It seems every time I think to look for information on homeschooling in Fort Collins, I find lots of broken links and poorly updated websites, and very little information that is actually useful. So, this time I went about my search a bit differently. Instead of my usual “where can I post that I am available as a tutor?” which usually is a dead end for homeschooling in this area, I went with “if I were a parent getting started with homeschooling what would I need to know/ what would be useful?” So, hopefully without reinventing the wheel, here’s what I came up with.
First, the law and legal matters:
Here is the current (as of 2013) Colorado Department of Education page on Home Schooling- http://www.cde.state.co.us/choice/homeschool.htm
Here is a link to the CDE’s page laying out the state’s school attendance law- http://www.cde.state.co.us/choice/homeschool_attendancelaw.asp
And, here is the FAQ page which answers a lot of questions quite helpfully while it simultaneously does its best to make home schooling sound as complicated and intimidating as possible- http://www.cde.state.co.us/choice/homeschool_faq
Basically, as it pertains to tutors, if you hire someone to be your child’s tutor, as an extension of yourself, it seems to be up to your discretion whether that tutor is adequate. However, “if your child is enrolled in a home school co-op program, those teaching your child must be qualified. A qualified person means an individual who is selected by the parent of a child who is participating in a non-public, home-based educational program to evaluate such child’s progress and who is a teacher licensed pursuant to article 60.5 of this title, a teacher who is employed by an independent or parochial school, a licensed psychologist, or a person with a graduate degree in education(CDE).”
I may be reading it wrong, but if I were a parent I would not consider a tutor for my child the equivalent to a ‘co-op program’. So, as far as I can tell, yes you can hire a tutor to teach your homeschooled child; you are basically delegating your teaching responsibility to that tutor, and you remain legally responsible for the outcomes. It is still the parent who is held accountable for the child’s ability to pass the mandatory assessment tests if a tutor is involved. “Each child shall be given a nationally standardized achievement test to evaluate the child’s academic progress, or a qualified person shall evaluate the child’s academic progress.(CDE)” So basically, if the tutor is not a ‘qualified person,’ then the child has to take standardized achievement tests administered by a qualified person. This site- http://rockymountaineducationconnection.com/homeschool-laws-and-faqs/colorado-homeschool-law-in-a-nutshell/ offers a great summary of the Colorado laws and their implications, in more approachable terms.
Required subjects for home schooling are- “communication skills of reading, writing and speaking, mathematics, history, civics, literature, science, and regular courses of instruction in the constitution of the United States.” These are the minimum, though actually if taught well they could encompass quite a lot, and be a very useful, entertaining and thorough education, maybe with a bit of the arts and some languages thrown in for good measure. There is no official curriculum for Colorado for any of these subjects, just the standardized tests, so one really could base homeschool around Boy Scouts’ merit badge requirements, so long as they incorporate the required subjects and prepare the child for those standardized tests.
The only group listed on the CDE website for Fort Collins home school groups is Rocky Mountain Homeschoolers - http://www.rockymountainhomeschool.org/
Their website looks pretty basic and old-school, but it is still operational at least, so my guess is that they might still be an active group.
Here, while not quite Fort Collins, is a Northern Colorado group just south of here, centered in Boulder- http://niche.homeschooljournal.net/
While not Fort Collins oriented, this site is an extensive one with lots of resources and information- http://www.homeschoolcentral.com/
HomeSchool Reviews - http://www.homeschoolreviews.com/ - this is a site that provides reviews of curriculum options available for home schooling.
Eclectic Homeschooling- http://eclectichomeschool.org/ I really like this site. It is Christian in orientation, and I know there are many homeschooled kids whose parents are atheist or agnostic and chose homeschool for the same reason Christian parents choose homeschool, to give their kids an education in line with their own beliefs about the world. Still, there’s some great stuff on this site.
Montessori Method Home Schooling- http://www.montessori.edu/homeschooling.html I like the idea of Montessori teaching approaches. This would be a teaching style that would be highly conducive to bringing in outside tutors, too. It would require that the parent(s) remain in good contact with the tutor to coordinate with each other, but would only require a few hours per week of tutoring, with the rest of the week devoted to class work time, which parents could supervise and assist with in the tutor’s absence. I could see this being a very affordable homeschool approach, far cheaper than some of the curricula offered on some of the websites I’ve come across today.
This is another site I came across that, if I were a parent, I would really like. Actually as a potential homeschool tutor (having resolved that it is a legal option, even though my degrees are not in education) I would still be browsing this site regularly. http://www.homeschoolcheercolorado.com/ It is a site devoted to homeschooling regardless of faith or politics, carving out just those homeschooling issues that are common to all homeschoolers regardless of what reasons their parents chose to homeschool them.
- A Few Reasons Why Homeschooling Is A Great Option (cottonridgehomeschool.com)
- 18 Ridiculously Successful Home-School Alums (huffingtonpost.com)
- How to Save Money on Homeschooling & Tutoring Expenses (epicafinance.com)
- Homeschool Parents Arrested for Homeschooling in Florida (aworldchaos.wordpress.com)
- Pinch Me, I Must Be Dreaming (r16sixteen.wordpress.com)