Homeschooling is becoming an increasingly popular option for parents wanting to provide their children with an education tailored to their individual needs. It is also a great choice for those who want to take a more active role in their child’s education.
However, homeschooling comes with its own set of rules and regulations. In the state of Indiana, there are certain requirements that must be met in order for homeschooling to be successful.
From the necessary paperwork to the types of curriculum to use, understanding the requirements for homeschooling in Indiana can help ensure your homeschooling experience is positive.
Definition of Homeschooling
At its core, homeschooling is an educational method where students are educated at home instead of attending a traditional brick-and-mortar school. Many parents choose to homeschool for a variety of reasons, including a special needs child, a child who does not fit into the school environment, and scheduling challenges.
Homeschooling also applies to parents who want to provide a more personalized education for their child by incorporating subjects and topics that might not be offered at a typical school, such as foreign languages, music theory, and chemistry.
Homeschooling can be done in a variety of ways, but it always involves parents being the primary educators rather than a teacher. Regardless of how you choose to homeschool, certain requirements must be met for your child to receive all the benefits that come with this educational method.
Overview of Homeschooling in Indiana
One of the biggest misconceptions about homeschooling is that it is illegal. While there are certain requirements that must be met in order for homeschooling to be successful, it is not illegal. In fact, it is one of the most common methods of education in Indiana.
In 2017, approximately 32,000 students in the state were being educated at home. While each state has its own unique set of rules and regulations, Indiana has a fairly standard set of requirements that must be met in order for a child to be homeschooled.
Some of these requirements include having a curriculum plan, keeping records of progress, and offering standardized tests. The state of Indiana also has its own homeschooling association for those who choose to homeschool their children.
The Indiana Homeschool Association is a nonprofit organization that supports and connects Indiana homeschool families.
Requirements for Homeschooling in Indiana
Certain requirements must be met in order for homeschooling to be successful. In Indiana, homeschooling families must follow these regulations: Each child being homeschooled must have an Individualized Education Plan (IEP). An IEP is designed to meet the specific needs of each child. An IEP is required for all special needs children.
Parents must keep a record of progress. While there are countless ways to keep track of progress, keeping a written record of your child’s accomplishments is highly recommended. These records should include test scores, projects, and any other activities that help your child learn.
There must be a curriculum plan. After deciding which subjects you want to cover, create a detailed plan of what will be taught and how is important. In addition to covering subjects that are typically taught in school, you also have the freedom to add subjects that may not be offered.
Required Paperwork for Homeschooling in Indiana
After deciding to homeschool your child, it is important to note that you do not need to inform the state that you are homeschooling. Instead, you must inform the state when you plan to stop homeschooling. Specific paperwork must be filled out when you decide to stop homeschooling.
It is recommended that you fill out this paperwork around the time that your child is about to graduate from high school. Doing so will make the transition out of school much smoother. When transitioning back into public school, should your child want to return, fill out the paperwork before the next school year starts.
While no specific paperwork must be filled out when you decide to start homeschooling, it is important to keep records of all work completed and parental progress notes. These records will help you if you are ever audited by the state. It is also a good idea to keep these records in a safe and easily accessible place in case of a natural disaster or other emergencies that may require you to leave your home.
Types of Curriculum for Homeschooling in Indiana
After deciding that homeschooling is the best option for your child, the next step is choosing a curriculum. This can be a difficult choice, but there are many options available depending on your child’s interests.
There are also a number of online resources that can help you find the best curriculum for your child. Some of the most common types of curriculum for homeschooling in Indiana include:
Textbooks – Many textbooks can be used in a homeschool setting, but it is important to check for any specific requirements. Many textbooks are designed for group settings and may not be suitable for homeschool use.
Workbooks – Workbooks are a great way to practice what is being taught in a textbook. While you can certainly create your own workbooks, many pre-made workbooks are designed for homeschooling.
Online resources – While many textbooks, workbooks, and other materials are designed for homeschooling, many online resources can be used instead of traditional textbooks and workbooks.
Online resources are particularly great for subjects such as foreign languages, computer science, and music theory that you may be unable to find a suitable textbook.
Guidelines for Homeschooling in Indiana
Certain guidelines must be followed when homeschooling. These guidelines include:
Parents must be actively involved in their child’s education. While this might seem obvious, it is important to remember that you must actively be participating in your child’s education. This can include helping your child learn the material, assisting with projects, and grading work.
Parents must keep attendance records. There are no formal attendance requirements when homeschooling, but it is important to keep track of the amount of time each child is being educated each day.
Parents must provide a yearly progress report. Once per year, parents must provide a report that outlines the progress of each child being homeschooled. Indiana requires that this report be completed and submitted by May 15th. The state also offers a sample report that can be used as a guide.
Benefits of Homeschooling in Indiana
Parents choosing to homeschool their children are often concerned with how their children will be able to keep up with their peers socially. While there is no way to avoid this issue completely, there are ways to help your child meet new friends while homeschooling.
You can encourage your child to get involved in extracurricular activities in your community, join online groups, and participate in online communities designed to connect homeschooled children. There are many benefits to homeschooling in Indiana. Some of these include:
Greater flexibility – Parents have the freedom to set their child’s schedule and incorporate fun extracurricular activities into the day.
Greater parent-child bonding – Since you are the child’s only teacher, you have the opportunity to form a greater bond with your child.
Greater focus on your child’s strengths and weaknesses – Since you are the only one grading your child’s work, you have the opportunity to focus on their strengths and weaknesses without a teacher’s bias.
Challenges of Homeschooling in Indiana
Many challenges come with homeschooling in Indiana. Some of the most common challenges of homeschooling include:
Creating a social environment – While you and your child will be able to form a stronger relationship, it can be difficult to create a social environment. Finding ways to engage with other homeschooling families in your area is important.
Budgeting – While there are costs associated with traditional schooling, there are many costs associated with homeschooling. These costs include books, materials, and group activities.
Finding time – One of the biggest challenges of homeschooling is finding the time to do everything. While you will be teaching your child at a more relaxed pace, there is still a lot of work to be done.
Finding support – It can be difficult to find other homeschooling families in your area who are willing to help. There are many online communities available, as well as local groups, that can help you connect with other homeschooling parents.