enroll).
3. The students must meet the minimum age ON or BEFORE the first day of class in order to register for the class.
Enrolling a student who does not meet the minimum or maximum age requirement:
1. AFTER registration for the session closes, within a day or two, verify there is still space in the class you wish to enroll by viewing the class description online.
2. Contact a Board member with your request.
3. The Board member will contact the teacher, and then notify you if your request can be accommodated.
4. If your child has a birthdate that falls AFTER class registration week but BEFORE the class session begins (i.e., the child will be the correct age by the first day of the session) notify the board via email prior to class registration week, and we will make the age adjustment temporarily.
Note: If teachers wish to register their own child whose age falls outside of the class age requirement for the class they are teaching, contact the LT via email and the child will be added manually on the admin side.
Expectations of Families
1. Families must read and agree to abide by the policies in this handbook.
2. No refunds should be expected for dropped classes after registration week closes.
3. Parent volunteers are essential to the success of the cooperative. Volunteers help with setting up and cleaning up, assist in the classrooms, staff the nursery, and monitor the doors, halls, and study room. Each family is expected to provide volunteer hours during the semester. See the Volunteer Policy section for more details.
4. Committee Sign up: To maintain membership, all families are expected to sign up for and participate on one committee, in one area of that committee. Committee sign up will take place during class registration. You will find the committees listed on the registration grid. To obtain more information concerning specific committee duties, please contact the committee chair directly. For those with special circumstances who need help finding a committee that fits your family, please contact the board at firstname.lastname@example.org.
5. If you have a child with food or other allergies that they could encounter in a class, parents must notify their child’s teachers of the allergy, the reaction, and what to do if a reaction occurs. You MUST communicate allergies to the teacher personally.
6. Parents are expected to have supervision over their children while they are not in class, including during lunch time. Children are not to go outside unattended but must arrive and leave with his or her parent or guardian, or an adult designated by the parent. As an exception, with parent approval and knowledge, teens (12 and up) may be in groups of 3 or more without parents, either in the Gathering Room or outside the building in public areas, during an unscheduled hour or during lunch.
7. Members may not register children for classes who are not direct family under their family membership. The member must be the parent, grandparent, or legal guardian. Members who babysit non-family children during the co-op day must keep the child with them and under their direct supervision at all times.
8. We request that families be supportive of the purpose of The Learning Tree Homeschool Group and contribute to its success, by encouraging students to be prepared for their enrichment classes, to be prompt for class (students and parent volunteers), to be respectful of the church facility and staff, and to provide sincere feedback or suggestions as needed.
9. Members should endeavor to follow the Biblical model of conflict resolution for offenses with other members, as described in the Biblical Conflict Resolution section below.
10. We also ask for your prayers as Board members and teachers earnestly seek to follow God's direction for our group.
Expectations of Students
1. We are blessed with the use of Reynoldsburg Church of the Nazarene’s facilities and need to be aware that church affairs are being conducted during class time. Therefore, please proceed quietly in the halls and use only the Gathering Room entrance to the church. Students must treat the building/facility, all church property and grounds, and the church staff, with utmost respect.
2. Students are expected to be in areas designated for Homeschool Group use at all times. Those students who do not have a class to attend are encouraged to be in the Gathering Room or other public spaces as approved by their parent.
3. Students are expected to be on time, prepared, and present for their entire class out of respect for the teachers and other students. Late arrival disrupts the class and is unfair to everyone involved. Habitual tardiness or leaving class early may result in dismissal from the class.
4. No use of electronics is permitted in the classrooms unless approved by the teacher for a specific class activity. Hand-held games or entertainment devices are to be turned off and put away.
5. All students are to be respectful and cooperative to teachers, parent volunteers, and other students, treating others as we wish to be treated.
6. Students are expected to dress modestly and in accordance with the church environment, out of respect for other students and our host church.
7. Public displays of affection during co-op are not permitted.
8. Students should endeavor to follow the Biblical model of conflict resolution for offenses with other students or adults, as described in the Biblical Conflict Resolution section below.
9. Any behavior or conversations not in accordance with the Statement of Purpose of the Homeschool Group is not permitted. "Let no one despise you for your youth, but set the believers an example in speech, in conduct, in love, in faith, in purity." (1 Timothy 4:12)
Expectations of Teachers
1. All teachers committing to teach one or more classes agree to arrive in time, and to begin and to end their classes on time. Classes are 55 minutes long and end 5 minutes prior to the next class.
2. Teachers are expected to thoroughly prepare for their classes and have a weekly outline available for member families to review upon request. The church copier or other supplies are not available for use by members of The Learning Tree Homeschool Group.
3. Teachers who experience a family emergency or sudden illness are expected to contact a Board member as soon as possible and provide lesson plans for the class.
4. If you are planning to serve food/treats in your class, you must inform parents in the class description prior to registration, and then again during the session prior to serving food. This will allow parents to choose whether or not to risk the potential allergen exposure or provide a snack for their child that would be safe.
5. Teachers agree to support our Statement of Purpose and endeavor to meet these goals through their classes, including respecting the beliefs of: a literal Biblical account of the creation, the fall of man, humanity’s redemption through Jesus Christ’s atoning death and resurrection for salvation, and the Biblical view of marriage. Teachers might not personally hold all the same views, but they must agree to respect and not contradict or disparage those beliefs in their classes, to students, or to member families. If a curriculum desired to be used promotes views contrary to our Statement of Purpose, teachers agree to leave out the content not in accordance with those beliefs.
6. Because all people are created with value and worth beyond measure, teachers will endeavor to treat each student in a respectful way that honors their Creator. (Matthew 7:12)
7. Teachers must have two adults (teacher & volunteer) present in their classroom during class time. If a teacher’s volunteer needs to take a young student to the bathroom because a hall monitor is not available, leaving only one adult present in the classroom, the classroom door must be left open at all times. Bathroom breaks for students should be discouraged during class time.
Biblical Conflict Resolution
As a Christian community, we uphold the Matthew 18 principle for resolving conflict:
“If your brother sins against you, go and tell him his fault, between you and him alone. If he listens to you, you have gained your brother. But if he does not listen, take one or two others along with you, that every charge may be established by the evidence of two or three witnesses.” Matthew 18:15–16
“So then let us pursue what makes for peace and for mutual upbuilding.” Romans 14:19
If there is an offense, then the Biblical model applies: Matthew 18 is our basis for this. Please remember to go directly, in person, to your brother or sister, with your heart knowing that if there is an offense, both parties likely contributed and you are there to win your brother or sister and make amends. If there is an offense between students and adults, the adult member and the member student(s) and his or her parents should meet together to resolve the conflict together.
If a resolution cannot be made after trying to follow the above, the offended member can then reach out to the LT board to act as a mediator.
Gossip or unkind words behind someone’s back do not resolve conflict in a Biblical way but instead causes division. If a member family refuses to try to resolve conflict according to the Biblical pattern shown in Matthew 18, and shows a pattern of sowing discord among members, it may result in a denial of membership renewal in future sessions, pending a meeting with the Board to discuss the concerns.
Biblical conflict resolution is intended to point us to true repentance and unity, and follows our group’s Statement of Purpose item #3: “To foster a community of support, respect, kindness, encouragement, and spiritual unity of believers in our Lord Jesus Christ.”
1. This is your homeschooling group. The success of this endeavor depends on the input and cooperation of all participants.
2. All families are expected to provide volunteer hours. Every effort will be made to accommodate each family’s individual needs, but our first priority is to staff the session in the best way possible.
3. You are there, not only for the teacher’s aid, but also because we are committed to a two-adult per classroom situation. Finding or filling holes for late or missing volunteers creates a domino effect of other missing volunteers. Because of this, it is essential that you be on time for your volunteer position, both in class and non-classroom positions.
4. Each teacher is in charge of what is required of his/her volunteer.
5. If it is necessary to miss a week, it is your responsibility to find your own substitute. The procedure used to find a substitute is:
- Open the list of volunteers for the hour or hours you will be missing (linked on the LT homepage)
- Call a substitute from the list of floats for your hour or hours.
- Call or email the volunteer chair to inform them of who will be your substitute
- In an emergency situation ONLY, contact a board member at 614-526-8584
We understand that last minute things happen (illness, car trouble). In this case you can call a board member first.
Unexcused violations of volunteer time may result in your family being dismissed from the co-op.
Volunteer positions include: hall monitor, nursery helper, classroom volunteer, cleaning person, gathering room monitor, or float (fills in positions as needed).
All teachers are responsible for the students listed on their class roster. For this reason attendance is necessary to ensure the safety of the students. If a student does not report to class, or if the student leaves class early, the teacher must notify a board member or the parent.
Parents must notify teachers if their child will not be attending class. Failure to communicate more than two absences might result in dismissal from that class. Members should commit to attending the full ten weeks each session if possible. Membership might be revoked if absences exceed three per session; exceptions might be granted for extenuating, health, or emergency circumstances.
- Teachers and nursery workers should be advised of any allergies or other chronic condition.
- For the protection of your child and others, we ask you not attend Homeschool Group classes or activities if he/she appears ill. This includes:
- a fever within the past 24 hours
- vomiting and/or diarrhea within the past 48 hours
- skin infection or rash
- any eye infection/pink eye
- If your child becomes ill during a class or activity, you will be notified.
- Teachers do not administer medication to a child.
The nursery is available for children of teachers and classroom volunteers during their class time. Please do not leave your children in there unless you are teaching or volunteering.
Nursery volunteers will not be responsible for diaper changes, so please be sure to notate on the nursery sign-in sheet where you will be located in the building while your child is in the nursery, in case a diaper change is needed. When leaving your children in the nursery, label all your child's items (diaper bag, sippy cup, etc.). We will have labels available to label your child as well!
Sign Out Policy
The Learning Tree is a cooperative group and is NOT a drop-off program. For parents to leave the building while child is at co-op, a signed medical release form must be completed and filed with the Board. There is a sign out sheet you need to complete before leaving, and you must designate another adult who will be at co-op as a responsible party for your children. Signing out should be considered temporary or occasional, for purposes such as running errands or getting lunch. Unless it's an emergency situation, do not schedule appointments requiring you to be off-site during co-op hours.
For the safety of our families, we ask that all non-registered member visitors on co-op days notify the Board ahead of time, and then bring the visitor to the attention of a Board member upon arrival. If circumstances do not permit visitors on the day a parent requests a visitor to come, the Board will contact the member to let them know.
Student Discipline Policy
Students choosing to disregard Student Expectations inside or outside of the classroom may receive a warning. If unacceptable behavior continues, one of the student’s parents may be required to accompany the student to classes and remain with them as long as deemed necessary by the teacher or Board.
If there is a behavior problem or the student does not choose to participate in the class, the teacher may institute the discipline policy as listed below:
- 1st incident - The child is removed from the class by the volunteer or teacher and is taken to his/her parent. The child does not return to this class on that day.
- 2nd incident - The child is removed from the class by the volunteer or teacher and is taken to his/her parent. The child does not return to this class on that day.
- 3rd incident - The child is removed from the class by the volunteer or teacher and is taken to his/her parent. The child does not return to this class for the remainder of the session and a refund will not be given for the class.
In the Event of Fire
- Fire escape routes are posted on the doors of each classroom.
- Teachers and parent volunteers are expected to escort the class to the parking lot.
- The meeting place is at the back of the parking lot in the field. Parents can meet up with their families there.
In the Event of Bad Weather
- We will follow the Reynoldsburg Public School closing schedule during times of inclement weather. If Reynoldsburg Public School is on a two hour delay, please pay attention to your email for a final determination of class cancellations. We will not delay our start time.
- If 1 week of classes are canceled due to inclement weather, we will extend the session calendar by 1 week or replace a break week with the make-up week.
- In the event more 2 or more weeks of classes are canceled due to inclement weather, we will adjust to a shorter session schedule.
In the Event of Unexpected Cancellation of Classes
Families will be notified through email and The Learning Tree Homeschool Group closed Facebook group.
Allergies can be quite serious, and we must be careful to ensure student safety for those with food and other allergies that may cause a reaction.
Parents: If you have a child with food or other allergies that they could encounter in a class, please notify the teacher of the allergy, the reaction, and what to do if a reaction occurs. You MUST communicate allergies to the teacher personally.
Teachers: If you are planning to serve food/treats in your class, you must notify parents prior to serving food. This will allow parents to choose whether or not to risk the potential allergen exposure or provide a snack for their child that would be safe.