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Frequently Asked Questions about Homeschooling

Q.  Why do families home school?
 
A.  Each home schooling family must determine its own reasons and goals.  For best results, parents must both agree and be committed to the idea of home education.  Some common reasons to home school are:
  • the ultimate responsibility for education of children belongs to parents (Deut. 4:9, 6:1-25)
  • academic excellence (proven by research, home school test scores, and college scholarships)
  • home schooling makes quality time available to teach children and to train and influence them in all areas in an integrated way
  • parents can help children avoid destructive influences such as negative peer pressure, inaccurate teachings, and violence
  • each child receives individual attention to meet unique needs
  • children gain new respect for their parents and siblings
  • the family unit, closeness, and enjoyment of each other will grow in this environment
  • children have time to explore new interests, perform community service, and participate in meaningful activities
  • tutorial-style teaching helps each child achieve full potential
  • flexible scheduling can accommodate vacation times, involve both parents in teaching, allow for meaningful field trips, and increase academic results
  • children develop confidence and become independent scholars away from the typical negative peer pressure
  • parents can make sure that their child’s education is consistent with the parent’s worldview and spiritual convictions

Q.  Is home schooling legal?
 
A.  Yes.  Every state has different laws, but we are especially fortunate - Idaho is one of the best states in the nation in which to home school.  Idaho law requires basically three things:
  • a child between the ages of 7 and 16 must receive instruction
  • the child shall be taught “subjects commonly and usually taught in the public schools” (not defined)
  • although private and parochial schools are required to provide instruction for the same number of days and hours as the public schools, home schools are not subject to that requirement.  Usually providing comparable instruction within the tutorial setting afforded by home school takes far fewer hours and days so no minimum hours or days are specified for those teaching their children at home.
You are not required to furnish any information to the local school board.  If you remove your child from public school during the year, contact the school by phone or letter to tell them you are providing another means of education for your child.  Neither testing nor record-keeping are required by law, but both are highly recommended.  Freedom of educational choice also carries personal responsibility.  The Home School Legal Defense Association recommends at least minimal record-keeping of your child's educational progress (there are many record-keeping systems available).  Yearly, optional testing such as a child would receive in public school is available through the Idaho Coalition of Home Educators.  Testing serves many beneficial purposes:
  • it exposes your child to a structured test taking environment
  • it gives you a tool with which to gauge both your child's and your own academic progress
  • the results can be very reassuring to relatives and friends
  • the combined results of home school test scores, both statewide and nationwide, prove that home schooling is a legitimate, high quality educational option.
  
Q.  How much time does home schooling take?
 
A.  Home schooling definitely takes a time commitment, but not as much as you might think.  One-on-one tutoring is much more efficient than classroom instruction and so takes less time.  Actual time requirements vary with curriculum, ages, and the number of children in a family.  Length of academic instruction may begin with as little as thirty to sixty minutes per day for early grades, and increases in hours as the student progresses.  For the upper grades, most families have a few hours of instruction plus independent study each day.

Q.  How do we schedule home school?

A.  There are many different ways to actually schedule your home school. This is a decision you must determine.  Best results are achieved by being consistent with the schedule your family chooses.  Some families start school in the morning and some in the afternoon.  A few even prefer evenings.  Some families split up the day with morning class, household chores, community service, etc., them more class in the afternoon.  The school calendar is also a personal choice.  Some families prefer to follow the public school calendar.  Some families choose to hold school year round, perhaps have three weeks of school followed by one week off all year round, or teach all summer and take winter vacations.  There are many options.  Only you know yourself and your children best.

Q.  What about socialization?
 
A.  All children are socialized.  Your responsibility as a parent is to decide what forms of socialization you choose for your children.  One popular opinion would have parents believe that children need long periods of interaction with their peers to acquire proper social skills.  However, research and experience has proven the error of this thinking.  In actuality, extensive periods of peer contact can cause undesirable peer dependency.  Elementary age children seldom will learn kindness, compassion, and gentleness from each other, but must be taught these skills by adults.  A visit to any playground will verify this fact.  The results of teen peer groups range from dismal to violent.  Some advantages of freedom from peer groups can be:
  • self confidence
  • independent higher thinking levels
  • ability to relate to people of all ages
  • self motivation
  • better family relations
  • increased respect

Q.  How does a home schooled student graduate and become eligible for college?

A.  It is recommended for those students who wish to attend college take either the SAT or ACT college entrance exam.  These exams may be taken several times , though prospective colleges will see all of the test scores, and not just the highest ones. Idaho public universities, such as Boise State University, University of Idaho and Idaho State University require homeschooled students to visit an on-campus testing center to take the ACT Compass Exam. This test is a placement exam and high scores may grant college credits without having to take English 101 and 102. This test will also place students in the appropriate math classes for their ability. This test does not allow use of a personal calculator, and a simple 4-function calculator is provided, (addition, subtraction, multiplication and division). Prepare students who may be dependent on higher functioning calculators. Once a student misses three problems this computerized program will automatically shut off and the score is given. This test may be taken twice per semester and it is recommended that a student begin taking this test several semesters prior to their desired college admission date.  Most colleges will enroll home schooled students, although a few may require a provisional status which is removed after three semesters of a grade point average of 2.1 or better.  High school students may also take college courses by correspondence or through a dual high school/college enrollment plan, and then enter college as a transfer student.  Some colleges may attempt to convince parents that their student must take the GED test for admission. This is NOT true, and there are many important reasons why taking a GED test can be harmful to the future of your student, stigmatizing them with dropout status for prospective employers and military recruitment. For more information about how to register for the college board exams visit,
www.chois.org/archive/resource.win09.php

 
*Do not let home schooling intimidate you.  God uniquely equips and enables those who apply His word.*