Many parents are making decisions regarding how their children will be returning to school in the fall, since some counties have presented possible scenarios of how public schools will look for the upcoming year. Since the first week of July, I have been receiving calls and questions about county options and homeschooling and how it works.
Most counties are offering virtual classes or remote learning options for families who do not want to return to brick and mortar schools in the fall. NC has 3 other virtual schools, one ran by the state and 2 charter schools. Enrollment in these schools, county specific virtual schools/remote learning options and the 3 virtual schools, are not considered homeschools in the truest sense of the word. As of the 2019-2020 school year, there were 94,863 students enrolled in NC homeschools. Since homeschools do not have to register until their child is 7, there were an estimated 149, 173 students participating in the homeschool setting. That means if homeschoolers were counted as an independent school district, they would be the 3rd largest school district in the state behind Wake County (161,835) and Charlotte-Mecklenberg (149,173).
Homeschools operate as independent schools and you must submit a Notice of Intent to NC DNPE (link here) to register your homeschool and receive your homeschool ID. You will need this information when you withdraw your student from public school. Few requirements are made of NC homeschools. Parent(s) who will run the homeschool must provide evidence of a high school diploma, maintain student immunization and annual attendance records, have a nationally standardized achievement test administered annually, identify your school as religious or non-religious, and notify NC DOA when you close.
There are many online schools to choose from that are considered homeschool because they operate outside of NC. Some are free but some do have fees. Families can also choose their own curriculums which may include online curriculums or traditional textbooks. There are also cooperatives that meet frequently and may include academic classes. Some homeschool families opt to meet with other families for book clubs, field trips, study groups, etc.
NC homeschools have access to competitive athletics too. You can find a list of the sports available for your student on the North Carolinians for Home Education Athletic Commission website (link here).
There are several homeschool groups and consulting groups on Facebook who are offering virtual sessions to answer your homeschool questions. If you would like more information or would like to be connected to homeschool consultants, please feel free to contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org.