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If you homeschool, and are looking for the quickest and easiest way to find an umbrella school in your area is contact a local homeschool group. These groups will generally have a running list of all the umbrella schools in your region. You can also go to your local library to locate this information. Public libraries are homeschool friendly and usually have a list of homeschool groups and umbrella schools in the area. You can also find a list of umbrella schools by contacting your state's homeschooling association or checking at a reputable homeschooling curriculum website.
You should know that homeschool umbrella schools come in many flavors. Some umbrella schools are religious based. For instance, parents may have to sign a “statement of faith” prior to their children being accepted in the school. By signing the statement you are declaring that your family holds the same religious beliefs as the umbrella school. An umbrella school that takes a religious stand would be a great option for a homeschooling family who is like-minded. However, it would not be a good match for a family who has a set of beliefs that are contrary to the schools. You should thoroughly research an umbrella school before you enroll under one.
Homeschool parents who enroll their children in an umbrella school should go the extra mile and join the Home School Legal Defense Association. An umbrella school may be of little assistance to you if you were ever targeted by the state about your homeschooling practices and/or taken to court. However, if you are a member of HSLDA you would be represented by one of their attorneys free of charge. A homeschooling family can join the HSLDA for a small annual fee. To learn more about the HSLDA and their services you can visit www.hslda.com.
The reason that many homeschool families choose to sign up under an umbrella school, instead of their local school system or state, is most often due to the "homeschool friendliness" of umbrella schools. Umbrella schools come in many sizes and shapes but most offer something extra for homeschoolers. For instance, homeschoolers may have the option to play sports, participate in field trips, have tutoring and more through an umbrella school.
It is important to note that before a school can be classified as an umbrella school it must meet the state requirements for education.
One way you can be assured that your homeschool children will receive viable high school diplomas is to enroll under an accredited umbrella school. Not only will your child receive a legal high school diploma that will be accepted at college, but he or she may be able to participate in graduation events through the umbrella school, too.
An umbrella school is a new concept to someone who has never homeschooled before. To put it in a nutshell, an umbrella school is usually a private or religious based school that has an option for homeschooling. What this means is a homeschooling family can sign up under the umbrella school as homeschoolers instead of enrolling as a homeschooling family through the public school system or state. This is good news to parents who may live in a school district who frowns on homeschooling.
It is important to note that many umbrella schools even require more of a homeschooling family. One school may require that you use particular curriculum, another may require that you come in and have regular meetings, while another may simply want an end of the year report filed on your children. Before you enroll with an umbrella school you should be clear about their requirements and be sure you can meet them all.
|Sheri Ann Richerson|