Children are all different and sometimes what works for one may not work for another. As hard as parents and educators try, sometimes the traditional schoolhouse setting just doesn’t work. This is especially true when family beliefs clash with that of the school district. In such cases, families must find alternative ways to educate their children. Home-school is an option, but for parents who are unable to take on the role of educator, hiring someone else may not be an option.
Many use the term home-school as a blanket term that defines any schooling that takes place outside of a learning facility. This generalization is, of course, false. Home schooling is just that, schooling in the home. Home-school is a parental decision to accept the responsibility of educating her child, according to the National Center for the Study of Privatization in Education. In a home-school setting, a parent or family member living in the home assumes the role of formal instructor.
The leniency of individual states allows some parental flexibility as to who the formal educator in the home setting can be. In Maryland, the primary educator must be a legal parent or guardian. However, in Pennsylvania, parents can turn the role of teacher over to a private tutor. This tutor must hold a Pennsylvania teaching certificate and he must receive payment for his services.
Some states require home-schooled students to partake in standardized testing, outside of the home, in a third-party setting. The Maryland State Department of Education explains that the parent or legal guardian must contact his local public school district to make these arrangements. There is no charge to the family for this testing. However, if the parent opts to hire a professional testing agency to prepare his child for the standardized tests or provide test administration, he must pay to do so.
Virtual schools, or cyber schools, are electronic classrooms that a child accesses over the Internet. Even though the computer may actually be in the home, this is not home-school. In the home-school setting, parents absorb all costs of education. Much like traditional brick-and-mortar schools, the educational department of each state grants approval to virtual schools and provides explicit guidelines that require following. While a parent does not have to pay a separate tuition for this form of teaching, the Colorado Cyberschools Association explains that state tax programs provide the funding.