During 2017-18, members of the League of Women Voters Homeschool Committee co-chaired by Alice Phillips and Kathy Steele studied homeschooling in Montgomery County. Information was gathered from online sources, phone conversations, school data, experiences from committee members and personal interviews with school personnel, two parents who homeschool, a current homeschool educator, an online academy teacher and Audra Hacker, Homeschool Support Specialist from the Indiana Department of Education. This is the first of three columns reporting on the LWV Homeschool study.
State Regulations:
Legally homeschools are considered non-public, non-accredited schools and are on the same legal level as private schools. Parents who homeschool must educate their children for 180 days and keep a record of attendance. The attendance record may be requested by the State Superintendent or the superintendent of the local school corporation.
Homeschool educators must teach in English and provide an education equivalent to what is provided in public schools, but there are no requirements for curricula, books or materials. Parents who homeschool only report enrollment to the state superintendent if requested.
In Indiana, parents do not need to notify the local district or state if they plan to homeschool. There are no requirements for parent education, crime bans, state-mandated subjects or assessments. The state does have a vaccination requirement but no records are submitted by the parents.
Indiana does not provide books or curriculum; therefore, parents may take up to $1,000 income adjustment which equates to about $40 per child on Indiana taxes. Parents who homeschool have the financial burden of locating and purchasing educational materials, teaching guides, testing materials, field trip expenses and tutors as needed. Homeschool educators may legally issue a diploma to students who complete a curriculum that meets the standards that they establish. If the student is 16 years old, he/she may choose to take the High School Equivalency (HSE) exam to receive a HSE diploma.
Reasons Why Parents Homeschool:
Home educators have a variety of reasons why they decide to take on the responsibility to homeschool. Reasons may include but are not limited to the following list: a preference for an individualized curriculum for each child, religious instruction, travel, sports, vaccination requirements, physical and emotional needs of the child, pregnancy, pace and content of curriculum, bullying, work schedules and/or a dislike of regulations, curriculum and/or teaching practices of a local school district. The parent is not required to provide any reason for homeschooling their children.
Future columns will address Homeschool Resources and report on the Homeschool Committee findings.
All men and women are invited to join the non-partisan League of Women Voters. The LWV does not support or oppose candidates or parties but studies and advocates on issues. For information about the League, visit the website: www.lwvmc.org or send a message to LWV, PO Box 101, Crawfordsville, IN 47933.