If you’re thinking about stepping onto the homeschooling path, it’s important to know all your options for homeschool programs. You do have choices, with varying degrees of freedom and accountability. It’s less about finding the best and more about finding the best path for your child this year.
Are you living in a yurt in the moutains? Homeschooling through affidavit would probably be your jam. Homeschooling through affidavit is the California lingo for homeschooling independently. You fill out an affidavit through the state to register yourself as a private school (which takes about 3 minutes) and voila – you’re on your own. The procedure varies from state to state so you may have to do a little research to find the legal requirement where you live. This is our path right now, though we actually don’t live in a yurt in the mountains (wifi is too spotty and Olive Garden is too far away), we are loving being so wild and free. Our children are thriving following their passions with the world as their classroom.
Friends, yo! Homeschooling through co-op means you have a cooperative arrangement with a group of homeschoolers to share enriching educational experiences. I run a fun homeschool adventure club I call HACkschool and my friend runs a book club we love. Tap into your local homeschooling community and explore this noninstitutional option – we really enjoy it.
Some areas have a program where homeschoolers can take enrichment classes (think electives) while still homeschooling independently. Portland has a nice looking program I’ve been eyeing called Village Home. See if your town has something similar. Often community resources have great classes that homeschoolers can take advantage of though places like museums (I saw a song writing camp through a museum in Seattle my kid would love). Extra curriculars would also fall under this category.
A homeschool charter is a charter school that provides educational funds (they order curriculum and learning materials and pay for activities you choose for your child) and access to a licensed teacher for support and in exchange you are required to meet with that teacher once a month and provide work samples and paperwork to document their preferred learning. Many homeschool charters have the additional benefit of offering on site enrichment classes. We attended a homeschool charter we enjoyed called Dehesa where the boys attended classes one day a week (classes are offered up to 4 days a week). The upsides are the financial and educational support and social network. The downsides are the requirements, which vary widely from program to program, but you need to comform to the workload and style of the program (as opposed to the best interest of your child). This feels like a true midpoint between traditional public school and homeschooling completely independently.
Traditional Public School District
Most traditional public school districts have a homeschool program (though they usually keep it pretty hidden) that they utilize for students physically unable to attend classes in the classroom, that you are also free to use. If you are deeply invested in the traditional public school culture and wanting to take a baby step off the mainstream path, homeschooling through your district’s program might be the way to go. The upside is that you don’t have to be in the classroom everyday and without the classroom management time waste can complete the required work in a fraction of the time. The downside is that you still have no freedom and are still accountable for completing and turning in a lot of mindless busy work – the man is still holding you down.