WHAT IS HOMESCHOOLING/HOME-EDUCATION?
Home-education, (a more accurate term since the introduction of co-op homeschools/schools) literally means teaching or having your children taught in the privacy of your home. The home-educating family has full control over the education of the child including choosing the curriculum, choosing the school schedule, choosing whether or not to assign grades to their children’s work, and choosing whether or not to give their children tests.
The nature of home-education dictates certain educational principles such as teaching your children at their own pace, teaching them in mixed age groups, and eliminating the need for unnecessary grading by not moving them into a new subject until they have understood the current subject.
IS HOMESCHOOLING LEGAL?
Home-education is legal in all 50 states, and most states do not require the parent to be an accredited teacher. All states differ in their requirements and it is important if you decide to home-educate, to stay current with all state requirements. To keep abreast on these requirements, please visit: www.hslda.org.
There are different ways to establish home education. Many families choose to home-educate independently of the state by forming their own private schools within their homes. This is a simple process and the details for establishing your own private school / home school can be found at: www.hslda.org.
PRIVATE SCHOOL VS. CHARTER SCHOOL
Most states require minimal record keeping like attendance records, though this varies from state to state. At Kinza Academy, we strongly recommend the private school option because it allows the family the most control over their child's education with the least state intervention.
There are families who choose to go through state-funded charter schools, or independent study programs for the financial benefits they receive from the state. Though these programs differ, they share common features that are contrary to home-education principles. Once your child is enrolled in a charter school or ISP, they are by state and home-education standards considered a public school student.
FREEDOM TO CHOOSE YOUR CURRICULUM
Using these programs subjects your family to greater state control, such as the freedom to choose your own curriculum, the freedom to choose your own schedule, the freedom to purchase religious materials with your charter school funds, and the state will also force your child to attend standardized state testing once a year. Full parental control over the curriculum and program is a hallmark feature of home-education and you forego this right when you opt to enroll your child in a program funded by the state.
The Academy does not recommend this option as it clearly increases the state's authority over the home-education community. With increased support of the charter schools and ISPs, the states will eventually control home-education communities. Instead of being independent and essentially different from the public school, the home-education classroom will come under state control and begin to resemble those of the public schools. For a lengthier discussion on this important topic please visit: www.hslda.org.
Home-education can be enrolled in a private school satellite/umbrella program and take independent study through that private school. The private school must follow the state educational guidelines and meet state requirements. The responsibilities of umbrella schools vary from state to state. Many states require schools to collect immunization and attendance records, and similar records as required for any publicly-run school.
WHAT IS A HOMESCHOOLING CO-OP?
In addition to home-education, families can form homeschooling co-ops. A co-op is the equivalent of an extra-curricular group study in the sense that it provides a group setting for homeschooling families to teach some subjects together such as art, sports, or science. Homeschooling families that are part of a co-op usually meet from once a week to once a month for extra-curricular activities that the children may benefit from in a group setting. A homeschooling co-op also provides an opportunity for home-schooling parents to share ideas and give each other support during the homeschooling years.
WHAT IS NOT A HOME SCHOOL?
Whenever you have multiple families of children being taught the basic subjects on a daily basis in a group setting, you have moved from the homeschooling paradigm to the school paradigm. There are many different types of alternative schools, but unless it incorporates the educational principles mentioned earlier: individually paced lessons, mixed ages in the group, complete understanding of a lesson before passing a subject, it is in some form or another following the modern education paradigm.
HISTORY OF MODERN EDUCATION
For a better understanding of the history of modern education please visit: www.johntaylorgatto.com. His books such as: Dumbing Us Down, are also available from our bookstore.
HALLMARKS OF A HOMESCHOOLER
NB In the last ten years, the term “homeschooling,” has become a euphemism for alternative day schools. Home-schooling, until recently, literally meant teaching your own children at home, independent of state intervention. Home-schooling co-ops were groups of homeschooling families that assembled once a week or a month for extra-curricular activities.
The homeschooling co-op has recently evolved to include schools that are run by parents, but to all appearances function exactly as public or private schools. The parents no longer teach their own children the 3R’s, and the children are no longer taught at an individual pace. Obviously, they are not taught at home; one of the hallmarks of a “homeschooler.” Many homeschooling co-ops are structured exactly like modern schools. The children are taught in group classes, segregated by grades, complete with grading, standardized testing, and plenty of homework. Many of these schools are run through the state charter programs, so technically speaking, they are in fact branches of public school.
Hence, the meaning of homeschooling has come to include its opposite; children being taught in schools. In consideration of this fact, many traditional homeschooling families and organizations are adopting the term: Home-education. Home-education is a more accurate word for teaching your child at home and free of state intervention because it eliminates the word “school.” The word school conjures up images of a “school of fish,” and the idea that schooled children no longer think independently but become subject to the dictates of the group.