Homeschooling is an attractive alternative education choice for many parents who may choose this option for a variety of reasons, mainly their belief that their children would be better educated and raised in the home environment. Studies show that both socially and academically, homeschooled children perform as well or better than their public school peers. They score above average on achievement tests and on the ACT and SAT, earn higher grade point averages and graduate from college at a higher rate.
Parents who decide to homeschool realize that this requires a major investment of time and energies, and a great amount of preparatory work. Fortunately, there are many resources and support organizations that parents can access. There are also accredited programs and curriculum providers, some of which will provide a high school diploma upon completion.
In the state of Kentucky, home schools are classified with nonpublic schools and must follow the laws relating to the latter. Parents who choose to home school take complete responsibility for the education of their children.
Kentucky home school parents have the freedom to organize and choose the curriculum for their students but must comply with certain requirements imposed by the state. These requirements and guidelines are as follows:
1. They must notify the superintendent of the local school board within ten days of the beginning of each school year with a letter of intent to home school giving the name, age and residence of each child.
2. They should create a ‘school’ name and include this in the letter of intent. This name will be used for records and diplomas.
3. Scholarship reports must be maintained for all subjects taught, and these should include a record of the courses taken and grades received. Homeschooling parents are persuaded to keep a portfolio containing, for each year, samples of the best work done by each child in the subjects studied. These records will be needed should the student later transfer to another school.
4. Accurate attendance records must be kept to be readily available if required. The school year consists of a minimum of 185 school days or 177 six-hour days.
5. All instruction must be offered in the English language, and subjects taught in public schools must be covered. These include reading, writing, spelling, grammar, mathematics, history and civics.
Other factors to consider when homeschooling are:
• Some local school districts may allow home school students to participate in their extracurricular activities. This varies from district to district.
• The diploma received by the home school graduate may not be sufficient when seeking employment or college admission, in which case, the General Education Development (GED) can be completed as equivalent to the state recognized high school diploma.
• Parents may choose to follow the Kentucky Core Academic Standards as their curriculum. The Kentucky Department of Education offers an elearning option for a high school program through three schools: Barren Academy of Virtual and Expanded Learning, Jefferson County eSchool and Kentucky Education Television. The Department can be contacted for further information.