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What is a Charter School?

By: Andrea Dillon

It is no secret that more parents are beginning to have concerns with the public education system. Many parents are pulling their children out of public schooling and choosing educational alternatives. One of those growing alternatives across the United States is charter schools. As of January 2018, there are 44 states that currently have some sort of charter school law and more states are working on laws allowing them every day. What are these schools and how can we utilize them as homeschoolers?


What is a Charter School?

Charter schools are defined as publically funded independent schools established and run by parents, teachers, or a community group. In essence, charter schools are public schools because they are funded based on attendance. They can provide general curriculum like a public school or they can offer specialized curriculum to fit your children’s interests, needs, and talents!


General FAQs About Charter Schools

Are you homeschooling if you are using a charter school?
Essentially, no. You may hear the terms “homeschool charter school” or “charter homeschool” mentioned, but these names are misleading. Your child will be enrolled in a publically-funded program. However, some charter schools may be more homeschool friendly. These schools can provide the feeling of homeschooling through a charter school. These charter schools may provide online curriculum that your child can do from the comfort of home or independent study. However, you will still need to use charter school approved secular curriculum and be required to report to that charter school for proof of completion of the curriculum and/or programs.


  • Do Charter Schools Have to Accept All Students?
    Yes, as a public school, charter schools cannot deny any students regardless of the family’s household income, religion, or ethnicity. HOWEVER, many public charter schools have specializations so not every charter will be a fit for every student. Families wanting more flexibility certainly shouldn’t enroll their child in a charter school with strict schooling hours. In addition to this, many charter schools have a scheduled time that they accept applications and, while they will accept all students on a first-come, first-serve basis, once they reach capacity all extra applications will we waitlisted.


  • How Do you Enroll in a Charter School?
    Contact the charter school near you and inquire about their enrollment period and what is required for the application.


  • How Much Does it Cost to Enroll in a Charter School?
    Nothing! Charter schools are free as they are publicly funded.


  • What About Curriculum, What Does That Cost?
    Nothing! Charter schools provide the curriculum or give you an allotted amount to purchase approved curriculum and supplies.


Deciding to pull your child from a traditional public school setting can be daunting. Some parents can easily find their way into the homeschooling lifestyle and others need the extra support that they can receive through charter schools. No matter what, it is important to find the best schooling fit for your family and your children.

Curious about starting a charter school? Check out our blog on How to Start a Charter School to help you get started!


2 Responses to What is a Charter School?

  1. AngelJolie on November 25, 2020 at 11:47 pm

    Will attending a charter school affect my child’s chances of going to a good college?

    • Andrea Dillon on November 26, 2020 at 8:20 pm

      No, many students that attend charter schools go on to good colleges. I would suggest reaching out to the chart school you are considering and asking about their college success rate.

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