Frequently Asked Questions
About Home Education in Idaho
What is Home Education?
CHOIS believes the family is the foundation of society and that parents have the God-given responsibility to determine the proper education for their children. Home education takes place when children are primarily taught and educated under the authority of their own parents in their own home. We believe that parents, not government, should determine the curriculum and standards for their own children. CHOIS believes that education fulfills its highest calling when parents educate their own children according to Christ-centered, Biblical principles.
What are the laws regulating home education in Idaho?
Homeschooling families in Idaho are subject to minimal regulation. Idaho laws do not require homeschoolers to register with the state, or the local school district, or to take the Idaho Assessment Tests.
Students between the ages of seven and sixteen years of age are required to receive an education.
For a complete list of the Idaho laws that apply to homeschoolers, visit www.iche-idaho.org and click on the tab Idaho Law. You will find there a full copy of the Idaho codes, as well as a summary of them.
Are homeschooled students required to take the Idaho Assessment Tests?
No, they are not. Federal law states that home educated students cannot be required to take state assessments. We do not recommend that you voluntarily have your child tested using these tests. We do recommend that you test your students through the Idaho Coalition of Home Educators, www.iche-idaho.org using the IOWA Test of Basic Skills, a nationally-normed test. These tests provide you with worthwhile data while providing your child with test-taking skills which will serve them well in the future.
What are the advantages of home education?
- Learning together builds strong family relationships. Home education is a lifestyle, not a project.
- Parents have greater opportunity for character training with their children.
- Parents are able to choose the worldview through which they will teach their children.
- Parents are able to tailor a curriculum and course of study to their child’s individual abilities, learning style, needs, and future goals.
- Parents have the flexibility to move at the child’s pace, spending more time or less time mastering particular concepts or subjects.
- Children receive one-on-one tutorial-style teaching.
- Children have more time to pursue areas of interest.
- High school students can jump-start their college education or career preparation.
Who may home educate in Idaho?
Any parent may home educate in Idaho.
Can my home educated student participate in public school sports, music and classes?
Idaho has a dual enrollment law that allows home educated students access to public school classrooms and activities. To participate in athletics our students are required to show a recent score on a standardized test. This does not need to be the ISAT. Many homeschooled students in Idaho voluntarily take the IOWA Test of Basic Skills through the Idaho Coalition of Home Educators, www.iche-idaho.org and these test results are sufficient for this purpose. Student athletes must also have medical physicals and receive a signed medical release form when physicals are required at certain grade levels. They must participate with the public school in whose district they reside.
What about socialization?
This is the most common question people ask homeschoolers. The 1828 American Dictionary of the English Language defines “social” as “relating to men living in society; disposed to mix in friendly converse; companionable.”
Many homeschoolers have discovered healthy socialization takes place when children are exposed to people of all ages in various settings, rather than being limited to a classroom and a group of students all about the same age. Children learn social skills in everyday activities such as trips to the grocery store or library, visits with grandparents, church activities with friends, support group activities, park days, and community activities. Most importantly, children often receive their most valuable socialization in the nurturing environment of home and family.
How do I get started?
- Read books about home education and talk to homeschooling parents. Attend the annual CHOIS convention for workshops pertaining to new homeschoolers.
- Become convinced that home education is what you and your spouse want for your family.
- Develop a Mission Statement. This keeps you aware of your purpose for home educating.
- Set goals for the year.
- Choose and order curricula. The annual CHOIS Convention is a great place to view the wide variety of curricula and resources available to home educators –in person.
- Become acquainted with your materials.
- Create a learning environment in your home.
- Have a daily schedule and prepare lessons in advance.
- Keep written records.
- Give teaching top priority for your time.
- Find a homeschool support group in your area.
- Realize that there will be trial and error. Be willing to adapt as needed.
How do I remove my child from public school in order to home educate him?
In Idaho, home educators are not required to register with the state or local school district. If your child has been enrolled in a public school simply call the school office and inform them that you are removing your child to home educate him. If you would like to have a written record of your notification, which is wise, we recommend that you write a brief and polite letter that states your intention to homeschool without stating your reasons for doing so. A sample withdrawal letter can be found at http://www.iche-idaho.org/search.html?q=withdrawal%20letter.
How much does it cost to home educate?
The cost of home education is as varied as the individual families who teach their children at home. It depends on many factors.
- The type of curriculum and resources you choose to purchase.
- The amount and type of extracurricular activities in which your child participates.
- Field trips you choose to take.
Home education is an investment –a very worthy investment—in your children and their future!
How does my home educated child receive a diploma?
Parents create and maintain their child’s transcript and issue the diploma. Home educated students are not required to take any of the state-mandated tests that are required for public school graduation. There are factors that you will want to consider, depending upon the path that your child wants to take upon graduating from homeschool. Here are a few helpful resources for homeschooling through high school:
- Homeschooling Through High School www.hslda.org/highschool
- Transcript Pro & Transcript Boot Camp DVD www.edplus.com
- Mentoring Your Teen: Charting the Course to Successful Adulthood by Dr. Ronald and Inge Cannon www.edplus.com
- The High School Handbook: Junior and Senior High at Home by Mary Schofield www.cheaofca.org
Should my homeschooled student get a GED?
Homeschool graduates are not required to receive a General Equivalency Diploma. We do not recommend that you obtain one for your child as there are many negative repercussions associated with a GED. There is a negative social stigma attached; our students are graduates, not dropouts. Having a GED automatically restricts one to a lower tier for military recruitment, as well as eliminating them from consideration for federal college grants. It is not necessary for college admission. For more information on this topic we suggest that you visit www.hslda.org.
Is a homeschool graduate eligible for college admission, grants and scholarships?
Almost every college in America accepts homeschool graduates, and many of them actively recruit our students and offer them scholarship inducements to attend. They appreciate our student’s strong work ethic as well as their preparedness for college level courses. Most colleges accept parent-generated transcripts, especially when the scores on college entrance exams substantiate the student’s grade point average. It is recommended that a homeschool student take the SAT or ACT exams (or both). If you have a student whom you think may qualify as a National Merit Scholar then it is imperative that they take the PSAT exam in the fall of their junior year. They can take it in the fall of the sophomore year for practice.
How do I get more information about homeschooling in Idaho?
The CHOIS website and the CHOIS Connection Magazine contain tips and information that will be a great benefit to you as a new homeschooler. Also the Idaho Coalition of Home Educators website, www.iche-idaho.org is very helpful.
Are there any organizations that I should join?
CHOIS does not have members, but we always appreciate donations which are tax-deductible. CHOIS exists to inspire and equip parents to home educate. Our free quarterly magazine, The CHOIS Connection is financed through donations.
We strongly recommend that Idaho families become members of the Idaho Coalition of Home Educators, www.iche-idaho.org. This organization represents all homeschoolers in Idaho, guarding our liberty. They have done an exceptional job, working to make Idaho the most free place on earth to homeschool children.
We also encourage you to join Home School Legal Defense Association, www.hslda.org. CHOIS is a discount group. By joining through us you can save 15% on your membership fees. Our discount number is 299536.
Finally, we believe it is vitally important to join a local support group. Nobody needs to go it alone. These groups provide assistance, fun and friends!