What are Home School Inspections, and should a parent be concerned?
By law, Local School Boards, the State Department of Education, or even a zoned school principal can require an inspection of home school students under their jurisdiction. This can include a home visit to monitor the day-to-day academic activities, a request to audit record books, a subject-grade test, or even a student interview.
Do Home School Inspections happen often?
Strangely enough, home school inspections happen less regularly. Thanks to budget cuts, smaller staffs, and a surge in home school families, there simply aren’t enough human resources to cover an oversight of home school students. This does not mean that parents and students should let their hair down. More discipline is required of a home school student than one who has compulsory attendance at a traditional school, whether public or private.
How are Home School students “inspected”?
Most states only require some proof of attendance (daily instruction) and the specific state benchmarks were taught. The real barometer of “inspection” is what happens when career and college come into play. Did the scholar become proficient in all their grade level benchmarks? Are they participating in social activities, to include volunteer work, civic duty, and sports?
Colleges have become overwhelmingly open to Home School students since 2005, particularly because candidates adapt to the self-sufficient, independent-style of learning that is required to succeed. Furthermore, Home School applicants tend to score 10 points better than average on the ACT, and nearly 15% higher than average students on the SAT. Due to their flexible schedule, most home school students have advanced socialization and adaptation skills, since they practice most of their social interactions in the “real world”.
How do Colleges include Home School “inspections” in their Admissions Practices?
Many colleges have realized the strength that home schooled scholars bring to their stud
ent body, and now have a Home School Admissions Specialist. This is where the “inspection” begins for most college- bound, home schooled families. College entrance exams, CLEP tests, and state-based grade level assessments can build a strong portfolio for a home schooled child. Without proof of academic performance from a 3rd party or testing program, it could be hard to secure admissions from a respected institution, much less any scholarships. However, if a home schooled student demonstrates academic excellence with a high ACT score and an extensive volunteer portfolio, colleges will begin to compete for their enrollment. Before the “College Boom” in 2010, universities would actually negotiate with home school candidates and try to “out-bid” other schools, similar to how athletes get recruited.
The major takeaway is that parents and students should prepare for an “inspection” of some type. Even though there is more freedom and flexibility with home school, there is no “anonymity”. Home Schooled candidates compete with other students, regardless of the educational pathway. This must be considered when taking “the road less traveled” as a home school family. Scholars must eventually show solid work and prove with verifiable evidence.
The best way is to be prepared and have a team in your corner. It is best to have an Educational Consultant and experienced instructors guiding your path rather than to go it alone and make costly mistakes.
For more information on how to plan and prepare for home school inspections, call and request information on college and career planning.