Curricula of Homeschooling in the United States

Curriculum requirements vary from state to state. Some states require homeschoolers to submit information about their curriculum or lesson plans. Other states (such as Texas) just require that certain subjects be covered and do not require submission of the curriculum. Still others, such as North Carolina, view homeschools as a type of private school, affording each homeschool the freedom to choose the curriculum appropriate for its students. While many complete curricula are available from a wide variety of secular and religious sources, many families choose to use a variety of resources to cover the required subjects. In fact, it is not uncommon for a homeschooled student to earn a number of college credits from a 2- or 4-year college before completing the 12th grade.

Some states offer public-school-at-home programs. These on-line, or "virtual", public schools (usually "charter" schools) mimic major aspects of the homeschooling paradigm, for example, instruction occurs outside of a traditional classroom, usually in the home. However, students in such programs are truly public school students and are subject to all or most of the requirements of other public school students. When parents enroll their children in such a program, they effectively surrender control over the curriculum and program to the public school, although a casual observer might think they are homeschooling. Some public-school-at-home programs give parents leeway in curriculum choice; others require use of a specified curriculum. Full parental (and/or student) control over the curriculum and program, however, is a hallmark feature of homeschooling. Taxpayers pay the cost of providing books, supplies, and other needs, for public-school-at-home students, just as they do for conventional public school students. The U.S. Constitution's prohibition against "establishing" religion applies to public-school-at-home programs, so taxpayer money cannot lawfully be used to purchase a curriculum that is religious in nature.