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Umbrella schools - Pros and Cons

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    Umbrella schools - Pros and Cons

    Has anyone here opted for registering their child/dren in an umbrella school? I'm considering it as an option, but I'm still not completely sure. If you or anyone you know has opted for this, what has the good, the bad and the ugly about it?
    - Michelle -

    #2
    Re: Umbrella schools - Pros and Cons

    I register every year with an umbrella school (www.homelifeacademy.com). They charge a base fee of $60/family then $20/child. They require that I enter the number of days of school per semester and record "grades" twice a year. I do not issue grades until third grade when quizzes and assessments come into play. I spend less than an hour annually on their website and that's for three enrolled students. I've been with them for five years. They hold my records which is handy in case I'm ever questioned or investigated about homeschooling. I've never heard of anyone local ever being investigated, but still...better to be prepared. As my kids get older they will help me figure out diploma and transcript details. I can use whatever curriculum I choose.

    In my state of Tennessee, the umbrella school is the only other option than registering (for free) with my local school district. My participation in the umbrella organization exempts my children from being tested with my state's annual spring testing in various grades. That is well worth the money to me! Our state is shifting to Common Core-aligned state tests and, even without that shift, the content is simply not what I want to be teaching each year. If I am ever curious about my kids' abilities or want to give them a testing experience, I'm always free to pay for them to take the Stanford Achievement test locally through a homeschool organization. I can also choose to test in Reading and Math, skipping other areas.

    These are pros to me. I'm guessing the only cons would be the cost and (minimal) recording requirements. This is going to vary widely by state, so do check with your locals if you can.
    Last edited by pickandgrin; 07-08-2015, 10:03 PM.
    Festina lentē,
    Jessica P

    2020-2021
    11th year HSing · 9th year MP
    @ Home, HLN, & Latin online
    11th, 9th, 6th, 3rd

    Highlands Latin Nashville Cottage School

    Comment


      #3
      Re: Umbrella schools - Pros and Cons

      TN does have the state requirement to register EVERY school aged child in a "school", so like Jessica, I had to register my home schooled children in an umbrella school when we lived there from 2011-2014. However, in my 14 years of homeschooling, that was the only time I needed to do so. It cost money, it's a pain to figure out how to use someone else's system to record grades (esp if they are young and you aren't really interested in even assigning grades), and it felt very intrusive to me.

      Two other times I have used umbrella schools and that was for very specific reasons. One child = Kolbe.... for middle school "accountabliity" (this child needed an external pressure to do better quality work), one time with IDEA (now defunct) so that I could transcript high school credits for a technical middle schooler.

      My own opinion is that unless your state requires it, it's a layer of oversight that most homeschoolers don't require. Some new homeschoolers feel better "reporting" to someone else, but it's really not necessary.

      Just my opinion, of course.

      Jen
      DS, 27 yrs, graduated from MIT (Aerospace)

      DS, 25 yrs, graduated from SIU's School of Business, ENGAGED!

      DD, 22 yrs, graduated from The Catholic University of America in Washington, DC; 2nd grade teacher.

      DS, 12 yrs, 8th grade; attends a private classical school, 7th - 12th.

      All homeschooled for some/all of their K-12 education.

      Me: retired after 16 years of continuous homeschooling. Ahhh....

      Comment


        #4
        Re: Umbrella schools - Pros and Cons

        Originally posted by -Michelle- View Post
        Has anyone here opted for registering their child/dren in an umbrella school? I'm considering it as an option, but I'm still not completely sure. If you or anyone you know has opted for this, what has the good, the bad and the ugly about it?
        We are in good ol' California and we use a public charter as an umbrella school. This charter is very flexible and allows us to do whatever we like. Whatever curriculum we cannot purchase through the charter (religious) we buy ourselves. This has helped us financially and allowed us to have violin lessons for my daughter. The only paperwork we do is a simple one sentence a day attendance worksheet and 4 times a year we turn in work samples.
        Last edited by gzaragoza; 07-08-2015, 09:16 PM.

        Comment


          #5
          Re: Umbrella schools - Pros and Cons

          I will look more into what's required here, I can see that it has some strong pros and some strong cons. Thank you all for sharing your experience.
          - Michelle -

          Comment


            #6
            Re: Umbrella schools - Pros and Cons

            Jessica (or anyone else that knows!), would something like Home Life Academy benefit those of us who want to keep military options open for our children? Those days are a LONG way off for us but since we are a military family I don't want to close any doors for them by not having my ducks in a row.
            "Education is not the filling of a pail, but the lighting of a fire." - W.B. Yeats

            Educating with MP from Day One!
            Currently using 2nd, K, and SC1

            Comment


              #7
              Re: Umbrella schools - Pros and Cons

              Marge,
              I have no idea, but it's a great question! You can call them toll free at (888) 560-0774. If you want to report back what you find out I'd love to hear it.
              Warmly,
              Festina lentē,
              Jessica P

              2020-2021
              11th year HSing · 9th year MP
              @ Home, HLN, & Latin online
              11th, 9th, 6th, 3rd

              Highlands Latin Nashville Cottage School

              Comment


                #8
                Re: Umbrella schools - Pros and Cons

                Can you expand on military options? Are there requirements for the military? I am concerned about NCAA requirements for high school for one of my children, but it is down the road. I have thought about an umbrella school for official transcripts and would appreciate any further advice added to this thread.
                Christina

                Comment


                  #9
                  Re: Umbrella schools - Pros and Cons

                  One possible hiccup with an umbrella school that is not in your state:
                  Let's say you use an umbrella school in Florida, but you live in Texas (using these states for an example). Texas may not grant in-state tuition for college to your student because you have a diploma from Florida. Apparently that is an issue some families run into. For people who live in one state forever and use an umbrella in that state this would never be an issue, but it is something to think about for some of us.

                  Regarding the military, I have learned a lot during the past few days, so I'm happy to share! The number one thing is for your child to NOT get a GED. That used to be the advice given to homeschoolers wanting to join the military, but most military branches will not accept a GED anymore...those that do require waivers and complicated processes to work around it. Your child will definitely want a diploma.

                  Any student wanting to serve in the military will need to take the ASVAB test; a recruiter would be able to direct you through this process.

                  As far as serving in the military, a homeschool diploma is supposed to be treated the same as a public school diploma. The HSLDA has guidance on their website about this: http://www.hslda.org/highschool/military.asp. Though a diploma through an accredited school or umbrella may make the review process faster, there should be no issue just having a diploma from home as long as a detailed transcript of coursework accompanies it.

                  The most important thing for your student is the courses he/she takes. I think for those of us using MP, this will not be an issue

                  Most of the issues with homeschooling come when a student is trying to enlist...those going to college or entering thru a service academy seem to have far fewer troubles or issues with their homeschool background.

                  I hope this helps! I'll try to answer other questions if you have them (we are a military family and I am in military homeschool groups on FB that have helped me with these questions).
                  "Education is not the filling of a pail, but the lighting of a fire." - W.B. Yeats

                  Educating with MP from Day One!
                  Currently using 2nd, K, and SC1

                  Comment

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