I often get this query, so I am going to write this answer to all of you.
There are two scenarios. The person asking is a relative, such as a grandparent, older sibling, or other relative. They will be educating their relative at no charge. The second is someone unrelated to the family and who will be receiving compensation.
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 that their state requires. 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 or a 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 make what sort of decisions. 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.
What if you homeschool and a friend or neighbor asks you to homeschool their kids in addition to your own? I have heard of parents suing their friendly homeschool mom for not educating the kids as the parents had expected, so it is important to have an iron-glad contract between you and the other family. Even if you are a credentialed teacher, you are not a school employee, and so have no liability coverage in this case. School teachers have such coverage. The contract needs to clearly state your teaching experience, the methods you intend to use, and how you will report progress to the parents. State that they may withdraw the children at any time they are dissatisfied, but that they may not sue you for any reason other than criminal behavior. Talk to your home owners or renter insurance provider for a “rider” to your policy to protect you should a child be injured while under your roof in a paying situation. This previously cost about $25 a year, and will help you sleep better at night.
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!
Then there are those who wish to set up some sort of “small school” for homeschoolers. The intent is to have a small business as a for-profit or non-profit. Check with your chamber of commerce to find out your local rules about doing this from your home or from a store front. Many have gone before you, setting up resource centers and cottage schools. On this page you’ll find a network of those who have set up such businesses, and even a CPA who experienced at setting up non-profits and helping them manage their homeschool organizations.
When you set up such a resource, you are setting up 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 out a few families. So, once again, I advise you to have the other families be the homeschools of record just outsourcing some instruction with you. If your intent is to have the children there for full days, every week day except holidays, then you are starting up a private school, and will not be “homeschooling” the children, but having them as students in your private school. You will have to meet the private school laws of your state, and I don’t follow those.
For Teachers Who Want to Tutor
You want to break out of public schools. How do you enter the homeschool market?
What if you are a parent looking for someone else to homeschool your children? In all but one state, no one else but you may “homeschool” your children. Because of the liability issues, and because this puts additional pressure in the lives of homeschool families, this is not a relationship many homeschool families wish to get involved in, and the few that do don’t advertise online. A typical homeschool mom is not at all prepared to handle an out-of-control teenager! I cannot recommend any to you, so don’t ask. Sometimes local daycare providers are willing to take school-aged children and to follow through with educational plans provided by the parent, but YOU must be the homeschool on record legally, and to be on top of what education your day care provider is giving. There are ways to have a full-time job and still homeschool, but it will involve sacrifices. Many parents of children in dire need of their support figure out ways to work from home.
Tutoring services and mentors are available! These are folks who have set up such businesses. I have not vetted all services listed here, so it is important that you check to make sure that the people you hire do not have criminal records. Until you are certain of your child’s safety, you should remain nearby. Only leave your child in a group situation, and never alone with a non-family adult.
In summary: parents should be the homeschool of record according to their state laws, and then they may outsource some part of their children’s instruction to others. Parents will need to keep any necessary records, make reports, and ensure that tests, if required, are taken.