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Tuesday, April 25, 2006

Getting Back To A Familiar Theme

Well,it has been over four months since I have picked up on this theme (see Virtual, Cyber, and Home Schooling), but once again I wanted to examine the relationship between homeschool and cyber charter school students. I recall a while ago Annette (and I may have one too many "n"s in there) told me that once a homeschool student started to attend a cyber charter school, a private virtual school, or even a district/state sponsored virtual school that they were no longer considered a homeschooled student because they had started prticipating in some formal education system outside of the home.

This view would seem to be supported by SpunkyHomeSchool who has written that Online Charters Are NOT Homeschools (I should note that it appears that she has removed this entry, although it began "There are many using online charters that want to be considered homeschoolers. This article presents the reason online charters like K12 used by these parents in Colorado is not a homeschool but a "different kind of public school". Because COVA is a public school chartered by the Adams 12 District, it's subject to the same regulations as "brick and mortar" schools. "They monitor attendance...").

However, a few days ago I announced a couple of new blogs that I had found on virtual schooling. One of these, Allied Online High School Blog, had a couple of interesting entries that again made me question the clarity of the division that Annette and Spunky are referring to.

I found it quite interesting that this online high school was both targetting and, from reading some of the other material on their site, catering to the needs of homeschooled students.

So I'm left to wondering is this as cut and dry as some would have us believe. I know in one of my own areas of interest, rural education, there are many definitions of what constitutes rural. The Department of Education has three categories of schools that are considered rural, but the United States Bureau of Statistics uses a different definition of rural, and then the Department of Agriculture weighs in with a third. Is it possible that the distinction of what constitutes homeschooling can be just as muddy?

Note that in the past I have also tried to outline a link between homeschooling, cyber charter schools, and Christian education - which I still believe exists (at least for the latter two - see Christian school goes online).

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Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi Mike,
You spelled my name right. :)
About homeschooled students who enroll in an online program the parents pay for, it isn't a real issue if they call themselves homeschoolers. In many states, there are homeschool laws that allow homeschoolers to start their own home-based private school or partake in one established to homeschool their children.

With the cyber charter schools, enrollment means that the responsibilites are different than those of someone who is homeschooling their children who are not enrolled in a cyber charter school program. With all the different state laws, homeschoolers as a majority, are not required to follow the state standards, state testing and are never required to be under NCLB. Cyber charter students are. In the majority if not all of cases, enrollment in a cyber charter school will mean that homeschooling has legally ceased for that student while he/she is doing public school at home. This link explains it better than I can at the moment: http://www.homeedmag.com/blogs/groupnews/?p=80
"Debunking the myth that homeschoolers cost public schools’ funds".

Now there are muddy waters here. There are public school programs that offer part-time enrollment to homeschoolers and they are still hsers for the classes that they aren't enrolled for. There is a law about hsers not being considered homeschoolers if they are attending public school for more than 25 hours a week. This isn't real unusual for hsers whose state laws allow their children to take a few classes or sports at the local public school. It's the same idea. But they would not be "homeschooling thru the virtual school" no more than a parent could say they are hsing their child thru the public school if the student is physically there for math.

The muddiest water I have seen with hsers and virtual schools is the statewide, public Florida Virtual School (not a virtual charter). A homeschool student can be enrolled in a whole course load and still be a hser. However, it should be noted FLVS isn't a diploma granting institution. They are not the school of record. Homeschoolers in FL would not have a school of record (at least the way the law is now).
Hope that helps clear up some of the confusion. If not ask away.

10:06 PM  
Blogger MKB said...

Thanks for the again Annette... I figured that you were on top of the actual definitions moreso than what I am...


10:20 PM  

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