An umbrella school is generally a private school which has an option available for homeschooling. An umbrella school has students which actually attend the private school, as well as students who are registered as homeschoolers.

Why do homeschooling families want to come under a private school?

A family who homeschools signs up under an umbrella school to essentially become “blanketed” or covered by the umbrella school. When a family is covered by an umbrella school, the school stands between the family and the state in which the family resides. This is very important to a family who does not want to be held accountable to the state for their homeschooling decisions. Instead, the family is held accountable to the private/umbrella school.

Most, if not all, umbrella schools meet the requirements of the state in regards to education. Homeschooling families who are registered under a private/umbrella school are required to meet the guidelines of the school. (This could simply mean that homeschooling families turn in immunization, grades and attendance records to the private/umbrella school.) It is important to note that each state has its own requirements for private and umbrella schools.

Many homeschooling families also sign up under an umbrella school so their child will receive a diploma from an accredited school. A diploma from an accredited school is important to have when a child starts the college application process.

What do umbrella schools offer a homeschooling family?

Umbrella schools come in many different shapes and sizes. Many offer a wide range of services to a homeschooling family. Umbrella schools may allow homeschoolers to participate in sports and/or labs, offer annual testing, guidance counseling and more. Some umbrella schools may only serve as a record keeping office for a homeschooling family’s records.

Umbrella schools may dictate the type of curriculum which homeschoolers must use, while others may leave the choice up to the individual families. Some umbrella schools are only offered to families of specific faiths, while others are more flexible with their enrollment guidelines.

How do I find out more about umbrella schools?

The best way to learn about umbrella schools is to contact a homeschool group in your area. Homeschool groups will generally have a list of umbrella schools in your area. The contact information for these groups is generally available at your local library.