Definition of Home Schooling
What is home schooling? Home schooling is defined as a “provision of compulsory education in the home as an alternative to traditional public/private schooling – often motivated by parental desire to exclude their children from the traditional school environment” (Education Resources Information Center (ERIC), 1999).
Parents homeschool their children in many different ways. The techniques vary from traditional ways of teaching using textbooks, to community activism, to the study of classic literature and Latin, and many versions in between (Ransom, 2001; Izhizuka et. al., 2000).
Homeschooling is permitted in all 50 states, however, each state has its own rules and regulations for legally taking a child out of the traditional school setting (Ishizuka, et. al., 2000). To provide some examples, the Washington D.C. metropolitan area consists of three jurisdictions, each with differing degrees of regulation.
In the state of Maryland, a child between the ages of five and sixteen must be enrolled in a school district somewhere in their state if they are of legal residence. If his/her parent chooses to homeschool him/her, the parents must sign an assurance of consent form 15 days before the start of their planned homeschooling session and send it to their local school superintendent. In addition, throughout the year, the parent must maintain a portfolio demonstrating their child’s academic accomplishments (Ishizuka et. al., 2000).
Similarly, the law in Virginia states that any child between five and eighteen years of age must comply with the schooling rules. A letter must be sent to the superintendent as soon as possible, preferably before August 31st of that year. The District of Columbia law, on the other hand, states only that children receive “private instruction” throughout the regular school year (Ishizuka et. al, 2000).
The state of Maryland does not set forth any specific qualifications that must be met by the person homeschooling a child. In contrast, the person home schooling a child in Virginia must have at least a four-year college degree, use a pre-approved curriculum course, or have their curriculum pre-approved before the start of the school year. Students in Virginia are also required to receive instruction for the same number of days as those children in public schools. Virginia homeschoolers are required to take one state test, in which they must score in the 40th percentile of the test population (which is given to all Virginia students) to continue homeschooling through the next year (Ishizuka et. al., 2000). District of Columbia law sets no specific requirements for the person homeschooling the child and does not test the children being homeschooled in any way.
Reasons Parents Choose to Homeschool
One homeschooling mother says public schools have “forgotten about educating” (Cloud et. al., 2001). Some parents are scared to send their children to public schools, due to...