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November / December 2005

A not-so-bright IDEA
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Fellowship Christian Academy closes its doors

Massachusetts law allows students to be educated at home if they are "approved in advance" by the local superintendent or school committee. Students may also be educated in a private school if that private school has been approved by the local superintendent or school committee. Unlike many other states, Massachusetts does not yet have an umbrella school option that permits students to be educated under the covering of a private school. The closest the commonwealth has gotten to a "covering" institution was Fellowship Christian Academy of Kingston. To the sorrow of many homeschool families on the South Shore, Fellowship Christian Academy has closed its doors.

Massachusetts law permits a private school to operate an independent study program (ISP) for homeschoolers, but the program must be approved by the town school committee where the private school is located. Such an option would free participating families from the need to obtain approval of their homeschool program in their own locality. Since Massachusetts gives public school students the option of "open enrolling" in other school districts, even though they don't live there, it makes perfect sense for homeschoolers to "open enroll" in umbrella schools. All that is needed is a private school with visionary leadership and a receptive local school committee.

Home School Legal Defense Association is eager to work with private schools that are willing to consider serving homeschoolers in this way. Please contact us if you know of a school that might be interested.

— by Scott W. Somerville