This year, the program has 12 children enrolled on-site for support with homeschooling, at a cost of $65 a student a week for half-day sessions, Aggie said. In the past, cyber charter students have filled those slots.
Previously, parents hadn’t expressed much interest in homeschooling, she said. “Now it’s like the school system has changed,” she said. “We are moving into a different norm.”
Homeschoolers made up 1.4% of public school enrollment in Pennsylvania in 2018-19, numbering about 25,000 kids. Families opting to homeschool must submit affidavits to their school districts. New Jersey has no such requirement.
Advocates consider Pennsylvania among the most highly regulated states for homeschoolers, with state-mandated subjects, standardized test requirements, and rules that parents have a high school diploma or its equivalent. Parents must have their children assessed by a certified homeschool evaluator each year. New Jersey’s requirements are looser.
To Rene, a former high school teacher, it all seemed doable. She’s required to keep a portfolio marking her daughter’s progress, and to log school days – 180 are required.
“If you bake something together, or go on a nature walk, they count as homeschool days,” Rene said. She aims to spend an hour a day on more formal instruction: “I sort of figure if she reads every day, practices writing and does some math, whatever else we do is a bonus,” she said.