Homeschooling Styles and Methods: Umbrella schools

What is an umbrella school?

An umbrella school is a type of home education support with which parents can register/enroll the children so that the school keeps a record of the children’s progress for the family.

“Umbrella schools” also overlap with correspondence schools, and distance-learning providers.  Any of these providers may use scripted lessons, tests and a log of daily reports, or may just give an outline of recommended studies, but let the families choose how the children will complete their studies, and if that work was satisfactory.  The common function among all the services is record keeping.

Are umbrella schools a homeschooling requirement?

No, although the church school requirement in Alabama[1] comes close.  Umbrella schools are a service available to homeschooling parents.  Fees, the services from the school, and the requirements of the families vary among the providers.

Umbrella schools are useful if you live in a state with cumbersome requirements although Pennsylvania takes exception to the practice.[2]

How do umbrella schools work?

Some schools provide books and workbooks; others let the family choose what to use for the children’s learning.  Usually the family provides agreed upon information so the school can construct records for the children:  hours of study/schoolwork, subjects, and perhaps evaluations.

Umbrella schools can also be a way of coping with a teen’s high school records for those of us who, in Cafi Cohen’s words, “. . . say, ‘I would rather walk ten miles in a snowstorm than write a transcript,’ and happily delegate the paperwork.”[3]

[1] The Code of Alabama 1975, Title 16, Chapter 28 School Attendance

See:  Definitions

[2] Pennsylvania legal attitude towards umbrella schools

[3] “Independent Study/Umbrella Schools.” Cafi Cohen’s Homeschool Teens and College

Copyright 2006, 2009 Valerie Bonham Moon

This work may be copied and freely distributed as long as the copyright and this notice are included.

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