Homeschooling through a charter in California means that my kids are actually enrolled in a public school. This school has a brick-and-mortar location that we have never been to. Our Homeschool Advisor visits us in our home once a month, and we participate in end-of-year testing. Because we do these things, we receive the same funding for our children that all public schools put toward their students. The school's overhead and the Homeschool Advisor's salary are paid just like teachers in any school. We are held to the same standards as any public school. I can use the funding for my children as I see fit- for the most part.
Like any public school, the funding cannot be used for sectarian supplies. There are also reasonable restrictions on what I can buy, and if I want a computer I have to buy through their weird system. Other than that, it's up to me.
So why is this time of year one of decision? Well, there is a deadline by which I must use this year's money and it is approaching. Most of the funding this year has gone towards MOSS camp and music lessons, but the remaining funds can't pay for camps or lessons that occur over the summer, so spend them I must. I am trying to think of what we might use next year. I put a dent in our balance today, not on something I planned but on a whim.
I finally made the Life of Fred leap. These strange math books have been visitors from the library before, but we haven't owned any until now. Many sing the praises of Life of Fred. I haven't felt compelled to buy them because I'm really happy with Teaching Textbooks and Khan Academy. I still am, but I have 1) a middle son who might like Life of Fred and 2) the means to get him the books, so it happened.
Homeschooling through a charter is a really hot topic 'round these parts. I joke that if you want some excitement at park day all you have to do is yell "charter schools" near the circle of parents. We do what works for us and feel good about it right now. As that changes we have and will continue to adapt our methods.