Homeschooling Info

~Answers to Frequently Asked Questions ~

 

1)  Learn


The very first thing that we recommend is to LEARN for yourself about home education.  Talk to experienced home schoolers, attend classes, and read.  Reading is always a good way to learn about home schooling.  As you read, your philosophy of education will develop.  You need to invest some time in reading good books on the subject.  See our Suggested Reading for a list of books pertaining to getting started.

2)  Contact Your State Agency   For North Carolina residents:  


Contact the Division of Non-Public Education (DNPE).  They govern the home schools as well as all the private schools in our state.  You will need to file with them a “Notice of Intent to Operate a School.”  You must download this form from their website since they are no longer mailing them.  Fill out this form and send it in along with your high school diploma or equivalent to the address on our Related Links page. DNPE will send a postcard to acknowledge their receipt of your intent.  It is important to keep this card – it shows that you are in compliance with the law.  It also is useful at various stores that give discounts to home educators as well as the library (you can get a teacher card which enables you to check out books for a longer period of time than usually allowed).  

For residents of other states:  
Each state is different in the laws that govern home schools, it is best to contact your own state agency.
  

 

 

 

3)   Learn more about joining Home School Legal Defense Association

 

HSLDA is over 55,000 families, supported by more than 50 dedicated staff members, who have banded together to ensure that our rights are respected and our freedoms are protected. 

We at HCHA support their efforts and encourage membership with them.  Their laywers are all homeschooling fathers, who have 57 years of combined experience defending home school families.   Over 20 homeschool graduates work for them in various staff positions.  They are a Christian organization that advocates the right of all families to homeschool regardless of their religious affiliation.  HCHA is a recoginzed group, so that when you provide our group number in your application, you will be elgible for a group discount

For more information about North Carolina laws, please read A Legal Analysis




4)  Get Support

The decision to home school in itself can be overwhelming.  Being in contact and getting to know others who have taken that journey is invaluable. 

HCHA is the local support group for Henderson County, NC.   We are a cooperative of home schoolers who come together to support and fellowship with one another.  We offer informational services to those who are either thinking about home schooling or have made that decision already through mentoring.  Our newest service to new members is our Heart to Heart month meetings, where we connect new home schoolers to veterans. 

NCHE is the North Carolina state support group.  They have many services to offer home schoolers. HCHA supports the efforts and endorses membership with this most essential organization.

 


5)  Decide on Curriculum and Resources


You will need to decide on a philosophy of education before you decide what curriculum and resources to use.  The suggested reading page will help you find books about some of the different philosophies.  As you read, your philosophy of education will develop. 

So, will you go with the traditional approach and buy textbooks, or will you throw out the textbook idea and go with Unit Studies?  (If you have no idea about either, please see the question "What are some common curriculum approaches?") 

At any rate, the decision should be based on what you think is best for your home school, not what others are doing.  You know your children best.  Some children love a workbook approach and others do not do well with it at all.  You may like a guided lesson plan, or you may lean toward using your own creativity with a Unit Study approach. 

Usually, once your philosophy has been developed, it won't change, but don't feel as though you must lock yourself into a certain approach and/or curriculum.  If one thing doesn't work, try something else.  A majority of us didn't pick the "best" curriculum the first time!  Many home schoolers have abandoned a certain curriculum (mid-year, even!) in an attempt to see if something else works better for them.  Truly, it takes some experience in teaching your children to see where their strengths and weaknesses are.  In time, you will also realize what your teaching style is.  These things will mold your home school and what types of curriculum you will use.

There are many resources available for curriculum.  Some are publishers of full curriculum, while others carry books and curricula from a variety of publishers, for those who like the flexibility of picking and choosing their curriculum from different publishers.  

These are the most common, but by no means, the only curriculum approaches:
Traditional and Conventional Text Books
Uses graded textbooks for each subject; most commonly used approach in institutional schools.
Early Academics:
Stresses reading, writing, and arithmetic skills at an early age; uses workbooks, visual aids, and manipulatives.
Workbooks or Programmed Learning:
Workbooks are consumable books with questions or projects included and condensed instructions.
Programmed is step-by-step sequence of small units of facts which provide immediate feedback.
Unit Study:
All subjects center around a common theme and different ages can be involved with the same theme.  Units do not include a math or language program, therefore these need to be added.




Homeschooling High Schoolers:
Everyone seems to be concerned with home schooling the High School years, but there has been an increasing number of home educated High School graduates over the past years.  Many of the "pioneers" of home schooling have turned out graduates with much success.  This can only mean that there is a lot more support for those who are looking toward the High School years, in an attempt to plan for them. 

Curriculum for home education is broad and varied to suit the particular subjects you are desiring to teach.  It is wise to decide on some long-range goals ahead of time - college, vocational training, apprenticeship, etc. 

If possible, before the student enters high school, start planning when and how the student will cover his high school courses.  If college is a consideration for your child, look at potential colleges early, as the college entrance requirements will probably influence your plan.  Adjustments will be necessary as you go along, but it helps to start with a plan.

Over the years, much has changed for the better in terms of options for home educated high schoolers.  Here are some of the options that are available for home schoolers in Henderson County:

Dual-enrollment at Blue Ridge Community College. 
These courses are intended to enable advanced high school students to take college level courses that are not available at their local school.  To qualify, students must be at least 16 years old, attending high school (public, private or home) at least 3 periods or 1/2 day, and working toward graduation. 

Private High Schools.
Some private schools (Faith Christian, for example) allow home schoolers to enroll in specific courses.  Home schoolers may be allowed to participate in extra-curricular activities and sports, if they take a certain number of classes.

Organized Group Classes:
Some home school parents organize group classes for home school students.  Sometimes a home school parent does the teaching, and other times a specialist is hired.  Some of HCHA's co-op classes are geared towards high schoolers.

Correspondence College Classes:
Some colleges offer high school and college classes by mail.  The Independent Study Catalog by Peterson's is a good source of information on correspondence courses. 

Computer Programs:
Interactive programs are available and continue to be developed that can fulfill or aid the teaching of high school subjects.  Many home schoolers have found computers especially helpful in teaching foreign languages and preparing for the SAT.


North Carolina does not have graduation requirements for home schoolers.  Like other private schools, home schools may set their own graduation requirements.  Public high schools in NC require a student to have 20 credits to graduate.  When your student has met your graduation requirements you may issue a diploma to him.

If your student is planning to attend college, please see "Course work typically desired by colleges?" below.
Math:  3-4 credits - usually Algebra I and II and Geometry, at least.  (Most colleges want a math taken in the senior year.)
English:  4 credits
History or Social Studies:  2-3 credits
Science:  2-3 credits (at least one or two must e a lab course)
Foreign Language:  2 credits of the same language.  (Most colleges want a language taken in the senior year.)
PE:  1-2 credits
Fine Arts:  1 credit
Electives:  such as typing, computer, home economics, and Bible. (Some Christian colleges require some credits in Bible)


In most traditional high schools one credit is earned for each year-long course (135-180 hours of classroom instruction).  As home schooling and traditional schooling are two different forms of education, home school work cannot always be measured in traditional ways.  Each home school must determine what constitutes a credit in their school.  One suggestion is to use a combination of hours the subject was studied and mastery of the subject.  For example:  If your student has mastered Algebra I, he gets a credit no matter how long it took.  However, with a vast subject like World History, the number of hours studied may be the best criterion for determining credit.  Keep in mind that home schooling is more efficient than traditional schooling.
A transcript can be put together for a home schooler in the same way that conventional schools develop transcripts for their students.  It should include final course grades as well as final grade point average.  The completed transcript should look professional and may be printed by a computer or printing company.   It should include the official school name and the principal's signature.  Those using a non-traditional schooling approach can translate equivalent learning experiences into courses and credits that a college can understand.  Assign grades based on the competency level achieved in each course.  Some home schoolers choose to forego the transcript and submit a portfolio of representative work (essays, reading lists, etc.), as well as college board scores and recommendations.  Talk to college admissions officers at prospective colleges about their requirements for admissions and what form of documentation that college accepts.