Give me the good, bad, and ugly on your states laws - Mothering Forums
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Learning at Home and Beyond > Give me the good, bad, and ugly on your states laws
poisonedapple's Avatar poisonedapple 09:10 PM 06-20-2008
nak - My husband is going to be doing some training for work, and as soon as that one week course is done. he's eligible to transfer for management. wow! The possibilities!

I wanted to know outright if there are any states we should avoid because of homeschool laws. Or some states that deserve a second glance because they rock the socks off home schoolers. Let's talk laws, and homeschool social groups, or anything else important to know!

I live in IA now, and we ether have to test out or have a teacher aid us during the school year. Overall not too big of a deal, and easy to do. We did a religious exemption from vaxes (because IA requires homeschooled kids to be vaxed too without exemption).

Your turn to dish!


ETA: These are the remaining states I need info on if you know anything I'd really appreciate it!
West Virgina
South Dakota
Ohio
Oklahoma
Missouri
Montana
Nebraska
New Mexico
Illinois
Colorado


Dakota's Mom's Avatar Dakota's Mom 10:04 PM 06-20-2008
New Jersey here. No laws whatsoever. No testing. No teacher assistance. No reporting. No registering with the school board. Nothing. Nada. Anything goes. I am co-organizer for NJ Homeschool Hangout which is a meetup group. We usually have two to three activities per week. Sometimes more. Sometimes less. This week we went strawberry picking, swimming, the Art Museum for Homeschool Day, and had a park date to start planning an Earth Scouts group.

Kathi
http://hyenacart.com/lessonsinlifeboutique/
3momkmb's Avatar 3momkmb 10:12 PM 06-20-2008
It's pretty similar in Maine. You have to send in a NOI every year, either test or have portfolio review by a certified teacher, promise to *Teach* certain subjects (the basics really, math science, social studies, English...like that) for 175 days a year (although I've never had anyone check that).

Homeschooling is fairly popular around here I think, although my little group is pretty small.

Vax wise there is a philosophical exemption here and they only ask if you kid actually goes to public school.
Lillian J's Avatar Lillian J 11:50 PM 06-20-2008
The good - pretty much the whole thing. Great place to homeschool. The bad - the fact that rumors based on misunderstanding or just plain ignorance periodically surface and get people who haven't done their homework all fired up.

That said, there's been a fairly recent court case that got blown out of proportion and is probably, in my own opinion, on its way to being settled in such a way as to restore respect for the way we've been doing things for decades. All the details are discussed on the main page of the HomeSchool Association of California website: HSC. Lillian

fromscatteredtribe's Avatar fromscatteredtribe 11:55 PM 06-20-2008
arizona and no laws, no reports, just a simple form saying you are homeschooling one time.... no tests, no set anything
phathui5's Avatar phathui5 01:13 AM 06-21-2008
Maryland

No vaccination requirements. They don't even ask.

No testing.

Once a year we mail in our "Notive of Intent" form to let them know that we're homeschooling.

Once or twice a year we have a portfolio review with someone from the education office to show them what the kids are doing.
queenjane's Avatar queenjane 02:06 AM 06-21-2008
Michigan has no testing, notification, permission, etc, and certainly no vax requirements (here to enter school you can also claim a philosophical exemption, just sign a paper...easy!)...its one of the easiest states to HS in.


Katherine
alegna's Avatar alegna 02:13 AM 06-21-2008
TX- no nothing. All good

No paperwork, no testing, no filing, no nothing.

-Angela
shaywyn's Avatar shaywyn 02:20 AM 06-21-2008
Quote:
Originally Posted by queenjane View Post
Michigan...its one of the easiest states to HS in.
ITA and would go further and say it has to be in the top 2 to 3 easiest states to HS.

I also have experience with KY, another extremely easy state for homeschooling. A letter of intent once a year, nothing more.
DreamsInDigital's Avatar DreamsInDigital 02:34 AM 06-21-2008
Washington state requires a yearly notice of intent to homeschool, that the homeschooling parent have taken 45 credits of college or take a qualifying course, and also requires yearly testing. It's a little annoying...
paquerette's Avatar paquerette 02:44 AM 06-21-2008
Pennsylvania - it's pretty ugly. Affidavits, portfolios, evaluators, medical, dental exams, vax records or exemptions. I think you can do much better than the fine old keystone state. Eh, we have some cool historical stuff in Philly and Gettysburg, but that may be all we have going for us.

Kathi, I am intrigued! Are you northwestern NJ by any chance?
MamaMonica's Avatar MamaMonica 02:45 AM 06-21-2008
The good thing in WA is that you don't have to show the test results to anyone and you can administer some of them yourself. Also, we have a philosophical vax exemption- you just check a box and sign.
Dakota's Mom's Avatar Dakota's Mom 01:46 PM 06-21-2008
Quote:
Originally Posted by paquerette View Post
Pennsylvania - it's pretty ugly. Affidavits, portfolios, evaluators, medical, dental exams, vax records or exemptions. I think you can do much better than the fine old keystone state. Eh, we have some cool historical stuff in Philly and Gettysburg, but that may be all we have going for us.

Kathi, I am intrigued! Are you northwestern NJ by any chance?
No, we're in the East. We're about 10 minutes from New York City.

Kathi
4evermom's Avatar 4evermom 02:18 PM 06-21-2008
PA- Not so good as previously stated, but one small break is that mandatory school age is 8 so you don't have to start all that up til the child is 8 at the beginning of the school year.
Mongoose's Avatar Mongoose 03:57 PM 06-21-2008
oregon- You dont have to report until age 7 on Sep 1st. You only send in 1 NOI for each child when they turn 7. You do have to test in grades 3,5,8,10 with a certified tester, but most counties dont want to see the test results unless they ask (if they are questioning you to prove you are HS).

A ton of people fly under radar here as there are no pentalties for doing so. If you get caught, you just send in your NOI at that time and then take the next test applicable to where your child is grade wise.

It is pretty easy here...no portfolios, no teacher requirements, no yearly tests, no NOI every year.....it is just the annoying "benchmark" tests.
Jaysfamily's Avatar Jaysfamily 04:19 PM 06-21-2008
We're not homeschooling yet, but the law in Alabama is that you have to register with a cover or "religious" school. Some of the cover schools want parents to follow their curriculum, others want you to develop your own and are not involved at all with your schooling. Overall, it's pretty laid back. The state doesn't test homeschoolers.

The bad is that quite a few superintendents across the state don't understand that the laws they have to follow don't apply to homeschoolers. We'll occasionally hear complaints from people that had to get lawyers to write to the school systems and explain that the homeschoolers don't have to report attendance, or health records, or whatever.
SinginMamaTo2's Avatar SinginMamaTo2 07:09 PM 06-21-2008
NC here.
Pretty easy. Letter of intent and yearly standardized test. Attendence and results need to be kept for a year but no one ever asks to see them. Lots of support groups all over the state. Especially Raleigh and Charlotte/Asheville areas. And Asheville is VERY chrunchy!
2 in August's Avatar 2 in August 08:24 PM 06-21-2008
Quote:
Originally Posted by queenjane View Post
Michigan has no testing, notification, permission, etc, and certainly no vax requirements (here to enter school you can also claim a philosophical exemption, just sign a paper...easy!)...its one of the easiest states to HS in.


Katherine

Yep, I was just coming to tell you how easy Michigan is too. Since my dd has never been to school, the systems doesn't even know we exist.
EmmaWoodhouse's Avatar EmmaWoodhouse 12:23 AM 06-22-2008
VA here. Yearly NOI and a yearly form of reporting progress. People usually just test because it is the easiest. Vax is required, but not checked and there are exemptions. That's about it.
Citymomx3's Avatar Citymomx3 01:19 AM 06-22-2008
New York


Not regulation friendly. It gets a bad rap but the paperwork is actually easy and painless. And for us, living in NYC makes up for the crappy regs.
mija y mijo's Avatar mija y mijo 01:36 AM 06-22-2008
Massachusetts here. We have to submit a letter of intent and an education plan every year which then has to be "approved" by our local superintendent. We also have to submit an end of year evaluation (a progress report, portfolio, or standardized test) which was agreed upon in our education plan.

What your experience is like really depends on the school district you live in and what kind of superintendent you have to deal with. I think it's very important here to know the laws and not allow the school district to overstep their boundary (which I did have to do). It's more annoying than anything else.
grisandole's Avatar grisandole 07:35 AM 06-22-2008
I've homeschooled in IL, AZ, and CA. I really dislike the homeschooling regs here in CA....thought they aren't horrible, certainly not compared to some states, they aren't nearly as liberal as IL and AZ (which basically require nothing).

In CA, you do need to register with the state each year (as a private school) and technically, you need to keep attendance records and report cards in case the state wants to see them (this rarely happens, but it is possible). Not really a big deal in the scheme of things, but coming from other states, it's a PITA.
Lillian J's Avatar Lillian J 12:52 AM 06-23-2008
Quote:
Originally Posted by grisandole View Post
In CA, you do need to register with the state each year (as a private school) and technically, you need to keep attendance records and report cards in case the state wants to see them (this rarely happens, but it is possible). Not really a big deal in the scheme of things, but coming from other states, it's a PITA.
It's true that you're supposed to keep a record of "days absent," but not days present - and I've yet to hear of anyone who's figured out a way a child who's homeschooling can be absent, so there's no real record keeping to do in terms of attendance. But it's not true that you need to do report card. I started filing the affidavit in '89, and have helped HSC at great length over the years in describing the laws in their website, but that's definitely not one of them. I spent time going over every detail with one of the lawyers who helped us articulate it all, and I was running the website at the time - so I knew the laws intimately. I would have considered it a very big deal if anyone had ever expected me to do report cards. Maybe you were misinformed by someone who was enrolled with a public school's program or a charter program and assumed the independent homeschoolers had to follow the kinds of regulations they had. Lillian
grisandole's Avatar grisandole 03:02 AM 06-23-2008
My friend who files an r4 told me about the recordkeeping, and I could be mistaken about the "requirements" vs. what she and others do as a CYA. To me, it's all a hassle because I'm used to AZ and IL, which are so easy and way more homeschool friendly. I don't want to have to file the R-4, keep vax waivers/physical waivers on hand and all that junk.

In all, CA isn't that bad, there is certainly room for improvement, though. For such a liberal state, I feel that CA is woefully behind when it comes to homeschooling.
smurphygt's Avatar smurphygt 04:14 AM 06-23-2008
Our family is currently living in CA, but we've also homeschooled in GA, VA and MD. To me, CA is by far the easiest state to homeschool in out of the four.
I file my affidavit once a year and am set after that. No worrying about having to submit my explanation of qualification, attendance, portfolios or yearly standardized testing. With the exception of the recent court case, our time here has been stress-free.

I would really like to homeschool in a state with zero requirements, but I think we're moving to KY next. It doesn't look bad, but I read that we have to keep quarterly reports. :
Lillian J's Avatar Lillian J 01:07 PM 06-23-2008
Quote:
Originally Posted by grisandole View Post
In all, CA isn't that bad, there is certainly room for improvement, though. For such a liberal state, I feel that CA is woefully behind when it comes to homeschooling.
Actually, the reason we have avoided going for a homeschool law is that, strange but true, it isn't all that liberal a state - there's a lot of political conservati$m here even though it isn't a socially and religiously conservative place and there are prominently publicized areas of liberalism. So we find if much easier to just operate within the current laws which allow for a homeschool filing as a private school. And it isn't even what some of us think of as "registering" - it's really just a piece of paper that informs the state that you operate a private school - then they can keep a book that lists all the private schools in the state, and which ones provide various services, although they don't even bother including the ones that have under five students - those papers just get stuffed away. It's nothing more than a demographic procedure for their record keeping. But I've always found it a very homeschool friendly in spite of a few people who've passed through the system with prominent voices and influence to the contrary.

The only reason anyone would ever ask to see something like a vax waiver would be if something very, very out of the ordinary had happened that led to a student attendance review board hearing which led to that board convincing a District Attorney to drag parents into court - and it would have to be pretty far out and pressing to get a D.A. to feel he wasn't wasting his time at that.

I've just always found it such a joy to have such freedom here, so it's been an ongoing "thing" of mine to spread the word about how easy it is to operate within the private school option - because rumors continually get spread by people who are incredibly misinformed about the attitude of officials, and then people pay for unnecessary umbrella schools or enroll in public programs that put a lot of requirements on them that make homeschooling just an extension of the public schools. Lillian

sewingmama's Avatar sewingmama 12:40 AM 06-24-2008
Quote:
Originally Posted by 4evermom View Post
PA- Not so good as previously stated, but one small break is that mandatory school age is 8 so you don't have to start all that up til the child is 8 at the beginning of the school year.
Granted, my kids aren't 8 yet, so I haven't had to deal with anything official yet, but I think PA could probably be worse. It probably depends on your local school district, though; I gather some are friendlier to hs'ers than others. There does seem to be a fair amount of freedom within the laws though -- it doesn't appear that you *have* to teach every subject every year in elementary school, and you get to choose your own evaluator from the approved list, so at least you can find someone friendly to your hs'ing style. I wish there weren't mandatory standardized tests, but there are some options there too. And there are lots of hs'ers in the state, at least in certain areas. Personally, I love that the mandatory age is 8 -- I'd like it if they had no reporting requirements, but I do appreciate that nobody's mandating early education up to age 8.
hipumpkins's Avatar hipumpkins 01:40 AM 06-24-2008
Quote:
Originally Posted by Dakota's Mom View Post
New Jersey here. No laws whatsoever. No testing. No teacher assistance. No reporting. No registering with the school board. Nothing. Nada. Anything goes. I am co-organizer for NJ Homeschool Hangout which is a meetup group. We usually have two to three activities per week. Sometimes more. Sometimes less. This week we went strawberry picking, swimming, the Art Museum for Homeschool Day, and had a park date to start planning an Earth Scouts group.

Kathi
http://hyenacart.com/lessonsinlifeboutique/
Alright Kathi next time we must say, "hello" to each other. I was at the museum, too. I had the the little boy painting everything blue. My DD was making a poisonous frog I was taking pictures of the event (as I always am for my blog)

Did you talk to me and ask me if I was part of meet up? Someone did.


Anyway...yes Nj has a law for everything right down to sneezing in the car but homeschooling not a one!! I sure hope it stays it that way as homeschooling gets more popular.
pookel's Avatar pookel 02:04 AM 06-24-2008
North Dakota. Not homeschooling yet but have done lots of research.

The laws are fairly strict, but the local authorities are accommodating, and there doesn't seem to be a lot of paperwork required. You're supposed to have a bachelor's degree or be able to pass a teacher's exam, and you're required to meet the same curriculum and attendance standards as public schools. But there doesn't seem to be a system for tracking that, so it seems that you just have to tell the local schools, "yep, 180 days a year, that's what we're doing."

So, a mixed bag overall. The local (Bismarck) school system welcomes homeschoolers who want to enroll part-time and seems to have a positive attitude in general toward homeschooling.
jplain's Avatar jplain 12:02 PM 06-24-2008
CT is easy. Nothing required by law, though the Dept of Ed "suggests" that parents file a Notice of Intent and go through a yearly curriculum review. Some families choose to do these things, but many choose not to do them.
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