I know many people are asking some questions about homeschooling and there are a lot of unknowns for this upcoming year. If you haven’t already checked out my post “Are you thinking about homeschooling in Arizona?”, I suggest starting there.
After you read that, you may still have some questions.
- There is a difference between “Online school” and traditional homeschooling.
- Public online schooling-what is that? Many of the schools this year (2020-2021) will be offering school online at home. This is different than homeschooling. Homeschooling is when parents take the lead of schooling by purchasing the items and designing the curricula. Public School or Charter School online is where a school system develops the school online and uses tax dollars to fund the student’s education. You should receive most if not all of the materials needed to school your child. You will be expected to help your child with certain aspects of their education, but you will have access to a teacher and staff.
- Homeschooling as Homeschooling in Arizona is identified as “ARS §15-802 G 2. Homeschool means a nonpublic school conducted primarily by the parent, guardian or other person who has custody of the child or nonpublic instruction provided in the child’s home.”May 4, 2018
- How do I know what curriculum is appropriate for my children? If you are purchasing curriculum for your children on your own, many of the different providers have a guide or a test to show you where your child should start. Math U See is one of the ones I am most
- familiar with, and they have a great guide right on their site. There is also full family friendly lesson plans like The Good and The Beautiful and you can do K-8 or 1st grade through 8th grade.
- How can I find accredited curriculum? Who do I show it to to prove I am teaching appropriate material? Arizona’s laws are created with the homeschooling family in mind. You do not have to “prove” that you are teaching your student, which allows you to create the best approach for your student. As for “accredited curriculum”, see the next question!
- Do I get money back from my taxes if I elect to homeschool my children? The simple answer is no. You may be eligible for an ESA (Empowerment Scholarship Account), but generally, when you choose to educate through traditional homeschooling you are not eligible to receive the funds you pay in taxes to your school district as a refund.
- What is a charter school online? A charter school online is similar to public schools online, however there is an application process, there are no boundary requirements and there may be more required of the child and family. Popular and well known charter online schools are Primavera, Arizona Connections Academy and K12. Prenda is also considered a charter school we well.
- Can my homeschooled child play sports or participate in extracurriculars at the local school? It is up to the local school. There are a lot of homeschool options and a lot of cities have sports through the parks and rec department.
- Do my kids need to take state tests like the AZ Merit? No, your kids do not have to take any state testing!
- How do my children graduate from High School if I am homeschooling? Unbelievably, you create their diploma. Yes, that sounds pretty strange, but you do create their diploma. If they are planning to attend college, you will need to keep a record of the classes they take (or lessons that you give) to them. However, this also opens them up to take classes online or in person from colleges on a per credit basis!
- Co-ops, or cooperatives. Everyone wants to join them. But what are they? Cooperatives are when parents join together to teach. This is not a charter or magnet school. Parents make a plan to work together in order to teach a group of children. One parent may be strong in social studies or have an interest, and another may have a background in English. So, parents “kid swap” and teach each other’s children. Many families jump from either a public school, charter school, or private school and feel that they need this co-op because they are scared of teaching themselves. I highly suggest taking some time off and really digging in to seeing what type of learners your children are and what style of homeschooler you are before jumping into a co-op. Many co-ops require participants to teach or support, and if you aren’t sure of what type of homeschool life you will live, this may add more chaos to your family.
- How will my kids socialize if they are homeschooled? Well, before 2020 craze hit, I would have said there was tons of opportunities for meet ups with other homeschool families. Right now, we are limited how many people can get together, where we can get together and what we can do. In a normal setting, there are tons of opportunities for homeschoolers, and for families who opt for public school or charter school online.
- I want to join a social group! There are many different social groups for homeschooling families in Arizona. AFHE (Arizona Families for Home Education) has a list of Christian Groups around Arizona that accept traditional homeschooling families.
If you are a secular homeschooler, receive an ESA (Empowerment Scholarship Account), do charter school, public school or private school online, there are burgeoning groups that you can find in your neighborhoods and cities through Facebook and Meetup. Especially as the health crisis in our nation evolves, there will be more needs for different groups that accept more different types of homeschoolers.