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How Homeschooling Varies Across States

How Homeschooling Varies Across States

Because there is no federal policy on the requirements for homeschooling across states, the result is a patchwork of regulations and a different experience for homeschool students depending on what state they are in, says a newly released report investigating the subject.

When considering different requirements for homeschooled children, states vary drastically on all. Notification of intent to homeschool, instructor qualifications, subjects, attendance, assessment requirements, public school participation and online schools are all areas for which The Education Commission found in this month's report to be varying across the 50 states and the District of Colombia.

The variance between standards has resulted in a difficulty in determining any concrete facts about homeschooling in general. Said the report, "It is difficult to determine the exact number of students being homeschooled across the country, in part because several states have few or no reporting requirements, and estimates vary widely."

Oversight of homeschooling is perhaps the biggest discrepancy across states. For notification, some states require parents to annually provide updates to the local school district while six states only require a notification when homeschooling commences, said the report.

When it comes to instructor qualifications, whereas Washington requires homeschooling instructors to have completed some college-level coursework, only 12 other states and D.C. require any kind of instructor qualification at all, and most only require a high school diploma.

And while 29 states and D.C require certain subjects to be taught in homeschooling curriculum, with the most involved requiring parents to provide the local school district with documentation of planned instruction, the rest have no involvement with subject material at all.

Twenty-three states have attendance requirements for homeschooled children, with three of those states not specifying required hours but rather mandating instruction be "similar or equivalent" to the instruction time of the local public schools.

It also appears that homeschooled children are typically exempt from standardized testing requirements. Fewer than half of states require homeschooled children to be assessed on their academic progress with only 12 states requiring a standardized test to do so, the report said.

The report also discussed a growing trend of homeschooled children using some form of online education through state online schools, virtual charter schools or the like and that this blurs the lines between homeschooling and public education.

What really seems blurred, however, is an idea of what kind of education homeschooled children are getting on a national level.

Read the full report here and comment with your thoughts below.

Article by Nicole Gorman, Education World Contributor


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