Hiring, Training, and Supervising a Local to Homeschool

By: Delana S

1)  Making the decision that you need a full-time or part-time teacher.

2) Decide what kind of teacher you want to hire.

3) “Advertise.”

4)  Receive resumes or CVs or referrals.

5) The interview and test.

6) The Observation and Trial Periods.

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1) Making the decision that you need a full-time or part-time teacher.

First, it is important to decide what you need help with (all of the teaching or a particular subject).  {My need started as a desire to attend language school and be in 30 hours a week of language learning.  We wanted someone who could teach most of the subjects and be in our home from 7:45am-1:15 pm.}

2) Decide what kind of teacher you want to hire. (This might depend upon several factors, such as: how much of the day this person will be teaching, will this person teach in your home, will this person be supervised by the mother or father, what age/gender are your children, etc.).  Do you want a male or female teacher?  Does it matter to you if he or she is a believer or not?  Does your teacher need to be a certified or degreed teacher? {The best way I can explain this step is to tell you what we were looking for.  Your family is different than mine, and your needs are different, but it will give you an idea of what steps we went through.  Our boys were ages 6, 8, and 10 at the time we moved  into the heart of Central Asia.  We decided that we wanted a believer, female, with some kind of college education.  More importantly than any degree, though, was the “test” we gave her and our interview—to be discussed later.  While you are raising your questions, ask yourselves what areas you are willing to compromise on and what you are firm on and why.  The place you live might not have people that fit all of your qualifications, so keep this in mind as you are formulating what will be helpful to you. And, it may be too expensive to get the exact type of person you are looking for.}

3) “Advertise.” Put the word out among your friends, language teachers, tutors, other ex-pats, etc., that you are looking for someone who would like to be trained to teach your children in your home. {Be careful not to say “teacher” too much at first, unless you are looking for a degreed teacher.  We wanted someone who was moldable to our idea of a teacher, instead of someone with MANY preconceived ideas of what they would do as a teacher.  By the way, what degree of English they know is important for full-time teachers, but not as essential for teachers who are just teaching one subject (provided your kids speak their language).}

4)  Receive resumes or CVs or referrals.  You may only get one or two.  If you get many, choose around 5 to interview, preferably in the same 1-2 day period, allowing for a minimum of one hour per interview (with breaks for yourselves).  If none of them work, go back to your pool of people.  {We had 5 believing ladies with various qualifications who arranged to be interviewed in our home.  Only 4 actually showed up for their interview. If someone comes to you by way of referral, it may be that she is the only one you interview.  This happened when we were looking for a teacher for a co-worker’s family.  Our kids’ teacher referred her friend to us.  She was interviewed and given the job.}

5) The interview and test. —Before the first candidate comes to be interviewed, make a list of questions you want to ask and decide which one of you will ask which questions.  Prepare a little “test.”  Also, decide what else is important to you to know about the candidate.  {First, since we were interviewing all believers, we asked the candidate to share her testimony with us.  This was usually good at setting them at ease.  If you are not interviewing all believers, you may ask them to share a short version of their life story (or some fond memory they have from childhood).  We asked them questions about their family members, current and past; about teachers they had had—which ones they liked/disliked and why; about favorite subjects in school; about disciplinary practices in the home and in the school; about grading systems, etc.  We asked the candidate to read a paragraph out of a fifth grade level reader.  Our oldest son was going into the fifth grade.  We wanted to check for reading comprehension and for how easy a person’s accented English was to understand.  First, we had her read through a paragraph silently, for understanding, and then out loud.  We had a short written part of the test.  There were basic facts using four digit numbers (adding, subtracting, multiplying, dividing).  The candidate was told that she could ask any questions and rewrite the problems if she needed to in order to solve them.  There were a few short sentences in which we wanted to know if she knew nouns, adjectives, verbs, and pronouns.  Three out of the four candidates did fine with the reading.  Two out of the four could do the basic math—and all of the four had graduated from university!

With the two who could perform the math, we showed them some of the curriculum lesson plans and student books.  We asked each of them to come for one week and observe me teaching the boys.}

6) The Observation and Trial Periods– It is important for them to see you teach and get a feel for the material you use, as well as seeing how you work with each of your children and balance teaching varying grade levels.  If you have not done this before, or do not know how to balance the different grades, this may be something the person you hire can help you with.  Science, history, Bible, and PE can be taught across the grades.  Math, reading, writing, spelling needs to be individualized and can be staggered so that while you are teaching one child math, another child can be working on his/her handwriting, etc. {During our observation week, one teacher was consistently late (promptness was another important factor for us as we would be attending language school at a particular time in the morning).  The next week, we asked the prompt one to prepare the material over the weekend and come prepared to teach (see her schedule below).  I then observed her for one week teaching the boys.  At the end of that week, I hired her to teach for a two month trial period, from 7:45am-1:15 pm five days a week, and to prepare lessons in the afternoons (which could be done in our home or hers). Her pay for that period would increase a small amount at the end of the 2 months if we chose to hire her for the remainder of the school year.  We hired the other lady to teach art and music to our kids two afternoons a week during our tutoring sessions (she was often late, was not motivated, and could not command the respect of our children—she tried to be a big sister or friend instead of an instructor). Consequently, she did not last long. Our teacher, on the other hand, was prompt, motivated, self-disciplined and in charge.  Her schedule:  She taught English, Math, Science, Bible and PE.  They had several short breaks and one 20-30 minute snack and outside break.  Lunch was after school.  We were using a combination of curriculum, and I used Sonlight history readers to teach my kids history (as a bedtime story).  One mistake we Homeschool parents frequently make is to try to have school be exactly like a traditional school.  Sonlight and A Beka programs are great, but need to be adapted to your family.  Both programs offer so much information.  Traditional schools have to have a lot of “busy work” and extra things to fill up the day.  The important thing is to remember to teach the basics, the foundational courses, like math, reading, and writing.  Things like history and science are important, but those things will be re-taught over and over throughout their schooling years and each year is not dependent upon what your child has learned the year before.}

See Also: Lessons Learned from Training a Local to Homeschool

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One thought on “Hiring, Training, and Supervising a Local to Homeschool

  1. Pingback: Lessons Learned from Training a Local to Homeschool « The Education Cafe

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