Hi, Carol –
I just found your web site today, and was wondering if you could give me some direction. I am currently a public school teacher in Maryland, and am considering leaving the public schools and working with/for a home schooling coop. My problem is where I need to start. Could you direct me to web sites that could tell me how to begin this process, or where I could find information regarding teaching needs in different coops in the area?
Thanks for you help!
I wish you the best of success in changing careers.
I hope you understand that homeschool co-ops are not like public schools. The teachers are usually volunteer parents that cooperate together to teach classes. Some co-ops do hire teachers to teach specific subjects, especially high school subjects like foreign language, math and science. Homeschool co-ops have many advantages, but since they are run by volunteers, they are sometimes loosely organized (that’s one reason why I wrote my book, Homeschool Co-ops: How to Start Them, Run Them and Not Burn Out.)
My book on starting and running a homeschool co-op is the first of its kind. The best place to start might be books on tutoring children. Teaching in a homeschool co-op might be more like tutoring than the public school classroom, because co-ops usually meet only once or twice a week. Also be aware that working for a homeschool co-op would not be a full time occupation, nor begin to replace your salary as a public school teacher.
I cannot help you find co-ops in your area, let alone their specific teaching needs. Their needs may change from year to year as their student body changes or their volunteer families come or leave the co-op. You will have to do a lot of calling and networking to find groups in your area. I can direct you to a few websites that list homeschool groups by state. That’s a start.
A to Z Home’s Cool
Go to your state page and put “co-op” in the browser search
Search by “Type” for “Co-op” or “Cooperative.” You can further narrow the search by including your state and/or county.
You will be most successful if you know a few homeschool families and they recommend you to their homeschool co-op leaders. In my own co-op (in Ohio), we find all our paid teachers by word of mouth and recommendations from our members. It is also very helpful if you have tutored or worked with homeschool families in the past. For many homeschool co-ops, your experience with homeschool families and recommendations may serve as better credentials than your public school experience. Sorry if that disappoints you; I just don’t want you to be unprepared for a different mindset.
If you find a co-op that wishes to hire you, I believe you will find the experience very rewarding. Homeschooling offers so much freedom to really teach without administrative and testing burdens that are so prevalent in public schools.
I wish you well!
Carol Topp, CPA