Accreditation: Is It Important?
Accreditation does not guarantee the quality of education, but supposes the educational institution is following standard policies and procedures in supervising student learning. Some public high schools and state universities require accreditation in order to accept an incoming student's credits. This can be a problem for a home schooler entering into certain public and private high schools. Their home school credits might be refused. While there are steps to avoid, and/or resolve, this concern, each situation is different.
Can a Working Parent Home school?
Home schooled students need daily supervision and/or childcare. Students need an adult (usually the parent) to interact daily with them in their learning process. Some times the supervision and interaction can be accomplished by a qualified relative while the parent works. Parents who are able to bring their children with them to work (self-employed, pastors, etc.) need to consider the effect it might have on their work performance. High school students might be left home alone, but each parent needs to determine their student's level of responsibility (Some 18 year olds shouldn't be left home alone!)
Socialization: What About My Child?
Socialization is training a child to successfully interact with others in a meaningful way. Having a child interact with 30 or more of their peers during a 6 hour school day with minimal adult supervision does not guarantee good social skills. Research shows the best model for socialization is a small group with people of various ages (like an extended family). Many times what is called socialization is really rather dysfunctional. Socialization that includes kids pushing and shoving, calling people names, learning to cheat, etc., does not mean this is the normal way children behave or that we should allow our children to be exposed to these things in order for them to learn to socialize. Protecting our children during their developmental years from exposure to the necessary evils is not overprotection. Over sheltering and overprotecting usually involves the belief that if we keep our children from these evils, they will never experience them. Healthy protection involves avoiding exposure to destructive behavior, while training a child how to handle the unavoidable evils in life, with the knowledge that the time will come when you can't protect them any longer.
Home School Styles: How do people home school? (Formal to Informal)
The normal feelings of inadequacy can cause a first-time home school parent to wonder if they are "doing it right." The style is not as important as whether or not your student is receiving the kind of attention they need in order to receive a good education. Some students need more supervision, while others can be self-directed. Providing a student with learning tools, goals and expectations, direction and instruction, are parts of what make-up "your" home school style. Students need routine and direction. Overt creativity and flexibility can be destructive to your student's need to develop study skills. Your style should not be based on "trying to make your child want to learn." Rather it should be parent directed based on what your student needs in order to learn; children do not intrinsically want what is best for themselves.
College and University: How Can a Home Schooler Apply?
High school home schoolers usually can take a course at the local community college, during their high school years, if their school administrator signs a form or writes a letter. Colleges are not obligated by law to provide classes other then those which a school does not normally provide. But many colleges are unaware of this law and will allow student enrollment. (Even elementary students can take college courses under certain conditions). Every resident is allowed to take college courses if they have a high school diploma or are over the age of 18. Home schoolers under 18 who have a California High School Proficiency Certificate may be required by the college to forgo enrollment until they turn 18. Any student who qualifies can enter a state university as a transfer student from a local college. Home schooled students can enter state universities straight from high school under certain conditions (SAT scores, carefully planned high school courses, etc.). Many private universities have departments geared specifically for helping home schoolers apply.
Achievement Testing: Why Test?
Testing has flaws and scientific limits, but it can be useful in two ways. One, it can provide the home schooling parent with some insight on their student's academic progress. It may even help a parent understand their student's challenges. Two, it can be a means for a home school program to verify their constituents are effectively educating their children. Since the organization vouches for the student's education, it must retain the right to verify as well.
Curriculums: Which one should I use? (Textbooks to Hands-on)
Curriculum usually means the tools (printed material, hands-on learning, etc) used to educate their student. Home school philosophies vary from very regimented curriculum to "laissez-faire." Parents should not choose curriculum based strictly on what is convenient for them, or which one the student likes the most. Making sure the student is going to be exposed to, have opportunities to display their mastery in, and learn the basic skills of a given topic should be some of the deciding factors. The goal to educate and train a student is imperative. Taking time to expose yourself to the different types of curriculum, learning what others have used and what they think, and talking with a counselor can provide the help needed in determining the right curriculum for your student.
Daytime Truancy Law: Can My Home Schooler Get a Ticket?
A Daytime Truancy Law involves any minor out in public between the hours of 8:30am and 2:30pm on a school day. Some home school parents falsely think a school ID will exonerate their student from obtaining a ticket. The issue is not verifying student enrollment, but whether they have permission to be outside a school setting at that moment. A ticket will require the parent and minor to appear in court and can be worth $250 or a determined number of community service hours. To avoid this concern, a student should have some documentation (current work schedule, note to visit the library, etc dated for that day and time) or be with a parent. This law is not geared to pick on home schoolers, but was designed to assist the local authorities in dealing with kids who are skipping school.
Jury Duty: How Can I Get Out of This?
The childcare responsibilities of a home school parent leaves many to believe they are unable to serve jury duty. However, in California, if a child is of school age, home school no longer is a valid exemption. Even the cost of providing childcare is not considered a financial hardship. Today self-practitioners and the self-employed also do not automatically qualify for financial hardship. One must appear before the judge and give considerable proof of hardship (losing two weeks wages as a single parent doesn't qualify anymore). The justifiable logic is that our system needs its citizens to serve as jurors to an overburdened system (and we need for it to remain intact). Even servicemen, who have forgone good salaries in order to protect our country, are required to serve jury duty. It is our American duty to serve on a jury from time-to-time and more so, as home schoolers, to support our laws.
Record Keeping: What Records Do I Need to Keep?
Records are an important part of the educational system. Immunization records, report cards, transcripts, standardized test results, etc., are all a part of a necessary paper trail. Incomplete paper trails can harm your student in future years. A private home school program should have policies in place setting the records requirements for their students. The records required should be kept to a minimum, but needs to meet the needs of interfacing with public and private schools.
Work Permits: How Do I Obtain a Work Permit?
A student enrolled in a private school may obtain a work permit from their local public high school upon request. However, public high schools do not like issuing them to home schoolers and sometimes question the validity of the private school of enrollment. Home school programs can obtain the paperwork to issue work permits to their students. The process involves: 1. A student identifying a work place which desires to hire them, 2. Obtaining a work permit application from your school, and 3. Returning the filled out form to your school, which will then issue a work permit. The issuing school has the responsibility, within the law, to set the maximum number of hours a student can work per week, verify the student's continuance in their studies, and retains the right to revoke the work permit when necessary.