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Give me the good, bad, and ugly on your states laws - Page 2

post #21 of 49
Massachusetts here. We have to submit a letter of intent and an education plan every year which then has to be "approved" by our local superintendent. We also have to submit an end of year evaluation (a progress report, portfolio, or standardized test) which was agreed upon in our education plan.

What your experience is like really depends on the school district you live in and what kind of superintendent you have to deal with. I think it's very important here to know the laws and not allow the school district to overstep their boundary (which I did have to do). It's more annoying than anything else.
post #22 of 49
I've homeschooled in IL, AZ, and CA. I really dislike the homeschooling regs here in CA....thought they aren't horrible, certainly not compared to some states, they aren't nearly as liberal as IL and AZ (which basically require nothing).

In CA, you do need to register with the state each year (as a private school) and technically, you need to keep attendance records and report cards in case the state wants to see them (this rarely happens, but it is possible). Not really a big deal in the scheme of things, but coming from other states, it's a PITA.
post #23 of 49
Quote:
Originally Posted by grisandole View Post
In CA, you do need to register with the state each year (as a private school) and technically, you need to keep attendance records and report cards in case the state wants to see them (this rarely happens, but it is possible). Not really a big deal in the scheme of things, but coming from other states, it's a PITA.
It's true that you're supposed to keep a record of "days absent," but not days present - and I've yet to hear of anyone who's figured out a way a child who's homeschooling can be absent, so there's no real record keeping to do in terms of attendance. But it's not true that you need to do report card. I started filing the affidavit in '89, and have helped HSC at great length over the years in describing the laws in their website, but that's definitely not one of them. I spent time going over every detail with one of the lawyers who helped us articulate it all, and I was running the website at the time - so I knew the laws intimately. I would have considered it a very big deal if anyone had ever expected me to do report cards. Maybe you were misinformed by someone who was enrolled with a public school's program or a charter program and assumed the independent homeschoolers had to follow the kinds of regulations they had. Lillian
post #24 of 49
My friend who files an r4 told me about the recordkeeping, and I could be mistaken about the "requirements" vs. what she and others do as a CYA. To me, it's all a hassle because I'm used to AZ and IL, which are so easy and way more homeschool friendly. I don't want to have to file the R-4, keep vax waivers/physical waivers on hand and all that junk.

In all, CA isn't that bad, there is certainly room for improvement, though. For such a liberal state, I feel that CA is woefully behind when it comes to homeschooling.
post #25 of 49
Our family is currently living in CA, but we've also homeschooled in GA, VA and MD. To me, CA is by far the easiest state to homeschool in out of the four.
I file my affidavit once a year and am set after that. No worrying about having to submit my explanation of qualification, attendance, portfolios or yearly standardized testing. With the exception of the recent court case, our time here has been stress-free.

I would really like to homeschool in a state with zero requirements, but I think we're moving to KY next. It doesn't look bad, but I read that we have to keep quarterly reports. :
post #26 of 49
Quote:
Originally Posted by grisandole View Post
In all, CA isn't that bad, there is certainly room for improvement, though. For such a liberal state, I feel that CA is woefully behind when it comes to homeschooling.
Actually, the reason we have avoided going for a homeschool law is that, strange but true, it isn't all that liberal a state - there's a lot of political conservati$m here even though it isn't a socially and religiously conservative place and there are prominently publicized areas of liberalism. So we find if much easier to just operate within the current laws which allow for a homeschool filing as a private school. And it isn't even what some of us think of as "registering" - it's really just a piece of paper that informs the state that you operate a private school - then they can keep a book that lists all the private schools in the state, and which ones provide various services, although they don't even bother including the ones that have under five students - those papers just get stuffed away. It's nothing more than a demographic procedure for their record keeping. But I've always found it a very homeschool friendly in spite of a few people who've passed through the system with prominent voices and influence to the contrary.

The only reason anyone would ever ask to see something like a vax waiver would be if something very, very out of the ordinary had happened that led to a student attendance review board hearing which led to that board convincing a District Attorney to drag parents into court - and it would have to be pretty far out and pressing to get a D.A. to feel he wasn't wasting his time at that.

I've just always found it such a joy to have such freedom here, so it's been an ongoing "thing" of mine to spread the word about how easy it is to operate within the private school option - because rumors continually get spread by people who are incredibly misinformed about the attitude of officials, and then people pay for unnecessary umbrella schools or enroll in public programs that put a lot of requirements on them that make homeschooling just an extension of the public schools. Lillian
post #27 of 49
Quote:
Originally Posted by 4evermom View Post
PA- Not so good as previously stated, but one small break is that mandatory school age is 8 so you don't have to start all that up til the child is 8 at the beginning of the school year.
Granted, my kids aren't 8 yet, so I haven't had to deal with anything official yet, but I think PA could probably be worse. It probably depends on your local school district, though; I gather some are friendlier to hs'ers than others. There does seem to be a fair amount of freedom within the laws though -- it doesn't appear that you *have* to teach every subject every year in elementary school, and you get to choose your own evaluator from the approved list, so at least you can find someone friendly to your hs'ing style. I wish there weren't mandatory standardized tests, but there are some options there too. And there are lots of hs'ers in the state, at least in certain areas. Personally, I love that the mandatory age is 8 -- I'd like it if they had no reporting requirements, but I do appreciate that nobody's mandating early education up to age 8.
post #28 of 49
Quote:
Originally Posted by Dakota's Mom View Post
New Jersey here. No laws whatsoever. No testing. No teacher assistance. No reporting. No registering with the school board. Nothing. Nada. Anything goes. I am co-organizer for NJ Homeschool Hangout which is a meetup group. We usually have two to three activities per week. Sometimes more. Sometimes less. This week we went strawberry picking, swimming, the Art Museum for Homeschool Day, and had a park date to start planning an Earth Scouts group.

Kathi
http://hyenacart.com/lessonsinlifeboutique/
Alright Kathi next time we must say, "hello" to each other. I was at the museum, too. I had the the little boy painting everything blue. My DD was making a poisonous frog I was taking pictures of the event (as I always am for my blog)

Did you talk to me and ask me if I was part of meet up? Someone did.


Anyway...yes Nj has a law for everything right down to sneezing in the car but homeschooling not a one!! I sure hope it stays it that way as homeschooling gets more popular.
post #29 of 49
North Dakota. Not homeschooling yet but have done lots of research.

The laws are fairly strict, but the local authorities are accommodating, and there doesn't seem to be a lot of paperwork required. You're supposed to have a bachelor's degree or be able to pass a teacher's exam, and you're required to meet the same curriculum and attendance standards as public schools. But there doesn't seem to be a system for tracking that, so it seems that you just have to tell the local schools, "yep, 180 days a year, that's what we're doing."

So, a mixed bag overall. The local (Bismarck) school system welcomes homeschoolers who want to enroll part-time and seems to have a positive attitude in general toward homeschooling.
post #30 of 49
CT is easy. Nothing required by law, though the Dept of Ed "suggests" that parents file a Notice of Intent and go through a yearly curriculum review. Some families choose to do these things, but many choose not to do them.
post #31 of 49
Kansas
The good-
The laws are easy. Register the name and address of your non-accredited private school and the name and address of the official custodian of the school's records one time. No further information is required. You can do this through the mail or online. Annual re-registration is not required. If you move you have to update your address.

Record keeping is suggested but not required. Teacher monitoring or testing are not required. No evidence of immunization required.

http://www.ksde.org/Default.aspx?tabid=1684
http://www.kansashomeschool.org/content/view/27/78/

The bad-
If you do not live near a larger city you might have trouble finding homeschool groups near you.
I live in a small town surrounded by rural area and other small towns. There may be other homeschoolers but there really isn't a social network here.
post #32 of 49
Quote:
Originally Posted by SinginMamaTo2 View Post
NC here.
Pretty easy. Letter of intent and yearly standardized test. Attendence and results need to be kept for a year but no one ever asks to see them. Lots of support groups all over the state. Especially Raleigh and Charlotte/Asheville areas. And Asheville is VERY chrunchy!
could you please PM. We're thinking of moving to NC. Thanks!
post #33 of 49
Wyoming here! WY is another easy state to homeschool in. Once DS is the compulsory age of attendance (age 7 before Sept. 15th) then I have to send in an outline of our curriculum to the school board once a year. Basically I have heard from my friends that they send in a letter stating that they are homeschooling this year and they are using so and so books. Testing isn't required, and it is very vague on whether attendance should be kept or not. I keep it just in case someone shows up at my door. There is also a law stating that my son can be registered at the local school and take extra curricular activities with the students there. I am thinking about sending him for music and maybe art (I don't like how messy art can be. Yes! I am weird) I really like it here.

Homeschoolers of Wyoming has a yearly conference and we have a huge homeschool group in Cheyenne.
post #34 of 49
Texas. We have no rules to follow at all. I love it. Seriously, I love it. No stress and we school as we like, when we like.
post #35 of 49
Thread Starter 
I just wanted to say thanks to all that great information! Many of the states mentioned are possibilities! I just got the final list of states the other day.

I'm going to list the rest below that haven't been mentioned in great extent and if anyone knows anything about these states I'd love to hear from you! I like the perspective of MDC mamas!

Colorado
Idaho
Illinois
Indiana
Missouri
Montana
Nebraska
New Mexico
Ohio
Oklahoma
South Dakota
Utah
West Virgina
Wisconsin

Whew! Thanks for any insight anyone has to offer!
post #36 of 49
Idaho here.

Nothing required. The legislation requires "180 days of instruction comparable to public school", which is so vague as to mean nothing at all.

No letter of intent. No notification required. Allows philosophical, religious, and medical exemption of vaxing, but it's not an issue, since you don't have to tell or ask anyone about homeschooling.

It's pretty darn easy here.

Needless to say, there's lots of homeschoolers here!
post #37 of 49
Quote:
Originally Posted by hjohnson View Post
Wyoming here! WY is another easy state to homeschool in. Once DS is the compulsory age of attendance (age 7 before Sept. 15th) then I have to send in an outline of our curriculum to the school board once a year. Basically I have heard from my friends that they send in a letter stating that they are homeschooling this year and they are using so and so books. Testing isn't required, and it is very vague on whether attendance should be kept or not. I keep it just in case someone shows up at my door. There is also a law stating that my son can be registered at the local school and take extra curricular activities with the students there. I am thinking about sending him for music and maybe art (I don't like how messy art can be. Yes! I am weird) I really like it here.

Homeschoolers of Wyoming has a yearly conference and we have a huge homeschool group in Cheyenne.

Wyoming here too It really is very easy. I just filed my first NOI this year. We did homeschool Kindergarten last year, but since my oldest wasn't of the compulsory age of attendance, we didn't fill out anything. For certain grades (3rd, 5th, 8th? something like that), you can opt to take the standardized tests, but you don't have to. You just state whether you want to or not. On the forms I got, it mentioned the minimum days required, but said nothing about how to keep track ... lol .. I do think it's nice also that if I choose, my children can participate in extra cirricular activities with the public school (I was thinking of music... I haven't contacted the elementary which my daughter would go to, I should do that soon if I want I suppose).

There is a part where you have to list what you'll be using for schooling... whether it's an online school, specific curriculum or a gathering of bits and pieces from here and there. I think it's basically so they can see whether you are covering the 'core materials' if they choose to look into it.

There's nothing about vaxes or anything (yay)... but I guess I haven't tried to do anything with the public school, so we'll see if that comes up.

Plus, as a teacher now I have the opportunity to attend any workshops/conferences they offer here (maybe elsewhere in the state? I didn't really ask about it much).
post #38 of 49
Quote:
Originally Posted by poisonedapple View Post
I just wanted to say thanks to all that great information! Many of the states mentioned are possibilities! I just got the final list of states the other day.

I'm going to list the rest below that haven't been mentioned in great extent and if anyone knows anything about these states I'd love to hear from you! I like the perspective of MDC mamas!

Colorado
Idaho
Illinois
Indiana
Missouri
Montana
Nebraska
New Mexico
Ohio
Oklahoma
South Dakota
Utah
West Virgina
Wisconsin

Whew! Thanks for any insight anyone has to offer!
We moved to WI last winter. This is our first year that we'll have to do any official paperwork. We send a form to the state each year and "have to" put in 875 hours. How/if that is checked, I do not know. We're learning all the time, so it's not going to be hard to do, that's for sure. That's it. Pretty easy.
post #39 of 49
Maryland has been easy for us. There's no testing required. No vaccinations. We choose to go through the state, so we have a "portfolio review" once or twice a year where I show them what the kids are working on.
post #40 of 49

Indiana -- and add'l info on MD and DC

Indiana has no regulations. There is a suggestion that you register with the DOE. They are not allowed to ask for any proof. You are supposed to 'keep attendance' and produce it if asked. We were never asked and, um, my response would be 'everyday is school day.'

We've moved to Maryland recently and as PP said, not hard, just register with the state. But we've chosen instead of submitting to review with the school system (portfolio review) to enroll with an 'umbrella school.' We only need to meet with them 2x per year (can be done at field trips organized by the umbrella group) to fulfill the requirements and NO school officials are in our business. (There are many umbrella groups and church schools on the approved list. This group is specifically unschool-oriented, non-religious and really awesome.)

As for DC, they just passed laws that seem like a photocopy of Maryland's law, with the addition of needing special approval to homeschool if the parent does not have a hs diploma or GED.
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