Step 2: Umbrella School vs. County
After contacting your local school district and/or HSLDA for questions about requirements for your state and local district it’s time to continue onto the next step. The next step includes whether you will register with the county or go under an umbrella school. This is basically a free vs. paying $$ situation, if you are tight on money I would go ahead with the county. Although at the end of the year they may request a portfolio review. So that is something to keep in mind with registering with the county. So this page will distinguish the differences between umbrella school and registering with the county.
Registering with County
Now, for registering with the county may be free (you will have to check with your local district) you are responsible for keeping all records of your child’s school progress. There also may be different ways to have your child reviewed before his anniversary date that you registered with the county. So if you registered with the county in August then the review will have to be completed prior to August of the following year. Depending on your circumstances this could be a great option for you. Personally, I did this for two years and it worked out fine. It just depends on you and what is going on in your life at the moment.
We are currently in our first year of doing an umbrella school. This means that my child is registered as a student at (insert name of school) but we really homeschool. There are many options of umbrella schools out there. We may be changing to the umbrella school that comes with our curriculum (you will see that in another post). You send your child’s work (or copies of the work) to the school and they keep it on file. So you don’t have to keep a portfolio, although I highly suggest keeping copies for yourself just as a precaution. Each umbrella school does have different requirements as to what to send, some are attendance records, tests, worksheets, etc. You just have to send in what they require. This option while in very few and rare cases can be free most of them charge. Rightly so, since they are keeping your child’s records.
I know this seems like a ton of information but it is important for you to make a decision as to which one you want to choose. There are other options underneath the umbrella school but that will be saved for a later post. Personally, I thought it was easier registering with the county my first year. Then as I got wiser and more experienced with homeschooling I moved onto other options.