unschooling in a state with high regulations?? - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 13 Old 10-14-2010, 03:02 AM - Thread Starter
 
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I am so excited about unschooling my neighbors kids, who I think would excel if given this ability! I also want to unschool my children (though they are only 2 and 3months right now).

The problem is that we live in Minnesota where there are a lot of homeschooling restrictions and regulations. They require that the "teacher" has at least a bachelors degree (I dont, but my husband does- and for the record I think that is just the most ridiculous requirement!!!) Also, my biggest concern is that they require that we submit a yearly curriculum that shows we are teaching what they want us to teach and submit quarterly report card showing that the kids are "progressing" in the subjects. They require standardized testing and say that if the children are not scoring within the 30ith percentile we must have them evaluated for learning disorders and they can revoke my "right" to homeschool.

So now what??? It is so infuriating! Is there a way around the system? How do I plan a "curriculum" when I have no idea what it is that we will be studying and I have no interest or intent on making those decision one whole year in advance?

Help please!!

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#2 of 13 Old 10-14-2010, 03:52 AM
 
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http://www.homeschoolers.org/


Now, take a deep breath ;-) Its nowhere nearly as hard as it seems.
The thing about needing to have a degree is only if you're not the parent.

Take a look at what the 'average" kid is learning at that age. ("what your child needs to learn" series is a great help but you can get that info free online)
Your curriculum is basicly saying what you plan on teaching. Might look something like this:

Child A. Age X

Math- explore fraction concepts using quanitive measurements
Introduction to adding and subtracting multiple factors,
Intro. to measurements by using rulers, slides and other.
(what you mean is- using measuring cups while baking, counting by 2's while skipping and jumping, learning multiplication tables while playing math bingo)

Engligh/language arts- Reading classic literature including but not limited to
The Great Gaysby, etc, etc. etc.
Formation of sentance structure, Tenses.
Intro to book reports
poetry, nursery rhymes

Electives including but not limited to:
Art- creating art using a variety of mediums
music-listening to various genres of music, Identifying beat, tempo and range,

Get the idea? Think about what you'll be doing with the children and then turn it into a language that the "educators" can understand.
Keep a copy of your cuuriculum, post it on your wall.

For report cards, easy. There are report formats you can using from the website I linked. You'll basicly say that Child A. has been working diligently on x, has mastered x, continues to show improvement on x, needs additional instruction on X. Use the curriculum as a guide. You may or may not need to submit 'proof" like a math worksheet, etc.

Testing isnt as scary as it sounds either, although Im as opposed as can be!
Scoring below that 30% is pretty hard to do. Just make sure you've worked on the basics in each test subject throughout the year.

You CAN soo do this. Dont be intimidated by all their fancy words and dont be afraid to toss some of your own their way ;-)
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#3 of 13 Old 10-14-2010, 03:57 AM
 
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You're talking about unschooling the neighbor's children? I think you would run into regulation problems then. Your neighbor can unschool his/her children, submit all the paperwork, and you can babysit them, even if it's during "school hours." Some of it will be "educational" and the parent can use these things to do the paperwork. But I don't think you can unschool your neighbors children and submit paperwork for them, regardless of degree or no.

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#4 of 13 Old 10-14-2010, 06:27 AM
 
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I agree with the above PP. Generally, homeschooling is assumed to be done by the child's parents. Otherwise, it's called tutoring or babysitting or school, and different standards or regulations apply. You might look into what it takes to incorporate as a school and what the requirements are for the student then. For example, in Florida, homeschoolers are required to have an annual evaluation by a certified teacher or annual testing. But private schools are required only to submit quarterly attendance. So a there are a few "unschooling schools" where you simply enroll and provide a quarterly attendance report and avoid the requirements for homeschoolers.
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#5 of 13 Old 10-14-2010, 12:50 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Originally Posted by EviesMom View Post
You're talking about unschooling the neighbor's children? I think you would run into regulation problems then. Your neighbor can unschool his/her children, submit all the paperwork, and you can babysit them, even if it's during "school hours." Some of it will be "educational" and the parent can use these things to do the paperwork. But I don't think you can unschool your neighbors children and submit paperwork for them, regardless of degree or no.
She is not looking for a babysitter nor am I interested in babysitting... their mother is a stay at home. The issue is that their mother (due with number 7) does not feel confident in her ability to educate her children (or even to provide an environment beyond a state based school). They came here as refugees and the kids are extremely curious and intelligent. Unfortunately, the school system is not doing much for them in terms of encouraging this. They are feeling the social and academic pressure and they are being shoved through the grades despite the fact that they are clearly not mastering (or even understanding) most of the subjects being taught. The mother has asked me to "homeschool" them, at which I am looking at more of an unschooling approach.

Faiza married and with , mama to DS (09.23.08) and with #2 (due in June 2010).
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#6 of 13 Old 10-14-2010, 12:53 PM
 
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Unless you have guardianship I'm not sure you can HS another persons children.
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#7 of 13 Old 10-14-2010, 01:45 PM
 
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But you can care for them. And she can unschool them. What activities you do with the kids, even if it resembles unschooling, is between you and her. She can unschool them when they are with her. Even if that means she never reads them a book. We're getting into semantics stuff right now. Say the right words and you're okay. Say the wrong words and you could have problems.

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#8 of 13 Old 10-14-2010, 02:19 PM
 
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It's not semantics, when you live in a high regulation state not complying with the regs come with risks. Having read the MN law, I personally wouldn't do it. The have the right to come to your home once a year and assess that you are following their rules and they want the name of the instructor if you are using one.
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#9 of 13 Old 10-16-2010, 12:48 PM
 
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Originally Posted by MuslimMama View Post
She is not looking for a babysitter nor am I interested in babysitting... their mother is a stay at home.
I think you're misunderstanding--what we're all saying is that in the eyes of the law you can't homeschool them because they're not your kids. She can homeschool them (all paperwork must be signed by her) and you can "care for them" even if you end up being the one doing the actual educating (or facilitating, in the case of unschooling). But she'll need to submit the paperwork and be responsible to the authorities.

But especially because of what you've said--new immigrant who may not understand all the ins and outs of how to do this, or may feel that she would be misrepresenting what's going on to the authorities-- it may be easier on everyone if you find an umbrella school to enroll them in. I'm not sure if or how that works in MN, but in FL umbrella schools allow you to get around the requirements for homeschoolers so you can go about homeschooling however you see fit.

I did some googling and have only come up with unschooling support groups in MN, no information about umbrella schools. Perhaps you can join a local unschooling support group and ask about how to go about doing what you want to do?

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#10 of 13 Old 10-16-2010, 01:12 PM
 
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The mother has asked me to "homeschool" them, at which I am looking at more of an unschooling approach.
Unschooling is more of a raising kids in an enriched environment thing than something someone outside of the home can do unless the kids are there much of the time, imo. I would want to make sure that the mother understood your intentions with regard to style of homeschooling. That might not be something she desires.

And like others have pointed out, typically in high regulation states, you can't homeschool someone else's kids. You can be an instructor or a tutor and those have requirements as you've discovered. The neighbor can homeschool and do the paperwork while you are the "tutor" if you are qualified. Or you can be the daycare provider and do whatever you want, given the mother's permission, while she is the one technically homeschooling.

What about cyber schools? Public schools at home via the internet? Might be a good middle ground considering the language barrier. It would really be awful if the mother had to deal with charges of truancy or educational neglect because something wasn't done properly.

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#11 of 13 Old 10-19-2010, 12:50 AM
 
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also - is your husband going to be unschooling them, or you? You said MN requires the teacher to have a bachelors. You are already not abiding by two of their regulations. I would tread very carefully with this, especially because you said your neighbor is a recent refugee.
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#12 of 13 Old 10-28-2010, 03:57 AM
 
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A couple potential problems stick out in this scenario. If your neighbor family is in refugee status the children should be classified as "ELL" learners at the local school, meaning they are recieving so many hours of direct english language instruction per day. Probably most of the childrens day is spent learning and mastering the language. This could be what their mother is upset about when you said she was unhappy with the school.
If you live in a high regulation state, these children are required to test, the test is in english only. What are you as the new teacher going to do to make sure these kids can read, write, and comprehend the language so they pass the test with minimun standards? That is not something I would want to take on. And that is not something that can be done via 'unschooling'.

You are opening yourself up for potential problems with the state with this one. I would focus on homeschooling my own children and let the mother find alternatives for her own children.

*I am a teacher but also homeschool so I am familiar with ELL issues.

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#13 of 13 Old 10-31-2010, 08:56 PM
 
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I just want to point out that if the state gets on top of you over your neighbor's kids, it could potentially effect you when your own kids are school age. No doubt you will have a right to homeschool them, but the state can make you jump through hoops and the spotlight is a hard place to be.

As much as you can see how the kids would thrive out side the public school system, if it were me, I would not risk it. With their status, if the state gets on top of mom, it would be easy for her to point the finger at you, saying she did not understand the laws, she trusted you to teach her children, thought you were teaching her kids and that it is your fault when they don't score well on standard tests or what ever. I would even be concerned with criminal charge issues. You really need to investigate that aspect before taking on these kids.

And I agree with above - mom is responsible for the paperwork so make sure she knows what she is doing or she is going to have the truancy people looking for those kids when they do not show up at school. I am guessing educational neglect charges would not be so good for momma and kids.

This is a tough question because, like so many of you, I very much believe in the way I homeschool our kids. But at the same time, it is the responsibility of the parents to provide that environment for the kids. The state holds anyone else educating kids to much higher standards.

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