Questions and Answers about Our Group and Independent Homeschooling
What is required of members or to join this group? Families requesting membership in our group must independently homeschool at least one child and reside within the state of Alaska. We use two different venues to effectively communicate events, activities, news, and discussions within our group. We respect the privacy of our member families and will not share personal information with outside entities.
Our family independently homeschools, why should we consider joining your group? Support, friendship, encouragement, and opportunities that exist within the context of freedom. With freedom comes a great responsibility to ourselves and our communities. Our group is led by volunteers. We encourage our families who have identified a need in the homeschooling community to fill that need, whether it is through organizing a field trip or hosting a hangout.
Do independent homeschoolers get a real diploma or do they have to get a G.E.D.? A parent-issued diploma in the state of Alaska is just as valid as a diploma issued by any other school in the state. Independently homeschooling students are not required to get a G.E.D. Parents may opt to have their children receive a G.E.D., but we encourage families to exercise their legal rights to issue their own diplomas.
What about accreditation? Accrediting is not a requirement. There are many, many schools both public and private throughout the country that are not accredited. Accreditation is not a requirement for college admissions or scholarship opportunities. As the homeschooling movement has grown and continues to grow, less and less emphasis is placed on these expensive stamps of approval because the homeschooling product, well-educated children, speaks louder than a stamp that confirms the minimum academic standards of the majority.
Independently homeschooling families may opt to use accredited programs and curriculum. That is 100% legal because the education is occurring at home under parental supervision. It is important to remember, however, that using such curriculum has its own requirements and can be less flexible than parent-designed courses that are not accredited. Also, bear in mind when using an accredited curriculum, that provider has the final say of what goes on the transcript as well as the course descriptions. If a parent desires mastery of a subject instead of just completion, this may look messy on an accredited transcript whereas a parent-issued transcript would include course notes along with assessment of mastery of material.
Here is a great article explaining accreditation can be found by clicking here.
What about accountability? How can people be sure independent homeschoolers are actually teaching their children if they don’t have to report to anyone? There was that case in Anchorage where the parents abused and neglected their 2 daughters in a homeschool setting.
First, the case referred to in Anchorage was not about homeschooling! The parents had withdrawn their daughters from school but were not educating their daughters at home, therefore they were not compliant with Alaska’s homeschool law. In this particular instance, the homeschooling law does not apply because there was no education happening.
How can we be sure that Alaska’s public schools and private schools are educating their students? Recent statistics have been released regarding Alaska’s public schools, also known as the Nation’s Report Card to the Public or the NEAP, and Alaska ranks 35th in overall grade-level proficiency. That alone should speak volumes that Alaska’s public schools aren’t doing a very good job of educating and teaching children the basics of reading, writing, and arithmetic. Instead, the state adopted standards that are virtually a carbon copy of the highly controversial and developmentally inappropriate Common Core for Language Arts and Math. The Nation’s Report Card speaks for itself in terms of public schools actually teaching children, doesn’t it? Private schools are required to test certain subjects at three grade levels, but those results aren’t required to be made public. How do we know those schools are educating their students? Since parents pay tuition at these schools, would they be willing to pay if their child was not being educated? As private schools recognize that the parent is the authority, private schools absolutely ensure education of their students otherwise the parent would not be willing to pay tuition! It is also valuable to remember that, even in these more public settings, abuses happen among teachers and students. As a community, we need to hold these perpetrators accountable for their actions and not allow them to hide under the guise of public, private, or home school.
So, what about accountability? Independent homeschoolers have an immense amount of freedom to educate their children as they see fit. With that freedom also comes a great amount of responsibility. It would be easy to say independent homeschoolers aren’t accountable to anyone. After all, that’s what the law says: no reporting, no testing. That isn’t the truth though. Independent homeschoolers are accountable in a greater way than their public school and private school counterparts. They are first accountable to themselves: parent to child to parent among the family unit. Secondly, they are accountable to family and friends. This group notices things. Thirdly, they are accountable to their communities. If a parent is not educating their child, these two demographic groups will likely take notice. It is these two groups that shape policy both locally and statewide. It is the latter group that an independently homeschooling student will one day become a part of. Will that student make a positive or negative impression? If a parent desires a positive impression of independently homeschooling on the community, there is great personally responsibility to guarantee quality education. What better way to be accountable than to protect the very freedom that allows independence.
If you have any questions regarding our homeschool group that aren’t answered here, please feel free to contact our group at:
Thank you for your interest in our group!