Have you ever considered teaching a class at HOP? If you have an idea for a class that you think would be a good fit for our homeschool students, please read this page and consider submitting a class description for our next semester. We are always open to new instructors and class ideas that meet the needs and interests of our families.
NOTE: Teacher submissions for SPRING 2024 are now OPEN until December 10, 2023 –
See the calendar for dates for Spring Semester! https://hopfamilies.com/spring-2024-calendar/
Please take the time to thoroughly read all of this information prior to submitting a class. If you have any questions, please ask before submitting homeschoolersofpinellas@gmail.
HOP Co-op is an interest-led and student-driven co-op for all homeschool students and families. Before each semester, we ask families to tell us about their interests and the classes they wish to take. Our Planning Team attempts to meet those needs. Our teachers are comprised of parents, HOP students, and outside educators that we source from the community at large. Our classes are aimed at a variety of ages, generally from age 2 to adult. (Yes, some of our parents are interested in taking classes too!)
There are two semesters per year at HOP (Fall and Spring). Each semester has 12 weeks worth of classes, and meets once a week, on Wednesdays. Classes are 55 minutes long.
HOP is comprised of a very diverse group of homeschooling families who use a wide variety of educational methods and philosophies to educate their children. We welcome all homeschooling families, regardless of homeschooling method. We welcome all families, regardless of age, political affiliation, religion, race, skin color, national origin, physical ability, sexual orientation, gender identity, or gender expression.
HOP is a secular co-op, which simply means that our co-op is not connected to any religion or faith-based system. We do not offer classes that include religious instruction, shared prayer, or faith-based content. We welcome people of all faith backgrounds and aim to foster a community that supports tolerance and understanding for people with differing beliefs. We value and appreciate diversity.
Over the more than 20 years that HOP has been in existence, we have developed classroom policies that both honor our diverse homeschool population, and which help our teachers to be successful. We are not a public school, and our families have needs and requirements which often differ from families that use public school. All of our teachers need to be familiar with our policies and adhere to them.
Benefits of Teaching at HOP
The best thing about the HOP Co-op is that it is a joyful place. Teachers tell us that they really enjoy the relaxed atmosphere and the fact that our children have a deeply ingrained love of learning new things. Our teachers also enjoy the fact that our parents are highly involved in their children’s education and are apt to lend a hand.
We also offer our teachers these wonderful benefits:
- Teachers who have children attending classes get priority registration. This means that they can register before the other families in our co-op.
- Teachers (including coordinators of “co-op classes”) and their families do not have to fulfill the regular volunteer requirements that our families must do. We value the time it takes to teach, and we feel that it more than fulfills the volunteer requirement (although we won’t refuse the extra help 🙂
- Our teachers are not permitted to use any punitive systems in the classroom.
- Both teachers and students should be treated respectfully and kindly at all times.
- Parents, along with members of the Planning Team, are welcome to sit in on classes as needed.
- Teachers must arrive before class begins and be ready to teach on time. Teachers are expected to teach each of the 12 weeks of classes unless there is an emergency or illness. If teachers need to miss a class due to illness or emergency, or if they will be delayed due to an unavoidable situation, they should notify us immediately by texting or calling a Planning Team member and/or posting on our current semester’s Facebook Page.
- If a teacher has an unplanned absence, they may offer a make-up class or give a refund for that class. Make up classes may be scheduled before or after HOP or during lunch. If a teacher has given at least 2 make-up options and parents do not accept, the teacher does not need to give a refund. However, if there are additional absences, teachers must give refunds for classes, when parents have refused make-up sessions.
Other Teacher Policies:
- If you know ahead of time (before class submission) that there is a particular date during the semester when you will be unable to teach, you should include that information in the class description and either discount the class fee to take that into consideration, or include a makeup class for all registrants.If you are a teacher that has children who will be attending classes at HOP while you teach, please remember that your children will need to be supervised at all times, which is a rule that applies to everyone. While you teach, your child/children may attend a class, stay with you, or be supervised by another parent who agrees to help you.
MEET AND GREET:
We REQUIRE all teachers and co-op class coordinators to attend the entire Meet and Greet, which occurs prior to the registration period each semester. Attending the Meet and Greet is important because classes are much more successful during registration when families have had the chance to meet the teacher beforehand and discuss components of the class.
The Meet and Greet gives each teacher a chance to put their best foot forward and connect with parents and potential students who may be interested in taking the class. It also provides an opportunity for teachers to attract students who may not have originally been interested in the class solely by reading the course description. Allowing potential students to view course materials and talk to the teacher often makes a difference between a class with low enrollment and one that is very successful.
Teachers who do not attend the Meet and Greet are at risk of having their course pulled from the schedule and may not be asked to teach with us in the future. If you need to designate a substitute teacher for the Meet and Greet due to scheduling issues, please discuss the issue with the Planning Team beforehand.
How to Design a Class
The first step for teachers considering joining our program is to look at the classes we already have in the schedule for the current/prior semester. Some of these classes will repeat in subsequent semesters. Checking our schedule will give you idea of what subjects we already have covered, as well as the typical fees for courses. Because we give preference to teachers that are currently teaching with us, we will not generally accept classes that are identical or similar to classes that are already being taught by our current faculty unless they decide not to teach that course again.
When you are ready to write your class description, there are some things to keep in mind. Many of our parents allow their students the choice of which classes to take. Try to write your class description in a way that both accurately depicts what will occur in your class, but also sounds fun and interesting to the child that will be taking the class. A great class description may mean the difference between high enrollment or cancellation of the course. We aim to have courses that are both educationally valuable and highly interesting to the students attending our co-op. Try to write clear and concise examples of what your students will be doing. For example: Instead of “students with be doing projects” use “students will make a moveable take-home robot”.
Important things to note in your class description:
- Does your class require that a student be able to read?
- Does your class require that the child do homework? If so, how much?
On age ranges: It is sometimes tempting for teachers to try to include a wide range of ages for students in a class. We ask that you think carefully about reasonable age ranges for students. When teachers pick too wide an age range for a class, it can make the job of the teacher much more difficult. Making adjustments for a single lesson to suit wide age ranges can be hard, and can spread the teacher’s attention too thinly during class. In the same vein, when a class is meant for younger kids, it may be prudent to limit the maximum number of children in class so that the teacher won’t be overwhelmed. Please think carefully about the age range of students that you are proposing and how you will effectively teach to those students.
Note: Our classes are usually one period long (50 minutes). There are occasionally classes that, due to the subject matter and class design, meet for shorter or longer, such as a two-hour block or a 25-minute block. If you have a class that you think might work better in a different time block than our regular 50-minute period, please discuss with a member of the Planning Team before submitting the class description.
When designing your class, please be sure to note if parental participation is required. Some teachers specify that certain age ranges require parental participation (for instance, a class might be listed as “Ages 5-8, (age 4 with parent help)”. Most of our classes, especially for older kids, do not require parent participation. “Cooperative classes”, by definition, DO require parent participation, and that should be noted in the description (see below for information on cooperative classes and how they work).
How to Set Class Fees
First, take a look at the prior semester’s classes to get an idea of what our typical fees look like. Your class is more likely to be successful if your fee is within the range generally accepted by our families for the type of class you are planning to teach. The fee you set is the cost for 12 weeks of classes/student. Some teachers choose to offer a discount for additional family members who enroll in the class, although that is not required.
Once you have set the course fee, you need to consider whether there will be a materials fee. Materials fees cover supplies that the teacher buys and which are consumed over the course of the semester or taken home to keep by the student. Examples: paint & paper in an art class, tools that are taken home to keep, and the printing costs for handouts that are taken home. Materials fees do not cover supplies which the teacher keeps and may use during future semesters, costs for books that the teacher uses to help teach the course, or athletic materials that are kept by the teacher. Not every course includes a materials fee. Materials fees are non-refundable when a child drops a course after the registration period, since teachers have already bought the materials used in the course by the time the semester begins.
NOTE: The maximum class fee that our Planning Team recommends is $125/student/semester. We have found that classes that cost more than that usually do not make registration cut-offs and are commonly cancelled. In addition, classes that are priced below $100 are often times very popular with families. We encourage you to keep costs down. If you need to price your class at more than $125/student/semester, please contact a member of the Planning Team before submitting your class and we can discuss whether we think your class would be successful outside of our normal price range.
*Parents have the option to pay your class fee in full on the first day of classes or 1/2 on the first day and the other 1/2 on the 5th class. The material fee, if any, is paid on the first class.
Parents (and Students) Can Teach, Too!
At HOP, we recognize that all people have valuable talents. If you are a parent with an idea for a great class, we encourage you to teach with us. Our current roster of teachers includes an eclectic mix of parents and instructors from outside our community. Some of our teachers were formerly public school teachers. Others are experts in their field, whether they learned by going to school or by learning from experience on their own. There is no one perfect background that makes a good teacher. We have even had some of our very own co-op students teach classes!
One benefit for parents who choose to teach is that teachers get first priority in registering their own children for classes, which can be helpful with a few of our very popular classes. Teachers and coordinators do not need to do additional volunteer work at HOP. Parents who teach also benefit from getting to know some of the other students here at HOP in an exciting educational setting. It’s fun to teach!
Teaching/Coordinating a Cooperative Class
Some of our classes at HOP are “Cooperative Classes”. Cooperative classes cost only $5 per child to enroll, but require parent participation. Generally speaking, each parent (that has a child in the class) signs up to teach one (or more) of the classes in our 12-week semester. We ask that the parent who is teaching the class on any given week shoulder any costs in supplies for that week.
If you sign your child up for a cooperative class, that means you will become a teacher for at least one week of the semester in that class (possibly more if there are less than 12 families enrolled in the course). All teachers, even those of cooperative classes, must adhere to our Classroom Policies (see above).
Some of the cooperative classes we have had previously at HOP include: Doll Club, Science Cooperative, Cooking Around the World, Global Explorers, Melting Pot, Messy Fun for Littles, and Adult Crafting. Other ideas include: a class for playing board games, cooking classes, nature exploration and more!
Each cooperative class needs a coordinator. The job of the coordinator is to write up the class description prior to registration and to sign up parents (who have enrolled a child in the class) to teach each week of the semester.
Coordinators need to be willing to teach a class at the last minute or help to find substitute teachers in the case of parent illnesses. They also manage the teaching schedule and remind people when it is their turn to teach.
Coordinators will receive the $5 per child enrollment fee, to help cover their time for running the class. Coordinators’ families also receive first priority in registering their own children for classes, which can be helpful with a few of our very popular classes. Coordinators do not need to do any other additional volunteer work at HOP.
If you have a great idea for a cooperative class and are willing to coordinate the class, please submit a class description during our Class Submission Period.
We ask all our teachers to take their job seriously. By submitting a class to HOP, your are committing to teach that class, provided you attain the minimum number of registrations you declare in your class submission form. Once registration has begun, you will not be able to cancel that commitment with us without inconveniencing many people. Please do not submit a class to us unless you are FULLY committed to teaching that semester.
Communication with our teachers is very important. We need to be able to reach you and we need for you to be able to reach us and, sometimes more importantly, your students (parents). Therefore, we require the following communication tools for all of our teachers:
- Facebook account. We have a Facebook group that is set up each semester for only those families who are registered. We use this group to communicate group information; including cancellations, emergencies and other important information. Sometimes there is a group question for a teacher, so we ask that all of our teachers have a Facebook account that they will be checking during the semester. We also have a facebook group just for teachers. It’s a great way for the admin team to contact teachers in addition to email.
- Mobile phone. If we need to reach you for any reason, we may use a mobile phone in the form of a direct call to you, a text to you or a group text to all teachers. In addition, we want to make sure everyone is safe in our classrooms. We post the Planning Team cell phone numbers in each class and we need to know that you can use your own mobile phone to call us in the event of an emergency during class.
- Email. We require that all teachers have an email account that they check frequently.
The Planning Team are volunteers, so we ask our teachers to make it easier for us to communicate with them to make sure our HOP semesters run smoothly.
After you have read the entirety of this page, along with our FAQ, submit your classes with the link above! All class submissions are subject to the approval of our Planning Team.