Since Covid revealed much to Alaska parents, families flocked to home schooling, correspondence



If there was one good thing that came out of the Covid “pandemic,” it was that parents became aware of what their children were being taught in our public schools. They also knew that their children were not benefitting from remote learning by the school districts.

Parents were basically left to their own devices when school doors were closed and kids were shut out. Students fell way behind academically. 

The masking of students and “social distancing” left emotional scars on the kids and impacted their mental health.

Parents were disappointed, disgusted, and just plain angry when they noticed that the public schools were pushing inappropriate sex education down to the lower grade elementary school children, hiding gender identity/transgenderism from parents, allowing access to pornographic books to elementary kids, and pushing political philosophies in the classroom.

Consequently, parents have become more actively engaged in what their children are learning, and many have taken on the teaching task themselves.

The Washington Post recently published an article titled, “Homeschooling is the Fastest-Growing Form of Education,” in which it cited that homeschooling surged by 45% from the school years 2017-18 to 2022-23.  

But the Washington Post only looked at data from 32 states and the District of Columbia.

It did not look at data from Alaska where homeschooling has flourished for decades.

Since the pandemic, the number of students grew from 12,503 to a whopping 18,972 in Alaska’s 12 largest homeschool programs.  

This is an increase of 52% from the pre-pandemic school year (2019-20) to the 2021-22 school year. The total for the same schools for school year 2022-23 is 18,561 students, an increase of 48% over the same number of students in the home school program pre-pandemic.

The Legislature broadened the homeschool (correspondence) program in 1974. In 2014 lawmakers enhanced the program by allowing parents to choose non-public schools and be reimbursed for certain courses. They could not use state money for any sectarian (religious) courses.

A parent/guardian may purchase nonsectarian services/materials from a public, private, or religious organization with a student allotment, if they are consistent with the student’s Individual Learning Plan.

The current law requires an Individual Learning Plan for each student that is developed by a certified teacher, parent, and student. Student progress is monitored by the teacher through the plan. So, it is a contract between the student, teacher, and parent.

The Individual Learning Plan can be tailored to the student’s needs, unlike a traditional school which is unable to meet each individual student’s needs. 

The State does fund correspondence students to a maximum of $4,851, which is 90% of the usual student allotment.  So, a correspondence student is worth only 90% of a traditional student, by law and by budgeting.

The parent does not receive the entire allotment. Some of the allotment goes to administering the program. In the case of the Family Partnership Correspondence School, the parent could receive a maximum of $4,500; in the MatSu Central Correspondence program the parent could receive a maximum of $3,000. Parents need to be aware of the administrative overhead costs before enrolling their children in any correspondence program.

Remember, Alaska law gives parents the right to direct the education of their child (AS 14.03.016).  

Alaska has a flourishing and comprehensive homeschool program—correspondence schools. There are 34 correspondence schools in Alaska, which can be found here.

Here are some of the largest correspondence schools (homeschools) and their student populations:

SchoolStudent PopulationGrades
MatSu Central2,145K12
Cyberlynx 1,538PK12
Family Partnership1,234K12
Denali Peak879PK12
Twindly Bridge563K12

Note that Family Partnership Charter School was the school that recently lost its charter from the Anchorage School Board.  As a result, parents have removed more than 600 students from the school, which is now under the control of the district.  Some have placed their students in Frontier Charter School (correspondence) and the MatSu Central correspondence school.

Homeschooling parents save the State loads of money because their children don’t need bus transportation, large and expensive-to-maintain buildings, meals, large bureaucracies, and large salaries and benefits.  Here is a list of the per student costs for some correspondence schools:

SchoolPer Student Cost
Denali Peak$5,006
Family Partnership$10,446
Twindly Bridge$9,942
MatSu Central$7,975

Note that the State’s overall per student cost is $18,300, per the US Census. This number includes local and federal funding as well as State funding.

And the correspondent students are only entitled to State funding, no local funding nor Federal funding. Some districts do provide local funding to correspondence schools. 

It is very difficult to compare a correspondence school’s state test scores to the more traditional K12 schools because parents can opt their students out of standardized tests in Alaska. For example, in the MatSu Central correspondence program only 8 of 1,194 students took the State’s AK STAR standardized tests, less than 0.67%. In contrast, 79% of the students in the MatSu District took the AK STAR tests.

Parents know what fits their children best when it comes to learning styles. Parents are also sick of the traditional school wanting to take away parental rights and “educate” their children in all sorts of social issues instead of the three Rs.

So, if you are intimidated by homeschooling and don’t know where to turn, here is a link to a source of information for parents who are thinking about choosing a homeschool option for their child. It provides a list of many homeschool support groups that can really help you navigate the homeschool options/paths for your child.  

If you don’t want your child bullied at school, try homeschooling.

If you don’t want your child to have access to pornographic books in school, try homeschooling.

If you don’t want your child to have to share a bathroom or locker room with a student of the opposite sex, try homeschooling.

If you fear for the safety of your child, try homeschooling.

You, the parent and not the State of Alaska, are responsible for your child’s education and welfare.

David Boyle is the Must Read Alaska education writer.


  1. Home schooling is the best way for kids to learn what’s needed in life. Basket weaving, lying to parents, sex, and drug use is not the best way to teach.

  2. Great article- the old education system needs to be reevaluated. I see more parent involvement in the future and wiser kids not following the internet norms. Save your kids and Americas future!

  3. I started homeschooling this year and it’s been great. We go through one of the state funded homeschools and get the allotment money. I was still able to choose faith based curriculum, as long as I paid for it out of pocket. It can be used, but not funded by the state. We only have to send in a sample of work once per quarter. It’s pretty simple. My kids are doing bible study, prayer, language, math, science. We aren’t bound to a strict school schedule and I can arrange our days however we need. It’s been a blessing!

    It feels overwhelming to take on, but there are so may resources!

  4. This is the best article I’ve read this year. Thanks David Boyle.
    The only thing I’d like to point out is that our family, who is enrolled through May Su Central is allotted $2400 per student per academic year. It does not cost our family the $7975 reported price per student. You may want to clarify that a bit more for families who aren’t already pros at navigating the homeschool system. As it reads currently, it comes across slightly misleading, as if that $7975 is the cost/parent’s financial obligation for enrolling in that particular school.

    Thanks again for such a great report!

    • We spent much much less per student then the government schools.

      For one, we had very little administrative costs. That line item alone accounts for huge amounts of spending per student in state schools.

      When politicians give money to the state schools precious little (if any) gets to the students. The taxpayers instead are funding adult bureaucrats. When citizens of this state did not get the full PDF this year so much money was budgeted for these people, so they can support a structure that indoctrinates children to be unable to thrive. It is disgusting. It is heck of a racket though. “Nice work if you can get it.”

      • Agreed. It’s sad to me that the program is earning that much on our children, but the parents who sacrifice maybe a normal double income with two parents working are getting a fraction of that. There is no way all of our children are costing any program over $7k to have enrolled there.

  5. Fantastic article. Homeschool parents should be exempt from the schools portion of paying property tax; as veterans are often exempt.

    Recently I looked into KPSD costs and they spend around $17k per student which is roughly $12k above the State of Alaska student funding. Homeschool students basically cost the Kenai Borough nothing. My numbers are murky mainly because detailed published data is hard to come by; especially the mysterious administration numbers.

    • Yes! Wouldn’t this be a phenomenal blessing! Our family pays so much in public school taxes that we aren’t benefiting from. Yet, our allotment is not higher.

  6. Why did ASD decide to revoke the charter for Family Partnership? Don’t just regurgitate the lies from the former administrator you have published before. Call ALL the former board members and piece it together. There’s a real news story about lies, theft and retaliation — and not just from FPCS!

    How did you calculate the cost per student? Seems unusually high/low for some of the programs when compared to their officially published budgets.

    You reference “enhancements” made by lawmakers in 2014. That was (then) Senator Dunleavy’s baby. The problem is that the state Constitution Article VII, §1 reads:

    “The legislature shall by general law establish and maintain a system of public schools open to all children of the State, and may provide for other public educational institutions. Schools and institutions so established shall be free from sectarian control. No money shall be paid from public funds for the direct benefit of any religious or other private educational institution.”

    (Then) Senator Dunleavy’s Judicial Amendment to the State Constitution failed in committee and the “Statutes” that were passed in 2014 do not align with the higher law of the State Constitution. Hint: this has more than a little to do with the revocation of Family Partnership’s charter.

    Mr Boyle, I appreciate your attention to education and you bill yourself as an education expert. But for that claim to make any sense, you need to educate yourself about what is happening in education with facts rather than funny figures and tall tales from divisive ne’er-do-wells.

    • Insider, I believe the passage you quote here is generally known as the Blaine Amendment and the Supreme court has ruled it unconstitutional in January of 2022
      (U.S. Supreme Court ruled in Espinoza v. Montana Department of Revenue that the federal Constitution forbids states from excluding families and schools from educational choice programs based on their religious status). 37 states still have this amendment in their constitutions and to my knowledge, it will require a vote of the legislature to put it on the ballot and a vote of the people to eliminate it. Educational funds should follow the child regardless of which venue the parents choose. I have long supported school vouchers as they achieve a similar result, giving power back to parents.

      • First, it isn’t an amendment, it is part of the original Alaska Constitution.

        Second, as our own Alaska Deputy AG pointed out in July of 2022, those US Supreme Court cases only apply to states with school voucher programs. Alaska does not have a voucher program therefore Trinity v Missouri, Espinoza v Montana and Carson v Maine do not apply. These are the cases everyone (wrongly) assumes override the Alaska Constitution in this matter. Dep AG Corri Mills addresses this in her opinion letter.

        See for yourself:


        • The original Blaine amendment did not pass congress, however the phrasing was required by US congress to be included in the text of proposed constitutions of territories applying for statehood. That how it ended up in our constitution. At the time there was serious anti-catholic sentiments and a fear that catholic schools would dominate education.
          Yes the supreme court case is limited to voucher programs. While I am not a lawyer, don’t play one on TV, or stayed at a Holiday Inn last night, an argument could be made that since the state of Alaska offers funds to parents to home school their children, it could be viewed in a similar fashion, as parents deciding which educational venue is right for their child and discrimination against religious schools/curriculum seems to meet the basic facts of the case. In either case, it is high time to remove this language from our constitution and institute a voucher program, where the funds follow the child.
          To your statement below:
          “….or are those decisions likely to invalidate Alaska’s restriction on using public correspondence allotments only for nonsectarian services and materials,” Mills wrote.”
          Nonsectarian as in not religious! Considering that parents use those funds to obtain curriculum from a “private source” or take classes at a private school…the claim that it applies to public vs private seems grasping for straws to not upset the proverbial apple cart (those unions are strong in this state), but I am not a lawyer, but stand by my premise that the Blaine amendment needs to go and we need to institute vouchers.

      • Here’s a quote from Dep AG Mills if you don’t want to follow the link in my first reply:

        “The opinion also clarifies that none of the recent U.S. Supreme Court cases on education funding (2022’s Carson ex rel. O.C. v. Makin and2020’s Espinoza v. Montana Department of Revenue) change the analysis because Alaska’s constitution does not distinguish on the basis of religion but rather on the basis of private vs. public. “This conclusion is not changed by the U.S. Supreme Court’s recent decisions interpreting the federal Free Exercise Clause; nor are those decisions likely to invalidate Alaska’s restriction on using public correspondence allotments only for nonsectarian services and materials,” Mills wrote.”

      • A Taxpayer – There is no need for “giving power back to parents.” Parents already have the power. Parents have always had the power.

        • J you are correct and thank you for catching it.
          What I neglected to add was “giving the power of the purse back to parents and taxpayers”. Currently school district do not need or desire ANY input from parents or other constituents. The general public are viewed as a nuisance or worse a threat.
          By lobbying the legislature, funds are allotted despite poor performance and high administrative costs, to continue ANY social engineering experiment they want to try.
          The state is responsible for education and instituting a voucher program would not only save us all considerable funds, but would require school districts to compete for said dollars, giving parents power to direct curriculum and demand adequate outcomes. In essence school districts would be forced to once again focus on the needs of their customers instead of special interest.

    • Insider, my numbers for the cost per student for the correspondence schools were taken from the State’s Department of Education & Early Development. If you have concerns about these numbers, you should contact the DEED’ web page. Also, budgets are just that. They reflect what an entity expects to spend, not what it actually spent. If you really want to see the audited per student expense, you need to got to each school district’s Annual Comprehensive Financial Report. My number for the per student cost in Alaska is very low per the US Census Bureau page. The actual number in Alaska per student spending in closer to an astounding $28,000 per student.

      Re the Alaska Constitution: “No money shall be paid from public funds for the direct benefit of any religious or other private educational institution”. Note that the word “direct” is extremely important. The state does not give the money “directly” to any religious/private educational institution. It gives the money to each school district and the parent selects vendors from an approved list to educate their child. This is “indirect” funding as most anyone, except the Education Industry could see. BTW, if I used my Permanent Fund Dividend (state monies) to pay to send my child to a parochial/private schools, would that then be a violation of the Alaska Constitution? I await your answer.

  7. Thanks for the article with the numbers. We just started homeschooling and it’s going well. Our family/job situation allows for it. I wonder what can families do who want to, but cannot due to circumstances.

  8. We used IDEA when our child was doing poorly in the traditional school. We didn’t receive a dime, but the jump well worth it. The grades dramatically improved.

  9. Wow, thank you for a well written and very comprehensive article on home schooling in Alaska, David, and thank you to Suzanne for publishing it……with all the data and links provided.

    I realize that not very parent has the benefit of enough time and money to homeschool their kid(s), but I am very happy for those who are able to do it.
    I know several young people/kids who are basically home schooling themselves, with their parent(s) in the background supervising them as needed.
    They are all receiving a superior education, without having the Marxist agenda shoved down their throats.

    • To be honest, Not every parent has the knowledge to home school a child successfully. As an example, How many thirty year old parents can recall how to (If they ever actually knew) solve a quadratic equation or Properly construct a Geometric Proof? Yes, there are ‘canned’ resources to help with this but in the end, nothing beats a knowledgeable engaged instructor.

      • It takes a commitment by the family to re-educate themselves to educate their young, if for some reason they can’t recall the material. Homeschooling is not for the faint of heart, nor is it for parents who are looking for some “easy” way. Homeschool parents should be engaged and always learning, reviewing and educating themselves. They should always be developing and researching appropriate curricula. They should always be engaging and shadowing (in some manner) other parents and teachers so they can learn different teaching styles for different learning needs. Homeschooling every year in our family is a moving target. You constantly must evolve with the needs of your children. Teaching to multiple grades at the same time can be challenging and tedious. It is about time management and doing the prep work ahead of time so the students and therefore entire family can benefit.

  10. We homeschooled all of our children K-8. Then we gave them a say in what they would like to do for the following years. One went to community college (which minors could do in the state we lived in) as he was a gifted student, one decided to continue homeschooling, and one went to a trade school. My wife and I have zero regrets. Our children now adults all have positive things to say about their education.

    Do note that homeschooling is a lifestyle, not just a choice. It requires effort, but what a wonderful legacy for our family and for them and their future. It allowed us to instill our values and a classical education to our children, protected them from the ravages of the government schools and the degradation of base aspects of our culture, allowed them a much wider educational and vocational experiences, and allowed all of them to have a childhood. It is a generational gift that has a lasting impact. It is among our proudest accomplishments in our marriage.

  11. I can not believe the amount of money spent per student. It is eye popping. Most of this is grift and waste (looking at the bloated administrative staff to begin with) that has little to do with actually educating children.

    Do not support any further funding increases for government schools or any politician advocating for this.

    • Truth.

      Trurh x 2 about your lifestyle comment as well. It MUST BE a calling for the family to benefit from. There’s simply no other choice.

  12. I remember the first time I heard my daughter’s zoom class. Won’t go into details but I wanted to get in my car and head straight to the school. Terrible! My daughter said no, she knew it was all BS and she was afraid of retribution. She was a Junior at the time so I let it ride. Be engaged with your children’s education.

  13. Enrollment in the correspondence programs still supports the very school districts that are pushing the agendas that parents discovered and are trying to protect their children from. While one child may be spared the indoctrination, the statist district beast is still being fed. There is genuine liberty in Alaska’s homeschooling law, which many are willing to give up for the shekels of the state because the very system they are trying to escape from has convinced them they cannot do it alone and without “certified” help. The frogs have effectively jumped from the fire to the pot of warming water. For now, regulations may be light. But the statist districts have the final say in that “homeschool” education and what is “acceptable” today, may be regulated away tomorrow.

    • If it gets overregulated then I’ll go independent. My experience so far has been really simple. IDEA is out of the Galena school district and the staff is really “hands off”. I know I can do without the charter, but I like using allotment money. I don’t have to do anything I don’t want to with my kids. Nobody makes the decisions for us.

  14. This article implies you must go through a charter or correspondence school to homeschool. That is NOT what the law says. There are many independent homeschoolers in this state not taking government funds and not required to have an Individualized Learning Plan with a supervising teacher. I wish more people would understand exactly how much real freedom we have up here. “Free” money from the government is never free.

    • You’re spot on, Marie. Most “conservative” media don’t like to admit that the law classifies correspondence and charter students as public school students while the general populace calls them homeschoolers. Even though DEED is crass enough to put on their website, “. . . ‘Homeschooling’ refers to schooling without district affiliation,” no one likes to admit that these programs aren’t homeschooling. Most “conservative” media rather see the government funding all educational options, even if it is counter to the term and liberty. Even the State of Alaska recognizes that the correspondence & charter programs target families that would be homeschooling anyway so they are able to “keep tabs” on these “dissenters.” Yet, in this day & age, money talks while freedom walks. . . the plank.

    • Marie, you are 100% correct. One does not have to go through a public charter/correspondence school to homeschool their children. I do realize that parents can independently homeschool their children on their own with no government funding nor interference. I am glad you pointed that out. And I fully agree that “free” money is not really “free” just like Milton Friedman said, “There is no free lunch”. Thanks again.


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