School administrators mean well--honestly they do; but, they only know the law as it relates to public school students. Too many times, I have heard stories of overzealous administrators requesting parents provide more documentation than is legally required (like telling a parent that their child couldn't be homeschooled mid-year or that "your child has to be coded as a DropOut because you aren't enrolling her in another school".
New homeschool parents are often easily intimidated because everything that we learned about education was taught to us by a public school frame of reference. Two people can read the same law yet interpret it very differently especially when the two people are operating from two different frames of reference.
Here's one mom's experience with The Show Me Letter: https://www.thehomeschoolmom.com/the-show-me-letter/
Achievement tests are a great way to track academic growth from year to year. The scores provide lots of helpful information for planning your school year without making it necessary for you to absorb it all at once.
These are the five most commonly used achievement tests. Each has a total composite score and subscores. It is recommended that you use the same achievement test each time you test in order to be able to compare the scores. Georgia Homeschool Educators Association (GHEA) has described the tests below.
Iowa Test of Basic Skills (ITBS)
This is a top-rated nationally standardized achievement test designed to evaluate thinking skills. This test takes less time to administer than the Stanford and permits a wider grade range of students to be tested at the same time. This test is considered to be among the most difficult tests. Grades 3-8 may be tested together; grades 9-12 may be tested together. Qualifications for test administration: a 4-year baccalaureate degree in any field. Directions for administration are supplied at no additional cost. Tests are supplied and returned to suppliers for scoring. Tests are given orally through grade 2.
Stanford Achievement Test (SAT)
Not to be confused with the Scholastic Aptitude Test (also SAT). A top-rated nationally standardized test for K-12. Listening skills are included for K - 8th grade. The test administrator must have a baccalaureate degree in any field, plus meet additional test administering guidelines. The publisher of this test has strict guidelines that must be followed when testing any relative. The test supplier can supply you with specifics before ordering the test. Qualifications for test administrators and directions for administration must be purchased.
California Achievement Test (CAT)
This test is popular among Christian schools and home schools because it contains more traditional values than other tests listed. Parents administer the test and send it back to be scored and returned. You must request percentile scoring and /or stanine results or you will only receive raw scores and grade equivalents. This test is intended for grades 2 - 12.
California Achievement Test (CAT/5)
This test is an updated version of the CAT. For grades K-12; tests reading, language, spelling, mathematics, study skills, science and social studies.
Comprehensive Test of Basic Skills (CTBS)
The CTBS tests all academic areas including reading, language arts, spelling, math, science, social studies and reference skills for grades 1 - 12. With the CTBS scores, you receive a professional critique.
Dr. Mabry is a Certified National Test Administrator and offers the following tests through Tiers Free Homeschool Academy:
"Is your program accredited?" This is always the first question that parents ask me about the Tiers Free Homeschool Academy.
Accreditation is required for public and private schools but homeschool is different. We don't have to follow one set of textbooks or teach math using Common Core. We get to build classes that meet the needs of our children. Most importantly, we don't have to pay thousands of dollars to obtain accreditation.
During my tenure as an administrator in higher education, I encountered many "accredited" transcripts. What I wanted to tell the parents who I knew often paid $50 or more per class to receive this designation of accreditation on their transcripts is "When you homeschool and you provide the school with your Declaration of Intent to Homeschool as well as your Official Transcript, that is your accreditation." You don't need to pay anyone to say "Ok your transcript is accredited".
Accredited Homeschool Transcript or Official Homeschool Transcript
Frequently Asked Questions
1. Is this program accredited?
Accreditation is necessary for public and private schools. Homeschool programs do not require accreditation. Georgia is a homeschool friendly state; and, in GA a parent has the legal right to issue a high school diploma to their child. While homeschoolers do not have to follow the graduation requirements of the public school, using a curriculum that covers 4 years of English, 4 years of Math, 3 years of Science, 3 years of History, 1 year of Health/PE and 6 electives makes it a lot easier when it comes to college applications.
2. Are elective classes offered?
Tiers Free Academy offers online electives and also has various partnerships with local businesses in the Conyers, Covington, and Snellville area to provide affordable homeschool elective opportunities.
3. Is this online or book learning?
The Tiers Free Academy is a self-paced online program that allows students to progress through the content as fast or as slow as they need to go to ensure content mastery.
4. Are the classes parent or student led?
The classes are taught online by state certified teachers.
5. Can students be placed in a more challenging level per subject? (Ie..if student is more advanced in one area more so than another)
Absolutely! We offer five levels of classes: General, Honors, Advanced, AP, and Special Education.
6. Are honor classes offered?
Yes, students have the option to take honors courses.
7. Is there an end-of-grade test?
Each class contains quizzes, a mid-term, and a final exam. There is not a cumulative end of grade test that must be passed to move into the next grade.
8. If student struggles to understand something is there a support team to contact?
We don’t have a support/tutoring team on staff but we do work with several tutoring providers and local school teachers to provide outside tutoring. These providers set their own rates and while they support Tiers Free Academy, they are not employees of Tiers Free Academy.
9. What are the requirements for dual enrollment?
Move on When Ready (MOWR) is Georgia's new dual enrollment program. It provides high school students with opportunities to earn college credit while working on their high school diplomas. We have partnered with Athens Technical College to provide dual enrollment opportunities for our students.
All high school students attending public or private high schools in Georgia or home school programs operated in accordance with O.C.G.A.§20-2-690(c) can participate in Move on When Ready. There is no residence or citizenship requirement to participate in the program.
Eligible high school students may choose to pursue their high school diploma by:
10. What is the cost for curriculum and tuition fees?
The yearly cost for curriculum is $300 and the monthly digital textbook fee is $60 per student.
I have been an educator since 1999 when I taught 3rd grade at a Title I elementary school. While I loved teaching, I didn't love the paperwork or the constant pressure that came during the high stakes test season. So I traded in my chalk board for the college campus and spent 17 years at DeVry University. In 2010, I took a leave of absence from the campus to focus on my then 12 year old daughter who became a victim of middle school bullies.
The first thing I learned about homeschooling was that it didn't have to look like public school. Our first year, we did the public school at home (K12.com) and that was an administrative nightmare for me. Not to mention the lack of online classroom management frustrated my daughter to no end.
We were slowly finding our ebb and flow when my daughter was offered the opportunity to attend a local private school. Now we were both apprehensive because of the emotional scars from the public school experience were still fresh. But nonetheless, we gave it a try --and it lasted less than 9 months. By this time, I'd had enough. I mean, I was an educator. I had a Ph.D. in K-12 Teaching and Learning. I had a Master's Degree in Secondary Online Education; and, I had a Post Master's Certificate in Special Education. I was more than qualified but because of how I had been conditioned to think of homeschool, I wasn't confident.
So I turned to the one person who I knew would be 100% brutally honest--my now 14 year-old- daughter. I asked her "What do you think about doing real homeschool? Not the public school at home but homeschool where you and I would work together to select the curriculum that you will learn?"
I was half-expecting a non-response but what I got was an enthusiastic "YES MOMMY!!! YES!! I've ALWAYS wanted to be homeschooled like that since we were in Coweta County!" So I built my daughter's curriculum and supplemented with Dual Enrollment courses from GA Piedmont Technical College. My daughter took so many dual enrollment courses that she entered college as a second semester sophomore and graduated from high school a year early. Today, she's 19 and is entering her Senior year of college.
If I would have given up after that first failed attempt of public school at home, my daughter and I would have never rediscovered our flow. Homeschool is a lot like parenting. There's not one right way to do it--just as long as you have the following subjects: English, Math, Social Studies, Science, and Reading/Literature you meet the GA requirements for homeschool students.
If you are feeling that tug in your heart to homeschool, let's talk!