Is it a homeschool co-op or Mary Poppins?
February 4, 2009 · Print This Article
I started my website HomeschoolCPA to help homeschool organizations, but sometimes the lines between a family homeschool and a homeschool organization get a little fuzzy. Here’s one example of the new and creative ways the people are homeschooling today.
I am considering starting a homeschool with a group of 5 children. They are all from different families and none of them is my own. I have a Masters degree in education and am comfortable working as an independent contractor. I plan on teaching these children in one of the boy’s home with the parents’ blessing. Is this legal? What do I need to do to set it up? Would the parents need to set up a homeschool co-op? I am having difficulty finding information about this for Maryland. Thanks for your help!
Mrs. A in Maryland
Dear Mrs A,
Congratulations on your new venture. Teaching other people’s children is certainly a legitimate business. You will be a modern day governess. (like Mary Poppins!)
I do not believe the parents need to set up a homeschool co-op. But you need to set up a small business. I recommend these steps:
* Pick a business name, although you can use your own name
* Consider opening a business checking account to keep your business and personal expenses separate (it helps at tax time)
* Have a written agreement with the parents about your duties and your fees (i.e. how much and when will you be paid)
* Keep good records of all our expenses, especially mileage. Read my Small Business Start-up Guide available to download here: Small Business Start Up Guide
* Set aside 20-30% of your income after expenses (i.e. 20-30% of your profit) to pay income tax and self employment tax. You will probably also need to make quarterly estimates payments to the IRS. Here’s a great blog to help you learn more about being self-employed. http://junewalkeronline.blogspot.com/
I’m not familiar with Maryland’s homeschooling laws, but here in Ohio we must notify if someone other than the parent does a majority of the instruction. Maryland may have a similar notification rule. You might want to do a little digging on-line and ask the families that are hiring you about Maryland’s homeschooling laws.
Best of success to you!
Carol Topp, CPA