I am not sure how long one must be homeschooling before they obtain “veteran” status, so I won’t call myself one yet, but I do feel like I have been around the ring of the homeschool circus a few times so far. And, as with anything one does for 8 years, I’ve seen my fair share of families bringing in the experts. So far, the end results have been positive.

Think music lessons, art lessons, one on one sports coaching sessions, foreign language lessons and test-prep tutors. In addition to all of the more common lessons are the lesser popular times of learning when your kid seeks out a professional in a particular line of work, craft or hobby and requests to learn from them. This could be anything from woodworking to cake decorating or apprenticing with a handyman of some sort. The passing on of knowledge is a big task- no matter the subject. It can happen at a one-time meeting or at regularly scheduled classes.

From the parent’s position, finding the right teacher can be tricky sometimes. An easy way to start your search is by asking for referrals from your homeschool community or network of friends. Try to narrow down the type of teacher, tutor, or coach you are looking for before launching your search. When you’ve found a good lead, follow it up with smart questions about their method of teaching and the basic structure of how the lessons will work (weekly, monthly, half-hour lessons, etc.). You don’t need to interrogate them, but you do need to know who this person is and if they are actually credible to teach. If you don’t find many recommendations from your network of friends, another good place to start your search is a local university or college.

Also, let the instructor know of any learning differences your child may have. Ask if they have experience working with kids like yours. One homeschool mom I know wanted a piano instructor that is familiar with working with children with dyslexia. Her goal for her daughter’s piano lessons was not to become a perfect instrumentalist, but that her music would help ease her frustrations with dyslexia. After many months of searching and inquiring about teacher referrals, she was able to find a perfect match for her daughter. They are succeeding in both music and academics now.

Every now and then, homeschoolers may need to hire someone else to do a little of the educational lifting for our kids. Hiring tutors, private lesson teachers, or any other one on one type of learning can be a great way to get over the hump of a struggling subject or increase learning in a new area altogether. All sorts of topics can be covered by a tutor or private teacher.

Have you hired extra help with homeschooling topics or extracurriculars? What tips would you share with families wanting to bring extra support?

Another great resource is International Virtual Learning Academy, which is a fully accredited online private school offering the benefits of homeschool online learning with real certified teachers.    Students of IVLA receive the benefit of an online homeroom, a mentor and even online clubs.   Learn more at International Virtual Learning Academy.

Lindsay Banton is a caffeinated mother to three great kids. She never expected to homeschool, but has found that it is a wonderful addition to their lifestyle and wouldn’t change it for the world. In addition to homeschooling, Lindsay works alongside her husband in campus ministry at a large university in Connecticut. She grew up in Virginia but has settled into life in New England, learning to love the long winters, cool springs, green summers and gorgeous autumns- and has built a boot collection to meet all the demands. She is currently blogging at www.lindsaybanton.com.


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