Parents begin consideration and planning for their children’s education from the moment of birth. The typical progression through preschool, elementary, and secondary schools meets the needs of most families, but not all. When the traditional route is not a good fit, families may consider home-schooling or engaging a private educator.
Why do families consider private educators?
- Health concerns of the child or another family member;
- In the age of COVID-19, school closures;
- Lack of traditional options due to the parents’ occupations, family lifestyle or locality.
Age 5 and Younger
Families of younger children often hire a nanny to provide care, supervision and basic pre-school instructional help. A nanny will be expected to read to younger children, engage in age-appropriate activities, introduce the alphabet and numbers, and reinforce basic behavioral milestones that will prepare the younger child for a classroom environment.
Older children need instruction from an individual or team who are educationally and experientially qualified to present the subject matter. Parents who will not be personally home-schooling will often look for individuals with advanced education, and, ideally, experience with the age group.
Organizing the Private Education Experience
Your family assumes responsibility for organizing your child’s private education experience. Prior to recruiting your private educator you have many considerations to address. Be aware that there are staffing agencies who specialize in helping families prepare for and recruit private educators. If you have not done this before, exploring the help of a household staffing agency is recommended. We work with agencies all over the country, so please reach out to us if you need help finding a reputable one in your area.
There are many commercially-available packaged curricula on the market. While some mimic the curriculum of traditional public education, others will incorporate specific religious or social/ethnic/world view themes into the lessons. Decide what is right for your family and do ask for sample materials before you commit. Resources compiled by the US Department of Education and Department of State can be found here.
Families who choose a private educator have wide latitude in designing the school calendar and educational experience for their child. The private educator will generally be engaged year round, and his or her paid time off will be largely determined by this school calendar. Having a good idea of what you want is important to define prior to recruiting you private teacher, governess or tutor.
Supplies & Experiences
Plan and budget for appropriate supplies and experiences. In addition to purchasing a curriculum to follow, you may need supplies or equipment for science, art and math instruction, as well as a budget for out of classroom experiences such as museums visits and other field trips. Do not overlook the importance of specialty instruction like music or athletic programs to supplement the private educator’s core competencies.
A dedicated space for the private educator to work with your child will yield the best outcome. This should be defined, adequately equipped, and apart from the activities of other family members, especially work from home parents and younger siblings.
In the United States, educational standards are defined at the state or local level. If you intend to possibly enroll your child in traditional public education at a future date, it is imperative that you understand and consider the laws in your state. Enroll if possible in a home school association such as The National Homeschool Association, as they have invaluable resources for families who are planning these transitions.
Payroll and Taxes:
Your private educator in the US and most locations abroad – whether you call them a nanny, tutor, governess, or teacher – is an employee – YOUR employee. This means that you are responsible to adhere to Federal, state and local labor laws covering “domestic” or “household” employment. HomeWork Solutions specializes in helping families stay on the right side of payroll taxation and basic employment practices. Learn more about our payroll services.
There are Federal, state and local insurance regulations that household employers must adhere to. In the United States, 38 states require domestic employers to obtain Workers’ Compensation Insurance to protect against a workplace injury.
Contract or Work Agreement:
It is a best practice that the family and private educator engage in a written work agreement. This should clearly and in detail spell out the educator’s duties and responsibilities, the schedule (refer to the school calendar), and all particulars of compensation including rate, tax treatment, paid time off and benefits.