How do you deal with state laws? - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 11 Old 12-04-2010, 02:01 AM - Thread Starter
 
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DS is only 15 mos. old, but I'm gleefully diving into unschooling and waldorf/simplicity parenting research and planning all kinds of things for when he gets older and when we add more kids to the family. The one big thing I worry about is if we end up living in a state with really strict homeschooling laws--like NY, for example.  I was homeschooled while my family lived NJ because the laws were not restrictive at all, but when we moved to NY, my mother quit and sent us back to public school because the laws were insane.

 

How do I find the freedom to let my children learn on their own if I'm forced to do state testing, etc?  Has anyone else had to deal with this?  I have no problem telling them that it's all stupid and ridiculous and help them memorize enough junk to pass a test, but if there's any way to avoid it...

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#2 of 11 Old 12-04-2010, 02:22 AM
 
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do you think you will be moving to another state or that you will have to move? if so will you have any choice in where you move? right now it says you live in california and that means pretty easy laws. just register as a private school. my son is only 3 so i am not dealing with any of this yet but it seems to me in some cases people end up using unschool friendly distance schools where you just have to keep attendance and write up what you child is doing in a way that sounds good. i think that can work in many states.


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#3 of 11 Old 12-04-2010, 02:36 AM - Thread Starter
 
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We're not sure where we'll end up.  California for now, but DH wants to settle somewhere where he can get to his beloved mountains and snowboard in the winter.  Jobwise, it's possible to end up in Utah or the D.C. area.  It's all up in the air right now, although we'll be here for awhile longer to finish school.  If I have a choice I'll definitely look for the crunchiest state I can, but I may end up not getting much say in the matter...

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#4 of 11 Old 12-04-2010, 12:25 PM
 
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Tell DH that he can move to the Sacramento area and travel to Tahoe and snowboard :) 


Married to Michael and Mother of Jake 9, Jillianne 7, Jensen 5, Jacen 4. I've got severe osteoporosis, a fractured hip and chronic pain-so please be patient with me! Pagan,Crocheter,Reader,Homeschooler- that's me in a nutshell.

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#5 of 11 Old 12-04-2010, 01:08 PM
 
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The laws in some states can be a real drag (New York) and in others a blessing (Texas). ;)  Many are somewhere in the inbetween. I unschooled in Oregon which is fairly moderate as HS laws go. We are to fill out a  letter of intent to HS with our local Education Service District and to test at the ends of grades 3, 5, 8, and 10. Could be better, could be worse.

 

Some people just chose not to register as HS'ers at all, and hope to avoid any discovery. I did register and we did test, but I refused to turn over any more information about the results than I absolutely had to, which in our case was the "main score". The score we had to reach was pretty easy to get to and even if you didn't meet it that just meant you had to test the very next year even though it wasn't a regular testing year. If that second test showed improvement from the first "failed" (ha) test you were okay. If not, you had to test again the next year. So really you had 2 years after a too low score before you had any real issue with the pwers that be. I've never heard of anyone having a real issue with it here.

 

 We always told the kids that the test only measured their test taking, and that test taking for test taking's sake was stupid. We told them it just made the state law people leave us alone, and it meant nothing about them personally. We showed them what a standardized test was so they'd be familiar with the format, and we offered to help them prepare if they wanted to. That was pretty much it.

 

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#6 of 11 Old 12-04-2010, 05:49 PM
 
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Don't move to a state with laws that are more trouble than you are willing to do. Every time we considered moving the first thing I did was check the state HS laws and vax exemption laws. Even though I no longer have minor children I still wouldn't move to NY. You can find a state with decent laws and snow. Like Idaho for instance.

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#7 of 11 Old 12-04-2010, 06:45 PM
 
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Dang - lost my reply...  I think I keep hitting clear instead of submit!

 

Anyway, the laws sound awful for PA but it hasn't been bad at all for us.  Ds had to take a standardized test, last year.  I got to choose from about 6 different ones.  He got to take the test at home and could stop for as long as he wanted between sections, even days.  We don't have to start reporting until the school year when the child is 8 at the beginning.  I found an unschooler who is qualified to be an evaluator.  Not vaxing has been a non issue.  So I have a bit of paperwork and ds has to take a test every other year.  Much much easier than the paperwork and tests involved in going to school!


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#8 of 11 Old 12-06-2010, 12:55 AM
 
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I agree with PP's....sometimes a state can SEEM like the restrictions are overwhelming, but usually, they aren't as bad IRL as they are on paper.  That being said.....I would not move to a state with truly bad HS laws.  MY state for example has no restrictions, essentially, on what we do, and we report to noone, take no tests, nothing.  We just..don't send our kids to school...and take attendance :)


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#9 of 11 Old 12-10-2010, 12:31 PM
 
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4evermom,

Where is a good place to start reading about homeschooling laws in PA, we are going to be moving near Pittsburgh in the Spring or Summer? I've also been wondering about finding a community of homeschooling/unschooling friends when we move there. In OR, there are a couple really good yahoo groups that got us involved with the unschoolers around here. I haven't been on these Mothering forums in a while, but I think there is a way to send me a private message about PA specific info or groups, so I don't take this thread too far off topic.

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#10 of 11 Old 12-10-2010, 04:58 PM
 
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http://www.hslda.org/laws/default.asp?State=PA

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#11 of 11 Old 12-11-2010, 09:41 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by vaughnmama View Post

4evermom,

Where is a good place to start reading about homeschooling laws in PA, we are going to be moving near Pittsburgh in the Spring or Summer? I've also been wondering about finding a community of homeschooling/unschooling friends when we move there. In OR, there are a couple really good yahoo groups that got us involved with the unschoolers around here. I haven't been on these Mothering forums in a while, but I think there is a way to send me a private message about PA specific info or groups, so I don't take this thread too far off topic.

I don't think this is too terribly off topic...  www.askpauline.com is a great resource for how to homeschool in PA.  It's done by an experienced homeschooling mom who's oldest is now in college.  I'm closer to Philadelphia than Pittsburg but all my networking has been though yahoo groups.  I recall seeing posts on the unschoolers group ( http://groups.yahoo.com/group/PA-Unschoolers/ ) from people in Pittsburg so I'd join that and see if anyone is close to you.  I'd also join any yahoo groups in your immediate area since the unschoolers one is state wide.  The unschoolers group is good for asking advice about how to handle particulars from an unschooling angle but local groups are better for actually meeting people who homeschool in your school district.  There is quite a bit of variance from school district to school district.  I happen to be in one of the easiest ones...  I guess they have their hands full dealing with the kids that are in school without taking on anything beyond their bare boned interpretation of the law.  Most of our socializing is through our local group which runs the gamut from stereotypical Christian homeschoolers to unschoolers.  People find their own crowd within the group and share resources with everyone (it's a HUGE group).  We have one friend that is an unschooler, the rest do something more structured but we do unstructured things or fieldtrips with them.      
 


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