Congratulations! You've made the decision to homeschool your child! The next step is to notify the school district by emailing the District Homeschool Director/Coordinator. For Douglas County, Lisa Sharpe is the contact and her email is Lisa.Sharpe@dcsdk12.org. You can also complete the online Notice of Intent here: https://edocs.dcsdk12.org/dcsdk12/renderSmartForm.action?formId=dff40185-8917-4934-9b88-ab6f642f3609
Send a Notice of Intent to Withdraw to the homeschool coordinator in the district which you are currently enrolled. OR, if you are changing from one school to another one (full time or enrichment program), you MUST withdraw from the previous program. If you don't withdraw, the state will award your funding to the previous program, and you risk being denied enrollment after count day and being liable for expenses incurred up until the day the new school is notified that funding is denied.
Just a few things to keep in mind as you navigate the homeschool ocean of information.
1. The parent, a close relative, or licensed teacher can teach your kids.
2. Record Keeping Requirements:
-Attendance (Requirements are 172 days with an average of 4 hours per day)
-Assessment Results, tests/exams (must either be tested at the 3rd, 5th, 7th, 9th,
and 11th grades OR be evaluated by a qualified person)
-Immunization Records (exemption form example here: https://chec.org/wp-content/uploads/2020/06/Immunization-Exemption-6.29.20.pdf
...the best planner that has pages to record everything (attendance, lesson planning, grades, grocery lists, event planning etc) is right here! https://shop.wellplannedgal.com/index.php/shop/planners/2021-2022-planners/homeschool-planner.html)
3. Your child's education program must include: communication skills of reading, writing, and speaking, mathematics, history, civics, literature, science, regular courses of instruction in the constitution of the United States as provided in section 22-1-108
4. Your kids won't be left out of important school experiences! Kids can still participate in sports, dances, events and interscholastic activities offered within the district where they filed the Notice of Intent to Homeschool.
Umbrella Schools.. if you enroll in an Umbrella School, you have no timekeeping requirements, no testing requirements and no immunization record requirements. You will need to keep attendance records and/or assessments as directed by your Umbrella School. The biggest difference is, if you are enrolled in an Umbrella School, you fall under private school law. Vs. homeschool law.
INDEPENDENT HOMESCHOOL (100% on your own):
Remember that all learning experiences, including travel (social studies), balancing a checkbook (business), and sports (P.E.) count as education. Don't worry about how you'll get 4 hours a day in of learning if you're independently teaching your kids. The time will fill up quickly! check out facebook groups for ideas on what curriculum is best and most curriculums can be purchased online. This is a great option if you need flexibility in your schedule, such as a competitive athlete may require. You could also find other families teaching similar programs and organize into learning co-ops.
ENRICHMENT (20% instruction time + program support and social interaction):
There are a LOT of homeschool enrichment programs to choose from. Enrichment programs are meant to compliment whatever you're teaching at home. Classical Conversations is one of which has a few locations in Douglas County and offers classes in classical literature and the arts. Aerolab and Wings Over the Rockies offers STEM-based learning geared towards aeronautical projects, including "Hangar Days" where students build an entire airplane engine over the course of a semester! Our program provides all of the curriculum for a full year in Math, Science and English and also provides 6 hours a week of learning in a group environment from professional educators + 2 hours a week of homework club. This program is designed to help families organize and easily find other families to carpool with and create co-ops and support. There is a huge benefit that may help with longevity in homeschool by giving kids a day to interact with other students. Parents are still the primary educators and must be committed to teaching their kids outside of class (2-3 hours 4 days a week). Contact us if you're having a hard time finding the right program for your family and we'll try to connect you to the right one.
Private school can be full-time, tuition based, online or brick and mortar school programs. Or, you could combine the enrichment with partial enrollment in a private school. These school are generally gifted and talented (like Stanford online High School) or faith-based programs such as Valor, Colorado Christian Center or The Rock Academy.