A few of our most commonly asked questions about homeschooling…
What Is Homeschooling?
Homeschooling is when parents choose to educate their children at home either, full or part-time, and instruct them personally, by private tutor, through independent charter study, or through online academic programs. Homeschooling in the United States varies widely from state to state; check with your local state government for their particular requirements. The HSLDA (Home School Legal Defense Association) website also has useful information for ascertaining the legality of homeschooling in each state.
Can Anyone Homeschool?
Yes, anyone can homeschool their child. Educating our children how we (as responsible adults) see fit, is a fundamental freedom in our country. It is not our government’s job to educate. We as parents can and should see to the proper education of our children and help them to become courageous, responsible citizens of this great country. The laws about the particulars of schooling your own children vary from state to state, so do check the laws before you begin to school your children at home.
At What Age Can I Start Homeschooling?
This question can really only be answered by you, the parent. If you’ve taught your child to sing a song or play pat-a-cake, you’ve already begun their schooling. Children vary widely in their readiness for formal schooling. Although the public education system would like us to believe that a child’s age determines his grade level and readiness, this simply isn’t the case. His/her interest and curiosity in learning would be a much more appropriate gauge. You and your child should assess together your child’s readiness for beginning his formal education. Homeschooling can begin at any age.
Do Homeschoolers Have to Follow Common Core?
No. As a homeschooler you do not need to follow the Common Core standards. You are free to choose your own curriculum and subject matter that most interests you and your children. However, some states require occasional testing which may involve Common Core information and your student will need to know how to navigate that. Learn more about homeschooling Common Core here.
How Can I Afford to Homeschool?
While there are many wonderful and expensive curriculum programs available for homeschooling, you certainly don’t need to spend a lot of money to provide an excellent education for your children. A good place to start is your own education. What do you remember learning as a child? Share what you know with your kids. They’ll love you for it. Next, head to your local library and check into their resources. Books, computers, and free educational programs abound. You can also check your local county for more free educational resources. The internet simply abounds with free educational materials, classes, and learning opportunities. Ask around, many parents are willing to trade their knowledge for yours. While they may excel in math, they could potentially be willing to trade tutoring your child for your expertise in teaching their kids art or science.
Do Colleges Accept Homeschool Diplomas?
This depends to a large degree on the laws of each particular state in the U.S. Different colleges will have different requirements. However, I think it is safe to say that the majority of colleges do accept homeschool diplomas. Here in California, as an independent homeschooler, you are required by law to submit an affidavit to the state stating that you are a registered private school (even if it is just your own children in the school). Thus, as your own private school, you have the right to create and present transcripts and diplomas to your students. Another avenue for students in California, should you have any trouble or be concerned about college acceptance, is to have your students take the California High School proficiency Exam (CHSPE), GED, or other such high school equivalency test. Check your local state for their requirements.