How strict is your state and do you like or dislike it? - Mothering Forums
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#1 of 30 Old 10-26-2012, 08:22 PM - Thread Starter
 
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 I had thought homeschooling would make moving around easy, as we kind of like to move around lol

However, lately I have been reading about the strictness of some states and thinking about whether it is a good thing or not.

We are not unschoolers, but we definitely aren't very "traditional" I suppose. We do school year round and take breaks as convenient for us and I am really not comfortable with the state being super involved in my homeschool or giving me a ton of rules, I don't feel I need to be supervised I guess.

 

Anyway, what are the basic laws for homeschooling where you live or how strict are they and do you like it or not?

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#2 of 30 Old 10-26-2012, 10:09 PM
 
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We have the options of strictish rules (with funding) or no rules (without funding). My experience, and that I've gained vicariously through fellow homeschooling parents, is that rules usually sound much more restrictive than they are, and most places unschoolers are able to work easily within the rules. For instance, we have chosen to avail ourselves of funding, and the rules in our program require that we submit an annual learning plan, and a teacher assess student progress at least twice per term. It sounds terribly invasive, but the learning plan we submit includes paragraphs like this: "Learning in this area will proceed on an interest-based basis, inspired by personal experience, serendipity and curiosity. It is expected that [child] will continue to take an interest in ___, ____ and ____. Resources available within the home and community include the following:___________." Our teacher assessment of student progress means I submit an occasional anecdotal report describing areas of learning I've observed, and the teacher reads my kid's blog. He sees her out and about in the community and is a huge fan of our home learning. He makes absolutely no attempt to steer or judge what we do. 

 

If you are considering moving to a jurisdiction that sounds intimidating in its homeschooling regs, join an email list of homeschooling parents in that area and ask how the less structured families cope with the regulations. You'll likely find there are simple ways to do so. 

 

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#3 of 30 Old 10-26-2012, 11:27 PM
 
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in Alaska we have no rules at all unless you want to use a state run program and even then rules are very light. testing starting grade 3 and quarter samples but nothing to strict, although some programs are pickier then others.


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#4 of 30 Old 10-27-2012, 05:57 AM
 
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We're in Virginia and we have to file a yearly NOI and do either a yearly assesment or yearly testing. Neither of those things need to be approved by anyone, and for testing the child must score above the 23rd (I think) stanine. I don't mind the NOI at all, but the we chose to go with testing and that's admittedly a bit nerve wracking.


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#5 of 30 Old 10-27-2012, 05:58 AM
 
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I'm in Vermont.  It's shown on this map as one of the most highly regulated, but it really isn't that bad.  The first 2 years you're homeschooling, you have to send in a curriculum plan at the start of the year, showing what you will cover in the required areas (language arts, math, social studies, PE/health, literature, science, and fine arts) but it doesn't need to be very detailed or extensive and doesn't need to match what is being learned in school. For literature, you could say something like "I will read aloud to X at least 4 of the following books."  For science, you might say something like "X will learn about volcanoes, food chains, and the solar system."  Or "X will learn about natural history, biology, and ecology through exploring the fields and woods around our house, observing birds, animals, insects, and plants.  We will discuss food and habitat requirements of different species and discuss seasonal changes and their effects on wildlife." 

 

After that, as long as you successfully demonstrate progress at the end of the year and meet all the paperwork deadlines, you don't need to submit a curriculum plan again, except for the year your child turns 12.  You have 3 options for demonstrating progress: standardized tests, a teacher assessment, or a portfolio.  (Standardized tests won't generally cover all the required areas, so if you picked that option you would need to also do a portfolio or teacher assessment covering areas like PE/health or fine arts.)  I always do a portfolio. It can include all kinds of things besides written work: photos of your kid doing science experiments, a brochure from a museum or historical site with a brief description of what the child learned from the visit, lists of books read.  You can get your kid to dictate a story or a summary of what she learned about something and type it up.
 

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#6 of 30 Old 10-27-2012, 07:56 AM
 
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Washington:

 

Declare each year beginning at the 8th birthday.  Test or assessment each year, results are for the parents.  I'm not aware of any minimum required score, but parents are required to keep kids at grade level, or take steps to correct it.  However, nobody is looking at test scores or assessments except parents, so there is no follow-up.  Parents need to have completed a certain amount of college credits (equivalent to about 1 year or so), or take an accrediting course.  Again, no one is really looking at this, and it isn't included in your yearly declaration.  You are required to cover 11 subject areas (not necessarily) and keep records.

 

Here's a link to the Washington Homeschool Organization's website, on the page that covers homeschooling laws:

http://www.washhomeschool.org/homeschooling/law.html

 

But like Miranda said, the rules in strict states can look worse than they are in practice.

 

I totally understand your feelings.  For some reason I find it irritating having someone look over my shoulder.  Brings out the contrarian and the anarchist in me.


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#7 of 30 Old 10-27-2012, 08:08 AM
 
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i like the state rules here. we have absolutely no state involvement really. 

 

we do not have to state our intention to homeschool to anyone.

 

parents do not need a special degree or certificate to teach

 

we do need to keep a record and example work.

 

it's 1000 hours a year. 600 hours on the 5 subjects, 400 hours of the instruction needs to be in home.
 


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#8 of 30 Old 10-27-2012, 08:32 AM
 
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We have an umbrella school option in Colorado, which legally means they are enrolled in a private school so we don't deal with the school district at all. We are required to teach 9 subjects, 172 days with 4 hr avg, testing on odd grades.


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#9 of 30 Old 10-27-2012, 12:31 PM
 
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We are now in Oregon, and are required to send a notice of intent to homeschool the year the child turns 7 and we are required to have our child tested every few years (grades 3, 5, a d a few later grades...). I don't like the standardized testing requirement at all- we homeschool primarily so our dc can be educated using higher quality materials, not standardized tests, worksheets, and textbooks.

We are originally from CA where no testing is required if you choose to homeschool under the private school option. All we had to do was file an affidavit online stating that our child will be privately educated. I miss this option.
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#10 of 30 Old 10-27-2012, 04:37 PM
 
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Oh, for testing it can be personal evaluations here so we've never done standardized.


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#11 of 30 Old 10-28-2012, 12:45 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DelKroemer View Post

Anyway, what are the basic laws for homeschooling where you live or how strict are they and do you like it or not?

 

Kansas http://www.ksde.org/LinkClick.aspx?fileticket=d3sYm3aiCzU%3d&tabid=3784&mid=8981

low regulation, no supervision

 

Register the name and address of your non-accredited private school with the state one time- not each child. You can submit the form online or by mail. If you move you are supposed to update the address of your school.

You are supposed to have "competent instructors" but there are no license or degree requirements...classes are supposed to be about equal in time to what public schools do but no one is checking up on you.  Record keeping is recommended but not required. No testing or review are required.

 

It is really easy to homeschool in Kansas.


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#12 of 30 Old 10-29-2012, 05:56 AM
 
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we are in Wisconsin.  We have a form we have to fill out stating the ages and grades (but we don't have to give the names of the students) of our students.


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#13 of 30 Old 10-29-2012, 11:29 AM
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If we enroll our children in an "alternative homeschool program" (which includes funding) there are hoops to jump through.  

 

If we simply submit our declaration of intent, our rules seem easy.  We live in WA state btw and other than the form at the beginning of the year, we also need to either test or use a certified teacher for an evaluation each year once the child is in third grade.  So far, this hasn't been a problem.  We can either use our local school and do the testing there when the public school kids are doing theirs, or we can administer our own (standardized) test.  We have done both.  I do keep some sample work in case I were ever asked about what we do, but I have never heard of that being needed.

 

The only rules that I know of that can seem restricted is regarding the "qualifications" of the parent.  The parent in charge of the education needs to have at least 45 college level credits completed OR they need to attend a short class (in our area it is offered at the community college and is reputed as being "great").  I have a masters so this rule has never inconvenienced me.  However, I wouldn't hesitate to take the course from the community college if I needed to.

 

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#14 of 30 Old 10-29-2012, 12:07 PM
 
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The only rules that I know of that can seem restricted is regarding the "qualifications" of the parent.  The parent in charge of the education needs to have at least 45 college level credits completed OR they need to attend a short class (in our area it is offered at the community college and is reputed as being "great").  I have a masters so this rule has never inconvenienced me.  However, I wouldn't hesitate to take the course from the community college if I needed to.

 

Amy 

To clarify, the specific wording only implies that the parent "in charge of" the education needs to have these requirements fulfilled.  

 

 

 

Quote:
(a) Provided by a parent who is instructing his or her child only and are supervised by a certificated person......

     (b) Provided by a parent who is instructing his or her child only and who has either earned forty-five college level quarter credit hours or its equivalent in semester hours or has completed a course in home-based instruction at a postsecondary institution or a vocational-technical institute; or

     (c) Provided by a parent who is deemed sufficiently qualified to provide home-based instruction by the superintendent of the local school district in which the child resides.

 

I know this is nitpickity.

 

I'm not sure my 2 semesters in college were enough, but dh attended college for 3 years, and I consider that good, even though he is the "HSing parent" only one day a week or so.  Even if I had no college credit, I would still call that good.  No one is going to look further into it.


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#15 of 30 Old 10-29-2012, 02:11 PM
 
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Washington:

 

  I'm not aware of any minimum required score, but parents are required to keep kids at grade level, or take steps to correct it. 

 

Actually, not "at grade level", just "making reasonable progress" (improving) "consistent with his or her age or stage of development", and not "take steps to correct it" but "make a good faith effort to remedy" (nitpicky difference, perhaps):
 
"If, as a result of the annual test or assessment, it is determined that the child is not making reasonable progress consistent with his or her age or stage of development, the parent shall make a good faith effort to remedy any deficiency."

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#16 of 30 Old 10-29-2012, 02:20 PM
 
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Some reason I can't quote you but....

 

I can do nitpicky!  (And I did.)  Thanks for the correction.  

 

Those details do make a huge difference, and it illustrates why some requirements can seem more restrictive than they are.  I nitpicked a paraphrased requirement about parents, and my own paraphrase was nitpicked.  My rewording made it sound more restrictive than the law actually states.

 

The same probably does for other requirements in other states.  Nitpick the details.  


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#17 of 30 Old 10-29-2012, 10:03 PM
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I am happy to be corrected (or clarified)!  Thanks sweetsilver.


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#18 of 30 Old 10-31-2012, 07:41 PM
 
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That map showed my new home state of PA to be very restrictive and it really seems to be, with lots to submit and tests to be taken, but it's great to not have to even report until 8 years old. It's under age 8 that learning especially needs to be flexible and low pressure in my opinion. Back in KY we just had to notify the lady in charge of attendance enforcement each year he wouldn't be in school because he was homeschooled.

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#19 of 30 Old 10-31-2012, 08:34 PM
 
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Even though my state, Vermont, is supposedly one of the most restrictive, it's interesting to see the things mentioned here that aren't requirements for us.  We're not required to do any standardized testing.  There are no rules about which parents are qualified to homeschool.  We don't have to provide instruction for any set number of days or hours or keep attendance records.  We may have to send in more paperwork than people in a lot of other states, but we don't have a lot of actual restrictions.

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#20 of 30 Old 11-01-2012, 07:50 PM
 
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I think the larger challenge with moving a lot as homeschoolers would be getting connected to other homeschoolers in a new place.  I can't speak for the whole country, but in my area, being new is hard.  Many of the best resources are advertised largely via word of mouth, and given that a large percentage of the population has been in the area for a long long time, they aren't always sensitive to the challenges of being new.  

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#21 of 30 Old 11-01-2012, 09:10 PM
 
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i honestly dont have any interest in the homeschool groups around here, way too much politics.


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#22 of 30 Old 11-01-2012, 09:41 PM
 
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I totally understand your feelings.  For some reason I find it irritating having someone look over my shoulder.  Brings out the contrarian and the anarchist in me.

Exactly. I have unschooled in several states, and in all but one, we managed to fly under the radar. I simply neglected to "register" my kids, and no one ever noticed. Said kids are over school age now, so I guess we succeeded! The only downside to not declaring my official intent to homeschool was to miss out on Barnes & Noble's home educator discount. Oh, well.

 

In the one exception, Georgia, we had to submit monthly attendance records (how exactly do you miss or not attend a day of unschool? biglaugh.gif) A nosy neighbor reported my "truant" children.  Anyway, I grudgingly sent in the form every month, but that was all there was to it.


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#23 of 30 Old 11-03-2012, 08:31 AM
 
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It would be soooooo easy to "fly under the radar" where I live.  No one on my road to turn me in, elsewhere crawling with HSers so we wouldn't stand out.  So tempting!  But no, it's pretty easy to unschool by the books in WA, so I'm being a good girl and submitting my letter of intent on dd1's 8th birthday this winter.


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#24 of 30 Old 11-03-2012, 11:06 AM
 
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It's not too difficult here.  Kids have to attend by their 6th birthday equivalent to 180 days of school per year.  There is supposed to be at least 4.5 hours a day of "school".  Parents are required to record attendance, and send it in each year and send in a progress report every year and save the report for 3 years.  They are also supposed to take a standardized test every 3 years after 3rd grade, but the results are kept by the parent.  

 

This is Georgia.  There is something that also says instruction is supposed to be at home and if kids are found outside of home during school hours parents could be fined no more than $100. The teacher only has to have a high school education or GED and you have to declare every year by September 1st: " This declaration must include the names and ages of students, the location of the home school, and the time the parents designate as their school year."

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#25 of 30 Old 11-03-2012, 01:21 PM
 
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When we first started home schooling, we just never registered our children as they got to school age (age 6 in CA).  When they opted to go to public school, we enrolled them in the appropriate age grade.  Our son went to public school for K-5th.  We decided on a charter school/home school option for him for convenience.  He has the option of taking some classes at the campus and the rest of the subjects at home.  I can provide our own curriculum or have the school order for me within the CA guidelines (i.e. no religious textbooks or curriculum).  If we had decided on home schooling without being under the umbrella of a school, I can fill out a home school affidavit with the Dept. of Education every year.  I accumulate and keep records of what we study anyway so it's no hardship to copy them for the charter school.
 


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#26 of 30 Old 11-07-2012, 06:27 AM
 
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New York

 

Very strict.  But it does vary by district and I'm in a great district (NYC).  Sending in minimal paperwork a few times a year isn't an issue at all for me.  I love my city and would never live anywhere else.  Homeschooling here is incredible, as you can imagine. The kids even get free bus/train passes to get around town.  


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#27 of 30 Old 11-11-2012, 10:35 PM
 
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I am also in Oregon (the rules are described above, register as a HSer and test every 2 years), but we are choosing to forgo that. I have met many parents here who simply didn't register and simply don't test and have had no issues. I may be technically breaking the law, but I refuse to send my child in for standardized testing. 


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#28 of 30 Old 11-11-2012, 10:43 PM
 
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I am also in Oregon (the rules are described above, register as a HSer and test every 2 years), but we are choosing to forgo that. I have met many parents here who simply didn't register and simply don't test and have had no issues. I may be technically breaking the law, but I refuse to send my child in for standardized testing. 


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#29 of 30 Old 11-13-2012, 07:34 AM
 
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I'm in a no regulation state. We don't even have to declare we are homeschooling. Naturally, it's great for the most part. Every once and a while I think about the kids who fall through the cracks because of this and feel bad. Then I try to remember that happens even with kids in school anyway. I do feel those are so few cases that it's unfair to subject us all to government scrutiny because of it. I really enjoy the freedom to not have anyone's judging nose in my business.

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#30 of 30 Old 11-14-2012, 05:13 PM
 
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I'm in a no regulation state. We don't even have to declare we are homeschooling. Naturally, it's great for the most part. Every once and a while I think about the kids who fall through the cracks because of this and feel bad. Then I try to remember that happens even with kids in school anyway. I do feel those are so few cases that it's unfair to subject us all to government scrutiny because of it. I really enjoy the freedom to not have anyone's judging nose in my business.

What state are you in...?

 

 

I have homeschooled in two states within the last 2 years.  I just left NJ two years ago and only 2 months ago resigned from a state homeschool association where I was the point person for CPS inquiries, so I know the current laws there still pretty well despite living in IL.

 

I want to note:

 

THERE IS A DIFFERENCE BETWEEN WHAT YOU FEEL IS "REQUIRED" AND WHAT IS REQUIRED BY LAW!!

 

It's one thing to have a law on the books that is never enforced.  It's quite another not to have a law on the books.  The maps that show how restrictive a state is are basing it on the actual laws... because at some point, someone can choose to enforce them.  But there are pros and cons to both situations:

 

If there's a law on the books, things are usually pretty well spelled out and you know what's expected.  As a result, if you meet those stated requirements, the hope is that nobody can say "boo" about it.  If CPS is called, you hand over the things that show you've met the requirements and you hope that's all there is to it.  They'll need to dig harder.

 

If there's no law, there's also no standard to meet.  So if someone doesn't like what you're doing and you have someone who's happy to make a case of you and your kids... look out.  And yes, it happens.  And no, HSLDA and HLA can NOT always help (even if they have taken on the case).  I know this first-hand.  There's a lot more potential for you to be tap-dancing to prove that you're educating your child and what is deemed acceptable is not a matter of the requirements of the law--now it's a matter of what a judge (and they vary WIDELY in opinions and ideas) thinks of your child's education.

 

 

In NJ, there is a vague statute that has recently been interpreted to mean that your kids need to be educated at least to roughly what their age-peers know.  But that is highly variable (the question always arises as to which school district you'd be compared to, which kid in the district--the smartest?  The lowest scoring? etc.).  There are no requirements for notification (although heavily advised if you pull them mid-year to avoid being mistaken for truant), no testing, no work samples, no attendance records.  You also are not guaranteed to get Special Ed services (although we have case law that would say you are entitled to them... also case law supporting unschooling).

 

In IL, there is a statute stating the number of days of instruction required and the subjects that need to be taught.  But again, no notification, no testing, no work samples and no attendance records to submit.  In IL, there is a tax break you might be able to use for homeschool-related costs, and many of the kids are able to partially enroll in the public schools.  I honestly don't remember if they're explicitly granted (by law) Special Ed services but I don't THINK they are.

 

In both states, you really have nobody to answer to unless someone calls CPS on you--at which point you need to somehow prove that you've met the requirements of the law (which are loose to begin with).  It's not like other states where there is an annual (or more frequent) interaction.

 

Hope this helps. 


Heather - Wife , Mommy  & Health & Wellness Educator, Speaker & Consultant 
 
Dairy, soy & corn free with limited gluten... yes, really. And journeying towards peace.  Blogging about both.
 
Let me guide you to find the food and lifestyle choices...
heatherdeg is offline  
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