Is the homeschooling child with special needs entitled to federal educational assistance? This is an important question for parents with homeschooling special needs children or children who may not yet have complete mastery of the English language and parents need assistance in teaching such children a new language.
Under the No Child Left Behind legislation, Congress provided funds to assist public schools to meet the special needs of their students. There are monies available for a host of services, staff, and equipment. But are these benefits provided to parents of home schools? The answer depends on the law of the parents’ state. This is because the U.S. Department of Education recognizes that education is a state and local matter and it leaves it up to the states to define the status of schools. Thus, the U.S. Department of Education will provide assistance to home schools only in those states which define home schools as private schools. An example is the State of Illinois in which there is no specific legislation governing home schools. Home schools in Illinois are considered private schools as the result of a state appellate court decision. Thus, in Illinois home schools would be eligible for some financial assistance from the federal government.
This assistance could be for a special needs child who requires some form of equipment to accommodate her educational needs or funds for tutors and other types of consultants or experts. Assistance can also come in the form of monies needed to assist a student achieve English proficiency. For further information, interested parents should contact the Office of Non-Public Education within the U.S. Department of Education.
A word of caution. Federal funds always come with strings attached. Parents should consult with a competent attorney or education specialist before applying for any type of federal funds. Notwithstanding this caution, it is encouraging to note that there are resources available for the homeschooling special needs child.