Being an “independent” homeschooler in Alaska means compulsory attendance at a local public school does not apply because you are (1) educating your child at home; (2) homeschooling with a private tutor; (3) homeschooling with school board approval; or (4) homeschooling as a private school. Utilizing any of these four options means no state or federal funds are used by and for your homeschool but each has their own requirements for reporting.
Independent homeschoolers are actually what most homeschoolers are in the rest of the U.S. Alaska is unique in that we have many public school “choice” options. Many parents who educate their children at home do so through public school programs, called “alternative education” or “correspondence” or “homeschool” programs. IDEA, Raven, CyberLynx, and Fairbanks B.E.S.T. are just a few of these. Enrolled families are considered “homeschoolers” since the parents are educating their children at home while under program oversight. However, children enrolled in these programs are considered by the state to be public school students. For many, this legal distinction does not matter. For others, this legal distinction absolutely matters.
Independently homeschooling parents assume full responsibility for their children’s education. This includes not only financial responsibility, but total responsibility to create an educational journey specifically tailored to their child. This can be done through choosing or creating the child’s curriculum; deciding to take standardized tests or not; being accountable to themselves, first, and the community for the full education of their children; scheduling school hours and vacations; creating distinct, individualized transcripts and course descriptions; the flexibility to set academics aside for a time to serve those around them; and the list goes on. Parents not only have the final say over their child’s education, they must actively pursue this freedom. Perhaps the best part is being able to design and present your child with a unique, distinct diploma that appropriately reflects his/her extremely exclusive education.
Independents keep the work of our nation’s homeschool pioneers alive and well. They keep these paths clear. They stand in protection of the right to educate their children without government oversight. They exercise their rights. By exercising their rights, they protect those rights. By protecting those rights, they are willing to defend them. It is these families that willingly assume the massive responsibility for these freedoms.
If you’re interested in more information about homeschooling independently or joining NSIH, please e-mail northstarindependents(at)gmail(dot)com