As expected from the time of its creation, the state funded Alternative Education Programs (AEPs) are tightening the purse strings and the personal choices in curriculum. Those families who have never homeschooled outside of an AEP have yet to taste the experience that led homeschooling parents to lobby for the privilege to homeschool their children. When one of those leading pioneers of homeschooling legalization was asked her opinion of the newly formed homschooling AEPs, she replied, “It is the best program that the public school has to offer. ” She hoped the programs would meet the needs of the individual child and help change public education.
Since local school districts began wooing the homeschooling community into AEPs, the term homeschooling has become loosely used and harder to define. The easiest way to define homeschooling is that the curriculum choices, the teaching philosophy, and the financial burden is fully administrated by the parents. AEPs are funded by us, the taxpayers, and they come with restrictions and regulations on educational choices.
Don’t rely on the grapevine. Contact the Washington Homeschool Organization (www.washhomeschool.org) and get the facts. For those of you that are leaving an AEP in discouragement, struggling with a child that doesn’t fit in to the public school mold, or just wanting something special for your family; you can homeschool without belonging to an AEP and you can do it successfully. Enroll in a homeschool instructional class (contact WHO for a class near you) and build your foundation then find a homeschooling parent to mentor you.