Home Schooling

Questions to Ask if Considering Home or Internet Schooling

Homeschooling Guide

Tips for Successful Homeschooling

Testing for Homeschooled Students


Questions to Ask if Considering Home or Internet Schooling:

  • What curriculum will you use for homeschooling? (Appropriate for each grade level.)
  • What kinds of records will you need to maintain?
  • What ideas do you have on structuring or schedules for doing homeschooling?
  • How do you plan on networking for social and emotional development?
  • How will you help your child adapt cross-culturally?
  • Will your child thrive/adapt to a daily environment where social interaction with peers is limited?
  • List questions or ideas you have for more help on homeschooling.
  • How do you plan to stay connected to the laws/state standards of the US for your transitions back to the States?
  • What type of assessment or testing do you plan to do for your child in homeschool?

Homeschooling Guide

Article: Homeschooling Guide
By Ann Zeise and Carol Moxley

Note: This article is from a secular perspective and focuses on homeschooling in the US, but it offers good information.

What is homeschooling?

Homeschooling is a viable education alternative to institutional schooling. In compliance with state laws regarding this type of education, children learn under the general supervision of their parents. Parents and children, conferring with each other, assume control of the content of their learning. It is a complete substitute for institutional schooling.

There are other forms of alternative education that, though they may be called "homeschooling," fall directly under the supervision of school personnel. Examples are independent study programs (ISPs) or some kinds of "visiting teacher" programs for the infirm. In contrast, while these plans may be called "homeschooling" or "home education" and involve the student learning at home, neither the students nor the parents have much control over the content. "Home Study" is often confused with homeschooling. Such programs are offered by school districts so that children confined to home or hospital because of illness or injury may keep up with their classmates in school.

Who homeschools?
People from all walks of life homeschool. Homeschoolers live in large cities, small towns, on farms and ranches, in mountains and deserts; homeschoolers live in families where mom stays home and dad works or vice versa; homeschoolers are blended families, two-parent families, single parent families, families that work from their homes or where both parents work and a grandparent takes an active role in the education process; families that are religious and those that aren’t; families who have been in their country for generations and those that have recently immigrated; people who enjoy good health and those who live with disabilities. We are homeschoolers. We are your neighbors.

Why do families homeschool?
Ask ten home schooling families why they home school and you might get a variety of reasons. Usually it is the positive ways homeschooling benefits their families that keep them going. Here are just a few of those benefits:

  • Continuing the parent-child relationship that has developed since birth. There is no reason to end this just because the child has reached compulsory school age.
  • Better supervision over the content of their children’s education—school can be questionable
  • Better ability to meet the special needs or learning style of their children
  • Concerns about the safety of local schools or the long bus rides to the schools
  • The wonderful flexibility! Homeschooling allows for more frequent travel and for long periods of time.

How many people home school?
Because not all homeschoolers are required to register, it is nearly impossible to get an accurate count. About 350,000 children were being homeschooled. That estimate is now closer to 2,000,000. That’s roughly 2 percent of the school-aged population of our country! A dramatic increase in applications from homeschoolers are being reported by colleges and universities as well. There is no question; home schooling is growing.

Legal Options

Is homeschooling legal?
Homeschooling is legal in all 50 US states. The laws vary from state to state. It is also legal or becoming more acceptable in all provinces in Canada, Australia, New Zealand, the United Kingdom, Puerto Rico, Japan, South Africa, and other countries. In some countries it is practiced illegally as homeschoolers work to change the laws.

What is the law where I live?
In some places there are requirements that you inform the government of your intent to home school in order to avoid truancy questions. In some areas you may declare your home a private school and thereby be exempt from government interference. In other areas, you must be supervised by a cover school.

You only need to concern yourself with the law if your child falls within the age range for compulsory education in your state. You may certainly live the home schooling lifestyle if your child is younger or older; you can just ignore any registration or reporting requirements.

Do I have to have a degree or special training?
Not usually, but credentialed teachers have it easy in some places: they may tutor their own children without any supervision in areas that require such oversight of non-credentialed home school parents. Most states don’t even require a parent to have a high school diploma. One state requires a “How to Home School” course. Requirements vary from state to state.

What’s the best source of legal information?
The people in your area. Local home schooling groups have experienced homeschoolers who will prove to be the best sources of information on how to meet the legal requirements in your school district. Be sure you have an experienced, reliable source for information. And remember: these people are not lawyers! It is up to you to read the law for yourself. After all, you are the one ultimately responsible for compliance.

Tips for Successful Homeschooling

There are several issues that you should be aware of when considering homeschool as an educational option for your children.

Experts say that among MKs, correspondence/homeschool works best if it is used as a temporary schooling solution, because the child needs more socialization opportunities than the correspondence or homeschool environment offers. Academically, MKs do fine in the correspondence/home school setting.

Studies indicate that children who have been in correspondence/home school for long periods of time have greater socialization problems than those in day schools or boarding schools. Social adjustments tend to be the most difficult adjustments MKs face already, especially when they return to the US for college and career.

  • To counteract the socialization problems, parents should provide daily and weekly social settings for their children. They can do such things as:
  • Play host to the neighborhood children so that their children can have neighborhood children in and around the home.
  • Take their children’s peers with them on outings and field trips.
  • Take their children to other children's homes to visit and play.
  • Get their children involved in a church where they can have social interaction with their peers.
  • Join clubs where their children will have social opportunities.
  • Get their children involved in local sports, extracurricular activities, and summer camps thorough schools, churches, or clubs.

Learning disabilities are much more difficult to detect in children who are in correspondence/homeschool. It is important to discover learning disabilities and get help while the child is young⎯kindergarten and first grade. Parents should have their children periodically tested in an overseas MK school, an American international school, or if they are in the US, at a US public school, university, or private learning institution. If a parent suspects development issues related to a child’s speech/language, the child should be evaluated by the child’s pediatrician.

Testing for Homeschooled Students

While living overseas you are not held to state laws. However, when you return to the US you will need to show your child’s portfolio to prospective schools so they will be able to place your child.

While living in the US home school laws in most states require assessment of basic skills. You will need to check state laws in the state which you are registered. We recommend yearly testing for your children and that you keep test results in your child’s portfolio (see Building Your Child’s Education Portfolio pg. 12).

For individual state laws on homeschooling go to the site below. Locate your state on the list at the left hand side of the screen. These links will give you information about the specific homeschool laws in your state.

Information on testing is available under “Testing Services” on the A to Z Home’s Cool Homeschooling web site. Testing resources can also be ordered from this site.

These sites provide resources for aptitude testing.

Sample of State Standardized Tests:

  • Iowa Test of Basic Skills (ITBS)
  • California Achievement Test (CAT)
  • Stanford Achievement Test (SAT)
  • Metropolitan Achievement Test (MAT)
  • Science Research Associates
  • Comprehensive Test of Basic Skills (CTBS)
  • Comprehensive Testing Program (CTPIII)
  • Wide Range Achievement Test (WRAT)
  • Peabody Individual Test
  • Woodcock Johnson Revised Tests of Achievement
  • Pennsylvania System of School Assessment Test (PSSA)

Placement Testing

Article: Parents Teaching Overseas, June 1993
By Sharon Haag
Parents Teaching Overseas is a publication of the CHED Family Services Department. Permission is granted to copy.

What tests should I give my children?
Most important in determining which tests to give your child is knowing the purpose you want to accomplish by the testing. Testing can be helpful toward several goals:

  • Evaluating student progress in a particular academic area and keeping assessment records (progress reports, samples of work)
  • Determining strengths and weaknesses so that curriculum can be adapted to meet individual needs
  • Understanding approximately how a child will fit in academically according to home country standards
  • Obtaining a measure of achievement that is understood and respected by home-country educators

Various kinds of assessments can be used to accomplish these purposes. To evaluate academic progress and understand strengths and weaknesses so that you can plan appropriate curriculum, it is most helpful to use informal inventories/evaluations and the kinds of tests that are included with the curriculum materials you are using.

Informal reading inventories are a valuable tool. Listening to a child read aloud helps determine if the selection is an appropriate reading level for him/her.

  • Misreading five words per page (three for younger children) indicates the material is too difficult
  • Reading with fluency and appropriate expression is a good indicator that the student comprehends the material
  • Noticing the kinds of errors made gives direction regarding what kinds of skills need work

The "formal" tests at the end of chapters and units in textbooks can be used before material is studied in order to develop a more appropriate study plan. Not spending time on what the child already knows allows for much more effective use of the time that is available.

Take care to understand all the learning goals of a unit before skipping sections. For example, many children who can read selections from their reading program with comprehension need to read the selection anyway if a learning goal is to focus on elements of literature or writing with which they are not familiar.

At the same time, it may be possible to skip the word attack and comprehension exercises that go along with the lesson. Sections of practice problems in math may be skipped if the child clearly knows how to do them, but the word problems on those pages may need to be done to increase problem-solving skills.

Achievement Tests
If you wonder how your children compare to home country peers and you plan to return to your home country and enroll them in school, it is helpful to have them periodically take the type of achievement test typical in your home country. Some countries have a schedule for testing at particular ages, and you should follow that.

For countries that do not have assigned ages for testing, give a standardized achievement test the year before furlough. Doing it at the beginning of the school year gives opportunity to strengthen areas of weakness you discover (ones that perhaps have not been covered in the curriculum you are using, but are typically covered in schools in your home country).

Another reason for giving standardized achievement tests is that it helps your children to learn the typical kinds of test-taking skills they will experience in your home country. Also, national standardized achievement test scores are readily understood by educational personnel in home countries, so acceptance in schools is facilitated.

Formalized testing may not always be necessary. Even in Canada and the US schools are increasingly looking with favor on “portfolios”—samples of student work. Even if formal test scores are desired, it is nevertheless helpful to maintain a portfolio because it provides a teacher or school with so much more information than mere grades and test scores.

An important item to include in a portfolio is a writing sample. In order to provide useful information, the sample should show the process the student went through, not just the final product. First draft and revisions should be attached to the final copy to show the student’s progression through the writing process. If possible, have a sample from the beginning, middle, and the end of the school year so development of writing skills can be noted.

To show student comprehension of written material and the ability to respond in writing, include in the portfolio an essay test in any subject area. A research report or description and pictures of a student-planned and executed project gives good indication of ability to plan, research, organize, and present information in a clear and interesting manner.

These kinds of skills are increasingly being recognized as important. They provide information that cannot be ascertained if only objective, multiple-choice types of assessment are given and if “grades” or test scores are the only kinds of records available.


Home & Internet School Resources

SHARE Education Services
In the early 1990’s a group of international educators met together at a conference and realized that they were all attempting to resolve similar educational issues. Focusing on the needs of families in Europe, Russia, and Central Asia several of these educators formed a committee to study how the needs could be met. This led to the formation of SHARE Education Services, established as a non-profit organization in 1994.
Services: SHARE’s main goal is to assist parents with the education of their children while the family serves cross-culturally. Offering counsel to parents is a major part of the work that they do. SHARE also offers conferences overseas. With limited access to educational professionals, parents often need encouragement and reassurance as well as information that will help them provide the best possible academic setting for their children. SHARE staff members are trained to ask relevant questions and offer appropriate options and resources so that parents can fulfill their own goals for their children.

Asia Education Resource Consortium (AERC)
AERC was specifically created to provide critically needed educational services and support to Christian worker families in Asia, particularly those who are using nontraditional educational methods such as homeschooling, national schools, or online schooling to educate their children.
AERC provides qualified and experienced staff in major cities throughout Asia; resource centers with lending libraries for books and teaching materials; Family Education Conferences in various Asian cities; personal consultation by email, visits, phone, internet messaging; testing services, including standardized tests and specialized individual tests; secure members-only website and members’ forum.    https://www.asiaerc.org

Homeschool Legal Defense
Description: This website allows you to search by your state of residence to learn state education standards and homeschooling laws. Click on “About Homeschooling/Homeschool Laws” and click your state on the map.
Services: You can pay to be a member of this website, but can glean a lot of information about homeschooling laws without signing up for membership. Each state offers contact information where you can speak directly to someone who can answer your homeschool legal questions.

International Children’s Education
Description: iCHED is an online resource for parents and teachers.
Services: Click on the “Parents” link for homeschool resources including articles, curriculum, and related links.

A to Z Home’s Cool Homeschooling
Description: Home education hub for information about curriculum, testing, and laws.
Services: Provides world-wide and regional support for homeschooling families. Also provides international homeschool legality issues.

You Can Homeschool
Description: This website provides helpful tips, links, and resources to homeschooling families.

The 100 Top Picks for Homeschooling
Description: This is a book written by Cathy Duffy. She has written a number of books from a Christian perspective on homeschooling. This book walks you through understanding your child’s and your own learning styles. It will help you learn to be a better teacher to your child. The last part of the book includes information on the top 100 homeschool curriculums with a synopsis of each and contact information for ordering that curriculum. This book is an excellent resource for families who have never homeschooled or who feel overwhelmed by the curriculum options and processes. You can find this book and others at your local public library or purchase it online. This website offers reviews and other information about Cathy’s books.

Homeschool Curriculum and Correspondence Schools

Top 3 Homeschool Curriculum Picks

Sonlight: Homeschool curriculum for grades PreK through 12

Sonlight Curriculum is a Christian company specializing in literature-based homeschool curriculum programs. They provide complete curriculum packages and individual resources and materials so you can build the preschool or K-12 homeschool curriculum that best meets your family’s needs. Sonlight is based in Littleton, Colorado and serves customers in over 150 countries worldwide.

A Beka Academy: Homeschool curriculum for grades PreK through 12

The A Beka Book approach to Christian education keeps learning lively, interesting, and memorable. Over 800 textbooks and teaching aids are available for nursery through grade 12. Biblical teaching is woven throughout all subjects. You may choose to order complete child and parent kits, subject kits, or you may order items individually. Many homeschool curriculum/lesson plans are available to help plan day-by-day.

NorthStar: Homeschool and online curriculum for grades 6 through 12

NorthStar HomeSchool and Independent Study (HIS) realize the value and efficacy of homeschooling, and provide strong, researched, multi-media-rich, academically-challenging, thorough, and detailed lessons and lesson resources which have all been created by veteran teachers.

Other Homeschool Curriculum Resources:

My Father’s World: Homeschool curriculum for grades PreK through 12

Combining the best of Charlotte Mason, classical education, and unit studies with a Biblical worldview.

Singapore Math: Homeschool curriculum for grades PreK through 12 in specific subjects

Provides curriculum for the following subjects: Mathematics, Science, and Chinese for PreK students. Singapore Math books as used in the US and Canada refers to the Primary Mathematics series. The Primary Mathematics Series was first published in 1982 and was the only series used in Singapore primary schools up till 2001. Primary Mathematics was written by members of a project team put together by the Ministry of Education, Singapore.

Horizons: Homeschool curriculum for grades PreK through 12

Horizons is the homeschool curriculum branch of Alpha Omega Publishing. With print-based, computer-based, and online formats, their line of curriculum includes Monarch™, Switched-On Schoolhouse®, LIFEPAC®, Horizons, and The Weaver Curriculum®.

Alpha Omega Academy: An accredited, full service distance learning program for Christian homeschoolers K through 12th grade. Part of Alpha Omega Publications.

RightStart Mathematics: Homeschool mathematical curriculum (not divided by grades, but by levels) Activities for Learning, Inc. is the company bringing the AL Abacus to the children of the world. From her Montessori classroom, Dr. Joan A. Cotter created the unique double-sided AL Abacus. The Activities for the AL Abacus was written as she explored the uses for the new manipulative.

Calvert School: K-8 curriculum that will tell you exactly what to do and what to learn, down to the exact spelling words. Advisory teachers available.

American School: 100-year old accredited correspondence school. The school serves many students in the entertainment and sports fields. Offers high school diploma (grades 9 through 12).

BJU Press: Bob Jones University Home School (grades K through 12) is a service for homeschoolers, offering courses and additional programming in your own home.

School of Tomorrow: (Accelerated Christian Education/ACE) Grades K through 12

University of Nebraska, Lincoln: Correspondence/online schooling for grades 9 through 12

Laurel Springs School: Accredited, independent study for grades K-12. Have custom classes as well as honors, UC and NCAA approved courses. Course credits are transferable, and students may enroll in programs at any time of year. They provide a yearbook, prom, and graduation ceremony. Great for students with learning difficulties.

North Dakota Division of Independent Study: Accredited program for students grades 4 through 12. Alternative diploma offerings: Homeschooled students may apply to receive credit for independent work. Children needing to meet state requirements for a high school diploma may apply life experience toward a diploma.

The Potter’s School: Globally accessible online courses for K through 12 and continuing education. Home education online hub for curriculum and courses.

Testing for Homeschooled Students