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Homeschooling in Alaska
If you have chosen to homeschool in Alaska, you may need information, resources, and a curriculum that will help you get started. This page aims to help guide you through the process of homeschooling in The Last Frontier state. Take a few minutes to read through it, and feel free to share this page with other new homeschoolers in your state.
To find out more about the legal requirements for homeschooling in Alaska, Time4Learning recommends that you visit your state's Department of Education website. Each state in the U.S. has different requirements for homeschooling families, and these requirements can frequently change, so we suggest doing thorough research to make sure that you are complying with your individual state regulations. You can also visit one of these sites:
Legal disclaimer: This page provides suggestions and information on how to meet the mandatory school attendance laws in Alaska. It is not intended and should not be used as definitive legal advice. In most states, parents find a variety of legal methods to pursue the educational approach that they prefer for their child.
Alaska Homeschooling Regulations
Homeschooling in Alaska is fantastic! In fact, we've heard that a few families hadn't even considered homeschooling until they moved to Alaska. The laws, system, and community are easy to navigate and homeschooling is very common in the state communities. Alaska not only makes it easy to start homeschooling, but also to continue through and have great success. The state of Alaska has very few legal requirements for homeschoolers. The state does not require a parent to notify, test, seek approval, file forms, or have any teaching credentials if they choose to homeschool their children.
Homeschooling Laws in Alaska
The burden is on the state to prove that parents are not teaching their children in the case of a legal issue. That being said, there are many families that homeschool through a public school program. For example, a homeschooling family could be enrolled in Raven Correspondence School, which is in the Yukon-Koyukuk school district several hundred miles away from the family's home. The school has an office in Anchorage, as well as several other cities around the state, where they employ a small number of advisory teachers and administrative staff.
When enrolled in a public school program, students are assigned an advisory teacher. Their job is to ensure the child is being educated. This could include a conversation with the advisory teacher at least once per month and turning in work samples for each subject, once a quarter. Students are then required to participate in state-mandated testing, which is arranged and hosted by the school program. Each student enrolled in a public school program is then given an allotment of funds that the schools dispense. These funds can be used for any educational purpose associated with the subjects in which the child is enrolled. Families use these funds to purchase curriculum materials and towards reimbursement for classes in physical education, music, or any optional subject the child may be enrolled in. Some homeschooling families, for example, could use these funds to pay for their Time4Learning membership, materials for projects associated with the curriculum, music lessons, physical education lessons, or even memberships to local learning opportunities such as the museum.
There are many of these distance-learning schools available throughout the state. Most of the school districts throughout the state have one in which anyone around the state can participate. Families choose which one they like based on many factors. For example, they may choose Raven because of the great relationship with their advisory teacher and based on the social and educational opportunities Raven provides in the Anchorage area.
As a side note, children enrolled in private school can be dually enrolled in a public homeschool program. These families can choose to enroll part time (2 core subjects) or full time. They have the same requirements and are given an allotment of funds. If they complete their program through grade 12 they receive a public school diploma along with their private school diploma. This is a unique opportunity to give people a taste of homeschooling. It is the way some families were introduced, and thus gave them the confidence to continue on a full time, exclusive basis.
Time4Learning is vibrant, engaging, educational, and funny. It sure beats our previous homeschool curriculum which was textbook/workbook based.
Time4Learning is so effective that very little intervention is required. This works great if you're homeschooling multiple children.
Favorite AK Homeschooling Resources
One favorite homeschooling resource, besides Time4Learning, is the local homeschool group. These groups are comprised of like-minded homeschooling families from around the city. Many groups have a couple of regular monthly activities, but several of the things they do, such as field trips, are scheduled by one family and then the group can join in. These activities are communicated through email and oftentimes by a Facebook group, such as Anchorage Christian Homeschoolers.
Homeschool groups allow families to more fully address the dreaded "lack of socialization" that so many are concerned about. Many students' best friends are in the group, as well as many of their mothers' best friends. We would like to encourage every homeschooling family to plug in to a similar group or create one if you can't find one. With social media, such as Facebook, all you need to do is put the word out and people will show up.
Homeschool groups aside, there are many other educational opportunities in Anchorage. A huge resource is obviously the library, which many families rely on. However, homeschoolers can also use the Imaginarium, a children's science museum; the Alaska Museum of History and Art, the Alaska zoo; and many others. Oftentimes, these resources are used to reinforce concepts that families have studied that week.
Another great resource is World Book online. With an annual subscription, there is a wealth of information at your fingertips and the kids just love it! Many families have discovered World Book at the state homeschool curriculum fair - which can be yet another fantastic resource. It is hosted by a public school distance-learning program, and there are dozens of representatives from around the country displaying their programs or complementary materials. The fair gives families the opportunity to touch and experience curriculum and resources they might not otherwise know about.
A Daily Homeschooling Schedule
We have heard of families who find it helpful to post a daily schedule somewhere their kids can see it. Oftentimes, though, the children learn their daily routines fairly quickly, and only a weekly calendar with important events is needed. This can be easily created with a bit of help from an online calendar. Here is an example of what a typical homeschool day might look like.
Say you begin your day around 8:00 a.m. which is when the kids usually roll out of bed, with hot chocolate and a cartoon. You might then have breakfast together around the table. While you clean up breakfast, the kids get their laptops and headphones out, along with a notepad, pencils and whatever else they may need for their school work. You make yourself completely available while the kids are doing school. You may even began using headphone splitters so you can wear headphones and hear what they are hearing. This is a good way to keep up with them without disturbing the other kids.
Before long, your students log on and begin their daily work. Your kindergartener may work at her own pace through a couple of workbooks and with Time4Learning. She may study for about half the time that your fourth grader works. Your fourth grader has a list of what he needs to accomplish every day. You made this list by simply checking the lesson plans at the beginning of the year. He can do these in any order he likes.
Your kids know that every day of the week is pretty predictable. In the morning, you're usually home, working, possibly in your pajamas with hot chocolate. Then after lunch you're out for lessons, errands, activities and exercise. Finally, after dinner, the time is all theirs to enjoy as long as their schoolwork is complete. These chunks allow the kids to know what's going on, and you have routine without being regimented.
Time4Learning is a fun software, entertaining and I really like the way it explains things in a way that the kids can understand, without making it boring.
In the lesson, you can click on the highlighted word and hear it spoken.
Homeschooling with Time4Learning
Time4Learning's experience shows that there is no single, best homeschool material. Rather than feeling torn between homeschool resources, parents should select a diverse blend of materials and activities.
For families with more than one child, choosing a homeschool curriculum can be more problematic. What works for one child may not work for another. What works for one subject may not work on the next. What works one year, may fall flat the very next year.
Some of the features that make Time4Learning so successful include:
Time4Learning is proven effective with homeschoolers, has a low monthly price, is easy-to-use, and provides a money-back guarantee so you can make sure that it works for your children!
Sign up for Time4Learning as part of your overall homeschool curriculum.
If you have any more questions or comments about homeschooling in Alaska, head over to the Alaska Parent Forum.
Some Helpful Tools and Resources
Welcome to Homeschooling Guide - Are you new to homeschooling? This guide was written by seasoned homeschoolers to answer some of the difficult questions new families often struggle with.
Curriculum Lesson Plans - An overview of what's available for each grade and subject.
Homeschool Portfolio Information - Answers common questions about homeschool portfolios and evaluations. It includes tips on organization methods, what to include and how Time4Learning can be used as part of your homeschool portfolio.
Online Parent's Forum - Reach out to homeschoolers in your area, join discussions, ask questions and trade ideas on our online community of homeschooling parents. Having the support of seasoned homeschoolers can really help make your homeschooling journey a success.
Hints & Help Section - Whether you're new to Time4Learning, a long term member, or a future member with questions about how the program works, this section answers questions about navigation, lesson planning & previewing, how the teacher guides and worksheets work, and more!
Puffin Academy App - Learn how to use Time4Learning on most mobile devices with the Puffin Academy app for iOS and Android! Get details on this kid-friendly app, including how to download and use it on the go with Time4Learning.