How to Avoid Problems in Your Homeschool Group: Here’s a Handbook!

How to Avoid Problems in Your Homeschool Group: Here’s a Handbook!

When our co-op first started, we didn’t have any rules written down. It ended up being a nightmare for our leaders! (Click here to get the whole story! ) In desperation we contacted Mrs. Wine, someone many of us knew because she had YEARS of experience running co-ops in our area. She gladly let us use her co-op’s handbook (written and refined after lots of years of experience!). We modified it to fit out group. The change between the years before we had a handbook and the years after were startling! Having expectations written down and making everyone sign them ahead of time makes all the difference! We went from putting out fires all the time to smooth sailing most weeks. Of course problems do sometimes arise, but they are greatly minimized when the expectations are set ahead of time.

Our handbook includes a Statement of Faith because we offer classes from a Christian perspective. If you have a secular co-op most of the rules and ideas still apply, just take what is useful for your group! (If you need a hand book for high school, check this one out!)

Parent/Student Handbook

Thank you for joining us! We pray this cooperative is a wonderful God filled experience for you and your family. This handbook is put together to allow some of the questions that may come up to be answered as best we can. If you have questions not covered here or simply want to have something clarified, please contact the leadership team. All families will be asked to verify that they have read and agree to abide by these guidelines at the time of registration for the current school year.

It is very important that we demonstrate a good example of homeschooling and support the facility that has graced us with a place to meet and allow us to share our gifts. At all times, show thoughtfulness and respect toward the Smithville Scholars leadership team, teachers, parents, and other students as well as our host facility. All students & parents will conduct themselves in a manner that reflects positively on Christ, on homeschooling, and on our families at all times; this includes the show of respect to and by students and adults. Our actions and attitudes should honor our Lord Jesus Christ. “Whatever you do in word or deed do all in the name of the Lord Jesus…” Col. 3:17.

Student Conduct and Supervision

  • All students will remain inside the building throughout co-op hours unless accompanied by an adult.
  • Lanyards are to be visible during co-op hours.
  • Students are expected to be in their appropriate class during entire class time.
  • No profanity, vulgar or insulting language will be used at any class or event.
  • No romantic public display of affection will be allowed.
  • No hitting, slapping, pushing, biting, scratching, etc. will be allowed.
  • During group activities, parents will be expected to supervise their children and to correct harmful and/or negative behavior on the spot. We ask that all adults be watchful of all students and be proactive to help in correcting students as needed.
  • If a student behaves inappropriately during a class or group activity while away from his/her parents, he/she will be firmly but lovingly corrected by the adult in charge. This may include a “time out” period if warranted by the adult in charge. Parents will be notified of discipline problems and expected to support the teacher by speaking with the child regarding behavior.
  • Parents are responsible for the conduct of their children at all times.

Disciplinary Procedure (if needed beyond above guidelines)

If an adult (Teacher/Aid/Parent) discusses a problem with a student and he/she responds respectfully and corrects the problem, no further action will be taken. If the student responds disrespectfully and/or does not correct the problem, or if the offense is considered serious by the observing adult, the following procedure will be implemented:

The Disciplinary Procedure will be three step: (this is a “last result” procedure)

  1. First Warning: The student, parent, and director will meet and discuss the offense and parent and student will be told that the three step Disciplinary Procedure is now being implemented in case further action is needed.
  2. Second Warning: The student, parent, director, and leadership team will meet and discuss the offense.
  3. Dismissal: Upon the third repetition of the offense, the child will be dismissed from the co-op. Dismissal will be for the rest of the semester. Should the child wish to return the following semester, the leadership team will consider the application of return on a case by case basis.

If a single offense is of such a nature or the accumulation of different offenses are serious enough, the Leadership Team reserves the right for immediate dismissal. We also reserve the right to remove the child from class or have the parent sit in with the student as needed.


  • Adults who teach in the co-op must agree not to teach anything that is contrary to Judeo-Christian (biblical) values, beliefs and behavior nor contrary to the Statement of Faith.
  • If you have any question about a concept you might present in a class, please discuss your lesson plans with the Director.
  • All adults should be a part of the co-op for one semester before teaching a class unless special permission is given by the leadership team.
  • Outside speakers require pre-approval by the Leadership Team.

Clothing and Dress Code

As in any large group of people, there is a great diversity of convictions and lifestyles. To minimize offenses to one another, it seems wisest to let the Lord’s love restrain us in our selection of clothing and conduct. At all times our dress should reflect godly character by being neat and modest so that we glorify God. The idea of a dress code is to not be distracting or suggestive in our choice of clothing. However, it’s about the heart, not the hemline. Below are the guidelines.

  • Clothing should be modest, adequately covering all private body parts including the midriff. Suggestive clothing should be avoided.
  • Use discretion when wearing shorts and skirts. Use the Finger-tip Rule (clothing should reach to the tip of the longest finger when arms are held at sides)
  • No undergarments should be visible either through the clothing or when stretching, reaching, or bending.
  • Clothes should appropriate for the activity.
  • No spaghetti straps.
  • Clothing and other paraphernalia will not include emblems or writing that are directly or implicitly lewd, offensive, vulgar, obscene, or promote ideas and/or groups that violate Smithville Scholar’s statement of faith.
  • Shoes should be comfortable and appropriate for play and are to be worn at all times.

Church Property

  • Be respectful of church property. If you see something that needs to be addressed, please notify the leadership team.
  • Remain in the areas that the church allows us to use.
  • No running and/or chasing in the church building.
  • Students need to remain in the appropriate areas allocated for break time.
  • Always leave the building in the same or better condition than it was when you arrived.

Co-op Clean up

Each class is asked to straighten your classroom at the end of the hour in preparation for the next class. Please pick up any trash and leftover papers and straighten the furniture. If you have had food or art supplies in the classroom, please clean these up and remember to clean table tops well. If you are the last class in the room for the day, return the furniture to it’s original position.

Cleaning responsibilities include but are not limited to :

Putting extra chairs away, washing tables, arranging tables and chairs in orderly fashion and any other general light pickup that needs to be done. Vacuum or sweep if needed. Supplies and borrowed equipment need to be returned to their appropriate location.


Please contact the director as soon as possible if you need to be absent due to illness so that coverage can be arranged for you. If you are able to arrange your own coverage, please do so and let the director know asap. Remember, communication is the key, so give us a heads up as soon as you know you will be absent (or even if you’re not sure if you’ll be there.)

Please keep your child at home if they experience any of the following symptoms:

  • Fever (100 degrees F or higher) in the last 24 hours (must be fever free for 24 hrs without the help of medication)
  • diarrhea, vomiting, or abdominal cramps
  • known or suspected communicable disease
  • excessive coughing
  • Sore throat
  • generally is not well enough to take part in the activities

Try not to wear perfume, or cologne, or use soaps with strong scent. The perfume in these products can trigger an asthma attack or other allergic reaction.

Dismissal of Students

Children in Nursery and Pre-K & K will only be dismissed at the end of the day to person(s) authorized by the parent. Early Grammar students need to be picked up by a parent unless other arrangements have been made. All other students will be dismissed from their class to meet with their parents in the front lobby.

Bad Weather

We will cancel classes when needed due to bad weather. A Facebook post (email or text for those without Facebook) will be sent out 1 hour prior to the start of co-op on the day in question. If classes are canceled for any other reason, an email will be sent as well as the Facebook post. We reserves the right to cancel classes for any reason (we had to cancel due to having too many families out sick in the past). If you have questions, please contact a member of the leadership team. Do not call the church.


“ … whatever you do, do all to the glory of God.” I Corinthians 10:31

Music played or presented at Smithville Scholars activities should be honoring to our Lord Jesus Christ. In a spirit of deference, consideration must always be given when determining proper type of music and volume. The Leadership Team reserves the right to limit or restrict the use of music if they deem so necessary.

Electronic devices

All cell phones, ipods, ipads, mp3 players etc. are not to be used during class by students unless asked to by the teacher. Teachers reserve the right to collect all electronics at the beginning of class and return them after class. Please don’t allow your child to bring these type of things if they are a distraction. Teachers/parent aids may remove the device until end of co-op day if becomes necessary. If in doubt, check with the director.


We welcome visitors who are considering joining the Co-op. Please notify the Director if you are bringing a visitor so that a tour can be scheduled. Students visiting may “shadow” another student during your visit.

When it is mandatory to bring a student age visitor, it is important to be courteous to teachers and students. Please give as much notice as possible when a visitor is coming. All visitors need to be registered at the front desk and receive a nametag.

**At times it will be necessary to re-evaluate certain areas of the co-op. In light of this, and to serve you better, we reserve the right to change guidelines without notice. Participants will be informed of changes.

Statement of Faith

We Believe:

  • That the Bible is the inspired and infallible Word of God.
    (II Tim. 3:15-16, II Peter 1:21)
  • That God has existed from all eternity in three persons: God the Father, God the Son (Jesus Christ) and God the Holy Spirit.
    (John 1:1-4; 10:30; 15:26, 27; 17:21 Gen. 1:26)
  • In the deity of Jesus Christ:
  • In His virgin birth, (Is. 7:14; Matt. 1:22, 23; Like 1:26-35)
  • In His sinless life, (Heb. 4:14,15; 2 Cor. 5:21; 1 Pt. 2:22)
  • In His miracles, (John 1:50, 51; 2:11; 20:30, 31; 21:25)
  • In His substitutionary and atoning death, (Is. 53:4-6, Eph. 1:7, Heb. 2:9, 2Cor 5:21)
  • In His resurrection, (John 11:25, 26; 20:17-20; I Cor. 15:4; Luke 24:39-40)
  • In His ascension to the right hand of the Father (Mark 16:19; John 20:17, Eph. 4:8)
  • In His personal return in power and glory.(Acts 1:11; Rev. 22:12, 20)
  • That no one should add or subtract from the Biblical account of the gospel (Gal. 1:1-9)
  • That children are a gift of the Lord (Ps. 127:3); And are entrusted to parents (Gen. 1:27, 28;2:21-25); To provide them with Godly training and discipline. (Deut. 6:1-9, Eph.6:4 Prov.13:17)