Homeschooling is a popular educational option in Hardin County, but there steps to take before children can be taught at home, an official says.

The Kentucky Department of Education website states the Kentucky constitution gives parents the right to choose the formal education of their child and allow for the choice of homeschooling.

The site also states if a parent chooses to homeschool, they take complete responsibility for their child’s education, selecting curriculum and educational materials. It goes on to add there is no state financial assistance for families who homeschool.

FAITH Homeschool recently offered an instructional workshop about how to start a homeschool.

“You want to send a letter of intent to homeschool to your local school district office within 10 days of the beginning of the school year and tell them which of your children will be homeschooled, their age and where the schooling will take place,” FAITH Group Board President Amy Moore said. “You choose and pay for your own curriculum, keep attendance and record grades.”

Attendance should meet 170 days for 6.25 hours a day, she said.

The subjects of math, reading and civics are required to be taught in English, she said.

In Kentucky, she said, homeschools are considered private schools.

“Private schools determine their own graduation criteria and issue their own diplomas,” she said. “It’s up to colleges as to whether they accept those diplomas, but that’s rarely a concern.”

Most of the homeschools she knows follow the Kentuc­ky requirements closely but not completely, she said.

“I had three children to graduate and all three were missing something, but all three were accepted into colleges,” she said.

Moore said there are benefits to homeschooling with a group rather than individually.

“Students have a great time meeting up with friends while learning from instructors who have studied a particular subject,” she said. “Homeschooling with friends isn’t just beneficial for the student, it also provides encouragement and mentorship to mothers while it lightens her load.”

Mothers, she said, tend to handle 95 percent of homeschooling; however, Moore knows of some fathers who do a portion or the majority of the teaching.

“For most of us, the challenge becomes to not over-­commit to so many outside activities that it’s hard to get the book work done,” she said.

Moore isn’t sure of the data of how many students are homeschooled in Hardin County, but when she contacted Hardin County Schools, she was told there were more than 400 that were homeschooled for at least part of the year last school year.

Homeschooling, she said, helps a parent deliver the schooling they feel is appropriate for their child.

“It will usually lead to close bonds within the family as you grow in knowledge and make memories together,” she said.

Moore offered a few resources to help parents who are in the beginning stages of homeschooling.

“Attending a homeschool conference where there are thousands of others shopping for curriculum and listening to motivating speakers is of great help to new homeschoolers,” she said.

Another resource, she said, is a Facebook group called Kentucky Homeschooling. It is run by Christian Home Educators of Kentucky.

“There you can search for answers to your questions about homeschooling,” she said adding there’s a blog on the website, www.chek.org, that also is helpful.

Becca Owsley can be reached at 270-505-1740 or bowsley@thenewsenterprise.com.

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