In Idaho, the state does not monitor or regulate home schooling, so numbers are hard to come by. The only requirement is that parents provide a comparable education for their children.
But school officials and home-schoolers say they have seen an increase in home schooling over the years.
Alice Grannis, who home-schooled her children and grandchildren for 22 years, attributes this partly to the area’s growth and more acceptance of home schooling in the community.
Another part of it, though, may be that parents are questioning laws such as No Child Left Behind, Grannis said, which give teachers less time to meet the individual needs of students.
As a result, parents are considering home schooling, she said. “They’re seeing it as it is: an option.”
For as long as anyone in school districts can remember, dual enrollment has been an option for home-schooled children. Under Idaho law, they can come into school to attend any classes, though educators say mostly the specialized subjects such as art, music and physical education, or higher-level core classes such as chemistry lab, are attended.
School districts also offer advice about curriculum and a place for home schoolers to take state tests such as the ISAT, if they want.
In Coeur d’Alene, 14 children are currently dually enrolled, spread evenly across the school levels, said Lynn Towne, home school coordinator for the district.
In Post Falls, about five students are dually enrolled at the high school, said Bill Wood, a counselor. The district said most dual enrollment students are in the high school, and it’s unknown how many students are in elementary and middle schools. Interested parents contact directly the school their child would have attended in order to register for dual enrollment.
These students are figured into enrollment numbers as a percentage, based on how many classes they’re taking, officials said.
Educators have not seen a corresponding rise in dual enrollment figures, despite increasing home schoolers.
“It’s an opportunity that most home schoolers don’t take advantage of,” Grannis said. Many don’t know about the option, she said, and others don’t want to be involved in the school system.
Grannis thinks it’s a good option. “It gives kids an opportunity to see how that structure works before they go to college,” she said. “We’re not at odds. We’re not anti-school.”
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