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Earthmerlin

Getting Started as Co-Op Teacher

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I'm looking to break out of public education and become a freelance educator. I'd like to offer my (paid) services as a teacher in a variety of ways, one of which is through (possibly) the home school population. However, I've never done so. Any general leads on doing so? Honestly, the only contact I have with home schoolers is virtually, through this site (I after school my daughter, which is why I visit this site--to get ideas for her). Any veteran teachers with advice to a newbie? Many thanks in advance!

Edited by Earthmerlin

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I would contact your local co-ops to let them know what classes you could teach for them. This is the time to do so as planning for the fall semester is underway. Schedules will be coming out in a couple of months to,sign up for classes.

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We have one co-op where teachers design their classes and receive pay. I would ask around your area to find if there is one.  I have no info as we have never used it. We have always co-oped with other homeschool parents for no pay. We pay fees to pay facility fees and supply fees for a whole day of co-op, but work with other homeschool parents who teach in their areas of interest and expertise. 

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You are looking for more of a hybrid school or a place that offers classes for homeschool students. Co-ops don't usually pay the teachers. 

 

I am a former teacher who now teaches homeschool students. I started with a group of 13 in my home. I have taught classes out of my home for 10 years. I have also taught at the local art center where I started a homeschool enrichment program (and was later recognized by the county for such efforts as it 'saved' the center in terms of staying open), a local church, an afterschool program, and a hybrid program.

 

Currently, I teach at a hybrid school two days a week and once a week in my home or at a local coffee shop. I tutor a lot -7 - 10 hours a week on top of my teaching! I spend my summers planning my lessons and writing my curriculum and maintaing my website. My income is greater than if I was teaching full-time - but - I have to pay for health insurance since both dh and I are self-employed so that is a factor now.

 

My advice is to build a reputation. You after-school your daughter so maybe start a bookclub  or nature club  or STEAM classes for girls her age. Invite her friends to join and then find homeschool kids to invite.  People need to know you and trust you. Your reputation is everything when you are first starting out. Go to the community center and see if they offer anything for homeschoolers. Most homeschool families want science or foreign language for elementary age.  Older students need help writing essays and advanced math as well as science. If you want to reach high school students offer required classes for graduation. Can you teach chemistry? Do you have the skills to run a dissection lab? If so, offer those. My science classes always fill up and receive high praise from parents and students who are grateful for the collabortive nature of the class. 

 

If you want to get the top $$, go to the wealthy side of town. I live in the poor side of town, but I work in the wealthy side of town. I can charge double to triple what I would charge in my locale. (not sure if you live in a bigger city) 

 

Give yourself time. I do not know much about the online market, but I would like to offer my classes online soon as I think that is the way to go. 

 

Good luck!

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At our co-op most of the classes are parent led. However, the art class is a hired instructor. She charges $150 per student. So I do think co-ops will pay, assuming it’s a class in demand that the parents either can’t or don’t want to teach. I’d definitely call around. I’d be prepared to have an idea of what your syllabus will look like, homework load, etc.

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You are looking for more of a hybrid school or a place that offers classes for homeschool students. Co-ops don't usually pay the teachers.

 

I am a former teacher who now teaches homeschool students. I started with a group of 13 in my home. I have taught classes out of my home for 10 years. I have also taught at the local art center where I started a homeschool enrichment program (and was later recognized by the county for such efforts as it 'saved' the center in terms of staying open), a local church, an afterschool program, and a hybrid program.

 

Currently, I teach at a hybrid school two days a week and once a week in my home or at a local coffee shop. I tutor a lot -7 - 10 hours a week on top of my teaching! I spend my summers planning my lessons and writing my curriculum and maintaing my website. My income is greater than if I was teaching full-time - but - I have to pay for health insurance since both dh and I are self-employed so that is a factor now.

 

My advice is to build a reputation. You after-school your daughter so maybe start a bookclub or nature club or STEAM classes for girls her age. Invite her friends to join and then find homeschool kids to invite. People need to know you and trust you. Your reputation is everything when you are first starting out. Go to the community center and see if they offer anything for homeschoolers. Most homeschool families want science or foreign language for elementary age. Older students need help writing essays and advanced math as well as science. If you want to reach high school students offer required classes for graduation. Can you teach chemistry? Do you have the skills to run a dissection lab? If so, offer those. My science classes always fill up and receive high praise from parents and students who are grateful for the collabortive nature of the class.

 

If you want to get the top $$, go to the wealthy side of town. I live in the poor side of town, but I work in the wealthy side of town. I can charge double to triple what I would charge in my locale. (not sure if you live in a bigger city)

 

Give yourself time. I do not know much about the online market, but I would like to offer my classes online soon as I think that is the way to go.

 

Good luck!

Thanks! I am a language teacher by profession and so would offer such classes (in addition to math). Is 'hybrid school' the correct term to begin such a search? I have never heard this before! We are fortunate to live in an affluent suburb but I'll keep that in mind when scouting for business in the neighboring city. I have also teamed up with SCORE, which supplies a business mentor and I should get additional ideas as things progress. You know, it's encouraging to hear you're doing better than PS because that's a concern I have. It gives me courage to blaze on through with my own path.

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Thanks! I am a language teacher by profession and so would offer such classes (in addition to math). Is 'hybrid school' the correct term to begin such a search? I have never heard this before! We are fortunate to live in an affluent suburb but I'll keep that in mind when scouting for business in the neighboring city. I have also teamed up with SCORE, which supplies a business mentor and I should get additional ideas as things progress. You know, it's encouraging to hear you're doing better than PS because that's a concern I have. It gives me courage to blaze on through with my own path.

The places in my neck of the woods who hire paid teachers have “co-op†in their name. I have not seen the term hybrid school associated with them, so they probably would not show up in a search.

 

Have you joined your local Facebook homeschool page? In my area, that would be the best place to market yourself as the co-op leaders themselves, or someone associated with their group would see your post and get in touch with you, or give you the contact info.

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Sometimes they are called University model schools. They meet 2-3 days a week for academics and then the kids do the other 2-3 days at home. We don't have one in my area but the bigger cities close to us have several.

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You guys have been a great help so far! All this info. will certainly aid me in my current quest to tap into local sources of income. A heartfelt thanks!

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It can take time to develop a reputation.  The more people you network with and the more classes you teach the more your reputation will grow.  Reputation is everything.  

 

  1. Definitely look into hybrid or university model schools in your area and see if they exist.
  2. You could also start out tutoring one or two children a week.  Tutoring can lead to parents asking for a teacher for a small group.
  3. At least here the homeschooling community is not open to teachers that they do not know and do not have a child homeschooling so it may take time to build trust if your area is the same.  Start small.
  4. Get on any local FB or Yahoo home educator support groups.
  5. Be VERY clear on your expectations in the class and really communicate well with the parents.  Put things in writing and have them sign if you need to.  Communication is key.  Bad feelings can build up over the silliest things if there is no clear communication.
  6. Be flexible.  While it is important to be clear on expectations, if you find that what you had planned is not working, don't be afraid to shift things around until it works better.  Teach the children in front of you, not the nebulous imaginary children you had envisioned in your head.
  7. Be consistent.  Kids tend to do a lot better in a group setting if behavior/input/output expectations are consistently explained and reinforced in a positive and understanding but firm way.  Parents also tend to function better with that environment since they can help you reinforce what needs to be done while the kids are working away from the classroom.
  8. If you have kids that are consistently disruptive, don't immediately assume they are just a bad kid.  They may have classroom anxiety, may be lagging behind in social skills, etc.  I found when I was teaching they did better if I was friendly and understanding and supportive, and reiterated clear expectations, sometimes in tiny pieces with lots of reinforcement.  Communicating with parents in an understanding and supportive way, asking for some brainstorming in how to address the issues, helped a lot in most instances.

Good luck.

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It can take time to develop a reputation. The more people you network with and the more classes you teach the more your reputation will grow. Reputation is everything.

 

  • Definitely look into hybrid or university model schools in your area and see if they exist.
  • You could also start out tutoring one or two children a week. Tutoring can lead to parents asking for a teacher for a small group.
  • At least here the homeschooling community is not open to teachers that they do not know and do not have a child homeschooling so it may take time to build trust if your area is the same. Start small.
  • Get on any local FB or Yahoo home educator support groups.
  • Be VERY clear on your expectations in the class and really communicate well with the parents. Put things in writing and have them sign if you need to. Communication is key. Bad feelings can build up over the silliest things if there is no clear communication.
  • Be flexible. While it is important to be clear on expectations, if you find that what you had planned is not working, don't be afraid to shift things around until it works better. Teach the children in front of you, not the nebulous imaginary children you had envisioned in your head.
  • Be consistent. Kids tend to do a lot better in a group setting if behavior/input/output expectations are consistently explained and reinforced in a positive and understanding but firm way. Parents also tend to function better with that environment since they can help you reinforce what needs to be done while the kids are working away from the classroom.
  • If you have kids that are consistently disruptive, don't immediately assume they are just a bad kid. They may have classroom anxiety, may be lagging behind in social skills, etc. I found when I was teaching they did better if I was friendly and understanding and supportive, and reiterated clear expectations, sometimes in tiny pieces with lots of reinforcement. Communicating with parents in an understanding and supportive way, asking for some brainstorming in how to address the issues, helped a lot in most instances.
Good luck.

Thanks for the ideas on gaining leads. I'll keep what you said in mind about management. Luckily, I've been able to develop some finesse in this area during my 20 year tenure as an educator. However, I believe there may be some truth in that homeschool parents may be a different type of parent (for lack of a more accurate term). So I shall keep that on my radar.

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Thanks for the ideas on gaining leads. I'll keep what you said in mind about management. Luckily, I've been able to develop some finesse in this area during my 20 year tenure as an educator. However, I believe there may be some truth in that homeschool parents may be a different type of parent (for lack of a more accurate term). So I shall keep that on my radar.

LOL.  Yeah, when I moved my kids from the brick and mortar community to the homeschooling community I noticed there really were some differences, both as a parent and as someone who sometimes taught or tutored.  Of course that depends more on the individuals but there were definitely differences.  Upfront really clearly communicated rules/expectations worked better.  Homeschoolers are usually a smaller community.  One parent misunderstands/gets ticked off/stews and gossips behind your back instead of talking to you and they can cause massive damage to a reputation.  It can be hard to recover from that since the community is usually so small comparatively.

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LOL. Yeah, when I moved my kids from the brick and mortar community to the homeschooling community I noticed there really were some differences, both as a parent and as someone who sometimes taught or tutored. Of course that depends more on the individuals but there were definitely differences. Upfront really clearly communicated rules/expectations worked better. Homeschoolers are usually a smaller community. One parent misunderstands/gets ticked off/stews and gossips behind your back instead of talking to you and they can cause massive damage to a reputation. It can be hard to recover from that since the community is usually so small comparatively.

Hmm, good to know! So, not really different from PS (parents who bypass teachers and go directly to admins or supers)--LOL. I guess the takeaway from your post is 'people are people', their faults and all. Duly noted and thanks again for the head's up. Wish me luck!

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We don't have any hybrid or university model schools in my area but I recently started a business teaching science classes to homeschoolers.  I have a bit of a reputation locally already because I run a 4-H STEM club that is about 1/2 homeschoolers, but I still expect it to take time to build the business to a level where I'm making much (any) money.   I didn't give up a full time job to do this, I'm still able to do freelance work on the side, and I was able to find a space that I could rent by the class hour instead of signing a lease.  I'm doing it mainly because I love teaching science to kids, and in the course of doing my 4-H club, I could see there's a niche I could fill.

 

I agree with laying out expectations ahead of time but also being flexible.  Around here a lot of people homeschool because their kids did not fit in well at B&M school.  Kids with dyslexia, adhd, gifted, or just quirky. 

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I would suggest joining online groups for your local homeschoolers to get an idea of what they feel is lacking in the area, and to try to gain some insight into the prevailing philosophies of that homeschool community.

 

In my area, I only see a tiny market for individual academic course outsourcing.  Most parents (here) using outsourcing options are doing so for the classroom experience, the socialization, to fill in some holes, etc.  They tend to either cyber school, prefer to independently homeschool the core courses, or lean unschooly.   Full disclosure, I teach in two co-ops and I fall somewhere in between those last two things.  Which is fine and good for the families who do so, but maybe not so much for someone looking to provide traditional academic courses.

 

I'd also say be prepared for a wide variety of academic backgrounds, regardless of what your prerequisites or written expectations may be.  Teaching a high school elective science when only 10% of the class can explain the scientific method or operate a pipette is... interesting.  Things come up that even I, a 10 year homeschool veteran on the eclectic side, don't think about being an issue until they are.

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