What is Cornerstone Cooperative?
We are a volunteer-run homeschooling group that offers a tiered membership structure to the greater East Tennessee homeschool community. We provide opportunities for homeschoolers in our area to participate in a way that best fits their family. The Social Membership provides opportunity for participation in activities and events, as well as online support and connection, and the Full Membership provides all of the above as well as a weekly in-person co-op day to participate in classes in Maryville, TN as well as Seymour, TN. Cornerstone is designed to enrich your homeschooling, not replace your homeschooling at home.
What is a "co-op"?
Co-op is short for cooperative, where people work together towards a common goal. Cornerstone parents pool our talents and time to provide an opportunity for our children to be with peers, whether it be on co-op meeting days or at other events scheduled throughout the year. We work together to emphasize fellowship, discipleship, and support within our community. On co-op meeting days, every family is expected to participate each week and fill a role within our cooperative, whether it’s teaching or helping out in the nursery, security and hall monitoring, assisting with morning set-up, or clean-up at the end of the day. We strive to place a parent in an area based on their gifts and/or children’s needs; however, there are no guarantees, and we ask each parent to have a servant’s heart as we work together for the greater good of our community.
Where, what time, and which day does Cornerstone meet?
Cornerstone Cooperative meets in Maryville, TN as well as Seymour, TN. Classes are held weekly on Mondays (Seymour) and Fridays (Maryville). Our schedule is as follows:
Chapel - 9:30am to 9:55am
First Hour - 10am to 10:50am
Second Hour - 11:00am to 11:50am
Lunch - 11:50 to 12:30pm
Third Hour - 12:30pm to 1:20pm
Fourth Hour - 1:30pm to 2:20pm
Is there a time we could observe a class to get a feel for how the group works?
Visitors are more than welcome to come and observe to see if Cornerstone is the right fit for your family. We have a visitor form you can fill out HERE
What Does Cornerstone Cooperative Offer for Families?
Fall Kick-Off and End of the Year Celebration
Weekly Co-Op days
Strong academic classes as well as fun enrichment classes
Field trips (oftentimes at a discounted group rate)
Mom’s Night Out (any member can host one at their home or restaurant)
Academic events (some ideas listed below)
Spring Used Curriculum sale
Homeschooling workshops and seminars
New Member Brunch
Dances, including Spring and Winter Formals for high schoolers
Coordinated events for middle schoolers
Coordinated events for high schoolers
Membership cards to use for area discounts
Online forum and facebook group for support and encouragement
New homeschooler support
Social events for the whole family - picnics, holiday parties, etc..
Free listing on the CCC website for any businesses that are owned by homeschool families.
Opportunity to participate in assisting other homeschool families with temporary homeschooling help, physical needs, and prayer support.
Homeschool Legal Defense Association (HSLDA) discount
What is Chapel all about?
Because we desire to give God our first fruits in all we do, we meet together to worship, pray, and share a devotional before we begin our class day. This is also where we will share any necessary announcements for the day. Please note that Chapel is an integral part of our community and our co-op days. Chapel is not optional, and we request that families make every effort to be present and seated by 9:30am so that our worship and devotion time is uninterrupted and no important announcements are missed.
We are thrilled to be led in worship by many of our students. If your child sings or plays an instrument and would like to use these talents to worship the Lord and bless our community, please let us know.
What type of classes are offered at Cornerstone?
We are pleased to offer classes for every age range through graduation! Our offerings include electives as well as academic classes to supplement already-established homeschool curricula that our members use at home, and they vary each semester based on demand and what parents want to teach. In general, we seek to offer a wide variety of academic and enrichment classes to fit the needs and desires of our membership. Class offerings for each semester will come out before registration in January and July. Some classes are year long and some only run one semester at a time, but no class is guaranteed to repeat every semester as needs are always changing. To see a current schedule of this semester’s classes, click HERE
What are the eligibility requirements for co-op meeting days?
Families must have at least one child who is at least five years old when classes begin. Full participation is required. A parent must be able to remain on campus for the duration of the co-op day on Fridays and serve in some capacity. All students must also remain on campus for the duration of the co-op day.
What will be required of me?
Cornerstone Cooperative is a working co-op where we all work together to make it run smoothly. It is our prayer that we all will have a servant attitude and view this co-op as an opportunity to serve one another. As a parent, you are not required to teach; however, we are a co-operative, so we do ask our parents to volunteer and serve in some capacity. Our parents teach classes, assist in classes, help plan social activities, and assist with set up and clean up, etc. Many hands make light work, so the load is not overwhelming. And the regular fellowship with one another is a blessing!
Do I have to stay with my child at the co-op, or can I leave?
Cornerstone’s co-op meeting days are not meant to be a school or a drop-off. One parent or legal guardian is expected to stay on site for the day, and after participating in Chapel with their child(ren), will either teach, assist, or fill a service position 3 out of 4 hours of classes. Our goal is that each parent will get one hour off each day to either rest, have some alone time, or fellowship with other parents who are off that same hour.
What is the Dress Code?
The dress code is intended as a guideline in assisting children in developing a Christ-centered attitude toward their outer appearance and a maturing view toward the appropriateness of certain attire for certain occasions. It is not intended to be an exhaustive listing of acceptable and unacceptable attire. It is not meant to take the place of parental rules, which may be more or less restrictive than those set down here. Nor is it meant to relieve the student of the opportunity to grow in personal responsibility for his or her own appearance.
We need parental help to maintain modest dress not only during co-op days, but also at all Cornerstone events. Please read and address these standards with your child. Violations may require parents to take the child home to find appropriate clothing.
The Cornerstone Board reserves the right to make the final decisions concerning compliance with the standards.
Our desire is that the students would dress in such a way as to please the Lord. Our outward appearance is to be a constant reminder to those around us of our desire to honor God.
General Standards for ALL Co-Op members:
- You should dress and groom yourself in a manner that is neat, modest, and respectful to yourself and the other members of the co-op.
- You should not wear any clothing that display messages inconsistent with the Christian lifestyle.
- All clothes must be free of questionable language and phrases, and include no derogatory statements about people groups.
- Garments that are semi-transparent or “see-through”, are not permitted.
- Clothing that is “shredded” to look ripped or torn should not expose skin. Tears or rips higher than 2” above the knee must be worn with a layer of fabric underneath so that no skin shows.
- Low necklines showing cleavage, bare shoulders/back/midriffs, or tops that show bare midsection are not permitted.
- Undergarments should not be seen at any time.
- Leggings that are skintight, particularly for teen ladies and moms are not permitted unless a dress or shirt completely covers your backside.
- No dresses (without leggings) or shorts should be worn that are not above 2" above the knee.
What if I go out of town or have an appointment?
Obviously, the co-op runs most smoothly when everyone is present, so we need to schedule other activities around co-op day whenever possible. However, since some absences cannot be avoided, the following policy should be followed: Find a sub for each of your service positions from the list of Floats, and then share your sub names with the Service Coordinator so that she is aware of who is filling in. We only allow 3 excused absences per semester. If you know there will be more than 3 missed days for the semester, please be courteous and wait to join until you can commit to the full 12 weeks.
How are teachers selected?
Most teachers at Cornerstone are parents of children attending co-op. Occasionally, an outside teacher, generally known by one of the families, may teach a class or multiple classes based on particular background or ability. We at Cornerstone want to honor the gifting that each of us possesses and not put anyone into a teaching position if he or she is not comfortable or is unable to teach in this season of life. If you love teaching, though, and want to be a part of that element of our co-op, please email [email protected] or fill out the class submission link HERE. You can also have another parent co-teach with you; this will be noted in the class submission.
How big are classes?
Typically, classes are maxed at the following:
Middle & High School: 15
When do I register for classes?
Class registration typically takes place during the months of June and December, and registration occurs through the website only, so you must have online access in order to complete the registration process. The exact day and time for registration will be sent out through emails and listed on the website calendar. It is your responsibility to ask any questions before registration opens. Classes usually fill up quickly, so please be aware that registration occurs on a first-come, first-served basis. Semester fees must be paid by the deadline to register.
Can I choose just one or two classes for my child to attend, or do I need to register for all four hours?
Due to parental participation and our commitment to quality classes, we require that you attend all 4 hours of co-op. There is a lot of time and energy that goes on behind the scenes of co-op to ensure its success and we value the community that comes with a full day commitment. For middle and high school ages, you may choose to take advantage of the Study Hall if your child needs that for as many or as few classes as you like. Each hour of Study Hall will have a parent present.
Should I register my unborn baby?
Yes. Please remember to register all your kids, including babies who will be born and who will need a slot in the nursery during the co-op year.
What do you do to ensure safety during co-op meeting days?
We make every effort to ensure that our campuses are safe on co-op days. We utilize a group of primarily dads (but also moms) who serve on our security team. These parents watch over the campus and alert the leadership team of any concerns. All parents and students of Cornerstone Co-Op will be issued ID badges with name and grade. These should be worn during co-op meeting days. Shoud you lose your lanyard, you will be charged $5 for a new one. Most parents keep theirs in their vehicle so they do not get lost during the week.
Once a semester we will also conduct a fire drill to ensure each member knows what to do in the event of an emergency.
Do you accommodate children with special needs or learning differences?
The terms “special needs” and “learning differences” cover a vast array of diagnoses. Children with special needs may have mild learning differences or profound mental challenges; food allergies or terminal illness; developmental delays that catch up quickly or remain entrenched; occasional panic attacks or serious psychiatric problems. Because most parent-teachers are not equipped to teach or maintain discipline in classrooms containing children with severe learning differences, please prayerfully consider if Cornerstone is right for your special needs child before enrolling. Depending on the parent, teacher, and the Leadership Team’s assessment of a child’s ability to participate in classes with minimal disruption to the learning process, it may be necessary for the parent of any child to be assigned as a helper or teacher in some or all of their child’s classes.
My child is very interested in one of the High School classes but is not yet in High School, can he/she sign up?
We generally require students to be in the age/grade range listed for a particular class for many reasons. Most of our classes are limited by the space of the rooms and by the abilities of the teachers, who may be equipped to handle only a certain age-range with an expected maturity level. Furthermore, for many courses, particularly those offering credit hours to high school students, separation by age is necessary based on the skills required; after all, we want upper-level courses to be challenging for high school students trying to earn high school credit. As a result, sometimes the skills required for a class outweigh the student’s interest in that class.
Additionally, when a student is far advanced in academics but young in age and maturity, he may not “fit” in most high school courses. An older student can effectively sit in on a class meant for a slightly younger age group, but a younger student may not work out as well in a class intended for older students. While accelerated learners may have an advantage in academics, they usually have not achieved the maturity to match. Even though they can handle Algebra and read high school literature, they would not be able to discuss many of the broader topics that the other high school students are interested in discussing and studying.
Furthermore, although accelerated learners may be intellectual equals of the teens, they are not equipped emotionally, physically, or in any other way to participate in the teens’ social events, and one of the benefits of being a member of Cornerstone is making friends and developing a social life. Fellow classmates, who would be so much older and more mature, may not accept them as equals or friends. In other words, their emotional/philosophical level is still in elementary school, where their age places them. For their self-esteem alone, it would be better for them to be with peers closer to their age.
What are the fees for classes and how will I pay for them?
Class payments are to be made directly to the teachers no later than 1 week before classes start unless otherwise specified by a teacher. Your child’s teacher will communicate how he or she prefers payment.
Can I get a refund on classes once I’ve registered?
Your class fee is generally non-refundable once you have taken a spot in our classes, so please carefully consider your decision before registering for a class. As homeschoolers, we enjoy a great deal of flexibility with our students’ educational plans, and we understand that situations in life often change. However, please understand that Cornerstone, as well as each instructor, invests a great deal of time and resources into planning for the co-op and classes. When you enroll in a class, you are making a financial commitment to Cornerstone, and that commitment is binding. The instructors at Cornerstone rely on those commitments to budget and purchase class materials, etc.; additionally, signing up for a class and then deciding not to enroll in it may prevent others who truly want that class from being able to participate. Therefore, we ask that you make careful consideration of all your family’s and student’s commitments, classes elsewhere, sports, etc., as you sign up for classes.
Are background checks required for teachers and parents?
Yes, all teachers have a background check, and the main parent/legal guardian of students attending Cornerstone must also have a background check. Because a parent or guardian is required to stay on campus during Cornerstone hours, we want to do all that we can to ensure the safety of each child and family who is on campus.
What do families do with younger children during co-op meeting days?
We encourage parents of young children to put them in age appropriate classes. If participation isn't age-appropriate or would cause a disruption to the class, then we ask that the child stay in the nursery where their needs can be met in fun and age-appropriate ways. Generally, the nursery is intended for children 2 and under and preschool classes are for ages 3-5.
What does the membership fee pay for?
Your membership fee covers insurance fees and website fees as Cornerstone is billed per family by the administrator of the site. Additionally, your membership fee covers expenses that may be incurred for activities, such as parties and graduation, as well as administrative costs such as office supplies, whiteboards, bank fees, etc. We also pay a facility usage fee to our host church as they generously open their doors to us each week, provide us with space, allow us to use their sanctuary for Chapel, and host various events. We are so grateful to the church for making this beautiful facility available to us!
Is there a co-op orientation?
Yes, each fall we will have a co-op orientation at our host church. Watch for email updates as to where and when these will occur. Attendance is mandatory for orientation as it guarantees that all participants are aware of the facility guidelines and rules set forth by Cornerstone. It is also an opportunity for students and teachers to meet and become acquainted with the layout of the facility.