If this spring has taught us anything, it’s that nothing can be taken for granted. While this has affected everyone in numerous ways, one of the most challenging pieces for many families has been the closure of schools across the country and many parents finding themselves to be substitute teachers this spring, or helping their children adapt to distance learning.
In the last few weeks, we have received so many calls from parents who are pursuing a homeschooling option for the fall due to concerns about schools being closed for a large portion of the academic year, or who have taken the time to observe how their children learn best during this ‘mandatory homeschooling’ period and are excited to expand their kid’s learning into a setting more conducive to their personal growth and their family’s well-being.
One of our core values at Adventure Nannies is “we expect the unexpected” and while we did not anticipate a worldwide pandemic, we have been preparing to support many families this summer as they choose to pursue a private educator, or homeschool teacher, over the uncertainty of sending their children back to school in the fall (if that option is available). To that end, we’ve created a little guide for families who are considering homeschooling with a teacher or bringing a private educator into their homes this fall for the first time, based on what we’ve learned from supporting other families in their private educator searches for the past 6 years.
What are the benefits of homeschooling?
Every family has different priorities and values that make homeschooling a great choice for the family. Some of the main reasons we’ve heard lately from families who are planning to homeschool with a private educator next year include:
- Having a better understanding of their child’s learning styles after helping them with school or observing them through virtual learning over the past months
- Confidence that their child will have an uninterrupted academic year, regardless of future shutdowns and shelter-in-place orders
- A safer, more secured environment with less danger of potential infection as COVID-19 continues to unfold
- A more child-focused learning environment with coursework and activities specifically designed for your child’s interests, skills and areas to develop
What are the homeschooling laws in my state?
Homeschooling laws vary wildly from state to state, and with school closures lasting through the end of the school year, we imagine many of these laws will be changed or relaxed for the 2020-2021 academic year. Here are some of our favorite resources to determine what the requirements and expectations are for homeschooling in your area:
- Homeschool Legal Defense Association
- Coalition For Responsible Home Education
- Responsible Homeschooling
- Homeschooling Regulations By State
- The Laws Governing Homeschooling
- Homeschool Facts
- Education And Homeschool Laws
- Homeschool Laws
Does a private educator need to be an accredited teacher in my state?
The laws for each state vary greatly, with some states having no requirements for a third-party homeschooling teacher. Other states do require an additional teacher or tutor working in your household to be accredited within your state. Due to the current pandemic, we are currently working with families on statewide searches to ensure candidates have the necessary requirements to legally teach within your state. We recommend that families do preliminary research on the legalities within their state before beginning to search for a homeschool teacher.
Depending on your family’s plans for the following school year, many families are opting to utilize remote learning content being provided by their children’s schools and hiring a tutor/nanny or tutor/household manager to assist in making sure their children are completing lessons and assignments and retaining the knowledge from various online coursework. These tutors can also develop and plan supplemental activities to create real-world scenarios and opportunities to learn around school-provided curriculums.
Since my kids will have so much direct attention, I don’t think they’ll need to be ‘in school’ for 40 hours a week – should I hire a part-time private educator?
Many families find that their kids are able to learn and accomplish much more in a 3-5 hour learning day at home as they would in a full day of school! However, for your educator’s time to be used effectively and for them to be able to devote their full attention during the school day to your children, it is important to build time into the educator’s schedule for lesson planning, research, reviewing work and grading as needed, and preparation and clean-up each day before and after ‘school hours’. Some families choose to structure the day in chunks – morning lesson time, snack and meal times together, and afternoon activity, field trip, or socialization time with other homeschooled children, neighbors and/or friends.
Will the private educator live in my home?
This option is completely up to you! While live-out positions are generally more sought after, due to the COVID-19 crisis, many families and educators are considering the possibility of having the educator temporarily live with them. This will allow educators to continue working if states and counties begin a second wave of ‘shelter in place’ laws throughout the next school year.
If you are considering having your private educator live with your family, we recommend having conversations with them during the interview process, and frequently after hired, on setting healthy boundaries within your home and clearly delineating between work time and off time.
How much do private educators get paid?
Private educators generally expect to make anywhere from $60,000 to $120,000 per year, depending on their level of experience, any special skills or qualifications, and the cost of living in your area. The private educator will be an employee of your family and will be paid an hourly rate with a set number of ‘guaranteed hours’ per week to account for their lesson prep time and ensure they will have a consistent income throughout the length of their contract.
Can I hire someone to work as a teacher and a nanny?
Yes! About half of the families we work with are looking for someone who will provide education alongside engaging, mindful care of their children. While many private educators are strictly teachers and do not possess nannying experience, or an interest in working as a nanny, many candidates have both teaching and nannying experience and welcome the opportunity to do both (particularly as it lends to a more full-time role.) Private educators who also take on nannying duties can be expected to prepare meals for your children during the school day, take them to other activities, tidy up while in your home, and perform simple errands for your household as time allows.
Can I hire a private educator through my company?
Many of our families are entrepreneurs and business owners and often have the desire to add a private educator onto their company’s payroll. However, as an employee working with your family in your home, private educators are considered domestic employees on a federal level and must be classified and paid as such. Many families are still able to add domestic employee’s to their company’s health plans and other benefits programs without employing the educator directly through the company, while some opt to provide a reimbursable health care stipend utilizing a QSEHRA.
If this is your first time legally hiring a domestic employee, we strongly recommend reaching out to HomeWork Solutions, the leaders in payroll, and compliance for private employees. Their team will be able to provide expert advice on how to hire, pay, and set up benefits for a new domestic employee.
We want to follow a particular educational model – what can we do to ensure the educator we hire will teach from this viewpoint?
There are many different ways children learn and retain new information, and there are many modalities of education that instruct with these learning styles in mind. Knowing the various educational types that work connect best with your child’s unique abilities will help you when hiring a private educator. It is important to find someone who not only believes in your family’s particular philosophy but also has an understanding of the ins and outs, as well as a commitment to furthering their own education. It will be important to ask scenario-based questions that will reflect each educator’s decision-making process to see if it aligns well with your chosen modality.
Many of the families we work with have crafted their own approach to educational philosophies, using a combination of approaches from Montessori, Waldorf, Reggio Emilio, Steiner, child-led learning, unschooling, with other parenting approaches like positive discipline, love and logic, and RIE or respectful care mixed in. In these instances, we recommend that families seek a candidate who is philosophically aligned, rather than someone who is already an expert in one particular field. This ensures that the educator you hire will be flexible to adapt and grow with your family’s needs and preferences, rather than being committed to one regimented approach that may not be a long-term fit for your family. This also opens up the candidate pool significantly and will allow your family to review and meet more candidates with an array of backgrounds and skills.
When you officially hire someone, it may be important to research (or have your educator research) further training, workshops, conferences, and seminars that you will provide and require them to take, similar to a school providing professional development on new approaches throughout the school year. This will strengthen their skills and ensure that they are continually aligning with the approach you have selected for your children.
Of course, a philosophy is only as good as its application. We encourage educators and parents to keep the conversation open on a rolling basis, with many check-ins and reflection points regarding how well the approach is working over time. Adaptability and communication will be the two key factors in seeing your partnership thrive over the year.
If you are interested in learning more about hiring a private educator to homeschool, please fill out our Family Application for private educator searches to get started!
We’d love to hear your thoughts, do you have any advice for educators navigating this time?
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