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Is it time to hire a homeschool "sub"? Four reasons to give it a try

Updated: Sep 13, 2021

Mom and child getting homeschool materials prepared for online tutoring with The Learning Room.

Homeschooling is a beautiful gift parents can give their children, and one that comes with a long list of benefits. Most importantly, students get one-on-one instruction perfectly tailored to meet their needs by the people who love them the most, and it enables them to pursue passions and interests in a way that students enrolled in traditional education might never experience. The cherry on top is that these benefits translate into performance. Research shows that most homeschool students score higher on tests than students in traditional public schools.

But as I’m sure you’ve figured out by now, homeschooling isn’t for everyone. It takes patience and persistence. And even those parents who are successful at it experience challenges and ups and downs. It’s important to remember that even experienced, educated teachers take time off, have professional development days, and have support to help them do their jobs. Yet many homeschool parents don’t seek out help when they’re feeling stuck or stressed.

We’ve worked with several homeschool families, acting as either a coach to the parent or as a kind of substitute teacher. Just like traditional school, sometimes homeschool teachers need a break or some help from a support person. An academic coach can serve as that support person - assisting you when you hit a wall or just want to take a break. Here are four common reasons homeschool families bring in an academic coach as a sub:

The family dynamic is a little off

Parenting is hard enough, but also being your child's teacher can add strain to a relationship. Tensions tend to rise when it's time to work on a particular subject the student doesn't enjoy or is struggling with. Having a third party sub-in for a period of time can help alleviate the tension. We can close any learning gaps and make the subject enjoyable for the student, solving these underlying issues can help end the arguments around academic time.

You aren’t comfortable with the subject matter (or you just don’t like it!)

No one is an expert in all things. Each of us has a subject area we’re completely comfortable with or just plain don’t like. This can especially be true as the kids get older. You may find yourself having to teach yourself first and then trying to teach them, making everything take twice as long. This can also make things feel overwhelming, which takes the fun out of learning for everyone.

Young African American mom. She is frustrated with homeschooling and holding her face in her hands while sitting at the computer.

The curriculum is challenging or confusing

Not all homeschool curriculum is created equal, and there are times when it’s just not working. Maybe you purchased a curriculum based on a small sample lesson (that of course looked fabulous!), but now that you are into it, it’s not what you wanted after all. It’s also possible the curriculum you purchased just doesn't mesh with your child.


Homeschooling can take a lot of time, especially if you’re dealing with multiple kids at multiple grade levels. But it doesn’t mean you have to give up self-care and individual passions! Simply taking a break so you can make sure you’re at the top of your game and have the energy to be a great teacher is reason enough to bring in a sub every once in a while. Or perhaps it’s a matter of juggling work schedules. Some homeschooling families have parents that both work and they need support on the days both parents work.

Next steps...

If you do decide to bring in a sub, it’s important to hire someone that values your reason for homeschooling in the first place and will honor those core values. They need to know that you’re the boss and they are there to be part of your team and boost your efforts.

Whether you’re feeling a bit stressed, your child is struggling, or you just want to free up some time to pursue other opportunities, hiring an academic coach to be your homeschool sub can be a great decision for you and your family. If you’d like to learn more about our homeschool program, get in touch! We’d love to meet you and answer any questions you may have.


Homeschooling: The Research - National Home Education Research Institute

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