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Liberating your children from government schools

Resources for parents investigating their options

Updated Sept. 10, 2002
Please send comments and
suggestions to LiberateLinks@SepSchool.org

Some parents are ready to take the big step to liberate their children from government school and enroll them in private or homeschool. They just need to find out how and where to do so.

Many others are considering the idea but are concerned about the cost of private schooling or the difficulty of homeschooling. For some, neither of those solutions seems practical for them.

On this page, we have pulled together information not only on private and homeschooling, but also on a number of "creative" alternatives that might overcome difficulties facing many families.

The following organizations offer information or services that might be helpful to you. Since there are hundreds of sites, we have tried to select those that are useful to the broadest audiences.

Please be aware (beware?): The Alliance for the Separation of School & State takes no position on the merits of various forms of schooling.

Our central position is that parents have the right, and many would say duty, to put their children in an educational environment that supports what the children are learning at home. In other words, we urge parents to pick a school where the teachers and administrators already agree with you and hence will not be undermining your values and the virtues you are trying to impart to your children.

Homeschooling

Home School Legal Defense Association (HSLDA)
What regulations pertain to starting to home school in your state? HSLDA's site has summaries of state law regarding home education for every state as well as contact information for state and local organizations. It includes primarily, but not exclusively, Christian groups. You'll also find news and other helpful information regarding homeschooling.

Bookstores with Home School books
This site will help you locate a Christian bookstore in your area that participates in the "Homeschool Headquarters" program. There are over 250 stores nationwide that carry a wide variety of homeschooling resources so you can "look before you buy." These stores often have contact with the local homeschool support groups, and may have a resource person available to help you with curriculum planning decisions.

Homeschool World
This is the official site for Practical Homeschooling magazine. Mary Pride, author of the Big Books of Home Learning, and husband Bill Pride run this site. In addition, there are articles, news, events, curriculum information, advertisements, and links to other helpful sites. Emphasis is strongly evangelical Christian.

Jon's Homeschool Resource Page
The grandaddy of homeschool resource pages, Jon's has become a dependable source of information for a broad range of homeschoolers ranging from Afrocentric to unschooling. Includes secular and religious links. While Jon leans toward unschooling himself, the site includes links to all forms of homeschooling for organizations, resources, discussion groups, etc.

Google.com homeschool organizations listed by state
Google.com will search for homeschool websites in all 50 states and the District of Columbia. Lists 7 sites in Rhode Island and Wyoming, 75 in California, 105 in Texas, and a whopping 146 in Pennsylvania!

Homeschooling resources for parents with limited time

The following are given only as examples of some of the hundreds of possible options available that help parents who have limited time to work with their children.

Switched-on Schoolhouse
Alpha Omega Publications produces Switched-On Schoolhouse, CD-ROM presented courses for grades K-12. For example, a complete fourth grade program of all courses costs $284.95, although courses are also available individually. The curriculum is Protestant and traditional in its educational approach. Students read through text, take quizzes and tests, and play learning games — all of which happens on the computer without parental assistance aside from an occasional essay question that a parent needs to check.

Chalk Dust math courses
Chalk Dust offers complete, high-quality video and textbook math courses for Basic Math (junior high) through Calculus. Instruction is on the video, then students work through a textbook. The Solution Key for each course helps when students get stuck.

Private schooling

One of the most up-to-date listings of private schools in your area is in the Yellow Pages.

There are also several on-line search engines:

Eschoolsearch.com
Easy online searching through their database of 30,000+ private schools for grades preK 12. Includes all types of private schools; allows searched for specific education methods (e.g., Montessori) or religious denominations.

National Center for Education Statistics (US Dept of Education)
Specify state, ZIP code, and number of miles from ZIP. May be more complete than Eschoolsearch.com.

Peterson's Private Secondary Schools
Search for private high schools in your area. High end schools tend to have more information provided at the site. Also searches Canada and many other countries.

Association of Christian Schools International
Search their database by state or country. ACSI is the largest association of private K-12 Christian schools.

Google Directory of sites for private school information
Google.com lists 119 boarding schools, 21 military schools 201 international schools, 24 Sudbury Valley schools, 118 Waldorf schools, and several links to indexes of Montessori schools.

Scholarships

Children's Scholarship Fund (CSF)
Umbrella for scholarship programs for K-12 education throughout the U.S. You can find which local CSF programs are accepting applications for scholarships to private schools at this site.

CSF programs in 44 cities

Home School Foundation
The Home School Foundation operates funds targeted to assist widows who choose to homeschool, families who have children with special needs, and families who have experienced economic difficulty.

Alternatives to private or homeschooling

Community Schools associated with Growing Families International
Children attend these Christian schools two or three days a week, then homeschool the other days. Experienced teachers help direct parents. Cost is lower than full-time enrollment in most private schools. Email through the website for information on Community Schools since it's not actually on the site. GFI phone #: 800-474-6264. Note: Community Schools are associated with Gary and Marie Ezzo whose philosophy of raising children is somewhat controversial.

University model schools
Similar in concept to Community Schools, a number of schools have been created following what is called the University Model. Students attend classes part-time and study under parental guidance the rest of the time. University Model schools are academically challenging, college-preparatory institutions, generally enrolling students in grades K-12. The first few of these schools are located in Texas. Grace Preparatory is an example.

Check with local homeschool groups for variations on the Community School/University Model idea. Many homeschoolers participate in group classes, sometimes for one or two classes, and sometimes for almost half of a child's education. These might be called extension classes, independent study classes, or something else. Options vary dramatically from area to area and are not usually widely advertised.

Online schooling

The following schools are listed as examples of the range of options available rather than as a comprehensive list or as recommendations.

The Potter's School
The Potter's School offers real-time online courses for junior and senior high employing video-conferencing technology. Courses cost $300-$350 per year. Students may enroll in one or more courses. The school has a Protestant statement of faith and enrolls students from all over the world, including many from missionary families.

Apex Learning
Online Advanced Placement courses for high school are the claim to fame for Apex. High quality courses prepare students to take AP exams, potentially earning students college credits in advance. Non-sectarian.

Clonlara "Compuhigh Online High School"
Individual courses or complete high school. $275 per course or $895 per year with up to eight courses. Operating since 1994. Accredited. Graduates accepted at many colleges (list at http://www.clonlara.org/college.htm).

Classical Free Virtual Academy
Online Reformed Protestant school offering classical education focused on the Great Books. About 40% of their courses are offered for free. Others cost $49 and up depending upon level of service desired. Total cost for six years of education (grades 7-12) through this school would be only $1519 if parents supervise and interact with students, or $5169 if parents pay the extra cost to have a teacher work with their child.

Angelicum Academy
Catholic online classical education for grades K-12. Angelicum is also associated with Great Books Academy, a non-sectarian online program for grades 9-12.

Escondido Tutorial Services
Escondido Tutorial Services is the "grandfather" of a number of other Great Books online course programs that are presented from a Protestant worldview. ETS offers courses such the Great Books, Algebra, and Geometry, and also lists other "schools" that offer similar and additional courses.

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