Is a homeschool co-op teacher an independent contractor if paid by the parents?

A homeschool leader wonders what to call a co-op teacher who is not hired by the co-op.


After reading through a bit of your material, we have decided that each family will pay our homeschool co-ops teachers individually. How would we label teachers that are not on a payroll, not volunteers, and not an independent contractor of the co-op?

The way we look at is that we simply provide a space and venue for outside teachers to offer their services. Is this correct? Our group will not provide them with any money. However, the group plans on “negotiating” the per student cost of a class.

Thank you for your insight


Thank you for contacting me.

Teachers that are not your employees and they are not independent contractors of the co-op either, because the co-op does not pay them. They are business owners conducting their business (teacher classes) that your co-op arranges for them.

I recommend you have a written statement explaining what the co-op will do and what it will not do for the teachers. Have each teacher sign it. Call it a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU). MOU’s are not legally binding and do not involve an exchange of money. They are different from a contract in that way.  There is a sample MoU in my book Paying Workers in a Homeschool Organization.

Be careful about too much negotiating with the teachers. You don’t want to give the appearance that they are working for your co-op. You could certainly tell them a typical fee that parents would be willing to pay, but the teachers should  setting their price. In other words, help them by offering a suggested range of fees, but do not dictate what they can charge. Stay out of the financial arrangements between the parents and the teachers.


Have questions about paying teachers in your homeschool co-op? My  book, Paying Workers in a Homeschool Organization  will be a big help

You may also find these two podcasts helpful:

Paying Workers in a Homeschool Organization Part 1

Paying Workers in a Homeschool Organization Part 2

Carol Topp, CPA

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