We homeschool in Oregon and the state is incredibly hands-off here when it comes to overseeing homeschooling.
Signing up for a charter school that facilitates home education comes with a lot more oversight. For some that's a boon, for others it's a necessary evil to get funding, and for still others it's a deal-breaker and they soldier on fully independent.
We've used three different charter schools at this point and they've varied in terms of their expectations and also their contributions to my children's education. Here are some things I've noticed:
- They pay for mandatory state testing so I don't have to, but they also require additional tests during the year. These take time. One school at least allowed me to see the test scores in detail so they could inform my teaching. Another school said the scores were for the "teachers" only and assured me they'd let me know of any red flags. This caught me off guard since my kids had never met any other teacher but me! Apparently they were referring to behind-the-scenes educators employed by the charter school?
- They oversee our curriculum purchases. This might give new homeschoolers confidence, but I saw it as a hoop to jump through. I had to advocate for several things on my purchase list (like math that was two grade levels ahead... because that's where my child was but it was before any test results had come back so the school was skeptical.) I also got some push back because of religious curriculum we had purchased on our own. We had to write down a secular curriculum for that subject area even though I wasn't going to use secular curriculum. That seemed silly and somewhat disingenuous to me.
- This year we're receiving iPads for our kids to use, an audiobook subscription, money for piano lessons, stacks of great books to use, "extras" that match my kids' specific interests like origami and logic puzzles, and we're also going to fun get-togethers and field trips organized by the school.
So we continue to use a charter school and I continue to have mixed feelings about it. Some would even say we aren't actually homeschooling at this point, but come by my house in the middle of a school day and it sure looks like it!