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People who begin homeschooling often feel they need the warm hand of a certified teacher on their shoulder, guiding them along until they get the hang of it themselves. That is exactly what the public ISP (independent study programs) appears to do.
In most states, ISPs use the same curriculum that children at the local public school would use. If you choose such a program, you are assigned an ISP counselor (a certified teacher for the public school teacher who usually keeps track of between 100 and 300 families like yours). You are also given the curriculum to follow and must report to the counselor weekly, bimonthly, or monthly.
*Most families find, after two or three months, that they love the freedom of homeschooling and want to be on their own.