How Do Charter Schools Work?

For the sake of simplicity, throughout this blog post we’ll refer to all home-based charter schools, home study divisions of public schools, etc. under the title of “Charter School.”

In a nutshell a charter school gets state funding for each child they have enrolled, just as a public school would. The charter schools we work with here at Timberdoodle pass on a chunk of the funding to you for curriculum purchases (orders usually have to be placed through them) and keep the rest of the funds to cover their overhead costs.

Charter schools want you to sign up with them so that they get their slice of the funding, and many love working with homeschoolers. Homeschoolers love that charter schools allow them to source all or much of their curriculum at no financial cost.

When your student is registered as a student of ABC Charter School, they are accountable for him/her and have some expectations to make sure your student is making progress and is a good representation of their school. Different charter schools have different expectations for accountability.

For Instance

To get a snapshot of what a typical charter school might require, consider this example of a charter school local to us (researched in the past, details may have changed).
This particular charter school offered close to $1200 per student as an annual curriculum purchasing budget. They also expected the following:

• Submit a written student learning plan at the beginning of the year.
• Each student needs to email or call their teacher weekly.
• A monthly progress report briefly stating what was accomplished in each “course” listed in the learning plan.
• Doing school for a certain number of hours each week. The number of hours required (varying between 10 and 25) depended on the student’s grade level and the percentage enrolled (I don’t quite understand – the number of subjects enrolled in?).
• Returning to them all non-consumable materials after you’ve used them for a year.

Nearly all charter schools will also stipulate that their funding cannot be used on items of a religious nature.

Some families find this level of reporting oppressive and stressful, while others find it really motivating and helpful. We have heard from those who don’t think the government should be in education, so they choose not to use the funding. I understand that position, but you currently pay into the system every year with your taxes, so why should you be excluded from using the money you’ve contributed?

An additional thing to note is that even though all the education happens at home, you may not officially be homeschooling your child if you register them in a charter school. Don’t let terminology scare you from doing what’s best for your family though!

Tell Me About Your Charter School Kits

Our Secular/Non-Religious/Charter-School Curriculum Kits are slightly different from our standard kits. The standard kits are the Timberdoodle originals, the kits we’d reach for to use with our own children. They reflect our family’s Christian perspective and include things like creation science, some Bible-incorporated history courses, and critical thinking books from Christian perspectives.

To meet the needs of families with different perspectives, and particularly our friends who order their curriculum through charter schools, we developed the Secular/Non-religious editions of those kits.

Where possible, these kits contain the exact same materials. (For instance, there are no changes in the materials in Tiny Tots, Preschool, and PreK.) Where necessary, “Christian” items were removed and replaced with alternative products. These are still top-notch tools, the type we would use if our children were in a charter school. They include courses like Building Blocks of Science; People, Places, and Principles… history courses; Pearson Literature; and more.

Of course, just like all of our customers, charter schools may also order individual items as well as, or instead of, curriculum kits.

How Do I Find An Awesome Charter School?

We suggest searching for a Home-Based Charter School in your area. Not every state participates in this type of education, so you’ll need to do a little research to discover the possibilities for your family. If you find your local charter school doesn’t yet partner with us we’d suggest asking them to submit this form – we look forward to working together!


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Joy D.

Joy D.

The oldest of the "Timberdoodle children" I now work full time for the company, filling such roles as marketing manager, curriculum adviser, video producer, etc. I'm a new foster mom with my sisters and in my spare time I enjoy reading and volunteering in the church and as an EMT with the fire department.

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