Tuesday, March 31, 2015

This is Not Your Parent's Homeschool!

My academic education began and ended in public schools. My teaching career began in public schools and ended in private schools. Since I retired I have met more and more families who home school. Just as public and private schools have changed through the years so has the concept of a home school. It is estimated that about 3% of U.S. students K-12 are homeschooled. This is an estimate for several reasons, one of which is that some states, such as TX and California, do not required students be registered.  But did you know . . .
  • Parents consider homeschooling for a variety of reasons. Parents may want their child in a school that follows a specific religious or educational philosophy. Some parents realize their child needs more individual instruction than is available at the local school. A family may find themselves transferred for a short time and decide to home school. A parent might feel an immature child needs another year at home to get the most benefit from the public school. There are many individual reasons parents consider homeschooling.
  • Parents aren't necessarily the only teachers in a home school.A small group of parents may decide to share the teaching. Some parents hire tutors to teach some or all of the subjects. Students may be taught by other family members such as a grandparent.  Parents have formed part-time private schools that are open two or three days a week. These schools hire state certified teachers and provide a curriculum. Students go to school a few days a week and learn at home the other days. Parents pay a low tuition and students get individualized attention at home. Here is an example of such a school started by a group of parents.  http://www.tcshouston.org/about-tcs/about-tcs---overview
  • The Internet has a plethora of offerings for the  homeschooler. There are states that provide a free curriculum and classes through the Internet. Parents take advantage of Internet offerings such as those presented on Khan Academy and communicate with other parents through home schooling groups. There are even tutors available on-line.
  • Children may be home schooled a semester, a year, or several years.
  • If you think your child has learning differences(LDs) I strongly recommend you contact a local LD advocacy group. If there is not local group, contact a state or national group. Make sure you receive the services required by federal law even if you home school.
If you are thinking of homeschooling do your research. Know your state's laws, check  the availability of charter and private schools, and know your own abilities and limitations. A child with a learning difference needs a skilled teacher. Some parents do a wonderful job working with a child with LDs, some parents find someone who will do a wonderful job, and some parents discover that it is beyond their abilities. Home schooling is not for everyone, but those who want to try it should not limit the vision of school.

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