Charter Homeschool Programs
Charter schools were authorized by the California legislature in 1992 to support innovation in public education. Since the passage of charter school law, an increasing number of charter schools have been designed by and for homeschooling families. Because each charter school operates under its own charter, before deciding to use a particular charter school, homeschooling families should consider whether a particular charter school's policies meet the needs of their family.
Many families find that the decision to enroll in a charter school program can have a profound effect on how they structure their lives. Just as there is a wide spectrum of homeschooling philosophies within the homeschool movement, so there is a broad spectrum of philosophies among various charter schools; they offer a variety of benefits and vary in their accountability and testing requirements. However, all homeschool charter schools must conform to the requirements of both charter school law and, since January of 2000, independent study program (ISP) requirements as well. What follows is a description of how charter school homeschool programs generally operate.
Parents enroll their child in a charter school by completing an enrollment contract. This document states the policies of the charter school and the requirements that the parents, student, and the credentialed teacher must legally meet. Once all three sign the enrollment contract, the child is legally enrolled. The school agrees to provide specific types of support and resources to the family, and the family agrees to abide by an instructional plan.
Charter schools provide resources that can include cash, computers, textbooks, and other instructional materials, depending on what is specified in that school's charter. The instructional plan specifies what the student is expected to accomplish in the time period between meetings. Whereas some charter schools operate much like a traditional independent study program in which the credentialed teacher dictates what assignments the child must complete, other schools provide for a great deal of input and flexibility in assignments. Some charter schools also offer either enrichment classes and/or supplemental money to pay for classes taken elsewhere or to pay for supply purchases.
Reprinted with the permission of the HomeSchool Association of California. © 2007–2008 by HomeSchool Association of California. All rights reserved.
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