Homeschool Teacher: Education, Salary, and Outlook
A homeschool teacher (one whose name isn’t mom or dad) is often the primary educator for a small group of students. Many positions are part-time, with parents taking on basic education and hiring teachers for specific subjects. If mom or dad doesn’t have the time to be a homeschool educator, they might choose to hire a homeschool teacher to take on the role.
As a homeschool teacher, expect to be responsible for lesson planning, curriculum development, grading, portfolio preparation, transportation, meal prep, and any other daily tasks needed to keep students healthy and focused on learning. While some employers might only require expertise in the classroom, many homeschool teachers combine the role of educator and childcare provider into one job.
At-a-glance: Homeschool teacher
Homeschool is a rapidly growing option for parents interested in alternative education options. While concrete numbers can be difficult to find, the number of home-schooled children continues to grow in each state that provides a report. With more parents choosing alternatives to traditional schools, a potential job market could be expanding.
Homeschool teachers often make less than tenured professors or teachers at public or private schools. However, a more relaxed working environment and one that deals almost exclusively with students may be a compelling reason to choose this career path.
Job duties for a homeschool teacher
Homeschool teachers spend most of their time in the classroom, working directly with students, but they must be flexible and set aside time for administrative tasks.
Some typical duties for a homeschool teacher might include:
- Working with K-12 students in a specific area of expertise
- Developing a curriculum and course syllabus for every class, and ensuring material meets state and regulatory standards
- Planning lessons and assignments, along with guiding in-class discussions surrounding current topics
- Grading assignments and retaining a copy for a portfolio record
- Performing student assessments based on performance in class and assignment grades
- Generating reports on learning outcomes, personalized for each student
- Planning and implementing field trips to further explore specific subjects
- Working with parents to create a cohesive education plan
- Providing advice and guidance to students on how to reach educational goals
- Staying up to date on current teaching methodologies and new technologies as they become available
Depending on the state, homeschool teachers may be responsible for developing the curriculum from scratch or using a state-provided roadmap and planning individual lessons. A homeschool teacher may work with the same group of students for several years, providing progressive education, or they may work with different groups each year, providing higher-level instruction on a specific subject. There may even be opportunities for distance learning as more education moves to digital channels.
What makes a good homeschool teacher?
A great homeschool teacher is someone who is:
- Excited and passionate about education
- Confident about the subject matter and when presenting to students
- High-energy and willing to work with real-world examples to demonstrate learning concepts
- Up-to-date on the latest technology and able to use technology effectively in the classroom
- A clear communicator who can identify problem areas and offer different styles of instruction to meet the individual needs of a student
- Able to display tact and understanding when communicating with students and parents
How do homeschool teachers get started?
Educational requirements for a homeschool teacher vary by state, and in many states, there is no educational requirement. While public school teachers must have a degree, private schools and home schools are often exempt. In competitive environments, such as areas where local schools score high on achievement tests, parents may look for homeschool teachers with a bachelor’s in teaching and an master’s in related educational courses.
As homeschooling becomes more common, the need for teachers willing to work directly for parents in a non-traditional learning environment may also grow. Homeschool teachers are often hired for a specific class to fill out an area where a parent may not have the needed expertise to teach. Higher-level math courses, science courses, technology, foreign language, or enrichment courses are all areas where a parent may hire a teacher rather than attempt to deliver the content themselves.
Juggling the needs of multiple students and creating schedules to fill out a full-time workweek while working for several groups of parents is not uncommon.
Potential earnings for a homeschool teacher
Salary ranges for a homeschool teacher are often comparable to K-12 teaching jobs at a school. Working with one family may not pay as well as employment through a homeschool co-op,
According to ZipRecruiter.com, average pay ranges between $35,816 and $50, 671, depending on the state. New York homeschool teachers earn the most, while North Carolina teachers earn the least.
For those charging per course and working with multiple clients, average hourly rates are between $17.22 and $24.36.
Here is a snapshot of average salaries for homeschool teachers:
Homeschool teacher growth projections
While homeschooling numbers continue to grow, some studies indicated that the growth has plateaued. If the number of homeschooled children remains the same, there will likely be little growth in the homeschool teacher category.
The need for elementary school teachers is predicted to grow slightly slower than average at 3% by 2028. High school teachers have a slightly better outlook with predictions matching the average at 4% growth, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.
Since many parents who homeschool their children take an active role as the primary instructor, job openings for homeschool teachers may be limited.
Challenges and opportunities for homeschool teachers
While teaching children can have its challenging moments, a position as a homeschool teacher might offer some benefits that surprise you.
- In-home teachers have more opportunities to work one-on-one with students, developing meaningful relationships and positively impacting their lives.
- Scheduling is often more flexible and may allow homeschool teachers to bring their own children to work.
- There is no time spent in committees or grading hundreds of assignments. Instead, a tight focus on fewer students means less time in meetings and grading and more time teaching and planning lessons.
- A relaxed work environment means no dress code and the opportunity to spend more time outside when the weather permits.
- Compensation can be disappointing and is often lower than faculty at a school.
- Positions are often on a contract basis or for a very limited duration.
- The school year may run year-round, with no additional bump in pay.
- Parents are often direct employers, which may mean no health benefits, paid time off, or sick leave.
- You might need to lesson plan at home. Few homeschool teachers have dedicated office space.
For many homeschool teachers, the next step might be a position at a private school or as principal of a co-op school. In order to make those transitions, some educators may need extra education.
While a homeschool teacher might have real-world expertise in a specific subject, or many years of experience teaching young students, a degree is often the prerequisite for moving up the career ladder as a teacher. Homeschool teachers may have developed classroom management skills, but often only with small groups and in a much more relaxed environment than occurs in more formal schools.
For homeschool teachers interested in positions at a traditional school, a master’s degree is a good place to start. For those interested in pursuing administrative jobs, graduate programs in administration or education leadership are often a requirement.
Professional associations for homeschool teachers
Historically, homeschool teachers make up such a small segment of the teaching population that most professional associations do not provide specific support. However, there is plenty of support for moms and dads that choose homeschooling, and those same organizations offer similar benefits to homeschool teachers in the form of instructional support, help with curriculum development, and information about changing regulations. Here are a few organizations that provide services for educators and homeschoolers:
- National Home School Association
- Home School Legal Defense Association
- Association of American Educators
Best of the web
Social media and other internet-based tools make it easier for homeschool teachers to connect with potential students, arrange classes, and keep up with new instructional models.
Blogs to check out
- I Can Teach My Child
- Confessions of a Homeschooler
- The Crafty Classroom
- No Time for Flash Cards
Twitter handles for homeschool teachers
Here are a few Twitter resources that might be helpful to today’s homeschool teachers:
- Homeschool: @HomeCurriculum
- Hip Homeschool Moms: @HipHMschoolMoms
- Homeschool Handbook: @TheHomeschool
- HS Homeschool: @HS_Homeschool