What You Need to Know When Having Someone Else Homeschool Your Child or Homeschooling Someone Else’s Child
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As we look toward back to school, you may be thinking about options. You may be considering homeschooling but are not sure you can do it all yourself—either because you are not confident in that role, you are working part or full time, your children drive you bananas, or for any other reason. Make sure you check with your state’s homeschool regulations to determine whether you are, indeed, qualified to homeschool in your state. Also, there are plenty of resources on how to homeschool if you are working and/or a single parent. Regardless, you may still want to know whether someone else can homeschool your child either part-time or full-time and how that could work. You need information, and we can help!
Who Can Homeschool My Child?
Homeschooling is legal in all 50 states, but states have different regulations regarding who can homeschool a child. Be sure to check with your state homeschooling laws, but there are essentially three scenarios that involve someone other than you, as the parent, homeschooling your child:
- The person providing instruction is a relative, such as a grandparent, older sibling, or other relatives who will be educating your child at no charge.
- The person is someone unrelated to the family who will be receiving compensation.
- You are homeschooling with other families through a co-op or similar structure.
Let’s explore each of these in turn!
Homeschooling by a Relative
Who is the actual “homeschooler”?
Families have long turned to relatives to help instruct their children. There are no laws against doing this. But relatives without guardianship may not be legally responsible for the education. The parents should still do the paperwork and testing according to their state’s homeschool laws and requirements. Though the instructor can help with the record-keeping, the parents should be the ones to store the records should they be needed later on for college admissions or career entrance.
What if the relative lives in another state?
And what if we’re not talking about a couple of weeks, but maybe months or years? Parents should then talk to a family lawyer about how to give the relative temporary guardianship, not only for education but also for health issues that may arise. Decide who will be allowed to make each type of decision. The child would then be homeschooled under the laws of the relative’s residence. If it is just for a short visit, the child would remain homeschooling under their home state laws.
Homeschooling by a Hired Instructor
Who can I hire to homeschool my child?
You can ask other homeschool parents if they are interested, but they may have all to do to homeschool their own children. You can also seek out retired teachers or teachers who no longer want to be in the classroom (for whatever reason) or place an ad to hire a recent education graduate. You can also access tutoring services in person or online. You will likely pay more for tutoring centers than private or online tutors, but you may prefer a tutoring center with a range of experts in a variety of fields, depending on the needs of your family.
Homeschooling with Other Families
Can local homeschoolers help?
Homeschoolers before you have figured out that sometimes instruction can be better if they collaborate with each other. Many homeschool families are involved in homeschool co-ops where instruction of the children is shared. A parent who is especially interested or has some expertise in a particular subject area, science for example, will be in charge of the instruction of that subject—science—for several families. Another parent will focus on math, and so on. Homeschool co-op members also sometimes pool their resources or contribute finances in order to obtain materials or hire outside instructors. Check into local homeschool support groups to find out your options for sharing instruction with other families.
Can I Homeschool Someone Else’s Child?
What if I homeschool and a friend or neighbor asks me to homeschool their kids in addition to my own?
There are reports of parents suing their friendly neighborhood homeschool mom for not educating the kids as the parents had expected, so it is important to have an iron-clad contract between you and the other family. Even if you are a credentialed teacher, you are not a school employee, so you have no liability coverage in this case. The contract needs to clearly state your teaching experience, the methods you intend to use, and how you will report progress to the parents. It must state that they may withdraw the children at any time if they are dissatisfied, but they may not sue you for any reason other than criminal behavior.
How else can I protect myself when homeschooling someone else’s child?
Talk to your homeowners or renters insurance provider to protect you should a child be injured while under your roof in a paying situation. Also, as with the relatives, you should insist that the parents be the homeschool of record legally. They are just “outsourcing” some of the education to you but will be responsible for meeting all state requirements themselves, including the storage of records indefinitely. You do not want to be stuck with that job!
Can I set up a tutoring business to work with homeschoolers?
Yes, often homeschoolers make up a portion of a professional tutor’s client list. Tutoring allows you to help kids with their schooling without the responsibilities of coming up with the original curriculum. You may, however, be working mostly on areas that are challenges for your students, so make sure you have a calm, patient demeanor and know of strategies to help struggling learners across subject areas.
Here is a resource for you if you decide to go in that direction:
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Can I set up a sort of “small school” for homeschoolers?
The intent is to have a small business as a for-profit or non-profit. You have to be careful, so check with your nearest chamber of commerce to find out your local rules about doing this from your home or from a storefront. When you set up such a resource, you may be starting a “private school,” and so would fall under the private school laws of your state. These can be quite convoluted, and far too much work should your intent be to only help a few families. Rather, consider letting the other families be the homeschools of record who are just outsourcing some instruction with you.
How much should I charge to homeschool someone else’s child?
That depends on a number of factors, like your educational degree level, your teaching experience, your location, and the subject area(s) involved. You can charge as little as $20 or $30 per hour at a minimum to as high as $85. You might also adjust your charge based on how much time you need to put into lesson planning and any costs for curriculum, books, games, and other materials. Also, you will want to include travel costs if you are homeschooling in the child’s home.
The most important advice is to check with state laws (and maybe even a local education attorney) prior to making alternative homeschooling instructional arrangements. Some states suggest or even require (in some cases) alignment with umbrella schools, where instruction by parents is guided by certified teachers. Others have limits as to the percentage of instructional time that can be offered by someone outside of the home. You need to be aware of these state differences and be sure that you are not accidentally breaking homeschool laws or unintentionally starting an illegal private school.
Whatever path you choose, remember that parents should be the homeschool guides of record, and then they can outsource some part of their children’s instruction to others. Parents need to keep any necessary records, make reports, and ensure that standardized tests, if required, are taken. However, there are many ways to get help from relatives, hired instructors and tutors, and other homeschooling families in the actual instruction of your children. Find what is best to make homeschooling work for your family!
Do you know of other shared instructional arrangements by homeschoolers? Have other questions? Post your comments and questions below.