Part 1 of 2
I recently had a conversation with a woman who used to independently home school but has chosen to home school high school through a state-sponsored program. When asked her reasons, her choice was based solely in believing some myths about independently home schooling high school. Sadly, in this day and age of Google and the internet, a lot of information is available at our fingertips and yet there are still many myths about independently homeschooling and independently homeschooling high school.
As a lover of Truth, I decided that it is time to sit down and debunk six of the most popular myths regarding independently homeschooling high school. Alaska has one of the nation’s best home school laws, superseded only by Oklahoma whose home school law is written into their state Constitution. Even though our law grants us the most freedom, few choose to utilize their right to home school. Instead, the vast majority choose to enroll in state-sponsored programs that subject them to everything that our home school law exempts. If the law exempts it but a program requires it, the program purchases true home school freedom. Alaskans must be vigilant in keeping their right to home school without intrusion and oversight.
“It can’t really be legal to home school without a program and oversight.”
Actually, it is! Alaska’s home school law states that as long as a child is being educated at home by the child’s parents or legal guardians, the child is exempted from compulsory attendance, notification, approval, testing, forms, and teacher’s qualifications. What does this mean? It means that you are LEGALLY allowed to teach your child or children at home. You do not have to be a certified teacher. You do not have to keep attendance records. You do not need to notify the state, local school district or local school that you are homeschooling. You do not need approval from ANYONE in regards to HOW you home school, WHAT curriculum and materials you are using, or WHEN you will have “formal” academics. There are not any forms to file in order to home school. You are not required to subject your child or children to any formal testing in order to continue homeschooling. This testing also includes the high school exit exam. Your home school high school student does NOT have to take an exit exam and pass in order for you to issue a diploma unless it is one of your requirements.
“Independently home schooling high school students need to report to an educational agency.”
If you read about Myth #1, then you are aware that you do not need to report anything to anyone. The only persons or people that need reported to are your spouse and your children. Parents hold each other and their children accountable. No one in a local school, district, or the state has any legal right to your home school. You are under no obligation to report to a teacher, school, district, or the state. Independently homeschooling high school does not change this.
Did you know that a diploma is merely a piece of paper that states a child has successfully completed specific graduation requirements of a particular institution? So Home School Mom and Dad, what do YOU want your child to accomplish or know before he or she leaves high school to take on the world? Do you have postsecondary education in mind? Perhaps your child is interested in vocational school. What are your child’s goals and what are yours? YOU are YOUR OWN school! YOU establish what your school’s graduation requirements are; they can be different for each homeschooled child! Once your child has successfully met your criteria for graduation, you may issue a diploma!
You can make your diploma as fancy or plain as you like. You can print one yourself or you can utilize online stores such as Homeschool Diploma (http://www.homeschooldiploma.com/). That diploma, while really just a certificate of an accomplishment, is symbolic of both your child’s hard work and yours. Your child could lose that piece of paper but not have to repeat high school. What really counts is the education and transcripts behind that diploma.
Stay tuned for the remaining three myths in regards to independently home schooling high school!