Homeschooling vs. govt. schooling

Email of the Day:
Yikes! I just saw the below message posted on a national homeschool site. Is there anyway something like this could happen in Washington, Jen Garrison Stuber Handweaver?

“This was posted in our Indiana homeschool page:
As IAHE Director of Government Affairs, I frequently interface with the Indiana General Assembly (IGA) on issues related to home education in Indiana. I told the legislator I would share this concern with you.

He told me that if homeschoolers do not want to see increased regulations, they need to STOP using government (taxpayer) funding. He further explained homeschoolers have found a way to have the government pay for their homeschooling by enrolling in virtual schools.

He said virtual schools are having great difficulties (poor A-F grades), and the IGA never intended to have a lot of people use them. The IGA envisioned them being used for students with disabilities who could not get to school. They especially were never intended as a substitute for homeschooling.

I share this as a warning to homeschoolers about using government funding such as ESAs, tax credits, etc. If the money was touched by the government, consider it tainted. Tax deductions are your money and the government never even saw that money. Some legislators even complain about that.

I tried to explain that VPS students are not classified the same as homeschoolers. I also gave him our funding chart.

I am curious to know if those who use virtual public charter schools such as Connections, Hoosier Academy, Indiana Virtual, EVSC, etc., did you ever believe you were “homeschooling”? Why did you think it? Thanks for your insight. I told him I’d report back with findings.”

You know how I’m always yammering about how ALEs and PPPs and Virtual Academies aren’t “actually homeschooling” in Washington? This is exactly why.

If these programs were homeschooling, the author would be right – taking money from the government pretty much always involves some kinds of strings, accountability, etc. But when you sign up for an ALE or a PPP or a VA, you’re signing up to be a public school student – you’re not homeschooling. And these public school programs are regulated like traditional public school programs.

The thing that’s a little confusing in WA is that homeschoolers are entitled to attend school on a part time basis. But this is true in a “regular” public school program and predates the existence of the ALEs, PPPs, and VAs. It’s not some special case where homeschoolers can do something with government funds that regular students can’t.

Homeschooling in WA is narrowly defined as being “provided by a parent, educating his or her child only.” It’s further specified, in the law, that “all decisions relating to philosophy or doctrine, selection of books, teaching materials and curriculum, and methods, timing and place in the provision or evaluation of home-based instruction shall be the responsibility of the parent.” This places the financial burden of homeschooling in WA completely on the shoulders of the parents.

Homeschoolers and private schoolers may enroll in public school programs on a part time basis, but what they’re getting isn’t “funding for homeschooling” – they’re getting funding as public school students.

Honestly, with what I see going on with these programs (the programs are reporting hours from the homeschooling that shouldn’t be, sometimes without the parents’ knowledge – I can’t see how this is anything but fraud), the threat is to the PPPs and VAs, not to homeschooling. My prediction? Those programs are gone in 10 years. 2026, and they’re completely gone.

But homeschooling in WA? It’s under no threat, because people who are actually homeschooling in WA are taking no state funds.

Read followup questions and discussion here.