Though it’s always been an option, homeschooling has really taken off in the past few years. The National Center for Education Statistics estimates that homeschooling has increased by 74 percent between 1999 and 2007. The Ohio Department of Education doesn’t have any concrete numbers on how many children in the state are educated at home, but it estimates that around 24,000 are home-schooled.
Though homeschooling used to be most popular among the Berkeley leftist “unschoolers” during the 60’s and 70’s, and then with the Christian right in the 80’s and 90’s, it’s become much more main stream in the past few decades. Despite gains in the number and diversification in the type of home-schoolers, many stereotypes persist.
The issue of oversight is one that has caused much debate between the homeschooling community and skeptics. The federal government leaves it up to individual states to decide how much oversight there should be of homeschooling parents, and that criteria differs greatly among the 50 states. Lack of common expectations for homeschooling parents between states can make things like the college application process harder than it is for students who attend traditional schools, especially when applying to out-of-state schools.
Ohio’s governance over homeschoolers in the state is relatively moderate, compared to other U.S. states. Although the Ohio Department of Education does little to follow the progress of home-schooled children, homeschooling parents are expected to have a relationship with their local school district. According to the Ohio Administrative Code that deals with homeschooling, parents are expected to notify their local school superintendent every year. They also need to meet certain qualifications, including the number of hours spent educating their children (at least 900), and they must assess their child’s progress annually and send a report to the local superintendent. They can also opt to include their children in standardized testing through the local school district.