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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Reading all these posts it occurred to me that the home education laws seem to vary greatly from state to state.

Here in Europe, they vary from country to country. Home education is even illegal in some countries, such as Germany and Holland. The UK has some of the most liberal home schooling laws (especially in England and Wales) and the greatest number of home schooling families in the European Union. I personally know of families who move to a different country within the European Union in order to home school (i.e. from Germany to Belgium). It also affects me personally, as I can't/ wouldn't return to my native Germany as long as my my children are of school age as I'd be forced to send them to school, something I strongly disagree with (from a legal as well as philosophical point of view).

I was wondering if people in the US also move to different states in order to be able to home school in a way that suits their requirements/ educational philosophies? Is there a state (or a group of states) that is the most home school friendly? Why? What sort of laws (and freedoms) do you personally expect to be in place in order to feel comfortable?
 

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Missouri seems to be really friendly. No tests , no checkins , no letters to the board of education , etc....

they require 1000 hours of teaching per twelve month period....but no one checks those records. They are for personal use only...and 'just in case'.

You don't need to notify your local school unless your child has previously been enrolled. A brief letter signed by a notary public stating "I'm going to homeschool {child's name} according to the state laws" is sufficient.
 

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CA is pretty homeschool friendly. You register yourself every year as a private school and no testing is required.

I wish OR was more homeschool friendly, but it's not as bad as some states. Here, you are supposed to register with the school district and then do testing in 3rd, 5th, and 10th grades. They pretty much leave you alone otherwise.
 

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Missouri wouldn't make my list - I chose Kansas over Missouri specifically because I didn't like Missouri's homeschool laws. Kansas is a private school state, and requires a imple notification of the "school's" existence.

Alaska seems nice to me - nothing is required at all. Michigan is the same, and Idaho and Texas. At least half of the states are fairly simply, though... and there are only a handful that are truly onerous.

Dar
 

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Quote:

Originally Posted by eternal_grace
I was wondering if people in the US also move to different states in order to be able to home school in a way that suits their requirements/ educational philosophies? Is there a state (or a group of states) that is the most home school friendly? Why? What sort of laws (and freedoms) do you personally expect to be in place in order to feel comfortable?

The state to our left has much cheaper housing than here, and we considered it, but I won't move there because the hsing laws are restrictive and require a lot of reporting. In NJ there is no reporting or state oversight. We're entirely independent. The states I'd like to live in for other reasons, are off my list because of their hsing laws. Having hsed here, I'd be resentful of having to report to the state at all (a bit spoiled, I am!
)
 

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We've moved a lot for my DH's job. I think that how homeschooling friendly a place is goes beyond just what the law states to how people in a city view homeschooling. For example, Kansas and Arizona both have very mellow homeschooling laws, but Tucson AZ was a more homeschooling friendly city than Wichita KS because there are many more homeschoolers there. It is normal for school aged kids to be out in the middle of the day and when people found out we homeschooled, they usually replied that their SIL, neighbor, etc also homeschooled. It wasn't a big deal. In Wichita KS, people thought it was truly odd that my kids were out and about during the day and when they found out we homeschooled assumed that we were very religious, voted Republican, etc. It was a little weird.

My DH has an EU passport and the homeschooling situation here is one of the reasons we stay in the states. He had an job offer in Austria last year and ruled out both because of our kids' education and because of the cost of living. (We can live better on one income in the states that we could anywhere in Europe).

We are currently in Texas which requires nothing at all of homeschoolers. There are more religious homeschoolers here than secular homeschoolers, but I'm gradually finding mellow people I can be friends with.

I prefer to live where no testing or record keeping are required.
 

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We are living in Kansas now and it is one of the states with lower regulations. If we move to another state while dd is school age, I would definitely take the homeschool laws into account and probably would avoid the states that require testing and such.
In terms of a large number of homeschoolers, there are not many that I have found (yet) in our area (rural/small town northeast). There seem to be more homeschoolers in the areas closer to bigger cities in KS. I think we are unusual to begin with so it doesn't bother me to be different. I think I'll have to work harder to find people to socialize with though.
 

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Quote:

Originally Posted by eternal_grace
I was wondering if people in the US also move to different states in order to be able to home school in a way that suits their requirements/ educational philosophies? Is there a state (or a group of states) that is the most home school friendly? Why? What sort of laws (and freedoms) do you personally expect to be in place in order to feel comfortable?
I live in Pennsylvania, the state with the second most restrictive homeschooling laws (after New York). I do know of people who've moved out of PA because the laws are so restrictive here and so much easier in, for example, NJ, but I know a lot more people who simply do the bare minimum and work to eliminate requirements (i.e. never having a child in the grades where mandatory testing is required-- you'd be amazed at how many PA homeschool students have never been in 3rd, 5th, 8th or 11th grades
).

Then, of course, there are many "underground" homeschoolers in PA, simply because the laws are a PITA. Yes, they can be worked around, but many families reject that on principal-- the laws are unconstitutional and they don't serve their intended purpose (children in restrictive states don't learn more and are not less likely to be abused than those in states with no requirements).

ETA-- If our circumstances change and we are able to move out of PA, I would want to wait until the children were 8 years old. For all that the laws are so restrictive, they only technically apply to 8 years through 8th grade-- legally, a child in PA is not required to go to school before they are 8 or after they complete the 8th grade.
 

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Another option in CA is to enroll in a private independent study program. In this case, the gov't doesn't "see" your kiddo at all -- there's no list anywhere that says you're a hs'er. I'm just paranoid enough to worry about testing becoming necessary eventually. I figure keeping DD off a list of hs'ers is a good idea in the current political climate. So when she's "school age," which in CA is 6 y.o., we'll enroll in a private hs umbrella "school" -- a little protection from the truant officer, too.
 

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According to HSLDA, the "easiest" states are:
Alaska (no legal requirements at all)
Connecticut
Idaho
Illinois
Indiana
Michigan
Missouri
New Jersey
Oklahoma
Texas

Also:
Guam
Puerto Rico
Washington DC

None of the above require any notice to the state that you intend to homeschool. Some of them still require a certain number of days of "school" &/or that certain subjects be taught. I think that Alaska is the only one that has zero restrictions.
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
Very interesting.

Here in the UK, if your child has never been to school you don't need to do anything an the LEA (gov't district learning authority) won't even know you exist in most cases.

If your child has been to school and is taken out, a letter has to be written to the school and they then are obligated to inform the LEA. The LEAs vary greatly as to how strict they are. Some do half-yearly or yearly home visits (to check for neglect, as well), some talk to you on the phone, some don't do anything.

There aren't any gov't requirements or laws as to what has to be taught. Basically, the law states that education is mandatory but the form it takes is up to the parents.

Mandatory school age is 5 years.
 

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Quote:

Originally Posted by HippoMommy
So when she's "school age," which in CA is 6 y.o., we'll enroll in a private hs umbrella "school" -- a little protection from the truant officer, too.
Do you mean someone else's PSA school? There's no reason to - even if you file your own PSA, the government never gets your child's name. If a truant officer comes, I would think it would be less trouble to have your own PSA affadavit to show him than to have to explain that your child is really a student at a school located elsewhere, even though the child is right there.

Dar
 

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Not exactly. It's an independent study program (ISP), essentially your child is enrolled at at "private school" except you're the teacher, and you control the curriculum, teaching philosophy, etc. You don't have to file the R4, and the state doesn't know that your family is a homeschool family (there's no connection between your name/address, etc and homeschooling). To me it feels much more private/confidential. I'm not really that worried about truant officers, but I know some families are. . . .
 
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