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#1 of 18 Old 03-24-2012, 08:21 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Please forgive me as I'm all over the place.

 

We live in Maryland and according to the law DS needs to be enrolled for school of some sort when he turns 5. We thought of putting him in pre-k (he'll be 4 this summer) but, of course, he needs to be 100% potty trained and he's not. We thought of homeschooling as we love his company and our schools aren't that great. The one closest (the one I attended) now only goes to 5th grade and then he'd be transferred to city school (about 45 minutes 1 way from home) which are awful. The school I'd like him to go to is a county over and we'd have to pay tuition.

 

Anyway, I've been reading some books and trying to figure this all out. We hope that trying out pre-k we would know if we want to officially go forward with Kinder and such. How do you decide what to do? How do you choose whether to use an umbrella school or do the record keeping on your own? So, uhm, help?

 

 

Thanks!


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#2 of 18 Old 03-24-2012, 10:20 PM
 
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The bad school district here is only one reason we homeschool. Even if the schools were good, we'd homeschool. (There is a private school in the area that is GREAT. Even paying tuition for two kids, we'd have so much more money if we sent our kids there. I'd work full time, bring in a decent salary, pay the tuition, and have lots left over. But that's not how we want to raise our kids.)

 

To me, homeschooling is about family. Homeschooled teens I have seen get along with their parents and siblings. 

 

We have a book around here somewhere called, "Teacher." It's meant to introduce little ones to school. The whole book lists all the great things the teacher does with/for the kids. Whenever I see the book, I think, "But that's MY job." I WANT to do those things with my kids.

 

Here is my favorite book on homeschooling: http://www.amazon.com/Legendary-Learning-Homeschoolers-Self-Directed-Excellence/dp/0983151008/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1332652708&sr=8-1

This is probably the best parenting book I have ever read. How you can offer your kids the skills they need to follow their passions and succeed (as they define it) in the world. Although it is geared to homeschoolers, most of this can be applied to children who attend school. She discusses Montessori, Charlotte Mason, A Thomas Jefferson Education (a form of classical education,) and unschooling. She has researched how many highly successful people were educated as they grew up. Although all were homeschooled for some period of time, many also went to school for awhile as well. She discusses people like Thomas Edison, Teddy Roosevelt, Pierre Curie, Agatha Christie, Margaret Leakey, and many, many others. The bottom line is to help your child find their passions and teach them the creativity and skills to attain their goals.

 

If you're uncertain about record keeping, you could try these guides: http://www.fun-books.com/books/living_is_learning_guides.htm

These guides are put together by Nancy Plent, founder of the Unschoolers Network in New Jersey and a long-time homeschooler. She reviewed the scope and sequence charts and curriculum guides of dozens of schools in various states, then combined the highest standards of elements from each to create these guides. Why purchase these curriculum guides? 1) They may help you to fulfill your state's legal requirement to provide an educational plan 2) They allow you to see some of the highest standards for schools at various grade levels, just in case you are curious about what the schools expect or are anxious about what you are doing 3) They provide record-keeping space that can help organize a portfolio.


Created an instant family (7/89 and 5/91) in 1997. Made a baby boy 12/05 adopted a baby girl 8/08. Ask me about tandem adoptive nursing. Now living as gluten, dairy, cane sugar, and tomato free vegetarians. Homeschooling and loving it.

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#3 of 18 Old 03-25-2012, 12:48 AM
 
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I don't know about record keeping. I am a part of a state wide Alternative Learning Experience and I do have to report weekly and my son takes tests. So I guess we are record keeping. 

 

I know that once I have had a chance to look over state requirements and then we do our thing, I find that we are meeting the requirements quite easily. I could record them more fully via a blog that I kept up better than the one I am currently posting to. 

 

I have to say that regardless of the schools, I would not want to put my kids in school. Even if they were great. I love being a part of my kids learning. Seeing them follow their interests and learning along with them is such a joy. 

 

Even if it is something as silly as seeing that he has a firm math foundation, it is wonderful. I say silly because with our method, of course he has a firm foundation. I know a child who is traumatized by her school math classes. For us, having a firm foundation with no stress is just so easy.

 

 But watching him learning about his own interests is even more awesome. If he were in school, between the peer orientation and learning that his interests aren't cool, to being stressed out at school and just giving me the left overs at the end of the day - I couldn't see anything being as wonderful as homeschooling. I did meet a schooled boy who is really proud of his math skills, but he is only 8 and I just wonder how long he will be proud before he notices that there are so many things that are more important ( to the rest of the world). I personally would love him for a friend with my son with his math geekness. The two boys could explore the world of math together. But I don't see how long he can have such a positive attitude about that in a public school.

 

I say - if it feels right to you, you will find a way. Once you learn the language, the hoops are not that hard to jump through!

 


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#4 of 18 Old 03-25-2012, 08:25 AM
 
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If you really want to give homeschooling a try, it may be a blessing in disguise if he's not potty trained enough to "try out" pre-K. So much of what goes on in pre-K is about getting kids excited about the prospect of going to "big kids' school." Often there's no turning back once you've got a child in that environment -- they're swept up in the "ra! ra!" culture of school and aren't willing to give up their membership in the school-attending group. 

 

I'm not in Maryland or anywhere similar, but we've certainly not found it difficult to do our own record-keeping. As numericmama says, once you learn the language, the hoops are pretty straightforward to jump through. I'm required to report monthly. I do anecdotally through a blog and with photos, and supplement with occasional work samples. I don't need to direct my children's learning much: it's mostly a matter of documenting what they do self-directedly and in the course of life. 

 

miranda


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#5 of 18 Old 03-25-2012, 12:34 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by moominmamma View Post

If you really want to give homeschooling a try, it may be a blessing in disguise if he's not potty trained enough to "try out" pre-K. So much of what goes on in pre-K is about getting kids excited about the prospect of going to "big kids' school." Often there's no turning back once you've got a child in that environment -- they're swept up in the "ra! ra!" culture of school and aren't willing to give up their membership in the school-attending group. 

 

miranda


I found this to be true after just a year of t/th morning preschool that I thought of as childcare - my daughter had to deschool quite a bit! It did confirm for me that I'm not cut out to parent a kid going to a brick and mortar school, at least not at this stage smile.gif

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#6 of 18 Old 03-25-2012, 06:13 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Thanks for the help/input. I have a fear he won't have friends, though. We live in a very isolated area. Our nearest neighbor is about a mile away on either side and none have kids. I plan to take him to the park in the closest town so he can run, play, and burn off his energy. Then again I really had no friends in school so I dunno. I've been trying to find hs'ers around me but haven't had any luck. I love my kiddo and don't want him going through the sheer torture I went through in school.

 

I got a couple books from the library and so far I like The Everything Homeschooling Book. I'll look into the other books that SundayCrepes mentioned. I'll also have dh read the hs law for us and see if he can understand it any better then I can. He did ask if he should be involved with hs'ing ds and I gave a huge Yes to that. He's better at things then I am.

 

ETA: Does the following mean we have to tell them by the time ds is 4 that we want to homeschool him when he's 5?

 

Compulsory Attendance Ages:

“5 years old or older and under 16.” Annotated Code of Maryland: Education § 7-301(a). However, “a written request for a 1 year exemption from mandatory attendance by a 5 year old shall be filed with the local superintendent … before the opening of school of the year in which the child becomes 5 years old. The local school system shall approve the request in writing within 5 days….” State Brd. of Ed. Regulations 13A.08.01.02-2.A.


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#7 of 18 Old 03-25-2012, 07:21 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MindlessChrissy View Post

ETA: Does the following mean we have to tell them by the time ds is 4 that we want to homeschool him when he's 5?

 

Compulsory Attendance Ages:

“5 years old or older and under 16.” Annotated Code of Maryland: Education § 7-301(a). However, “a written request for a 1 year exemption from mandatory attendance by a 5 year old shall be filed with the local superintendent … before the opening of school of the year in which the child becomes 5 years old. The local school system shall approve the request in writing within 5 days….” State Brd. of Ed. Regulations 13A.08.01.02-2.A.

What I think this means is that if he is not 5 by the start of the school year, but will be turning 5 during, you can request a one year exemption from attendance at the beginning of that school year.  So, what they are saying is that a 4yo does not have to start kindergarten, nor even preschool, and you do not have to register as a homeschooler if you choose to keep him out.

 

Guess what?  It looks like if you do this you will get an extra year to decide on homeschooling.  So, no preschool (phew!)

 

As per recordkeeping, we WA residents have it pretty easy in that regard.  In fact, WA homeschooling laws are lax, period.  So, Maryland might be a bit stricter, but as pp's said, it probably looks more onerous than it is.
 

 


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#8 of 18 Old 03-25-2012, 07:41 PM
 
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I am in MD. My kids are older and have come out of a school environment so we have had our own issues with that. We have not had our review yet but there was a recent thread about reviews.  We are in Charles County and have heard they are quite favorable to homeschooling.  We have kept a portfolio of the topics that you must include. I will need to add photos to verify some of our projects.  Socially here it has been hard because we live in a rural isolated area. The kids have friends from school previously and also from church but they are spread out over a pretty wide swath of area.  I wish I had gone ahead and done this when they were younger. I do worry about their high school years and how to make that work but figure I am not quite there yet.  Pre-K seems like an optimal time to try it out.  K is mandatory so you would only need to register at that point.

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#9 of 18 Old 03-25-2012, 08:07 PM - Thread Starter
 
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SweetSilver - He'll be 5 right before kindy starts next year. He's a July baby.

 

puzzlepiece - When you have the review, would it be with the superintendent of your area? We live in allegany county so I'm not sure, yet, how they look upon homeschoolers.

 

 

Only 1 person in this area is homeschooling her 13 year old but she's using an umbrella school. I haven't been able to talk to her yet but I hope to call her soon to see how she likes it.


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#10 of 18 Old 03-26-2012, 08:22 AM
 
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In my state, compulsory attendance is at 8yo.  So, you declare at *exactly* that time.  I'm guessing the same holds for MD at 5yo, even for summer birthdays.  It could be that since there is no school or preschool in July, you could wait until the school year begins, but I would check that.  I don't know about MD, but WA has a homeschooling organization that helps homeschooling parents interpret the laws in our state.  Questions just like yours, about when exactly do you declare, what information to provide on the declaration, what is meant by record keeping, etc.  

 

Does anyone know if something similar exists for MD?


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#11 of 18 Old 03-26-2012, 12:11 PM
 
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I'm in Maryland. The only important homeschooling law is COMAR 13:

 

http://www.dsd.state.md.us/comar/comarhtml/13a/13a.10.01.01.htm

 

You need to contact your local school system and ask them to send you an assurance of consent form (each county seems to have its own form), and then you have to fill it out and send it to them at least 15 days before the start of the school year in which your child will be 5 by September 1. You don't have to tell the schools when your child is 4 (unless he's turning 5 in the last 2 weeks of August.)

 

I was told by my county (Montgomery) not to send it earlier than the end of July, or it would get lost in the shuffle of the end of the last year.

 

I know that there are Western Maryland homeschool groups that are active. Try this one: http://groups.yahoo.com/group/westernmdhomeschool/

 

Your local group will have better information than I do about the ins and outs of the local school system, which will be especially helpful if you decide to do the county reviews instead of joining an umbrella group. HTH!

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#12 of 18 Old 03-27-2012, 06:30 AM
 
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I'm in Maryland. Here are a few links. The first one gives a fairly clear Q & A format. The requirements are actually less onerous than they sound.

http://www.marylandpublicschools.org/MSDE/nonpublicschools/npdocs/fact_sheets/np_fact_home_instruction.htm

http://www.marylandpublicschools.org/MSDE/divisions/studentschoolsvcs/student_services_alt/home_schooling/

We are using an umbrella group that is not affiliated with any particular faith or any particular curriculum. We just had our review. If you have any questions, you can PM me. I chose to go with an umbrella because I didn't want to be at the mercy of the luck of the draw when it came to the person reviewing us. I was also hoping to find some other hs-ing families for interaction ( I am hs-ing an only child also.)

Here is a list of umbrella groups, I'm not sure if it's up to date or not, but it's a list anyway. You will notice many of them are church-affiliated, but there are a few that are not. Some (such as Calvert) have their own curriculum.
http://www.msde.state.md.us/nonpublic/home_instruction/DisplayLocationsByCounty.asp

If your DS turns 5 in July, 2013, then you have a few options. But for the 2012-2013 school year, he does not have to attend anywhere, period.

For the 2013-2014 school year, you may choose to:
1. Declare he's not attending school that year (ie. too immature). They have a form for that.
2. Declare he's homeschooling that year. You will be subject to either a county review or an umbrella review. They have a form for that.

I filled out our intention to homeschool form and submitted it the summer before his first official year. I also joined the umbrella group a bit earlier (in the spring) because this group fills up quickly and only has a few limited openings for new members. Not sure how it is with other umbrella groups.

This is our county's homeschool website. Our homeschooling notification form is here. I'm sure there is a similar site for your county.
http://www.montgomeryschoolsmd.org/departments/studentservices/homeschooling.shtm

Finally, lots of links here:
http://homeschooling.gomilpitas.com/regional/Maryland.htm

HTH!
--Kim

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#13 of 18 Old 03-27-2012, 07:19 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Thank you for all the links. DH is going to call Calvery Christian Academy and talk to the home school director there for more information about what we can and can't do. Right now we're just getting all our information together so we can make an informed decision with ds.


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#14 of 18 Old 04-22-2012, 03:41 PM
 
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Since your child would need to be enrolled soon, here's what I'd do.

 

1. For now, assume you will be homeschooling.

2. Find out what legal requirements homeschoolers must meet in your state.

3. If you cannot meet those requirements, you may not be able to homeschool.

4. If you can meet the requirements, say hooray! and do a happy dance.

5. Now that you aren't faced with a deadline anymore, take the first few months to read lots of books and articles about homeschool. Read, read, read all you can find about all the approaches to home education. Something, somewhere will feel like the right thing for your family. You will find it. We all do.

6. Once you have decided on an approach or method, research again to find out what materials are best for that approach. Online review are great for this.

7. Decide when your year will begin, order materials, and create a schedule.

8. Remember, homeschool is not always easy, but it is  one of the most important things you can do for your kid... even on your worst days, it beats the heck out of public school.


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#15 of 18 Old 04-22-2012, 07:11 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Thanks Hippie Mama! We have decided we are going to homeschool DS and we can meet the state requirements. Right now we're trying to figure out if we want to "do it on our own" or go with an umbrella. I've been reading anything I can get my hands on and then some. I guess I'm stuck around number 5/6.


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#16 of 18 Old 04-24-2012, 11:09 AM
 
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Interesting thread- thanks for posting! I am thinking about it too and want to get started reading some books. Is there a particular one any of you would recommend- even for the earlier years? My son is almost 2!  

HippieMama- I'm in Michigan too!!


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#17 of 18 Old 04-29-2012, 08:33 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Hi zenmumajen,

There's a couple that I like and when I get on computer later I'll post them.


ETA: Right now I'm leafing through The Ordinary Parent's Guide to Teaching Reading by Jessie Wise. It's real straight forward and looks like I can skip some of it as ds already knows the alphabet and the sounds.

Also have looked through/read -

The Everything Homeschooling Book: All you need to create the best curriculum and learning environment for your child by Sherri Linsenbach

Homeschool Your Child for Free: More Than 1,400 Smart, Effective, and Practical Resources for Educating Your Family at Home - LauraMaery Gold (This one has a ton of wonderful links that I wrote down to look at later)

I haven't read through these as I just got them from the library -

Mary Pride's Complete Guide to Homeschooling
100 Top Picks for Homeschool Curriculum: Choosing the Right Curriculum and Approach for Your Child's Learning Style - Cathy Duffy

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#18 of 18 Old 05-11-2012, 07:12 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Looked through and now want The Ordinary Parent's Guide To Teaching Reading


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