a Charter School
The homeschooling landscape has changed quite a bit over the past few years, giving home educators more resources and options than ever before. Homeschooling through a charter school is among these new options, and it brings a variety of factors to consider, such as receiving funding to homeschool and the advantages and disadvantages of partnering with an independently-operated public school.
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What are Charter Schools?
A charter school is an independently-operated public school that operates under a charter or contract, which outlines its mission, goals, curriculum, instructional methods, and accountability measures.
Charter schools have greater autonomy than traditional public schools, allowing them to implement innovative teaching methods and tailored educational approaches to meet the needs of their students.
While charter schools are public schools that are owned, operated, and funded with public tax dollars, they are managed by independent organizations, which can include educational management organizations, non-profit groups, or even teachers and parents.
What it Means to Homeschool Through a Charter School
Traditionally, charter schools haven’t catered to homeschoolers, but this is evolving as some charter schools are now offering homeschool charter programs.
Homeschool charter programs are a type of public charter school that collaborates with families who choose to homeschool their children. It typically combines the benefits of homeschooling with the structure and resources of a public school system.
Homeschooling families often retain the freedom to choose a non-secular curriculum that suits their needs, with the charter school often providing guidelines to follow. For example, many charter schools assign a certified teacher or educational facilitator to work with homeschooling families. This professional helps with curriculum planning, monitors progress, and offers educational expertise.
Homeschooling through a charter school also typically grants families access to educational resources such as textbooks, online materials, learning platforms, and possibly even specialized courses or services and even access funding.
Homeschooling families may be able to use this financial assistance to purchase various educational resources and services, such as learning materials, extracurriculars, computers, online curriculum programs, and more.
States Offering Homeschool Funds Through Charter Schools
Not all states offer funding for homeschooling through a charter school, and you’ll need to research what your state and its charter schools allow. Try visiting your state’s Department of Public Instruction website for more information on receiving funds to homeschool your child through a charter school. You can also reach out to local homeschool groups in your area to learn which, if any, charter schools provide funding for home education.
Alaska and California are well-known for providing homeschooling funds through charter schools, as is British Columbia in Canada.
Check with your state’s laws, Department of Public Instruction, and charter schools to confirm if funding is provided for homeschooling through charter schools.
6 Steps for Homeschooling Through a Charter School
Keep in mind that homeschooling through a charter school is a newer option for states, and it might vary by location. If you come across a charter school that is unfamiliar with this option, don’t be discouraged. The steps below can help you and other home educators in your area gain access to homeschooling through a charter school.
Find a charter school in your state or region that aligns with your values and goals and allows homeschooling. If the charter school you’d like to enroll in isn’t set up to partner with homeschoolers, consider requesting a meeting with them to discuss options.
Follow the enrollment procedures for that school. This usually involves filling out the necessary paperwork and providing any required legal documents (immunization records, birth certificate, etc.).
The school will likely assign you an educational facilitator or education specialist. This is often a teacher who is already working at the school or a designated staff member who works with homeschool families.
Work with your education specialist to create a homeschool plan, including what subjects and areas to focus on and what supplies and curriculum you will need.
Work with the school to get your homeschool curriculum and materials approved, which can allow you to use school funds to purchase these materials.
Start homeschooling! Depending on the school’s requirements, you’ll likely have to check in with your assigned educational facilitator monthly or quarterly.
Pros and Cons of Homeschooling Through a Charter School Homeschool Funding
|Access to funding
Many charter programs provide families with funding to purchase educational materials, supplies, and resources.
|Additional structure in education
Charter schools must follow specific regulations and assessments, which can help home educators monitor their child’s progress. Charter schools also often assign a certified teacher or educational facilitator to partner with home educators.
|More extracurriculars, sports, and other programs
Homeschool charter schools often allow homeschoolers to participate in clubs, sports, extracurricular activities, and even field trips.
|Expanded community and support network
Charter schools often provide avenues for students to connect, collaborate, and participate in group activities either in person or online. They also often provide additional educational support for home educators and students.
Charter schools have a set list of approved curricula. This may restrict what you can use in your homeschool. You will likely need to have the curriculum of your choosing approved by the charter school.
Homeschooling through a charter school often involves adhering to specific reporting and assessment requirements, which can potentially interfere with the flexibility of homeschooling and add additional work.
|Testing and immunization requirements
Many states require charter school students to participate in specific tests and assessments and adhere to immunization requirements. Some states allow immunization exemptions.
|Religious curriculum isn’t permitted
State-funded schools must use a secular curriculum or curriculum that is not tied to any particular religious teachings or practices.
Using Online Curriculum When Homeschooling Through a Charter School
Homeschooling families can use an online curriculum program, like Homeschool+, when homeschooling through a charter school. The online curriculum will need to be approved by the charter school, which is often done by submitting a request for approval.
Key Features of the Homeschool+ Online Curriculum
Homeschool+ supports you, the home educator, in creating a customized learning environment where you and your children can thrive, and their love of learning and academic success shines. Homeschool+ can be used as your primary homeschool curriculum, an additional enhancement to your own lessons plans, or as a tool for summer skill building.
Homeschool+ curriculums include fully adaptive math and reading programs for children ages 4 to 8, plus 19 online courses covering art, science, social studies, music, and more, along with robust home educator tools that support your unique homeschool.
- Provides the mathematical number sense and operations instruction your child needs from ages 4 to 8, in pre-K through 2nd grade
- Helps take your child from nonreader to fluent reader
- Offers 19 courses covering art, science, social studies, music, and Spanish that create an ideal balance of online and offline learning
- A Lesson Planner hub for customizing the Homeschool+ curriculum by adding, removing, or moving lessons
- Complete Lesson Plans that support offline learning through three levels of exploration
- The Progress Tracker allows you to assess your child’s progress and capture the detailed information that your state may require for homeschooling
Your Homeschool, Your Way