How To Get Started Homeschooling In Georgia

How To Get Started Homeschooling In Georgia 1024x536, Home Schooling Fun

Homeschooling in Georgia is a growing trend. With the passage of HB 316, homeschooled students are now eligible to take specific tests and receive some services through their local school districts (not including special education).

The state also has its own Department for Early Care and Education, which offers many resources on how to teach your child at home or even help you with curriculum choices. If you’re interested in starting homeschooling in Georgia, this article will give you an overview of what’s available.

To get started homeschooling in Georgia, follow these steps:

Notify your local school district of your intent to homeschool by sending a letter of intent.
Provide a curriculum plan to your school district, outlining the subjects and materials you plan to use.
Keep records of your child’s homeschooling progress and provide them to your school district upon request.
Administer standardized tests to your child annually, and submit the results to your school district.
Meet the state’s homeschool requirements, which include providing instruction in specific subjects and meeting certain attendance requirements.
Follow any additional regulations or laws set by your local school district or state.

There are currently three ways they can choose to educate through home-based learning. Those ways are online via distance learning, offline using private instructors, or both online and offline simultaneously. If you plan to use either method, make sure you understand the rules and regulations set forth for each because they differ significantly depending on which path you decide to pursue.

Merriam-Webster defines homeschool as “a person who educates another person at home.” Simply put, homeschooling refers to educating your child(ren) yourself rather than letting them attend traditional public schools.

Studies show that kids who learn at home score better on standardized exams than those who participate in standard programs. Another benefit of homeschooling is tailoring lessons to suit your child’s particular needs while avoiding issues like peer pressure and other distractions that might hinder their progress in the classroom setting.

What Is A Home School District?

According to the Georgia Code Act 53-3-50, Public Schools provide every resident between the ages of 6 and 21 access to free K 12 education. While technically accurate, it fails to mention essential details about student attendance zones, class sizes, and schedules.

One thing worth mentioning is that a student must live within the boundaries of a specific attendance zone before attending public school. Because of this rule, students living outside these areas are often called “zoned” students.

Students who wish to participate in alternative educational programs, such as homeschooling, must obtain written consent from their parents before enrollment. After receiving that consent, parents would enroll their children in the appropriate program for their residence area.

Two primary methods are used to provide instruction to zoned students – online, private instructor, or both – and each type has its pros and cons.

The State Of Current Affairs

For students wishing to pursue online classes, the Georgia Virtual Learning Network (GVLN) is the best place to look. GVLS allows parents to search for courses offered by various primary and secondary schools, colleges, and universities, along with certifications and degrees from accredited postsecondary institutions.

Many lessons here combine online lectures and reading assignments, while others allow students to complete assessments and projects over time. All fees associated with course materials are covered by the parent/student.

Unlike virtual courses, private lessons are typically conducted face-to-face, although video conferencing technology has allowed this style to become increasingly popular nationwide. Private Instructors are usually hired directly by parents based on recommendations provided by teachers in their respective fields.

Costs vary greatly depending on location, teacher experience level, subject matter taught, and length of sessions. Some parents prefer paying per lesson, whereas others pay a flat rate regardless of whether they utilize more hours during the month.

If neither of these solutions appeals to you, don’t worry, there’s yet another option. Families looking to homeschool their children can apply for a homeschool district membership.

What makes a district qualify as a home school district? It consists of a group of homeowners who voluntarily agree to pool funds together in exchange for receiving reduced rates on property tax payments.

Although limited, this is the least expensive form of homeschooling available. Additionally, parents enrolled in a homeschool district are exempt from providing immunization records for new enrollees.

Finally, residents of a home school district are entitled to discounts on health insurance premiums, and some employers sponsor employee family members’ participation in the program. Before joining a district, parents should check eligibility with their employer.

Currently, there are only five active home school districts operating in the entire state of Georgia. They are in Gwinnett County, Cobb County, Clayton County, Forsyth County, and Paulding County. Residents of these districts must submit annual voter registration forms and be given identification cards similar to driver’s licenses.

Curriculum Resources For Parents

Since Georgia laws mandate that parents follow guidelines laid down by the state Board of Education, choosing a suitable curriculum isn’t easy. Fortunately, they have simplified things by creating a website called Curriculums of Excellence (COE).

COE contains a comprehensive database listing nearly 1,300 academic curricula explicitly designed for kindergarten through 12th grade. Subjects range from arts and humanities to math and science. Parent searching can be done alphabetically, by grade level, or by content area. Each curriculum includes cost, availability, licensing, and contact number information.

Most importantly, parents can request additional information from individual publishers through email or call them directly.

State Services And Testing

One significant advantage of homeschooling is having flexibility with scheduling. By homeschooling your children, you’ll gain control over the day-to-day schedule instead of conforming to rigid deadlines imposed by a formalized structure. That said, it becomes necessary to establish a routine for testing and reporting progress accordingly.

Luckily, Georgia requires nothing beyond completing yearly report cards. Reports must be submitted annually in January and updated again in June. Report card formats consist of objective criteria broken down into categories: language development, social skills, physical development, personal growth, and achievement levels. These reports can easily be modified year by year due to advances in knowledge and standards.

Additionally, test scores reported on annual report cards are optional unless otherwise specified for specific subjects. Scores must be sent to the county office responsible for tracking results. Here, the parent/guardian will be asked to sign a statement indicating that they reviewed their child’s report card and believe the data accurately reflects their performance.

If the parent disagrees, they can send evidence of error with the report card. Once received, county offices will determine the claim’s validity and respond accordingly.

While none of this addresses the question of standardized testing, it is good to know that if you desire to administer SAT or ACT exams to evaluate your child’s aptitude for college, you won’t be held liable in court. Instead, the Board of Regents will handle disciplinary action against anyone accused of cheating or giving false answers.

Home-Based Learning Programs

Although Georgia remains relatively strict compared to other places around the nation, it does recognize that some families have legitimate reasons for pursuing homeschooling. Therefore, the state recognizes the importance of offering financial assistance to qualified families.

Specifically, those residing within designated geographic boundaries can apply for grants to offset expenses incurred while running their homeschool programs.

Grant amounts are determined by income bracket, and applicants must maintain adequate savings accounts to ensure future stability. Grants are issued quarterly in September, December, March, and June.

Applications can be completed online, or printable versions can be mailed to the appropriate office.

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