Dear Helping Hand,
I would like for someone to come to my home and homeschool my child for me. How can I go about doing this?
You’re not the only one asking this question lately. It’s not surprising that once the success stories about homeschooling start popping up that everyone wants to know how they can take part in this growing trend. As the government school system self-destructs before our eyes, parents are rushing to find other alternatives.
Historically, it’s always been an option for the wealthy to hire private tutors for their children. (Think of all the movies or books where the main character is a "governess".)In today’s economic climate, it’s still almost impossible for a family to take on a full time employee dedicated to their child’s education. Generally speaking, those with the financial means to do something like this choose to place their child in a boarding or private school.
I still get phone calls from parents who want to know if they can send their child to someone else’s house to be homeschooled. I laughingly reply that you couldn’t pay most homeschool moms enough to take on another child. Our plates are already full.
Does this mean that desperate parents such as yourself are without choices? Not necessarily. Twenty years ago homeschooling was fairly narrowly defined as "education provided by parents in the home." Today it’s more practical to broaden our definition to "Parent Directed Education." Parents no longer have to view themselves as the sole provider. Instead they can choose from a myriad of options to tailor their child’s educational choices in a way that suits their family. Internet classes, video schools/courses, community college classes, small local classes with other homeschooled students, and private tutors for single subjects are all ways that this can work. In this case, you the parent are not acting in the primary "teacher" role, but that doesn’t make you any less important! You’ll be helping your children manage their time, providing discipline and structure, available to help answer questions, and driving them to and from activities.
Of course homeschooling, even in its expanded form, still requires that a responsible adult be home with the child. The single mothers or families where both parents work are the ones who will have the greatest difficulty finding a way to homeschool. Leaving a child at home all day is not an option. Still, those that are creative and committed to finding a solution often do so. I know of one single mother who has rearranged her work schedule so that she is home during the day to teach and then hires a babysitter while she works the 3:00- 11:00 PM shift. Other parents are able to take a child to the office to do school work. Some have extended family living with them or nearby who are able to stay with the school aged child and oversee their work. All of these solutions require a sacrifice on someone’s part - of either time or money, but then so does anything worth doing well. Homeschooling is no different.
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