By Ruth O’Neill-
Most writers are always on the lookout for ways to earn a little extra cash with their craft. One of those ways kind of fell into my lap, and I face-palmed myself for not thinking about it before. A friend asked if I would teach a writing class at her homeschool co-op. I homeschooled my own children for 18 years, and it never occurred to me to offer my knowledge to other homeschoolers.
==They plan classes for the following year in January. September of one year isn’t too early to approach them with your class ideas for the next year.
==Co-ops have wish lists to include their course needs and requests from parents. Many of those wishes go above and beyond what most homeschooling curriculums offer. For example, most parents teach grammar at home, but can’t teach their children how to write a novel. Perhaps a journalism class, with a bimonthly printed newspaper, would be a good addition to the co-op’s class list, or teaching a freelancing class where students could actually submit stories and articles to magazines that accept writing from kids.
==Offer different ideas, reaching different age groups. While they may already offer a journalism class for high school age students, maybe teaching elementary students how to write and illustrate a picture book would complement the co-op’s needs. Many groups use IEW for creative writing classes. You can find out more about that curriculum at their website (http://iew.com). Study it and come up with an idea that is different, a need that isn’t already met.
==Write course descriptions and be specific. You don’t necessarily have to have your lessons planned out for the entire year, but you do need to know, and be able to communicate, what your plans are for the class. Create a syllabus to give students at the beginning of the year.
==Some parents want grades for their children to add to transcripts. Depending on what the parents are doing at home with their children, they may need you to grade, even if it just a pass/fail type of grade. Talk with the homeschool co-op to see what they require.
==Some co-ops will allow you to charge an extra fee for printing or supply costs. For example, when teaching a picture book class, you may need fancy paper, markers, stencils, and other art supplies for the children to use. This is a one-time fee for the year that allows you to purchase what is necessary for the benefit of the class.
==Expect a wide range in class number. You may only end up with a few students or up to as many as twenty, depending on the size of the co-op, scheduling conflicts, or simply the number of students interested in taking your class.
==Don’t be surprised if they require a background check. After all, you are working with their children.
Teaching writing to homeschool students can be fun and exciting as well as profitable. To find a homeschool co-op in your area, visit
http://a2zhomeschooling.com/regional/regional_worldwide_homeschooling/ or http://www.home-school.com/groups/ for list by region.
Ruth O’Neil has been a freelance writer for 20-plus years. She sees everything as a writing opportunity in disguise, whether it is an interesting character, setting, or situation. You can find her book series “What a Difference a Year Makes” on Amazon or her website (http://ruthoneil.weebly.com/).When she’s not writing or homeschooling her kids, Ruth spends her time quilting, reading, scrapbooking, camping and hiking with her family.