What are my options?
Alaska is one of the best homeschooling states in our nation. The many veterans who have come before us fought long and hard to gain these freedoms that we all now enjoy. Since 1997, parents have been given the opportunity to fully invest in their childrens' education with minimal government intrusion. We are allowed to homeschool in the manner and style deemed best for our children and their futures as productive members of society.
Following in the footsteps of this newly-granted freedom was the advent of quasi-government offerings to home educators. However, with any government program, they have registration, restrictions and regulations...and ultimately result in increased taxes for all in order to pay for it.
Independent/Private Home School:
Under Alaska State Law, you can exempt yourself from the restrictions by homeschooling independently*. While you are unable to receive monetary assistance through a government program, you do have the freedom to choose the method, style and curriculum with which you teach your child.
Alaska Statewide Correspondence Schools:
Alaska State Laws and Regulations. Correspondence schools** are public schools receiving public (tax) funds for a student’s education. To be eligible for funds, schools must comply with Alaska Statutes and regulations governing statewide correspondence schools. Each student in a program must be held accountable for completion of course work and state educational requirements.
Materials - In accordance with state regulations, faith-based curriculums and materials cannot be purchased or reimbursed. In addition, faith-based courses may not be used to determine a student’s full-time-enrollment (FTE) status in the programs. All materials and equipment purchased for your use by the cyber district are the property of the district. They are expected to be returned at withdrawal or completion. This includes not only books but also printers, computer programs and other materials.
Testing - In accordance with Alaska state law, children enrolled in grades 3 though 9 must take standardized tests each spring. These include CAT/6, TerraNova and/or Standards Based Assessments. Grades 10 - 12 must take the High School Graduation Qualifying Exam (HSGQE) each year.
Individual Learning Plan (ILP) and progress reports - Parents must submit an ILP for each student which includes an outline of what will be covered and what materials will be used.
Quarterly Reports/Samples of work - During the year, students are required to submit four quarterly reports which include a quarter grade and review of progress. A review for all courses listed on the ILP and the origin of each course or curriculum source is required. Students are also required to submit work samples for all courses listed on their ILP. For courses that do not produce a “work sample”, students are encouraged to submit a written summation, journal entries or calendar logging hours, or photographic documentation. The summary of work should include the number of lessons completed out of the total lessons for the year, time spent per week, major topics studied and skilled mastered. A grade and corresponding percent are recorded.
Monthly contact - In accordance with state regulations, parents/families/students are required to maintain monthly contact with their advising teacher. Monthly contact ensures that each student is making progress and allows for intervention to occur if problems have arisen or to identify if additional resources are needed. Advising teachers will also inquire as to how much time students are spending on their studies and to verify ILP and enrollment status.
*One who receives no government funding/assistance, does not register with any governmental entity and is not under any state education requirements. **Correspondence Schools include Chugach Extension, Delta Charter Cyber, Distance Learning Iditarod School District, Alyeska Central, Copper River, Denali Peak, CyberLynx, Raven, PACE, IDEA, Yukon River Academy.