If you are thinking about homeschooling your children under a local charter school, there are several things to consider carefully first before making your decision. There are both pros and cons of homeschooling under a charter school, and the task before you is to compare them and decide if this educational route is still the one you want to take. As someone who has homeschooled independently for several years before signing up with a charter school this semester, I would like to offer what I perceive to be the pros of homeschooling under a charter school.
You will have access to textbooks, sometimes at no cost to you – The charter school that we are currently affiliated with has a large resource center which contains a selection of textbooks available to be checked out. The process is similar to visiting the library, except that a family is permitted to check out textbooks for the entire school term. Some resource centers also have various materials such as microscopes and math manipulatives available for checkout, as well. Having access to textbooks and other supplies can be a really useful aspect of homeschooling under a charter school. If you want or need textbooks that are not available in a charter school’s library or resource center, you can sometimes utilize your child’s instructional funds to order what you need.
A supervising teacher is available to you – Your supervising teacher is available to help you find the best tools and methods for teaching your children. You may not need your supervising teacher to help you in this area very often, but when you do, he or she can be a pretty valuable resource. Often the supervising teachers are individuals who have taught in the classroom for several years and may be aware of teaching methods and materials that you haven’t heard of before.
You will not need to submit paperwork to the state regarding your homeschool – In most states, homeschoolers are required to submit some kind of documentation to state officials. However, charter schools are technically public schools, so when you are “attending” one, you will not be required to submit documentation to any other state officials. However, the process of enrolling in a charter is exactly like enrolling in a brick and mortar school, so you will have to submit documentation when enrolling.
Some states allot instructional funds to homeschooling students in a charter school – This may not be the case in your state. Also, be clear in your understanding that when you enroll with a charter, your child is considered a public school student, not a homeschooler. As such, some states allow each student a budget of instructional funds to be used in very specific ways, which can include specific field trips, office supplies, and curriculum materials.
As far as I have experienced, these are the only pros to homeschooling under a charter school. You may not find them to be enough to justify giving up your independent homeschooler status. You can see my article titled, The Cons of Homeschooling Under a Charter School, if you would like to compare the pros listed in this article against the negative aspects of this educational route as I have experienced them.