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#1 of 34 Old 06-27-2011, 09:06 PM - Thread Starter
 
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We are an unschooling family a year or so away from "declaring" our intent to homeschool.  A friend who homeschools 3 older kids mentioned homeschooling "under the radar" and another family she knows has never registered their kids. While we both know this is not how it is supposed to be done, she didn't seem to think the consequences are very steep.  Washington is a pretty lenient state, but the last thing I want is to be forced to send my kids to school if I am found out!  But I looooooooooooooooooove the idea of no supervision!  (Did I include enough "o"s to express how much I really love the idea?)  

    I am of the personality that seethes when other people tell me what to do when they have no good reason for having me do it.  I am an unrepentant scofflaw.  Yes, I can be contrary and might even jump off a bridge because someone told me not to!  But usually I find that my ideas have come about from thoughtfulness and experience, and I don't want someone who knows nothing about my family coming in and telling me what is best.  Ordering me to do what they think is best.  Geez Louise!  The thought of it gets me all quivery and jumpy and I'm looking out for the next convenient bridge just in case....

     Can I really be this calm and play innocent if I get caught?  Will they just as calmly ask me to get busy registering my kids with no further trouble?  Are WA's easy homeschooling laws worth the trouble of dodging?

 

???????


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#2 of 34 Old 06-28-2011, 05:53 AM
 
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I am sure there are local families that can tell you their BTDT stories. If I did not register I would just make sure I have everything required by law handy.In the least I would do the yearly testing to show what level the kids are testing at each year following home lessons.

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#3 of 34 Old 06-28-2011, 11:03 AM
 
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We live in a country where homeschooling is illegal, period. Like you, we are a year away from the point at which enrolling becomes compulsory. We will homeschool under the radar, unless I managed to find another great solution, like convincing the US school here to accept us as enrolled homeschoolers (fee - $20,000 annually - WOW!) or lobbying successfully to change the laws. 

 

If I were in your situation, I would accept the hoops that are "required" to have the legal right to homeschool without consequences. Looking from my point of view, this is a relatively small price to pay for relative freedom. My general attitudes are much the same as yours. 

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#4 of 34 Old 06-28-2011, 11:24 AM
 
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I'm not sure I'd worry about having to send the kids to school.  If you remain unregistered, and are caught, you can face a CPS investigation for educational neglect and also face truancy consequences, which depending on your state can range from jail time and your children removed to steep fines.  Honestly, it's not worth it.  Register.  Do it legally.  By not legally following the steps required for excusal from mandatory school attendance, you are putting all of homeschoolers at risk for even steeper requirements.

 

We live in Ohio...we register our homeschool with the county education office.  Not only do we get excellent teacher discounts at places (even my new Mac laptop was $200 off because of registering!), but nobody monitors me or tells me what to do and when.  I still have the freedom to teach how I see fit, and at the end of the year, I get a certified teacher to look at a sample of DS's work, and write a letter to the district saying he is learning what 2nd graders should be learning.  Easy.  The school district has no say.  I'm not sure what the benefits of NOT registering are...they better be pretty good to risk CPS involvement, jail time, or steep fines.

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#5 of 34 Old 06-28-2011, 01:07 PM
 
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I live in one of the strictest states (Pennsylvania) and I still never felt like anyone is telling us what we have to teach or hanging over us.  To me, it really just amounts to a little bit of paperwork.  We have to hand in an affidavit and our educational objectives at the beginning of the year and at the end of the year we have to have an evaluator look over our portfolio and then we have to hand it into the school district.  We are unschoolers, too, and that hasn't been a problem.  

 

I wouldn't do it under the radar, I think the risks are too scary.  I am thinking CPS involvement and legal trouble for truancy, like the above poster said.  If you DO do it under the radar, have everything you need to homeschool done and ready (not sure what you need in your state..) as well as more to prove you aren't educationally neglecting your child.  But, if you are doing it anyway, why not do it and hand it in and save yourself a lot of possible grief and heartache.

 

Also, if you do it under the radar, what happens if for some reason your children need to go to school down the road?  If you get away with it until high school, what happens then when you child has to start working towards a diploma?   I am sure at some point it will catch up with you.


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#6 of 34 Old 06-28-2011, 09:08 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Good points, all.  Right now it is simply curiosity and seriously wishful thinking.  I mean, this region is simply crawling with homeschoolers!  We wouldn't stand out.  And is CPS really the first response to a family thought to be homeschooling on the sly?  I could perhaps imagine that in an area that has fewer homeschooling families, but here?  I would think being contacted by the school district would be more likely, but I don't know.  I'm wondering if anyone has had experience with this, or a friend who has had this experience...


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#7 of 34 Old 06-28-2011, 09:39 PM
 
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We live in Arizona where all you do is file an initial intent to homeschool and you are done forever. I've heard tell that many unschoolers still don't file out of fear that in the future someone might change the laws and contact everyone who's filed to tell them they must enroll their kids in school. I have heard that in our state failing to file an affidavit is a misdemeanor that carries a small fine. I don't KNOW any of this, this is just what I've heard.

 

I also know folks that have considered filing so if they move anywhere else, they can say that they are registered homeschoolers in Arizona. If you are living in the US, I don't think that would fly, but maybe if you had a temporary overseas assignment, it might.

 

We'll likely file just to keep it all above board. No one will ever be able to question our intent or the legality of our actions. However, we don't have to do anything except fill out a piece of paper, so it's no big deal.


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#8 of 34 Old 06-28-2011, 09:43 PM
 
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We live in WA and have 1 more year before registering, and I am not having a problem with the idea of registering our intent to continue homeschooling. In Washington you have to file an intent every year once your child is 8 years old with your school district. At the end of the year you have to have a grade level test (I've seen lists float around of recommended ones) or an assessment done, but they don't collect it -- it is for your own records. I imagine if any "questions" about your homeschooling come about, they would be handy to have on hand. I don't have a problem with doing the 2 required things, besides the 11 required subjects to teach (which are pretty basic like math, science, language arts, health etc.). The unschooling families I know in this state also don't mind giving out tests or assessments at the end of the year, and if they don't care than it really must be a non-issue in Washington state.

It is only if you decide to sign-up with k12 or another homeschooling organization that gives you funds, that you might have a lot more restriction on what you do and what you report. But so far the laws in WA seem pretty straight forward, so I see no reason to try to skirt their homeschooling laws.

Here is WA Homeschool Organization link on homeschooling laws in Washington: http://www.washhomeschool.org/homeschooling/law.html

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#9 of 34 Old 06-30-2011, 07:15 AM
 
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If you do register, will someone try to tell you what to do? I don't know the laws in your state, but in Iowa, I send in my paperwork and my supervising teacher (who is a friend of mine) tells them we're not just playing truant, and that's it. Nobody tries to tell us what to do.

That's pretty easy, and the consequences of NOT registering here include being charged with criminal truancy, going to truancy court, being forced to attend public school, being fined, etc. Truancy officers also must report to DHS the names of kids who are truants, and that could result in a DHS investigation, which would obviously involve a lot more government involvement in my life than filing some paperwork, and could result in children being removed from the house. Not worth it.

There's really not any way to prevent the government from knowing that you have children who are school age, even if you don't register them. I guess I don't know what kind of a scenario you're worried about, but if the state decides to get hardcore about it, even if you haven't filed paperwork, they will still know you have kids.
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#10 of 34 Old 06-30-2011, 05:54 PM
 
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Wa laws are really simple, and no, no one TELLS you what to do.  It's not that kind of homeschooling oversight. It's simple to fill out the paperwork.  Completely NOT worth risking getting in trouble/charged with edu. neglect/being involved with CPS.  I'd fill it out and be done with it, rather than constantly worry about it/look over my shoulder.  You don't have to complete your intent form until age 8, I assume you know, so you have plenty of time to become familiar with the requirements. :) 


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#11 of 34 Old 06-30-2011, 07:09 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I appreciate everyone's replies.

      Here's a question for all you WA homeschoolers, and especially unschoolers: which do you prefer, the assessment or the test?   Why?  Have you tried one and switched to the other, and why?  What are your experiences from district to district?  If you are close to declaring but haven't yet, which would you prefer?  Maybe this question deserves its own thread.  

    I also want to assure all the PPs (such anxiousness, thank you!) that I have been intending to do this aboveboard all along, and this is the year to get myself educated about the process.  A friend mentioned that she and another family aren't registered and haven't been, and being such a knee-jerk anarchist the idea sounded intriguing and I just had to ask about it.  I am trying to find out as much as I can about the process, even from those who have rejected the process.  I mean, what would lead a family to take such risks doing this?  Decades ago, when the right to educate your children was not universally recognized in the US, families risked all kinds of terrible outcomes in order to homeschool.  What would lead a family to do it now, when every state now recognizes homeschooling in some form or another?

     


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#12 of 34 Old 07-08-2011, 11:38 AM
 
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We are not registered yet, and I wanted to go with the assessments because I would like to just know in general how well my students are doing and where I can improve. I also don't like the idea of a test because I personally do not like them - especially the fill in the bubble ones! I spoke with an unschooler and she likes the tests - and she especially likes the ones I don't like (the fill in the bubble ones)! My DH says he likes the tests too, because it will give them some exposure to that type an exam -- because eventually if they do enter college or another school environment the concept won't be foreign to them. I personally don't see though how they can test for history or similar subjects at such young age and really gauge anything especially if you are teaching different time periods etc. Haven't decided yet -- maybe I will leave this decision up to my DH so I don't have to think about it!

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#13 of 34 Old 07-08-2011, 12:24 PM
 
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I'm not registering... but in my state it isn't required.  It is only "recommended."  I see no point. If you do your district has the right to require you to submit to portfolio review.  The point of that is just to prove education took place in each of the required areas.  NOT to determine if your child is advancing.  You can bring in one math worksheet from the first day of school and call it good in that subject.

 

One of the local homeschool associations says you should register.  Their argument is if people don't, and just try to lay low, then that will make it seem like we are hiding something giving reason to authorities to try and toughen the laws and make it a requirement. 

 

I just can't be bothered to be honest.

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#14 of 34 Old 07-08-2011, 07:36 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Originally Posted by GnomeyNewt View Post

We are not registered yet, and I wanted to go with the assessments because I would like to just know in general how well my students are doing and where I can improve. I also don't like the idea of a test because I personally do not like them - especially the fill in the bubble ones! I spoke with an unschooler and she likes the tests - and she especially likes the ones I don't like (the fill in the bubble ones)! My DH says he likes the tests too, because it will give them some exposure to that type an exam -- because eventually if they do enter college or another school environment the concept won't be foreign to them. I personally don't see though how they can test for history or similar subjects at such young age and really gauge anything especially if you are teaching different time periods etc. Haven't decided yet -- maybe I will leave this decision up to my DH so I don't have to think about it!


I used to think that I wouldn't like testing, but then the alternative would be having to deal with a live human being.  Maybe testing is more anonymous? Damn, I really need to make this its own thread!

 



Quote:
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I just can't be bothered to be honest.


This is me!  But I'm sure we will be "registering" (in our state "declaring") because really not much is required.  I wish I wish I wish our state would give us the option....

 


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#15 of 34 Old 07-08-2011, 11:14 PM
 
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In my state, it's pretty much just paperwork, so for me, it seems easier to jump through the hoops/  I can relate to your sentiment, however.  It gets my goat that there is someone telling me what is okay to do for my child.  But really, in most states, it is your legal right, and registering actually helps support that right, IMO.  I would also encourage you to join and support your state's homeschool group that monitors laws on homeschooling.  We have one here, and they work tirelessly to be sure our rights to homeschool are preserved and expanded.  I am very grateful for the work they do!

 

As for your question on assessment vs test, I think it depends somewhat on your child.  I hated the idea of doing testing for my young children, I just hated the very nature of a test and it went against everything that I believed about learning.  So, we went with the option of having a teacher do an assessment, where they talk to us about what we did that year and write a letter saying the child is advancing and learning.  I love this because it gives me a record of all we did that year, and it also helps put things into perspective for me.  Whenever I read that yearly letter after our meeting, I realize, wow, they really are learning all the time!

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#16 of 34 Old 07-12-2011, 02:58 PM
 
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I used to think that I wouldn't like testing, but then the alternative would be having to deal with a live human being.  Maybe testing is more anonymous? Damn, I really need to make this its own thread!

 




This is me!  But I'm sure we will be "registering" (in our state "declaring") because really not much is required.  I wish I wish I wish our state would give us the option....

 


I'm not in WA, but we can do portfolio or test. I test. I tested the year before we had to file, actually, to see how DD would test overall, if the testing process would stress her out or not. She likes testing and tests well, so we've stuck with it. Here in NY, you only have to make 33% or better, and only on math and reading, not the full range of subjects. Since DD always scores super high, testing's never been a concern. Also, in the early CAT tests (K, 1, 2) there are a couple of different options that qualify as valid tests for all three grade levels. 

 


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#17 of 34 Old 07-13-2011, 01:22 PM
 
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it's been almost 10 years, but my mom only had to do 5-10 minutes of paperwork each year for 4 kids, she was able to not even declare our grades and was able to opt out of the testing/assessment, and this was in WA. 


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#18 of 34 Old 07-13-2011, 02:05 PM - Thread Starter
 
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it's been almost 10 years, but my mom only had to do 5-10 minutes of paperwork each year for 4 kids, she was able to not even declare our grades and was able to opt out of the testing/assessment, and this was in WA. 

How was she able to "opt out"?
 

 


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#19 of 34 Old 07-13-2011, 02:44 PM
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My kids are older and I live in a moderate-to-high regulation state.

 

I know things are different in each state, but HERE, when homeschooled teens want to get working papers for employment or attend community college, they need paperwork from the school district. Something to think about.

 

I don't know about Washington, but some states have "religious exemptions" that allow a family to opt-out of testing and grades. I know Virginia does this, because we homeschooled there for three years. I don't agree with special rights for certain groups of homeschoolers, but they exist.

 

Believe me, I've been tempted to go under the radar more than once. We've moved a lot, so it wouldn't have been too hard. But a potential run-in with the law wasn't worth it, for me. I also didn't want to make things harder for my kids to get jobs or take classes if they wanted to do so.

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#20 of 34 Old 07-13-2011, 10:22 PM
 
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How was she able to "opt out"?
 

 


I'm not sure exactly, and I don't know if they still will let you (this was pre-No Child Left Behind). at the time public school kids could opt out of standardized testing as well.

 


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#21 of 34 Old 07-14-2011, 09:36 AM
 
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I absolutely HATE the idea of registering...but I'd be worried about some of the more negative things that could happen if caught. Just because some people got off lenient does not mean you will. I understand your intentions, but I feel it is a bit of playing with fire (with kids).

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#22 of 34 Old 07-14-2011, 05:13 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I agree that the risk for me, too, seems too great.  But I'm still unclear what the risks are, in our state.  I also think that now that homeschooling is a recognized right in every state, that the need to go underground iunnecessary.  I was hoping to see if anyone reading this forum actually did do it without registering and why.  Because, on the off chance that the first response is merely a warning, I might want to just ignore it for a while.  If the usual response is to call CPS, well, yeah, I wouldn't want to risk that, not in a million years.  (My hats off to those homeschooling families decades ago who in some states risked everything to educate their own!)

     True, our state has few and easy requirements and is accepting of homeshooling families.  My desire for complete freedom in educating my kids-- just as it is for myself-- is deep enough that IF the first reaction authorities have is a warning, then I would really appreciate just not bothering for as long as I can.  I'm probably still overreacting, not looking forward to tests or assessments however easy. I have always preferred trusting my own judgement, and it irritates me when others don't trust it, too (yes, to a fault, I am sure, but I also think that I am worthy of that trust, and feel slighted when others don't.)

     For now, a year or so away from needing to being "official", I'm just putting out the feelers, collecting information about ALL aspects of homeschooling from every source I can: my state, our state HS organizations, homeschooling parents, everybody.  I'm not about ready to ask anyone official "what happens if I don't register?"  That's why I post, to see if anyone stills does and why.

 

    

    


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#23 of 34 Old 07-15-2011, 02:22 AM
 
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If you're really curious, call your school district and ask.  Maybe from a pay phone.  :)

 

 

WA is just so, relatively, easy.  It's not even registering, just declaring.  And we don't have to turn in assessments or tests to anyone, unless, I imagine, there was something else happening and they wanted to see what ELSE was or was not happening in the home.  I'm cool with that. 

 

Am I *looking forward* to declaring him once he's 8?  (well, probably the August after that, because his b'day is so close to the end of the school year)  No, not really.  But then, if I do NOT declare him, and then he wants to take a class or in the future join a sport, at a school, he won't be able to do so, as he would simply be truant, and not enrolled in school or homeschool. 

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#24 of 34 Old 07-24-2011, 12:47 AM
 
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Washington's "Becca Bill" has increased penalties of truancy.  I wouldn't chance it.  

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#25 of 34 Old 09-10-2013, 08:23 AM
 
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Let me tell you a story about what I am dealing with at the moment.

 

My ex-wife decided to home school my two daughters "under the radar" in Ohio. Ohio requires registration with a school, annual reports, etc. She did none of this.

 

Fast forward to present. My youngest daughter, now 21, tried to go to college. They asked for her high school transcripts which her mother printed up, signed, and mailed to her. The school then asked for a certifying letter form the registered state school district, as required by law. There is no record of her ever being registered at any school in Ohio.

 

My daughter not only cannot get into the college, she has no high school diploma.So, now at 21 she has to either get a GED or go back to school to get her high school diploma (at $150 per class).

 

If you want to home school your kids, fine, but don't do it in a way that will hurt the kids in the long run. Do it the right way, your kid's lives may turn out different than you think.

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#26 of 34 Old 09-10-2013, 02:45 PM
 
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SS sorry can't help you on washington, just picking up on the original thread, ignore me if its way too OT at this stage.

 

In the UK we don't have to do ANYTHING. Unless you are withdrawing a child from school, when you normally write a dereg letter, you don't have to tell anyone. More than that, the law is incredibly loose. You have to provide an education suitable to the age and aptitude of the child and any SEN. Have a ten year old obsessed by horses? That's aptitude. Really. Prosecutions for educational neglect are basically non existent except where there are existing CPS concerns (and so be fair the CPS don't seem to use educational welfare to prosecute on-they don't need to really as their laws are stronger than the education ones) or custody disputes. One of the great debates among HSers is whether to contact the education authority or remain "under the radar" in order to preserve freedom for all.

 

The reason I say all this is not to make you wildly jealous but to talk about the psychological impact. I think the big thing is that, a. autonomy (increasingly we call it unschooling) is much, much more common, pretty much the norm. b. because most people are pretty autonomous there are no factions along educational lines. RUers rub along with Christian fundamentalists. I actually know several fundamentalist unschoolers. Finally there is less of the schoolifying of life, you know, when you do baking rather than calling it making a nice cake calling it chemistry, CDT, etc. There is NO need to compartmentalise our kids in that way so generally, people don't. I think its very conducive to a wider sense that these years are about having a great childhood, and that learning is one part of it but not the measure of our kids. That a cake is a good cake regardless of whether it also demonstrated an acid-base reaction in its making. 


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#27 of 34 Old 09-10-2013, 03:40 PM
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I am in WA and I do register.  To be honest, I don't know what the 'penalty' is if you don't register.  However, I don't feel like I am being told what to do at all.  The only requirement is that I test them annually, but I can pick from a variety of tests.  I don't even submit the score to anyone, I just keep them with my records.  I have decided that the testing has one benefit. . . that my kids get used to a "standardized" test because they will likely encounter them at some point.  I like that they get used to them in their own home, in a low stress environment, given by a mother that doesn't care what they score.  

 

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#28 of 34 Old 09-10-2013, 04:55 PM - Thread Starter
 
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This is one of the first threads I ever posted on the Homeschooling forum.  Fun to see it dredged up again!

 

Update: I did decide to turn in A Declaration of Intent, which covers any possible charges of truancy, but with our state hs laws and with where I live, this probably wouldn't even be a concern.  (I live on a dead end road at the edge of nowhere, and my nearest neighbor who couldn't care less is  nearly 1/2 mile away, etc.)  Like Fillyjonk stated, these are usually only an issue in contentious divorces, custody battles, CPS.  If you've already enrolled in school, they do look for a DOI so they can be content that withdrawal is legal, and not some other issue.  The DOI consists of your signature stating that X and Y children (8 and over) are being homeschooled.  That's it.  But because it was that simple, I chose to file, but not for any fearful reasons.  Just that this simple act completely removes any question of truancy.

 

Also, to address heavyink's experience in another state, school districts in WA only keep the DOI.  All other records-- including any testing, etc-- are kept by the parent and are for the parent's eyes only.  So, that's your records here.  The DOI is pointless for college admissions, really, in WA.  The school district keeps nothing alse, keeps track of no one else.  I'm sure there are real hard-ass types who despise our current system here, but, well, that's the way it is.

 

So, in WA anyway "Under the Radar" simply means not filing the DOI.

 

I've since met entire families who have never declared their kids without any trouble here.  I imagine it must be much more difficult in other states, and possibly with greater consequences, but I look back on this thread and I think that I was worrying too much-- worrying about *filing* a DOI, worrying about *not filing*.  I really shouldn't have worried either way, not for myself for my kids.  I was just nearing that point where I was going to have to decide, and I did decide.  No big deal that I did, but here, it would have been no big deal if I didn't either.  Well, only a scofflaw would say something technically illegal is "No Big Deal" :p.  My family and my kids would have been, will be fine either way.  


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#29 of 34 Old 09-10-2013, 05:22 PM - Thread Starter
 
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And, BTW, in reference to my first post, I needn't have bristled at supervision.... it really is as much or as little as you need, and that is a good thing for me!


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#30 of 34 Old 09-10-2013, 05:59 PM
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Wow, I didn't even notice the date for the original post!  It is nice though to hear what you decided to do.

 

Amy


Mom to three very active girls Anna (14), Kayla (11), Maya (8). 
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