Do I need any specific credentials or training to be a learning coach?
The short answer is no. Although credentials are helpful in attracting families, especially a college degree, just about anyone who loves mentoring kids can be an effective learning coach. As far as subject expertise, the Internet and eLearning tools provide an incredible array of resources for educating children in areas both inside and outside your expertise, just as a million+ home schooling parents are doing.
What are the traits of a good learning coach?
A good learning coach is nurturing, encouraging, inspiring, patient, and supportive, but also holds high standards and pushes students to be increasingly self-directed and self-managed, as well as letting them learn persistence through frustration and failure rather than “rescuing” them at the first signs of difficulty.
Instead of feeding them answers, good coaches encourage students to figure out how they can find the answers themselves, whether online, in books, or from fellow students. Great coaches help students explore and discover their passionate calling in the world.
What are the key decisions I need to make to become a learning coach?
- Do you want to be part-time or full-time? After school? Weekend or summer camps?
- What age range do you want to work with?
- Do you want to specialize in any subject or special needs area? What differentiates you from other learning coaches?
- Do you want to work alone or in collaboration with others? You may want to start alone and add others as you grow. In some cases you may be able to find parents that volunteer to help out.
- Where do you want to operate your coached schooling practice? While operating out of your home is a great place to start, you might prefer to relocate to another facility soon. You may consider renting an affordable Sunday School classroom space at a local church, or some libraries, YMCAs, or similar community centers may have appropriate spaces.
- What technology platform do you want to use for eLearning? We highly recommend Chromebooks, which are affordable and easily manageable.
- What do you want to charge for your services? You are completely free to set whatever price you like, but our hope at Coached Schooling is to provide families with full-time options at $350/month and below. You may want to charge an additional fee for Chromebooks.
How will Coached Schooling support me as a learning coach and what does it cost?
Our mission is to always be listening to our coaches and building the tools they need to better manage their practices.
To start, we’re going to help you with the most critical basics: finding students and managing payments – often a major headache. Over time, we expect to build out a comprehensive array of tools for managing your Coached Schooling practice, including student achievement portfolios and integrated dashboards for eLearning tools.
Even more important will be the coaching community for sharing curriculum, best practices, online courses, professional development training and conferences, and even enabling student collaboration online across coaching practices.
Our fee is a low 8% of payments as opposed to the more common 20-40% charged by many similar sites in tutoring and other fields. In most cases our fee should come out to less than $1/day/student.
Why do I need Coached Schooling?
Many people within our community use our site simply to find information. They get ideas, access resources, and even meet people to collaborate with. The site is published on the Internet, and folks can do this free of charge. That’s what it’s there for, and we hope a whole lot of people are deriving benefit from our work.
Apart from the free stuff, why would an educator need Coached Schooling? It’s a fair question.
In all honesty, we aren’t exactly out to make a buck. If we were, education wouldn’t be our industry of choice. But we do offer services that our coaches pay for, specifically, processing tuition payments through our Marketplace. A small transaction fee is deducted to keep our lights on and our doors open. This is worthwhile to our coaches because, in addition to providing a secure, efficient means for families to pay their tuition, we’re bringing students to coaches in the first place.
With a good profile in the Marketplace, coaches can attract and recruit as many families as they want. Opening up your own market to a wider range of families could mean better-fitting students and higher tuitions. It could also mean expanding your own microschool, if that’s your goal.
When ideas and information are shared, everyone benefits. When people are free to transact openly and fairly, everyone benefits. Those are things that Coached Schooling provides coaches, and we believe it makes us a valuable player.
Click here to learn how Coached Schooling supports learning coaches.
How does Coached Schooling make money?
We are a purpose-driven organization, established with support from philanthropists with a goal to improve the way young people get educated. We’re not focused on maximizing profit and selling out to some corporate interest.
That said, philanthropists’ contributions aren’t going to keep our doors open forever. We have a goal to become self-sustaining relatively quickly. This, of course, will require earning money, and we’ve established a few ways to achieve this. Primarily, we provide a marketplace where families can seek out and engage learning coaches for their kids. This system securely processes tuition payments, and we charge coaches a nominal, per-transaction processing fee. We’re extremely transparent about who will be billed, and when. We’re confident that we can be enough of a resource to the microschool community earn our keep.
We believe that providing a valuable service to both learning coaches and families will result in healthy (not excessive) earnings, and will ensure our organization’s health and longevity.
Is coaching like private school?
Most microschools are private schools, in that they are funded through student tuition and are not subject to government regulation and standardized testing. But the format and education models tend to vary significantly between microschools and traditional private schools.
Traditional private schools tend to be a lot like glorified public schools. Parents tend to be much more involved, and teachers are often better paid and not bound to government-mandated curriculum. But many are traditional institutions, regimented in an typical, industrial fashion. Learning is seldom personalized for the students. In most cases, kids are expected to fall in line with whatever pace the school sets.
Coaching, however, is modeled to be flexible. Students are responsible for driving their own learning (with the help of an engaged guide). The microschool model taps in to children’s innate curiosity, facilitating them as they explore according to their interests, and at their own pace. Coaches in microschools set extremely high expectations for their students, but the expectations revolve around personal development and critical thinking rather than conformity and rote regurgitation.
Another big difference between microschools and traditional private schools is the cost. It’s typically a lot lower at microschools. This is primarily due to the structure. Students are empowered, even expected to pursue their own interests. Innovative eLearning tools are used wherever possible. And much of the students’ time is dedicated to project-based learning. As a result, fewer teachers are needed, and the cost to operate comes down. This can be attributed to the simple difference between manufacturing children (bad) and cultivating them (good).
How are coaches different from tutors?
Tutoring is direct, one-on-one instruction, typically to supplement instruction.
Coaching is much more like full-time teaching, though the methods differ significantly. A coach creates a personalized learning plan and guides the student through the entire curriculum, whether individually or in a group of peers. Coaching can consist of reading, writing, presenting, Socratic discussions, eLearning, and project-based assignments. Very rarely do coaches lecture or give direct instruction like teachers do. Coaching encourages much greater agency, pushes students to become self-directed, and develops time and task management skills at an early age.