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July 8, 2009 > Homeschool Information Night

Homeschool Information Night

By Dustin Findley

Homeschooling is when parents direct the education of their children, either by teaching the children on their own, or by finding resources out in the community to provide the instruction.

Stephanie Hood will be presenting Homeschool Information Night at the Milpitas Library.

The evening will be divided into 2 parts, roughly 6 - 7 p.m. and 7:15 - 8:15 p.m, each concluding with a question and answer session.

Part one will cover basic information about home schooling options in California: public school independent study program, offered by school districts and charter schools that specifically home school families, such as California Virtual Academy.

Public school programs, home schooling through an existing private school, independent home schooling, which families can do, establishing their own private school and managing their child's education that way. These are the basic legal options.

During the night participants will also go over more practical, day to day stuff, different philosophies different families use. "Some follow very closely the kind of scope and sequence that students might encounter in a school setting, some do not" said Hood.

They will be looking at different options available so families have the opportunity to choose what is most comfortable for them.

Support groups are parent lead, non-incorporated groups in Santa Clara and Bay Area counties.

"With home schooling, we are a small percentage of the population. So it's unlikely that you're going to find a ton of people with your same kind of philosophy right in Milpitas" Hood said.

The largest and nearest secular or inclusive homeschooling support groups are in San Jose and toward the Peninsula.

Hood continued: so "People in the homeschool community do tend to travel. We do tend to put a lot of miles on our cars. It's as much car schooling as home schooling... (For) those of us who want to get out and connect. Some people really are happy to insulate themselves, which is a family decision."

During part 2 they will be specifically addressing homeschooling high school, discussing what options are available. "There are decisions to be made, you really do have to think carefully about what your goals are before you start home schooling for high school" said Hood.

The same legal options are available for high school home schooling, through mostly accredited public charter or public district programs. There are also a lot of other options that are less conventional, "that do not at all limit your child's ability to go onto college, to universities"

"A lot of parents are concerned" about being able to teach certain subjects, like geometry, so there is the option of outsourcing classes.

Many parents may express "I don't know how to teach geometry, what can I do about that? Is there a way to do lab science?"

There are a number of opportunities and places where kids can go and take these classes with other kids, and Hood will be discussing these resources, and how to graduate your student. California High School Proficiency Exam is a state test that basically issues the legal equivalent of a high school diploma. So it's "Important for people to know what that is" Hood said.

Options for attending community college before your student graduates, vocational programs like regional occupational centers are available to home schoolers too, "a lot of people don't know that."

There are ways to attend community college before graduating, after graduating, after turning 18 without graduating. If you want to go to a university as a freshman then there are really close and specific guidelines that you have to follow during the high school years.

"If you're willing to transfer to a 4-year university as a junior after community college then you do not at all have to follow what's typically considered a high school curriculum" Hood explained

There are community resources for socialization, what a lot of families are concerned about, places for their kids to meet other kids and interact.
Guest speakers will include parents who have homeschooled their kids who are in or on their way to college.

There are many different programs. "A lot of people assume that homeschoolers are one kind of way" said Hood.

Hood believes that "The homeschool community has every kind of person that you would find in the Bay Area."

There are options if you are willing to do some research and are "willing to drive a bit."
Parents can find real life support and online support "to help them see if this is going to be something that their family wants to try."

Different families try homeschooling for different reasons. Some students start off in public school and their parents try something different to appropriately meet their learning needs.

Other families choose home schooling based on philosophical, religious, or world views
Hood says that over the last 20 years homeschooling has become legal in all 50 states, "but the ways that are open to home school your kids are different from state to state"
She explained that in California there is no legal thing called "home schooling."
What we have in this state are private school laws, which are easily met by individual families.

Hood said that last year a court decision affirmed that it's well within parents' rights and abilities to establish a private school in their own home to teach their own kids.

There are no home school laws in California. We have the compulsory education code, that all students have to be in a public school unless they are enrolled in a full time private day school. We have the ability as individual families to create a private school.

In many states they do have home schooling as a category of education in their laws, in California we do not.

When Hood, and the organization she does the most volunteering for, the HomeSchool Association of California, talk about homeschooling it includes all the options outside the home.

These include through the public school, through an existing private school, on your own, or even hiring a credentialed tutor.

Other people use the term "homeschooling" to specifically refer to schooling without government involvement.

Many people might assume that homeschooling means religious education, or that the kids are in the house all day, which is not the case.

Homeschool Information Night is free and open to the public.

Email hoodstephanie@sbcglobal.net to RSVP or ask questions or visit www.hsc.org for more information.

Homeschool Information Night
Tuesday, July 14
6 - 8:30 p.m.
Milpitas Library auditorium
160 North Main St., Milpitas
(408) 262-1171

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