I’ve been looking around trying to identify some leaders in homeschool websites and communities. I’m not looking at the new social media, I’m focusing on the more traditional web-based approaches.
- Homeschool.com – They seem to be #1 in most people’s minds.
- HSLDA – These are a polarizing group which uses scare tactics and speaks for one segment.
- Ann Zeiss – One of the old ladies of homeschooling. A2ZHomeschooling.com is her site.
- Mary Pride – Another pioneer and old lady of homeschooling. She wrote one of the most popular books on homeschooling. Her site is Homeschool World.
- New sites: HomeschoolMom, Letshomeschoolhighschool, homeschoolliterature, secularhomeschool, – there ar many of these
- Curriculum sites with communities. Many of these are well done: TehWellTrainedMInd, Time4Learning.net, etc etc
As I speak to homeschoolers, homeschool experts, and homeschool groups, I’ve been soliciting information on what is the most popular approach to homeschooling. Here’s what I think:
Many people with their kids in virtual schools think that they are homeschooling. Of course they are not. But this is a large segment.
Of the real homeschoolers, there are a lot that are eclectic combining a series of different homeschoolers. I spoke to one lady today, Tash, who had five kids being homeschooled. The oldest two were twins age 17, the youngest was 2. The oldest were using:
- Texting Textbooks for Math
- Apologia for Science
- A Language Arts program whose name I forgot. They were using Time4Learning but stopped at the high school level when it jumped from $20 per child to $30 which they felt was prohibitive especially since the 2nd child had been only $15 up to high school.
- A social studies program who name I forgot.
There are lots that do classical in a few forms, including Classical Conversations. A Beka is not as popular, now is AOP and Saxon as they use to be. Many people just use old textbooks for cost reasons.
Still looking for real data. I saw some on Todays-Learners.com but I’m not so sure where they got it.
There are some sites that review the state laws and do it while trying to sell homeschool legal insurance. I don’t want to say that it’s a scam but they certainly have a strong commercial interest to emphasize the risks and oversteps by the government so that they can collect more insurance premiums. Some sites also have a very political agenda.
The A2Z Homeschooling site is unusual in that it is simply a resource for the homeschool community which is not trying to overstate (or understate) the rules and regulations. I’d recommend them as a great way to get to understand the state by state homeschooling laws. (DISCLOSURE. I’m affiliated with them but I would recommend the site anyway). However, no website could possibly be comprehensive enough to address all the legal questions. And I quote:
“It is important to home school legally!
Laws for Homeschooling by State, Province, or Country
Mobile-accessible list to find homeschool laws easily by political region. It is important to read the actual laws for homeschooling in your political region. Each is different from any other region, though there may some overlap in requirements.
How to Know Which Laws to Follow
If you have been in a state long enough to be legally required to have that state’s license plate on your vehicle, or are required to have that state’s driver’s license, then you should also follow that state’s homeschool law. If your primary residence is in a state where you vote and pay taxes, consider that your home state. There is no statutory definition for principal residence in the Tax Code. What if you move around a whole lot, living in an RV or boat? Either of those would have some state’s registration.”
There are some big complicated issues that she has just raised there. Lets review one.
Jurisdiction. She says that a good test is that if you have their license plate, you should also follow the homeschool laws of that state. I’d like to dig deeper into this. What about where you vote, where your driver license is from, and where you pay taxes? This is a more complicated question than that but as a starting point, she has a godo point that license plates matter. Still, I’d consult an attorney.