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laundrycrisis
02-17-2011, 07:06 PM
I have some questions for those who live in states with high regulation of homeschoolers. I am meaning mostly having to turn in names of curriculum, plans, portfolio evaluations, that sort of thing. Not just registration and testing. I am asking these questions because there are current attempts in our state (IL) to increase regulation of homeschoolers. It was "tabled" today but it sounds like it is going to come back in another form. DH and I are thinking about our options if this actually happens here.

Do you feel the state's requirements take a lot of your time to meet ?

Are the people you have contact with who evaluate what you turn in easy to work with, or do they seem hostile and out to find something to get you in trouble over ?

If you would prefer a more relaxed style of homeschooling, do you feel your state's regulations force you into being more structured (ie following traditional grade level plans) than you would be otherwise ? Or do you find ways to still do it the way you want to do it (interest led, self paced, etc).

Do you choose to use an "umbrella school" that evaluates your own choices/work and gives credit, in order to make it easier to deal with your state ? How much does the umbrella school get involved in telling you what has to be done to meet their standards ? Does it cost a lot ? Is it difficult to work with the umbrella school ?

Do you choose to use an accredited correspondence school that actually assigns and grades the work, like Calvert, k12, connections academy, laurel springs, etc in order to make it easier to deal with your state ?

Thank you. Just in case things change here, I am wanting to make a plan for how to proceed.

bcnlvr
02-17-2011, 09:23 PM
I think I live in one of the more relaxed states (SC). After joining an accountability association (they have differing requirements like requiring standardized testing or not BUT they ALL must meet the following below):

1. I must be student's parent/guardian and hold a high school diploma or GED.
2. Instruct 180 days per year.
3. The curriculum includes, but is not limited to, the basic instructional areas of reading, writing, mathematics, science, and social studies, and in grades seven through twelve, composition and literature.
4. Educational records shall be maintained by the parent-teacher and include:
(1) a plan book, diary, OR other record indicating subjects taught and activities in which the student and parent-teacher engage;
(2) a portfolio of samples of the student's academic work; and
(3) a semiannual progress report including attendance records and individualized documentation of the student's academic progress in each of the basic instructional areas.

The association I am with cost $10 per year and ONLY has me send in signed forms that states I met the above requirements. I don't have to send them any plans/work/grades, just the statement of completion. As my son would say: "Easy-peazy-lemon-squeezy". So far I have not had or heard of any problems here in SC.

Ana
02-17-2011, 10:21 PM
Arkansas has that beat. You sign a waiver that you do not hold the state responsible for your child's education and register as a home school student in your school district. You have them tested at the end of the school year, the state pays for testing. Other than that, nothing. You do not have to maintain records or be accountable to any one, pick your own curriculum, etc..

I hope Texas is as easy since that is where we will be moving after paperwork is finished.

Hampchick
02-18-2011, 04:04 PM
I don't think MA is high regulation but HSLDA puts us as a red state so I guess someone thinks it is.

1. No I don't find it burdensome. We do have to be approved but don't have to wait for approval to begin homeshooling. We are required to send an "intent to homeschool" letter, an education plan (and they can be combined) which includes a list of resources that you plan to use. At the end of the year we have to provide one of the following: test scores, progress report, or work samples. Although we are required to have school a certain number of days/hours we aren't required to prove it.

2. I have only been in contact by phone with our person once and she was completely professional and as far as I could tell, had no bias against me for asking about homeschooling. Since then all contact has been via certified mail. Of course this could be very different depending on who you are dealing with and how much experience they have working with homeschoolers.

3. Our ed plan has to list resources you plan to use and the district does have the right to ask for specific books and curricula. But, while we are expected to be "in scope" we are not required to teach exactly what the public school teaches year by year. So while I believe it's quite flexible, it's possible that an unschooling family might have a harder time, I don't know. It would probably depend largely on the district.

4/5. No and no. There isn't an evaluation 'process' here really. We hand in our progress reports and our ed plan for the next year and have met our requirements. It would be uncommon for an umbrella school to be used.

In our state the hardest and most confusing part is getting going because there aren't laws that specify our requirements. We rely on two court cases which sometimes brings up questions with individual districts wanting to ask for more than than are really allowed. So "know your state regulations" has particular importance here. I had no issues with my district except that in the approval letter they "requested" that I send a mid-year report which isn't required. Sometimes a less experience district has policies that don't jib with the legal precedents so it can be tricky.

fbfamily111
02-18-2011, 08:07 PM
I won't be any help, I've always lived in light reg states(DH refused a job in SC because I couldn't HS the way I wanted). Just want to say that if IL passes those laws, you can always move to Indiana (my home state) they have practically no regs, keep attendance, that's it. Here's to hoping all you Illani don't have to become Hoosiers just to raise your children the way you choose.

rumbledolly
02-18-2011, 08:11 PM
I believe Maine falls in the middle so to speak in regards to regulations. Though we do have a new Governor whose a bit on the nutty side so who knows what will happen. We're new to this so it will be our first year following the regulations.

1. Register with school district and state by Sept 1 each year or within 10 days of starting to HS.
2. 175 days of schooling
3. The program will provide instruction in English and L/A, math, science, social studies, physical education, health education, library skills, fine arts and in at least one grade from grade 6-12, Maine studies. At one grade level from 7-12 the student must demonstrate proficiency in the use of computers.
4. Annual Assessment of student's progress by either portfolio or independent testing.

I kind of laugh at the program of instructions since they barely do science, social studies or fine arts in any school in Maine unless it's a private school and it's filled with kid's shipped in from other states! Oh and they never make it clear what testing they will accept for prove progress and I'm not sure I'm the portfolio type. I mean seriously I could do the portfolio and they'd never know my child didn't do it so how accountable is that really being?

farrarwilliams
02-18-2011, 11:00 PM
The IL bill was a complete travesty - it never could have passed in that form, I think. Did you hear the testimony from that truant officer? That was so scary and crazy, it as if he was a plant from the pro-homeschool side.

I think it's different in different states. I know many people feel that HSLDA lists many states as high regulation when most people living there don't actually feel the regulations are that onerous. We're supposed to keep records, but it's not a big deal. People I know in MD have to go twice a year for a "review" - they tend to be nervous the first couple times and then relax - you have to bring examples of work and some documentation that you're providing instruction is all. But in other states, when I hear about the level of documentation that you have to provide, then it does seem like a huge difficulty. People I know in VA have to administer standardized tests. That's not such a big deal to some, but it might be for others - plus you have to pay for it. So I think it just depends on what the regulations are and what an individual family considers to be something they couldn't put up with.

Riceball_Mommy
02-18-2011, 11:48 PM
The IL bill was a complete travesty - it never could have passed in that form, I think. Did you hear the testimony from that truant officer? That was so scary and crazy, it as if he was a plant from the pro-homeschool side.

I think it's different in different states. I know many people feel that HSLDA lists many states as high regulation when most people living there don't actually feel the regulations are that onerous. We're supposed to keep records, but it's not a big deal. People I know in MD have to go twice a year for a "review" - they tend to be nervous the first couple times and then relax - you have to bring examples of work and some documentation that you're providing instruction is all. But in other states, when I hear about the level of documentation that you have to provide, then it does seem like a huge difficulty. People I know in VA have to administer standardized tests. That's not such a big deal to some, but it might be for others - plus you have to pay for it. So I think it just depends on what the regulations are and what an individual family considers to be something they couldn't put up with.

I'm in MD and I was a nervous wreck for my first review, especially after hearing some of the horror stories from some people on the yahoo groups. I think I brought more than I really needed to though. I'm already a little nervous for my second review because again the horror stories are circulating again, so I figure I'll be contacted about the second one soon.

elkhollow
02-19-2011, 01:20 AM
Florida is low regulation and homeschool friendly. Even so, I use the cover school option so that I can avoid the education authorities completely. They don't even know we exist. We are technically not homeschoolers according to the law because our cover school is considered a private school, even though it's not even located in the same county. All we do is send in attendance four times a year. If we registered as homeschoolers we would have to submit to annual evaluations or testing. I do everything I can to avoid regulation.

However, we are considering using Blended School next year. This is a public school resource open to homeschoolers where they can send their kids for instruction in certain subjects. They attend with other homeschoolers only and are not at a regular public school. I'm not interested in them learning the subjects that are taught. I thought it might be good for them because my kids are really lonely. I know, I'm not supposed to mention the socialization issue but they ARE lonely and there are no co-ops in our area. There are only a couple of kids in our neighborhood but we never see them. I thought we'd try it and see how they like it because both my kids want to go to school so they'll have friends, and I thought this might help. If we do this we have to register as homeschoolers, so no more cover school. In our state, though, homeschoolers can participate in the extra curricular activities at their zoned school, which I think is fantastic. Homeschooled kids here can play schoool sports, be on athletic teams, do cheerleading, etc...but it comes with a price (homeschool regulation).

farrarwilliams
02-19-2011, 11:29 AM
I'm in MD and I was a nervous wreck for my first review, especially after hearing some of the horror stories from some people on the yahoo groups. I think I brought more than I really needed to though. I'm already a little nervous for my second review because again the horror stories are circulating again, so I figure I'll be contacted about the second one soon.

Yeah. Because of our proximity to Montgomery Co., I'm on the Yahoo list for them and there were some issues with a couple reviewers. Though in every single "horror" story, the reviewer was basically just rude or misinformed about COMAR and then marked the family compliant. And you have to remember that if you have a bad experience you post your story, but if your reviewer just looks things over, nods and marks you compliant, then you don't, so it's a very unbalanced look. We're also supposed to face reviews here, but in reality we don't.

laundrycrisis
02-19-2011, 11:24 PM
Thank you everyone.

farrarwilliams, you are right...that bill was a mess - opening a door with no limits on the state or protections for the families at all, and nothing specifically defined, leaving it all up to each ROE office at their whim. It has been tabled but Maloney says he plans to pursue "other avenues", so it seems our worries are not yet put to rest. The testimony of the truant officer was truly frightening...when people ask "what's the big deal, why are you all so afraid of registration if you have nothing to hide ?"...that officer demonstrated exactly why we are afraid of these officials and don't want any changes that make us easier targets for them.

I would prefer no change at all here, but if it does change, I would like to know exactly what is required. It sounds like for those who live in states that define clearly what proof of educating is required, it is not so frightening.

I find it interesting that in some states a cover school will help, and in other states it will not help at all. I wonder about something like Calvert with the ATS or K12 done privately....if someone was in a state in which a cover school wouldn't help get you out of any documentation you are required to turn in, but chose to use something like that anyway, what would you turn in as your lesson plans....the scope and sequence from Calvert or K12 ?

BrendaE
02-19-2011, 11:26 PM
what would you turn in as your lesson plans....the scope and sequence from Calvert or K12 ?

Yep.. Print, staple, mail. :D

jcemom
03-11-2011, 02:57 AM
Here in PA we need to turn in a notarized affadavit at the beginning of each school year. I must attest to being a high school graduate (or the equivalent), state that the kids have received all required immunizations, and provide the students' names, ages, and grade levels for that year. Along with that we're required to file an outline of our educational objectives for the school year.

At the end of each year we meet with a certified evaluator of our choice (at our expense). She reviews our children's portfolios and approves them.

To the school district we submit the evaluator's report, a log showing that we have completed 180 days of instruction, samples from each subject, and standardized testing results. (Standardized testing is only required in grades 3, 5 and 8.) Our district used to require the entire portfolio to be turned in for review, but as of last year we only need to give them a few pages each of math, language arts, history and science.

I've been told that some districts want only the evaluator's report, nothing else. I guess it varies greatly from one district to another. :rolleyes:

When I first pulled my boys out of public school the district gave me a hard time. Their teachers were calling me at home, telling me that I could get into a lot of trouble. The district office secretary called and said I needed to meet with the superintendent before I would be allowed to keep the boys home. I was told that I'd be fined. They basically harassed me for weeks.

Luckily I found a wonderful evaluator who supported me throughout the process. She was a font of kindness and information. At that time there were only 2 homeschooling families in our district. Now there are more, and I haven't had any trouble in years. Last year the district hired a "homeschool coordinator" and he's been pretty easy to work with. :)

skueppers
03-14-2011, 09:04 PM
I live in a moderate regulation state, Maryland. I don't find the regulations here onerous. We must:

* Teach the 8 required subjects (English, Math, Science, Social Studies, Health, Art, Music, PE)
* Send in a form when we start homeschooling, and inform the district each year that we plan to continue
* Meet with an evaluator from the school district twice a year to show a portfolio and talk about our homeschooling.

I do find that I spend more time thinking about health as a subject than I would otherwise.

Riceball_Mommy
03-14-2011, 09:22 PM
I live in a moderate regulation state, Maryland. I don't find the regulations here onerous. We must:

* Teach the 8 required subjects (English, Math, Science, Social Studies, Health, Art, Music, PE)
* Send in a form when we start homeschooling, and inform the district each year that we plan to continue
* Meet with an evaluator from the school district twice a year to show a portfolio and talk about our homeschooling.

I do find that I spend more time thinking about health as a subject than I would otherwise.

For health as a subject I was worried too before my first review. I even had my daughter take some BrainPop Jr video quizzes on washing hands and other healthy activities, just so I'd have some paper "proof." When I went to the review though, my reviewer just wrote done that we spend time with other homeschoolers for "health." It will probably tend to differ amongst reviewers but at the Kindergarten age they might just be looking for social interactions for "health." Just to be on the safe side though I think I'm going to print some recipes and maybe bring a book about food groups. I think that would cover health too.

Ariadne
03-19-2011, 11:05 PM
I hope Texas is as easy since that is where we will be moving after paperwork is finished.Easier. There's no waiver and no testing.

Kalani
03-20-2011, 06:30 PM
What really annoys me about my state is the curriculum requirements from kindergarten on....my daughter doesn't learn alot of these subjects in Public School. With all those subjects when do they get a chance to do a language?
"State law requires that you teach reading, writing, geography, arithmetic, history of the United States, history of Rhode Island, principles of American Government, health and physical education. Also, beginning with fourth grade, history and government of Rhode Island must be taught. In high school, the U.S. Constitution and Rhode Island Constitution must be taught."

Teri
03-20-2011, 07:22 PM
Arkansas has that beat. You sign a waiver that you do not hold the state responsible for your child's education and register as a home school student in your school district. You have them tested at the end of the school year, the state pays for testing. Other than that, nothing. You do not have to maintain records or be accountable to any one, pick your own curriculum, etc..

I hope Texas is as easy since that is where we will be moving after paperwork is finished.

Texas is way easier. We have zero requirements. If you move down here, no one even has to know that you have a kid that is school age. They know about my ten year old because he went to a semester of kindergarten. The girls they have no idea that they exist. We are considered a private school in Texas (and Private Schools are not regulated here), so we can set our own curriculum, determine the education levels of our teachers, set our own school day and school year and anything else you can think of. We do not have to show anyone or report to anyone.
The only requirement is that we not be a "sham" and that our school have a "reading, writing, arithemetic and a course in good citizenship". We determine what meets those criteria.