The school sector that probably allows for the most personalization for individual students is home education. Homeschoolers have control over their education and can create their own curriculum or purchase it, but they are required to follow and meet certain state requirements.
Homeschooling families can use all kinds of different approaches, including many of the program styles used in schools or approaches more specific to homeschooling, like the story-based Charlotte Mason, classical curriculum, and unschooling. Families use many different tools to deliver their homeschool curriculum, such as textbooks, correspondence courses, workbooks, videos and software. If homeschooling is an option that your family is considering, you will want to find the best approach and teaching methods for your children.
Families can choose to join a co-op or support group to complement their home education, which allows them to connect socially with other homeschooling families and share teaching responsibilities and materials.
Homeschoolers who use their own curriculum do not automatically receive an Ohio high school diploma recognized by the State Board of Education.
All transportation is provided by the family. Need for transportation could arise for things such as co-ops, field trips or extracurricular activities.
The cost of homeschooling must be covered by the family because they receive no tax support. The per-student costs can differ among families, but usually include costs of a curriculum, educational materials, field trips and extracurricular activities.
While no funding is available for homeschooling itself, homeschool families have access to several types of state-funded resources:
- Homeschooled students with special needs are eligible to apply for the Jon Peterson Special Needs Scholarship Program or the Autism Scholarship Program. Each scholarship allows students to continue their core education in the homeschool environment while also receiving a state-funded scholarship for therapy or private service costs.
- Families can use free online charter school curriculum.
- High schoolers can use the Post-Secondary Enrollment Options program to take college classes for free.
- Some districts may allow homeschoolers to attend a public school for half day or certain classes.
- Homeschool students can participate in extracurricular activities like sports and clubs at their local public school.
There is no state financial assistance for families who choose to homeschool, unless they use an online charter school curriculum.
Any student is eligible for homeschooling. A parent must annually provide written notification to the superintendent of the resident school district that they will be acting as a homeschool teacher for their student and get their curriculum plan approved. The Ohio Department of Education provides a recommended notification form for your use. Make sure you do this if you're homeschooling so that your child isn't considered truant!
For parents to be able to homeschool their child, they are required to have a high school diploma or a GED or test scores that demonstrate high school equivalency. If a parent does not have a high school diploma or a GED, they must work under the direction of someone with a bachelor's degree until the child's test results demonstrate proficiency.
To meet the state requirements for assessment for homeschooling, students have three options:
- Complete the national norm-referenced achievement test. The test can be completed at the school district during its scheduled testing program and there will be no cost to the parents. If parents choose to have their student complete the test privately, the parent will have to pay for the cost of the testing and establish the time and location for it.
- An assessment of a portfolio of some of the student’s work that shows that the student’s academic progress for the year is in line with the student’s abilities. Assessments must be completed by a certified school teacher or another person that the parents and superintendent agree on. Parents can choose who to hire to provide the assessment, and they are responsible for the costs.
- Students can complete another assessment agreed upon by the parents and superintendent.