When it comes to homeschooling high school, outside programs can seem appealing compared to homeschooling independently. At first glance, "accredited programs" and "certified teachers" and "approved curriculum" may give a sense of relief to a homeschooling parent, but I'd like to talk to you about some potential drawbacks to these parent partnership programs. I want you to be aware of some of the "strings" attached.
Parent partnership and alternative education programs see homeschoolers as a source of income. When we use their programs, they receive money. Some programs receive money directly from us, and other programs receive money on our behalf sent from the government. Any time an individual or organization accepts public money, they give up some control in exchange. If you use a parent partnership program through a public or private school for homeschooling, the school may exert some control over the education of your children.
These alternative education programs can change their policy at any time, and begin demonstrating their control now or in the future. I have seen this happen. Parents will begin with a program and feel very happy with it - and then, the following year, the rules change.
Some programs will claim they don't exert control, when, in fact, they DO. They require you to be evaluated by a teacher, or have a certain number of hours in a classroom, or submit work for grading. They may require you to choose curriculum from a certain list, or they may not "approve" your choice of curriculum. Many will not allow you to teach from your worldview, use a religious curriculum, or include religious instruction in your school day.
Programs may recite the familiar complaint about homeschooling: socialization. Even "rookie" homeschoolers usually know and can explain that socialization in the real world is the highest quality socialization. Frankly, raising socialization as a concern is a "red flag." It signals a program that is not as "homeschool friendly" as they claim.
Private school parent partnerships may demonstrate some of these concerns, even though parents can choose a program to support their world view. I remember speaking to one private-school-at-home program. The teacher explained her belief that high school students "should" go to school for the sake of "socialization." That was the moment I recognized the intangible attitude of an alt-ed program could have serious repercussions within the family. Stay aware of program attitudes, and don't let them cause you to doubt your ability to homeschool independently.
Look at the advertisements for parent partnership programs, and read between the lines. Some ads will say they offer "real teachers" - which of course implies that you AREN'T a real teacher. They may say they use "approved curriculum" when really, our curriculum is approved too - approved by the homeschool parent who knows their child best.
I have seen parent partnership programs advertise a "real high school diploma," and yet somehow my children's high school diplomas were real enough to earn college admission and scholarships.
They may say they have "accredited transcripts." Did you know that the vast majority of colleges consider the "official transcript" provided by homeschoolers to be equally legitimate? Don't be intimidated by these "suggestions." As long as you are following your state laws, you're official! Check your state's laws HERE.
Some private schools offer accredited homeschool programs. Pay close attention if you are evaluating such a program.
They may talk about "individualized" curriculum packages but really just offer textbook, workbook, school-at-home learning. They may describe their outstanding curriculum choices - which may be outstanding! - however the "choices" are limited to what the school is providing. Sometimes the school requires you to take the advice of their advisor's expertise. Your love for your child, plus your own expertise, are ultimately what drive your homeschool choices.
Lastly, a private school program may promote a range of courses from "vocational to Advanced Placement," however when you homeschool independently, you have access to these types of courses and more. And your child can learn at his or her own rate, slowing down or speeding up when necessary. A "private school at home" program will have set deadlines which may be difficult to accommodate with a learner who needs more or less time to complete a subject.
Sometimes accredited distance learning programs are the right choice for families. But look closely at the messages, weigh the pros and cons, and think carefully before choosing. Independent home education is TRULY flexible, individualized, supportive, and official. We are not flexible within some artificial boundaries, or individualized within certain curriculum choices, or supportive as long as rules are followed. At the same time, we CAN be official by following state homeschooling laws.
Beware of any program, agency, or organization that would try to sell you something by playing on your fears or making you feel incompetent. This strategy is a dead giveaway that their motives are not pure, and they are not looking after the best interests of you and your family.
Before you decide to "go a few rounds" with the alternative education or parent partnership programs, ask yourself some questions:
Don't settle for a love that isn't true. Love should have no strings attached. Believe me; you CAN homeschool independently through high school! Thousands have done it over the years with incredible rewards. Your family will be blessed by your decision, and I am here to help you along the way!
If you need resources for creating your student's transcripts, consider my Total Transcript Solution. Whether you've got four years ahead of you to work and plan - or if you need to create a transcript tomorrow - this solution will give you the tools, training, and encouragement you need to create a transcript that stands out!
If you're needing help with "big picture" high school planning, my High School Solution may be just the thing for you. This solution helps you plan and homeschool middle and high school with excellence. I come alongside you with resources and encouragement to get the job done well. High School Solution and Total Transcript Solution, as well as my other solution products, come with lifetime access, so you can use these resources over the years with multiple children, if needed.
I hope you feel confident to homeschool independently. Learn more about the High School Solution in my video overview below. I love supporting parents in this important work!
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