Whether you’re new to homeschooling, feeling a little underqualified, or just getting a bit overwhelmed with other work, many parents wonder if they can hire someone else to teach their children. You need to understand the relevant laws and where to find qualified tutors for homeschool kids. Luckily, it’s a common practice to have another person take over some or all of your child’s schooling. There are enough things for parents to worry about, but ensuring your kids get a great, high-quality education shouldn’t be one of those things. I’ll walk you through everything you need to know to hire the right person for the job so you can get back to work, or at least have a break when you need it.
Can I hire someone to homeschool my child? You can hire someone to homeschool your child. This includes foster and adopted children. For legal reasons, in many states, these teachers are called tutors, and you are still responsible for overseeing your child’s education. Still, it’s perfectly acceptable to have someone else do some of the actual teaching.
Is Hiring a Teacher for a Homeschooler Allowed
Getting a teacher for your homeschooler isn’t as difficult as you might think. However, it’s not the right answer for every situation. Moreover, some states have specific rules about who can or cannot teach a child. Finally, some situations might feel like you are ‘hiring a teacher’ when that’s not actually the case.
Let’s take a quick look at situations where you can get help with education, and it’s not the same as hiring a full-time teacher. Since parents and legal guardians are responsible for overseeing homeschool education, it’s vital to understand the difference. For example, when you get a tutor for one specific subject, such as piano or science, that is generally just a standard tutor agreement. These tutors are not the same as a full-time homeschool teacher. They are more like a teacher’s aide.
What about a more complex arrangement? Perhaps you and your spouse share the teaching. If you are home Monday and Tuesday, while your spouse is home Thursday and Friday, there are a couple of ways to handle that other school day. A student has to be in school a hundred and eighty days a year unless your district specifies otherwise, but they don’t have to be in school on Wednesday. As long as both you and your spouse are the legal parents of the child in question and you both have at least a High School Diploma or equivalents like the GED or HiSet, then it’s allowed.
You could hire a sitter, and either school on the weekend, or take a few extra weeks to complete your school year to accommodate your schedule. Similarly, if a family member or friend watches your kids two days a week, but you give the assignments and grade the papers, you are still handling their education. In that case, your babysitter is not the teacher, they are there less than half of the time, and you are still handling your part of the obligation.
Alternately, if the content of their classes is more of an issue than your time, then you might want to consider an online homeschool. There are many groups and schools that can help a struggling parent determine what is age and grade-appropriate for their child. There’s no reason to guess when you can ask or look it up online. The downside to online homeschool programs is that they can be a bit inflexible.
Can a Friend or Family Member be the Homeschool Teacher
This is a more complicated issue than having occasional help. If your friend or a family member has legal guardian status, they have the same rights and obligations as a parent. Hence, you handle the issue by doing the relevant paperwork to give them that permission if everyone involved is comfortable with that solution. Likewise, you can probably have another person do the teaching if they are certified as a teacher. However, the laws vary by state. To look up all the laws by state, click here.
Unfortunately, simply tasking a babysitter with making sure they assign and grade school work is a less likely route. Many states forbid non-parents (and guardians) from teaching children unless they are teachers. You will have to check your local laws if you’re looking for a fully hands-off approach.
Some states are more explicit and have greater requirements than others. According to the Home School Legal Defense Association, Michigan specifically requires children to be homeschooled either under a non-public school, homeschool, or both. Meanwhile, they point out that it is the parent’s obligation to file all the pertinent paperwork in New York. However, there’s no particular law there forbidding someone else from doing the actual teaching.
Benefits of Integrating a Homeschool Teacher
Independent study homeschool is a fantastic way to make sure your child gets the most out of their homeschool experience. Fortunately, there’s no reason why you shouldn’t also integrate a tutor as well. Using all the resources at your disposal, you can give your homeschool student a much better education. Take advantage of homeschool groups, online resources, physical books, online resources, and a tutor. This holistic approach will make sure your kids have the help they need to learn at home.
A classic example of integrating tutors and independent study is a child who learns a new language or takes art with a private teacher. While you get some time away from the teaching environment, your little scholar is still learning. Offering subjects that you don’t personally teach gives your kids an edge in school that public school students don’t often have access to in their classrooms. Additionally, it gives them another perspective and another dedicated educator to ask questions or bounce ideas off of as needed.
If your child is shy, socially awkward, or developmentally unique, then an hour or two one day a week may be enough for them, and more could be overwhelming. Alternately, a child who is having special difficulty in one or more subjects, especially those you find it problematic to teach, could benefit from a daily tutor who helps four or five times a week with spelling and math (or whatever topics your children need most). Likewise, an advanced student might need tutors just to keep them busy enough with schoolwork to fulfill their time requirements.
Parents engage homeschool teachers for numerous reasons as well. Sometimes it is for a subject they aren’t familiar with or one they have trouble explaining. Other parents may need a teacher in the home one or two days a week to go to work. Whatever the reason, finding a superb tutor for your homeschool child is more delightful than daunting.
Take a look at your schedule and figure out the best time to add a tutor to the routine. Remember, this person should help your child learn, but they are also there to help take some of the pressure off of you. BONUS: You can get a letter of recommendation from the tutor you hire for your child to use for college admissions.
Where Can You Get a Teacher for Your Homeschooler
Finding qualified teachers can be a little difficult after the school year has started, but it’s still an achievable goal. There are plenty of cost-effective and reliable places to find a tutor for your homeschool student. If you are working from home and comply with your local laws, there’s no reason why you shouldn’t have an outside educator assist you. Here are four simple places to start your search.
- Upwork is a virtual job posting site where qualified professionals can respond to job posts. I recommend starting here to find a virtual teacher.
- Hey, Tutor is a site geared specifically toward finding teachers and tutors for students.
- Care.com has a whole section of their site dedicated to homeschool teachers and tutors. While most of this site is dedicated to finding great nannies and babysitters, many people don’t know they also have this option available.
- Place a local ad on job boards, or even in newspapers in your area. You will often find retired teachers or other qualified professionals willing to work with your homeschooled student part or full time. By engaging someone local, you may have non-virtual options like in-home lessons. However, you should always do a basic background check on people before you allow them in your home. Doing this will prevent many potential problems.
What Qualifications Do Homeschool Teachers Need
You may have made the assumption, as many people do, that a homeschool teacher needs a teaching degree, but that’s not correct. In fact, teaching a child at home doesn’t have any requirements in some states. Meanwhile, in about eleven states, such as Tennessee, parents or guardians, need to have a high school diploma or equivalent.
Although you may want to hire a person with a higher education degree or teaching specific certifications, it’s not a requirement. This often leads people to question whether homeschool students are getting a quality education. It may surprise you to learn that the quality is even better than at most public schools. Homeschool is more immersive, the student gets more personalized help with subjects that trouble them, and they learn self-discipline form an early age. In short, it’s the dedication of the teacher, rather than a specific higher educational benchmark that gives your homeschooler the incredible tailored education most students lack.
A homeschool teacher can reduce the stress for both students and parents. Whether this is one or more full-time teachers or merely a once a week helper who works with your child on one subject, the goal is to use them as the incredible resource they are. Moreover, they can help your child get the best possible education.
Make sure you double-check any state or local laws before you hire a homeschool teacher. Some areas may require fewer days in class or more. Plus, you may discover that homeschool teachers’ requirements aren’t as strict as you expected them to be where you live.
Having a good homeschool teacher, for an hour, a week, or a year, makes a huge impact on students learning success. If you’re considering whether or not to find a tutor for your home learner, I recommend giving it a try.