When our state legislators set up Home School Assistance Programs, they wanted families to have access to the best supportive supervision possible. In our HSAP we feel that teachers who have chosen the home school option for their own children have gained a first-hand knowledge of educating children in their home and can bridge the gap between what happens in a classroom to what can be created in a home environment. Although not all of our teachers are home-educators, all are dedicated to serving parents and assisting them in their endeavor to create the ideal home education for each family they serve.
We have teachers who have been trained in the areas of music, art, special education, agriculture, reading development, early childhood education, theater and language arts, Spanish, sign language, and much, much more. However, we know that the first and primary teacher a child has is his/her parent and that no one has more knowledge about their child than his/her parents. We also know that no one is more vested in seeing their children succeed than the parents themselves.
We as teachers feel our role is to assist parents as primary teachers in their endeavor to achieve quality home education. Under Iowa law, parents are considered to be the primary educators of their children. In this capacity, parents are ultimately the ones responsible for setting the educational goals for their family and for selecting the materials and methods to reach those goals. We wish to enable families to understand and meet state laws without imposing additional requirements on them. Each family has one specific supervising teacher who will be their primary contact person. However, every teacher is ready to assist all families in any way possible.
We strive to be well-versed, not only in the latest available information in the formal educational world, but also in the many variances of home schooling philosophies and approaches, being able to provide information to families that would be the most helpful to them. Another thing we feel we can do is to help families network with one another. Many of our families have schooled at home for over 20 years and can be a tremendous support to other families just starting out. Some families have schooled special needs children and can share what they have learned with families that are taking on similar challenges. A mom who has successfully schooled multiple ages at one time can often provide the best insights into structuring family life and school for other families with multiple-aged children.
The law states that a supervising teacher is there for parents to consult with, and to advise parents with respect to the following during the course of the year:
· Lesson plans
· Materials and curriculum
· Setting goals and objectives
· Teaching techniques and learning styles
· Forms of assessment
· Diagnosing student strengths and weaknesses
· Interpretation of test results
· Planning and record keeping
We must have contact with a family 16 times per year – 8 of which must be face-to-face with the children and parent. A general guideline is to have some form of face-to-face contact once a month throughout the school year.