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Why an umbrella school?

Posted: Thu Feb 21, 2008 5:08 pm
by jennm2203
Even though we are perfectly happy with the choice we made, I understand that homeschooling and the vast options out there are subject to individual people and family choices. We are all different and have different views, beliefs etc.

My question is aimed toward the families who have decided to go with an umbrella school over homeschooling on your own.
Why did you choose that option? Also, do you pay?

(I have talked to many who pay anywhere form a nominal fee to over $200 for umbrella school.)
I am just curious as to the pros and cons of umbrella schooling vs' homeschooling on your own.

Thank you for your time!

Posted: Fri Feb 22, 2008 12:30 am
by Theodore
It's mainly for convenience. The umbrella school lets you homeschool under the private school law rather than the regular homeschool law, meaning a lot less legal requirements (less paperwork). For parents with limited time, it's easily worth a nominal fee. Given, for $200 you better get a lot more than just the paperwork covered. $200 usually includes testing, regular meetings and field trips, newsletter, etc.

Posted: Fri Feb 22, 2008 8:35 am
by jennm2203
Ok I understand and also let me give a little back ground.

We are in Florida, and other than a simple letter of intent and keeping of our materials for our portfolio at the end of the year (and possible inspection during the year) and keeping it up to date, we have no real paperwork and no official testing to worry about. Also as a private homeschooler we do not have to worry about attendance or hours logged in. From all the meetings we have attended and calls we have made, as long as she shows good progress as compared to her age and grade level and continues to progress they are happy and allow us to continue. Here in Florida we do have it pretty easy compared to some other states.

Then as far as meetings, that is why we have local support groups and field trips are a family thing for us and I would not want to miss out on the one on one time and have to worry about being part of a group. So again this is going back to just personal preference.

See, from our standpoint and due to the state we live in, being under an umbrella school or similar does not seem logical because it puts many rules and regulations back on the family. Even though yes, that umbrella school takes care of most of the paper work etc and makes it easier during the end of year process other than the testing part… it seems to be not much different than P.S. other than it is done at home…. Following most of the same rules as P.S.

So I guess it all depends on what state you are in... Am I correct? And of course personal preference.

I know this should have been a no brainer, but I like to hear other people’s views on this. There are so many options.

Thank you for replying, I sure hope I am not

Posted: Fri Feb 22, 2008 2:23 pm
by Theodore
Yes, if you're in an easy state, there may not be any benefit in terms of legal requirements to paying money to be part of an umbrella school. That doesn't necessarily mean, of course, that some parents may not be willing to pay $200 anyway to get access to all the extra stuff, but $200 is more or less the upper boundary.

Umbrella Schooling

Posted: Tue Mar 04, 2008 7:03 pm
by Tracey
I am new here, my first time posting. I am also new to Homeschooling this is my first year! :P
I just wanted to add my experience with an umbrella school I signed up for.
First, I researched homeschooling for about a year before I decided to actually pull them out, read about 12 books and was on the internet everyday looking for information and talking to people. I even called my DOE! lol
Anyway, I went with an umbrella school and thought this was a really good thing. They gave my two boys and evaluation and then chose the curriculum with me and I thought I was all set, until we started in. The curriculum was way off the mark, way too hard for them even after the testing, I called the advisors several times and they did help but I had to pay each time for the curriculum to be switched out.
Then that one did not work and I had to go with what they had available and it wasnt too much for us anyway. I spent about 3000 in total and could not use hardly any of it.
So then after I received the curriculum they told me yes I was paid in full but had to RETURN the Teachers Manuals I bought! at the end of the year.
I couldnt believe it. Trying not to be too negative and I am positive there are really good umbrella schools who serve families without any problem but my experience was not a good one.
I ended up resigning from the school only after 6 weeks and am now doing it on my own in a more eclectic approach.
Has anyone else have an experience like mine?

Posted: Wed Mar 05, 2008 1:08 pm
by magdalena
We live in Spain where homeschooling isn't fully legal (constitution says yes, education law says no) so an umbrella school is a good option. It's a school, albeit a distant-learning one, and all legal aspects are covered in case anybody asks quesions.

The umbrella school here in Spain is part of the Clonlara School in the US. It's €600 a year for the family and although they offer a curriculum, it's only suggestive and not obligatory.

Posted: Thu Mar 27, 2008 10:04 am
by daddys3chicks
Not to be really ignorant, but can somebody explain an umbrella school? I am in NC and have never heard of this.

Posted: Thu Mar 27, 2008 12:16 pm
by elliemaejune
daddys3chicks wrote:Not to be really ignorant, but can somebody explain an umbrella school? I am in NC and have never heard of this.

An umbrella school (or a "cover school") is simply a third party organization which keeps records for you and may issue transcripts or diplomas. In some states, such as Florida and Tennessee, enrolling your dc in an umbrella school is a legal option. Some schools, such as CLASS or Calvert, provide all your teaching materials; some don't. Sometimes there is an actual school that also enrolls hsers; in most cases there is not. Often people appreciate having a third party for support or accountability.

Posted: Fri Mar 28, 2008 11:05 am
by daddys3chicks
Thanks for the info!

Posted: Sat Apr 05, 2008 5:09 pm
by Eva
I'm in Florida, too. My girls are in the public school system right now, but I will HS my oldest (she'll be in 3rd grade) next year. I've been looking at all the different options available to us, and I think if my dd were older I would go with an umbrella school. I like that they give transcripts and that they make sure we are doing the required work to graduate. I do see that as a benefit of an umbrella school. For right now, though, we will just go the private HS route.


Posted: Wed Apr 23, 2008 5:16 pm
by Kitty-Cat
Why did you choose that option? Also, do you pay?

I choose it due to restrictive homeschool laws. We pay very little only $70 per year.

it seems to be not much different than P.S. other than it is done at home…. Following most of the same rules as P.S.

Every umbrella is different. I have noticed that people seem to have an idea of what an umbrella school is and that is it. When it isn't. Sure some want you to follow there curriculum, some want this, that and the other..some not all. Our's wants us to fill out an atendence chart, but they leave the idea of attendence up to us. We only have to mark 180 days and those can be any days we want. They are quite happy for unschoolers to just fill it in how they see fit. Then they like to know what kind of curriculum we are planning on, but they have no requirements for that. Tehn twice a year they like us to assign a grade A,B,C,D as to how we think our kids are doing but they don't test or anything. So basicaly they leave us alone to do whatever it is we want to do.

Posted: Thu Feb 16, 2012 7:45 am
by Marta
I live in Poland where homeschooling is quite restricted. You have no other choice but to enroll your homeschooled child in a regular full-time school. Then, you ask the school headmaster for a permission to homeschool your child. The school also tests your kid at least once a year to check if the childs meets the state standards for his/her grade and if the kid passes the test you are allowed to homeschool her/him next year. Most of headmasters are reluctant to give you the permission anyway and often there is a lot of hostility between them and homeschoolers. Of course, as the idea of homeschooling is gettting more and more popular, the number of 'homeschooling friendly' schools is growing too but, had I the choice, I would go for total freedom and independence in my homeschooling with no umbrella school at all.

Posted: Thu Feb 16, 2012 9:27 am
by Theodore
The term "umbrella school", as used by homeschoolers here in the US, means a support group not affiliated with the public school system, one that fulfills the private school qualifications sufficiently so that families can homeschool under the private school laws - often much easier from a legal standpoint than homeschooling on your own. In your case, you're doing regular homeschooling with rather restrictive oversight from the public school system, probably on par with the worst states here or maybe a bit worse.

Posted: Thu Feb 16, 2012 12:08 pm
by Marta
Thanks for your expalnation :) So it seems that we don't have any umbrella schools here in Poland.