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Misha
03-26-2014, 10:06 PM
Is using public school materials and submitting to testing, evaluations, etc., homeschooling? Or is it public school at home? Or is it, "other"?



I'm curious about this - I know I've read a lot of debates over this topic and I'm interested to see everyone's opinion.

farrarwilliams
03-26-2014, 10:25 PM
I tentatively say no. Homeschooling is when the decision making rests primarily in the home. However, I recognize that many public charter at home families feel alienated from finding social outlets and I feel that homeschool social groups and park day groups and so forth should welcome those kids and not worry about the legal distinctions.

Fairielover
03-26-2014, 10:27 PM
My daughter uses K-12. A public school program. To me it is school at home, not homeschooling. But as Farrar said, they need the social outlets that homeschool groups provide. K-12 has outsings several times a year, but they are usually far away. The kids need friends close by.

Teri
03-26-2014, 10:57 PM
I think if you are enrolled in a program like K-12 THROUGH the public schools, so it is paid for by the state and you have to follow the same guidelines as a public school student (like attendance and testing), then NO, it is not homeschooling. Someone who does K-12 privately, however, would be different.
In Texas, you have to be enrolled in a public school before you can enroll in an online charter school, so homeschoolers are not eligible to even access it.

ejsmom
03-26-2014, 11:29 PM
To be a homeschooler, legally, in my state, we are required to teach certain subjects (what and how we teach those subjects is up to our discretion). We must submit a standardized test (we can choose from 5, I believe), in 3rd, 5th, and 8th grade. Every year our child has to meet with an evaluator who has to meet certain credentials to legally be an evaluator, and we must submit a portfolio (in my particular case to the evaluator and the school district I live in), that shows samples of his work, showing progress, in each subject.

That is all to legally homeschool. I can use whatever materials I chose. I can school whenever I want, as long as we do 180 days or 900 hours of educational time (most homeschool kids are curious and read a lot - that isn't hard to achieve). So, in my state there are many boundaries and hoops, but they are not difficult to work within, and we the parents have the final say in what our child's education consists of and how it functions as a part of our lives.

One year (our first) we did use K-12 through the state as a public cyber charter school. We had to follow their schedule of days, and reporting times. We had to be online with a teacher certain times and days. Work had to be submitted and graded. My child received a progress report. He would have had to take our state mandated testing every year. I found it too restrictive because we were trying to get requirements checked off rather than learning and exploring. Also, if I'm going to be home doing school, I want the freedom to do it on the schedule that suits my family.

I have purchased some K-12 materials since then, to use independently, as a homeschooler.

I think that any type of hybrid or cyber school is often a good segue into homeschooling.

There are many public cyber school families in my area. Probably because our schools here are not highly rated and crazy. Just in the last week we've had a drunk bus driver, a teacher shooting up crack in the school, and more than one teacher having sex with students in the school.

Of course those public cyber school families are included in homeschooling groups! They have many of the same challenges. They can't just stick their kid in front of the computer each day. They have to actively lead and coach their child a good bulk of the time, especially in the elementary grades. They need to find other kids for their children to interact with. I also know a few homeschool families who put their child in a public cyber charter school just for 12th grade to get a diploma and what they needed for college applications, or they needed that diploma for a job.

I voted "other", because while they are not homeschooling where the responsibility falls on the parents, they often have many of the same challenges and are more likely to be involved in a homeschool group and/or become homeschoolers.

Mariam
03-26-2014, 11:48 PM
I chose "other", only because I don't have a clue what to think about this.

I like the idea of people self-identifying what they do, especially in social circles. (Which is different than the legal/state identities that we are required to fit into)

If some one is using a PS program, at home, well it is fuzzy. I think it tells a lot about a person on which identity they choose. Do they identify as a homeschooler or public schooler? I think that how parents identify the way their educate their kids is telling. The philosophy they choose to use (even if the terms are under debate and they don't fit into it the way the people expect one to) tells us something about them and how they view their educational methods.

justabout
03-27-2014, 01:39 AM
My son was registered with the local health school last year (spent much of the year in a wheelchair, was in too much pain to get to school). We had a teacher come to the house weekly to work with him. It sounds great in theory, but in practice (for him) it was the worst of both worlds - we didn't have the freedom of homeschooling and essentially what it was was a lot of homework, worksheets etc, plus a teacher who had a very limited amount of time to teach him (and he used to take advantage of that).

murphs_mom
03-27-2014, 03:18 AM
I voted other because we have friends in another state that do traditional HS stuff most days of the week, but two days a week they're sent off to the PS to do pre-selected activities (music, history, gymnastics, and I can't remember what their other options were). It's a somewhat hybrid system.

Keiran'sMom
03-27-2014, 08:35 AM
I voted yes because I have known kids who do half days in PS to cover subjects parents can not teach. This usually happens at higher levels. These are usually ones who cannot afford online or college options. Of course there are more free ones now then there used to be. Also, I knew someone whos daughter had a lot of bullying problems in school and the school offered schooling at home as an option. She still considered herself a homeschool mom since she had to do most of the stuff with her child and deal with social activities also.

Teri
03-27-2014, 08:47 AM
It sounds like it could depend on your state. Texas has NO requirements of homeschoolers other than it "not be a sham". No testing, no reporting, no filing intent, no grades, no attendance requirements. And, there is no part time enrollment in public schools in Texas. We receive NO benefit from the state if we homeschool.
K12, through the state, requires all of those things and homeschoolers are not allowed to do it (because, you know, there would be this HUGE influx of homeschoolers trying to get free stuff from the state and throwing the education budget into a tailspin:rolleyes:).
Also, we rarely see a K12 family at any homeschool programs or co-ops. They seem to have their own support system and extras. Or they are too busy doing schoolwork to join homeschoolers. Or something.
The only ones I have known are the ones who have dropped out to homeschool and not report to anyone.

mamaraby
03-27-2014, 09:40 AM
For the purposes of definition - No. To me it comes down to an issue of who's paying for it and who is selecting the curriculum/course of study. I think homeschoolers are done a disservice when these lines are blurred so I think it's important to be strict on definition.

For the purposes of support/social opportunities, I am less strident. Our homeschool group has allowed virtual school students to join/participate. On the one hand, it feels a bit like the virtual school is taking advantage of us as a means of free enrichment opportunities when they should be paying for it. I still tend to err on the more inclusive side because I know those families face many of the same challenegs homeschoolers do.

farrarwilliams
03-27-2014, 02:11 PM
With so many different options now in some states - having a teacher oversee you in exchange for money and materials, two or three day a week programs, etc. - I get that the lines are blurry sometimes. I mean, is a person in a California charter school where you choose your own materials and carry out all the teaching yourself... but also have to submit to testing and evaluations and are limited to core programs they approve a homeschooler or not? They're on the charter school rolls... but it's not like being in a VA and the parent is doing all the educational decisions. It's a gray area.

And I'm all about having those choices... but I do think it's important to distinguish for legal purposes as to whether or not you're a homeschooler and what that means in terms of your freedom to educate your children in a manor of your choosing - not the state's.

rebjc
03-27-2014, 02:22 PM
Not to throw a wrench into things, but does it really have to do with the state making a choice? Because there are plenty of private options where parents don't have a choice in curriculum either. In our area of TX, there are several part time school options. Two or three day a week schools where the school sends school work home to be taught by the parents the days school is not in session. And there are other three day schools where no work is sent home.

With educational options expanding, it is harder to draw the line at which families can be homeschoolers.

I really have no problems with anyone who happens to be regularly free on particular school days attending homeschooling events. It can be a challenge finding social opportunities for children not in regular public, private school.

Teri
03-27-2014, 02:24 PM
Are you talking about a University Model school? That's a private school. There is no public school option like that. We have lots of friends that do UM, but they do not consider themselves homeschoolers.

CrazyCatWoman
03-27-2014, 02:25 PM
Other.
1st - is the material being used suitable and engaging for your child?

2nd, who is actually doing the TEACHING? Is it you, so that you can decide "no, just answer every other question," or "we will discuss these instead of writing the answers" or "if you pass the assessment you don't have to do the rest of the work." OR, is it someone online, paid by the state, who conducts the class online for your child to do and you have no say in how the work is done?

3rd - if there is testing/reporting involved, is it worth it for what you get from the program?

4th - does testing or portfolio reviews need to be done in your state if you are an independent homeschooler? (Many states this is yes. In my state it must done in a school or reviewed by an accredited teacher.)

I have done K12 in the past. Before the state mandated weekly online meetings and crap (we moved before they did that.) I liked it a lot. It was the best material for my daughter at that stage of her education. I used my discretion about what work she wrote out, and what we discussed and what we ignored. I went for mastery - if my daughter was not going as fast as the books wanted her to I told the teacher and what we were doing to get mastery. Not ASKED - TOLD.

K12, the testing and reporting was worth it for a good while. It didn't work with my sons, so we ended up dropping out around the time that it stopped working well for my daughter. (When it was moving away from ME doing the teaching, and more the computer doing the teaching.) I am in another program in our new state and still have to do state testing and have reporting requirements. It has still been worth it for me. I have greater latitude to pick the appropriate curriculum, and am not limited by the school except for the material to be secular. Which is fine by me...not for some of my more religious friends.

Lastly, unless the parent has a certain amount of college education in my state, homeschoolers are required to take and keep grades for standardized tests. And I believe they must be administered at a public school. If they don't want to do the tests they can have a portfolio review, which is supposed to be done by a certified teacher. So basically, my going in monthly to meet with a teacher is like a portfolio review, and I really don't mind my kids taking the tests - it is just part of life. But also, it is what the independent home schoolers have to choose from too. I get the benefit that the district pays for the particular curriculum that I want. And I am willing to take that trade off right now. When the pay off is not worth it - like one charter school in CA that will give $75 for curriculum...I would just opt out. That is not worth my time to do.

rebjc
03-27-2014, 02:28 PM
Are you talking about a University Model school? That's a private school. There is no public school option like that. We have lots of friends that do UM, but they do not consider themselves homeschoolers.

Yes, private schools. Some are university models and others are Waldorf or Sudbury inspired schools, but the latter schools don't have homework they send home for the parents to teach. The parents, who I have met who utilize these options, do call themselves homeschoolers. And I have heard one call it co-schooling. But in a sense it is very similar to someone using a public K-12 option in that the curriculum is already pre-chosen for you. You have to meet the requirements of the school.

farrarwilliams
03-27-2014, 02:30 PM
I guess my main desire is that homeschooling, where the parent is the primary educator and decision maker (excepting for minor regulation such as the state dictating that you register or that you teach basic subjects) stay legal and unencumbered. And sometimes when there's such a spectrum of options, it becomes unclear to legislators why the homeschool option still needs to be protected. Or it becomes unclear to the public what "homeschooling" is, which can lead to people hassling kids or pushing for testing or the like. I once had a conversation with someone who worked for K12 who was flabbergasted that anyone wouldn't want to have an overseeing teacher. He thought that K12 WAS homeschooling. I had to be like, um, no. I would never want to do something like K12 for my kids. I'm fine with someone who does want to do K12. If that works for you, then great. But I don't want the general public to think that's what homeschooling looks like. I want people to know that taking charge of your child's education completely is an option. And I want the lawmakers to know that there are great homeschooling families that don't have that type of oversight and controlled curriculum.

There may just need to be new terms to encompass kids who are educated in the home vs. kids who are educated without overseeing school of any kind.

Teri
03-27-2014, 02:30 PM
I guess that I wasn't clear on WHY we were asking. Personally, I was just referring to how we identify ourselves. If someone who is attending a UM school wants to do a homeschool class on their off day or if a K12 attendee has time to go to homeschool day at the art museum, then, of course, they should attend.
I thought we were just talking about in general.
I have had several people on our HOA facebook group ask about homeschooling and want to know the laws and how it works. Inevitably, someone pipes in and says "you should try K12. It's free and they give you all the curriculum." This is usually someone who has never used it or used it out of state. I think it is important for families that are considering homeschooling to know that THAT is not homeschooling in Texas. If you are taking something from the state and in return having to keep attendance, go through testing, etc., then you are not a homeschooler. Just like someone who opted out of public school to go to Catholic school is not a homeschooler, one who opts out and enrolls in a private school or UM school is not a homeschooler.
We have no id's for homeschoolers in Texas though, so what they call themselves is up to them.

CrazyCatWoman
03-27-2014, 05:30 PM
When I did K12, I knew more about the curriculum and teaching than the "teacher." She had no clue why people chose to K12 or homeschooling in general. She actually sent me an email before Christmas complaining that she had her 3 kids home for the next 3 weeks. WHAT?!? No, she didn't get it.

Which is why I basically did what I felt was best for my kids (and still do) and get the best quality curriculum how I can. And I give some lip-service to the "teachers" but that is about it. I guess I know how to speak the speak and it seems to work out without too much worry. But just like any other curriculum....I know that I can change what I am doing at my whim - without having to "Ask" anyone. I am the teacher, and I am in control.

Jeni
03-27-2014, 06:41 PM
I think if you are enrolled in a program like K-12 THROUGH the public schools, so it is paid for by the state and you have to follow the same guidelines as a public school student (like attendance and testing), then NO, it is not homeschooling. Someone who does K-12 privately, however, would be different.
In Texas, you have to be enrolled in a public school before you can enroll in an online charter school, so homeschoolers are not eligible to even access it.


Exactly. We do it independently and it's 100% homeschooling.

I think any schooling done at home, unless it's devoid of parent (like the the kid is only home due to long term illness and is working with school tutors with the idea of someday going back), it's homeschooling. Ideally, your kids are still getting their support from you, You're still there to help them with work, and most options are flexible enough that they don't resemble "school" in the traditional sense. I am not a fan of the us vs them mentality regarding different forms of homeschooling. That's just my opinion.

halfpint
03-27-2014, 09:56 PM
I would say no, because to me homeschool means I get to make the decisions. If we were using public school curricula, we would be doing public school distance learning (same for private/charter). However, I think that unless a homeschool group is based around a certain curriculum, they should welcome distance-learners, who probably have the same challenges as HSers in finding group/social stuff to do.

justabout
03-28-2014, 04:35 AM
Exactly. We do it independently and it's 100% homeschooling.

I think any schooling done at home, unless it's devoid of parent (like the the kid is only home due to long term illness and is working with school tutors with the idea of someday going back), it's homeschooling. Ideally, your kids are still getting their support from you, You're still there to help them with work, and most options are flexible enough that they don't resemble "school" in the traditional sense. I am not a fan of the us vs them mentality regarding different forms of homeschooling. That's just my opinion.

Jeni, my experience of this is that even health (hospital or chronic illness) school needs a huge amount of input from the parent. You are still the one who has to nudge a sick child to complete their schoolwork on the (majority of) days when the tutor doesn't visit, and you have to, well in my case chose to, try to structure their days in a way that is educational even if formal education is impossible because they are too sick/in too much pain. It is that which gave me the confidence to move towards fulltime home education.

farrarwilliams
03-28-2014, 01:46 PM
Even if a parent chooses something like K12... they are still making a conscious choice about their child's curriculum; what will fit them best. Still homeschooling, imo.

But a parent choosing a private school, or a brick and mortar charter, or even just to attend their local ps is making a choice too. Not everything can be homeschooling.

Like I said, I don't want to be really dogmatic when it comes to social groups and support groups - VA families (whether privately paid for or publically), part time school families, etc. all have a lot of the same social and support needs and they should share resources and not be exclusive or nasty to each other. All of these choices can be good ones for different families. But there has to be some clarity of terms for legal and advocacy reasons, IMO. And it would just be much clearer in common parlance if the terms were clearer. So to me, it's not homeschooling per se.

crunchynerd
03-28-2014, 02:10 PM
This brings up so many thoughts on what it means to NOT use the schools! Homeschooler, unschooler, school-free... of all, homeschooler is the most universally understood and recognized and accepted, but understood as something I don't agree with, and accepted for reasons I chafe under. I still use it though! :p

If anyone wants to get technical about it, the term 'schooling' actually means, grouping together individuals. Education became synonymous with schooling in the minds of many, once institutions in which children were grouped (schooled) for mass education became a norm.

Regardless of definitions though, I personally don't consider distance-participation in public school programs, homeschooling, simply because to me, the term homeschooling came into use to describe a choice by parents to be responsible, themselves, (without asking for or accepting the State's interest in the matter) for their kids' upbringing and education, and then going to lengths to argue for, sometimes fight for, and then defend, the very idea that they have the right to be responsible and the decision-maker, and to refuse the use of the state-run schooling institutions.

Of course, in most states, increasing creeping legislation over those rights, making them basically conditional, has crept in, and that does diffuse the right and call into question its existence on some level. If the parents are only "allowed" to make parental decisions over the upbringing and education of their children, conditional to the State's set guidelines and boundaries on the matter, isn't that an infringement on that right, or even a case of defining it out of existence?

Either way, if the locus of power rests with the schools as directed by the state, and the parents are only conditionally able to choose from among options offered by the State and/or the schools, the parents don't actually retain their right; they sort of lease it, with conditions.

In that light, just about all homeschoolers except Texas ones, aren't fully exercising the right to make those decisions themselves, if they do all the things their local Dept. of Ed wants them to do in order to be "allowed" to decide they don't want to use the public school services.

THat's one thing I dislike about the term "homeschool" even though I use it because it's the one most people know and accept. It implies school as the universal, and makes home and family life without that, a strange sort of exception to what is normal. But the term "school-free" which I like (in the same vein as people who prefer not to have children, like the term 'childfree' over 'childless' because 'childless' implies the lack of something desired), can be perceived as offensive to people who send their kids to the schools, who then aren't "free of" something their parents and the rest of society deem healthful and necessary.

I like the phrase "we don't use the schools" because it affirms using or not using schools, as a choice. "We homeschool" implies that our choice is actually a different form of school, but school nonetheless, and therefore acceptable. It chafes. But I still find myself saying "we homeschool" more often than "we don't use the schools" just because it's more familiar and slips off the tongue automatically.

farrarwilliams
03-28-2014, 02:45 PM
I was thinking more and I feel like there are already specific terms for all of the hybrid and so forth options being discussed. If you're a part time schooler, then you can call yourself that. If you're an online schooler or a distance schooler, you can call yourself that. But if all those things come under the heading of "homeschool" then what's the term for people who teach their kids themselves?

crunchynerd
03-28-2014, 04:20 PM
I was thinking more and I feel like there are already specific terms for all of the hybrid and so forth options being discussed. If you're a part time schooler, then you can call yourself that. If you're an online schooler or a distance schooler, you can call yourself that. But if all those things come under the heading of "homeschool" then what's the term for people who teach their kids themselves?

Farrar, you have an inerrant talent for cutting to the pith of the matter! I love how neatly you make the complicated, simple and logical. I wish I had had your insight before going off the deep end on philosophical tangents. But then again, it was a fun trip. I love your clarity, though.

farrarwilliams
03-28-2014, 04:46 PM
But you raise good issues about the whole idea of "school" and how unschoolers and homeschoolers aren't always the same thing.

pdpele
03-28-2014, 04:57 PM
But what's life without philosophy? At least it makes worrying about things more fun.

This is what I've enjoyed about this site - lots of 'ideas' (philosophy) posts/replies. And also lots of 'well, I loved the idea/philosophy - but here's what actually 'worked' for us.' posts.

I think that technology has the potential to change school so much - although b&m schools likely won't disappear. With internet/video classes, etc, Crunchynerd/Farrar and others are right to be concerned that state officials will say, 'ok, you don't want to send your kids to school, but why wouldn't you use this (internet enabled) curriculum/standards?' And proceed to legislate/enforce more curriculum/standards.

Ok - I think I hear people screaming in my head something like, "But why would a responsible parent object to meeting standards?"

I think this kind of why wouldn't you mind question is beside the point. And I agree with those wanting to defend/preserve a meaningful label for a home/parent/child-led education that is state-free and school-free. (The why wouldn't you mind argument makes me think also of the stupid, "if you don't do anything wrong, why would you object to surveillance?" question).

Now what I really need philosophy for: figuring out how I constantly manage to make arguments that put me in the same boat with conservative right-wingers...


Farrar, you have an inerrant talent for cutting to the pith of the matter! I love how neatly you make the complicated, simple and logical. I wish I had had your insight before going off the deep end on philosophical tangents. But then again, it was a fun trip. I love your clarity, though.

JenRay
03-28-2014, 05:07 PM
We have a parent partnership, public school alternative school thingy near me.

Per their Web site, they define themselves as this:
"RRC is a school funded by the Tahoma School District #409 (http://www.tahomasd.us/). As a parent-partnered program, we are an alternative to the traditional classroom-approach to learning. Our student services are extended to those in Kindergarten through Eighth grade. Students who attend here full time do not need to fill out a “Declaration of Intent to Homeschool (http://www.washhomeschool.org/Declaration.pdf)” form, nor do they fall under the Home Based Instruction law (http://apps.leg.wa.gov/rcw/default.aspx?cite=28A.200.010). Parents will be asked to sign a “Statement of Understanding” about this distinction."

And their mission statement is this:
"The Russell Ridge Center is a District/Community partnership dedicated to serving students and families by providing customized educational opportunities and resources, with a commitment to flexibility, choices, and parental authority regarding each student's education."

Many of the people who run in the homeschool circles near me, participate there, and they call themselves homeschoolers. Particularly the secular types, because they are not looking for religious curriculum, so why not have the state pay, get fun enrichment classes, a built-in social network, and so on. It is pretty smart of the state, because then they get the money for these kids just like they are going to public school, while the responsibility for teaching falls largely on the parents. It is a fine choice for some people obviously. But there is (and must be) a distinction. I think it ought to be clearer than it is. I don't want my rights under the "Home-based instruction" law eroded by more and more of these popping up. I don't want someone deciding that using one of these parent partnership programs is the right choice for everybody who wants a public/private school alternative. I have no problem field tripping and talking curriculum and so on with these folks - they do have many of the same needs. But as people talk about needing more regulation to prevent abuse and so forth, I can foresee a future where these programs are the only legal alternative, and I don't want that. I've heard a few arguments (in person) about whether or not participants there are homeschoolers - and on the one hand it seems like much ado about nothing. But on the other hand, I totally get why independent homeschoolers get ruffled there no distinction is made. We are governed by a different law, and we want that law respected and protected - not blurred into something orchestrated by federal, state, or local government. It IS different. Not that people making choices for theses alternatives aren't homeschooling in the big general sense of the word, but they are doing something different than what I chose. Everyone has gotten sort of fast and loose with the term, and I sometimes fear the law will go that way too.

crunchynerd
03-28-2014, 05:19 PM
But what's life without philosophy? At least it makes worrying about things more fun.

This is what I've enjoyed about this site - lots of 'ideas' (philosophy) posts/replies. And also lots of 'well, I loved the idea/philosophy - but here's what actually 'worked' for us.' posts.

I think that technology has the potential to change school so much - although b&m schools likely won't disappear. With internet/video classes, etc, Crunchynerd/Farrar and others are right to be concerned that state officials will say, 'ok, you don't want to send your kids to school, but why wouldn't you use this (internet enabled) curriculum/standards?' And proceed to legislate/enforce more curriculum/standards.

Ok - I think I hear people screaming in my head something like, "But why would a responsible parent object to meeting standards?"

I think this kind of why wouldn't you mind question is beside the point. And I agree with those wanting to defend/preserve a meaningful label for a home/parent/child-led education that is state-free and school-free. (The why wouldn't you mind argument makes me think also of the stupid, "if you don't do anything wrong, why would you object to surveillance?" question).

Now what I really need philosophy for: figuring out how I constantly manage to make arguments that put me in the same boat with conservative right-wingers...

You are not the only one concerned about that, and also really sick to death over the mentality behind the "but why does anyone need privacy or choices, if they are good responsible citizens who only do what the powers say is ok?" arguments, that are dressed up in subtle condemnation of all dissenters, as irresponsible.

The thing that actually frightens me, is I know more mothers in real life, who support that kind of argument, than mothers in real life, who support personal choices and personal responsibility. People have had it easy enough in our culture, for long enough, that the understanding of just how quickly totalitarianism can turn very ugly and very personal, just isn't there.
Those tend to be people who never saw "The Killing Fields" or never read anything really pithy about McCarthyism. They don't comprehend the threat, or how fragile liberty is, or how piercingly literal and pressingly important, the old famous statements about rights ceasing to exist the moment they go undefended, were and are still today.

I don't fit neatly into a category for political ideology. I took a quiz once and it said I was "totalitarian" because I snarkily agreed that most people are too stupid to know what's good for them.
Ha.
But I would rather defend people's rights to make decisions I don't agree with, so that I may still make decisions they don't agree with, than live in a comfy state of everyone agreeing with me.

Teri
03-29-2014, 10:14 AM
For those of us in Texas, we receive no funds at all, ever, unless you are enrolled in a public school.

I don't think anyone is suggesting that anyone else is eroding our benefits (or lack thereof). It's just a clarification. (In Texas) if you receive any benefit from the state for education, that is public education and you are subject to all rules of public school. There is no in between. All in, All out.

Teri
03-29-2014, 10:22 AM
There is a terminology issue at play. It is part of why researching hsing is so confusing to new/thinking about it hsers. There are no clear definitions - they are totally open to individual interpretation and use.

That's why I said that it must vary by state. It is VERY clear here. If you go to public school, the ISD gets money for you. If you go to a private school, no one get any money any where, except for what the parent pays the private school. If you opt to homeschool, you don't even have to tell anyone that you homeschool. They do not know that my girls exist. There is no record of them with the school district, nor a mechanism in place if you WANTED to tell them that you exist. They don't care. They don't get money for the student, they don't track them, they are not public school students. Like I said, if you are someone who has opted to homeschool, you are not eligible to even access the K12 state program because we have a line in the legislation that says the student had to have attended public school the semester before they started the K12 program.

CrazyCatWoman
03-29-2014, 10:28 PM
Jen Ray, I use one of the ALE programs in WA. And I will fight tooth and nail for your rights to school without the government involved. Many of the families that I know use the ALE to get started, then move to totally independent once they get a feel for what they are doing. In fact, very few of the families that started with the program are still with it, and those that are tend to be less than 80%.

I also know independent families that have their kids take classes like band at what would have been their school because WA is an interesting state, and will allow home schoolers to do that. I have also heard of traditional schoolers whose parents have them after school with programs like WAVA....because they can. And then there are the private school students who also take classes at the ALE AND the public school. And now we have the Charter Schools voted in....

But I don't see all of that as eroding the rights of parents to do exactly as they please without government involvement. Maybe it is the conservative area that I live in, but as I said, many who start doing the ALE end up doing full time independent. The ALE just serves as a launching pad so that they feel comfortable. Many would not have done it if they had not had the ALE experience first.

CrazyCatWoman
03-29-2014, 10:36 PM
Just to throw a monkey wrench in here for the purpose of debate, what about homeschooled kids who access special education services at their local schools? Federal law allows them to get services there. My two boys both get speech therapy through the local school, and besides being cheaper (no copay,) the services are better than private as the school pays better. (Previous school district it was the opposite - therapists left the school for the private and were the better ones.)

To me, it means I am still homeschooling - even if the services were for reading and I did the rest at home. It just means that "I" am picking the best possible combination of curricula and delivery to best meet the needs of my child. I can refuse services at any time. Just like if I was in a co-op, or paying a private tutor or learning service. If I want to drop out, then I can.

Edited to add: and the state does get money for my kids in special education at the local school. They even get my permission to see if they can qualify for medicaid.

farrarwilliams
03-29-2014, 11:02 PM
Yes, you could make the same argument about people who hire a tutor for math or who enroll a child in a single academic subject class. For me, at least, it's whether they're still the ones doing the overseeing of the child's education. The special services or the classes or whatever are a part of the overall educational plan the parent has chosen. Ditto about all the various checks that states do. The testing or the portfolio check or whatever is just the checks the state does to ensure that the parent's oversight is sufficient. It's not the oversight itself. In the case of students in a VA or a program like ALE or whatever, the school or the teacher is the one who is responsible for the oversight of the child's education.

I don't think there's actually any direct legal threat from most of these programs. I have seen how in some places the money in exchange for oversight deal has changed the numbers game in education at home. And if enough people take advantage of it, it does threaten people who refuse the extra oversight in the eyes of the politicians.

Teri
03-29-2014, 11:12 PM
Federal law allows for homeschoolers (and those in private schools) to receive special education services, so that is a separate issue from whatever your state calls homeschooling.

LearningCoach2014
03-30-2014, 02:35 PM
I have 5 kids....1 graduated from B&M regular high school, 3 from B&M self-paced high school and currently homeschool 1 child PT with PT Homelink status. Virtual public schools are a crazy in-between system and hopefully in the next few years, they will have a "PLACE" in the categorizing of schooling types. Right now they are floating b/t B&M vs. Homeschooling and depending on where one lives determines how much that is a negative. Some more conservative homeschool groups are anti-virtual because they don't want the state government messing with homeschooling laws. Some groups are very welcoming because they recognize that although still "public school" by legal terms, these families still decide when and how they learn the materials (with more restrictions), still need social outlets and are wanting to use the best method for their family's educational success, which is also what homeschoolers want for their kids.
I have several Facebook groups which welcome ALL forms of "schooling-at-home" which is what I would label public virtual schooling before seeing it as homeschooling (although within my groups, its the same).

Christen99
04-02-2014, 07:41 PM
We use a public charter school, but we receive a stipend for each child that pays for classes and curriculum. I have full choice of curriculum as long as it is secular, which classes to sign my child up for (all of them are vendors within the community...literally hundreds of choices), and how to teach my child. In exchange, I agree to allow the school to test my child just as all the other public school children are tested (you can legally opt out however, but my weirdo kids love testing).

Do I consider us to be custom schoolers (I think the term "homeschooler" implies that we sit in a darkened house all day long, not being exposed to the outside world)? Absolutely! My kids aren't in a brick and mortar classroom, they are being taught at home, have the same access to classes that other custom schoolers have, and I have free choice in what my children are taught. I don't think it matters how you slice it, if your child isn't sitting in a public school classroom, or a private school classroom...they are custom schoolers.

Christen99
04-02-2014, 07:47 PM
I tentatively say no. Homeschooling is when the decision making rests primarily in the home. However, I recognize that many public charter at home families feel alienated from finding social outlets and I feel that homeschool social groups and park day groups and so forth should welcome those kids and not worry about the legal distinctions.

In CA because there are so many ways to legally custom school, that when you show up to any function you have a variety if not all methods being represented. I'm not speaking in terms of methodology, I'm speaking in terms of legally custom schooling (using a public independent study program, filing a private school affidavit, homeschooling under a private school umbrella, hiring a tutor, etc.). I don't think we all know what each other does, but it does come up at times. We all consider ourselves "homeschoolers".

Christen99
04-02-2014, 08:03 PM
I think if you are enrolled in a program like K-12 THROUGH the public schools, so it is paid for by the state and you have to follow the same guidelines as a public school student (like attendance and testing), then NO, it is not homeschooling. Someone who does K-12 privately, however, would be different.
In Texas, you have to be enrolled in a public school before you can enroll in an online charter school, so homeschoolers are not eligible to even access it.

In CA, you have to keep attendance records no matter which method of homeschooling you choose. You can legally opt out of all state testing as a public schooler.

In CA, to legally homeschool:

1. Enroll in a public school independent study program/charter school
2. File a Public School Affidavit (same EXACT form the expensive private schools file, and you abide by the same rules as your very own private school).
3. Hire an accredited teacher to come into your home and teach your child (I have NEVER met anyone who has done this).

You can homeschool under a private school umbrella...meaning you are homeschooling under their affidavit, typically paying them a fee for keeping your attendance sheet in a drawer, being under their rules, using their curriculum, etc. Each school has different requirements, some are loose, some are strict, etc.

ALL homeschoolers here have to keep records, and ALL homeschoolers have to file with the state in some fashion what and how they will teach a subject to their students (either through their filing the private school affidavit, using a public charter, or hiring a teacher). It sounds fairly rigorous, but it's pretty loose in all reality. Our attendance records for our charter school involve an "x" with a signature that they were here that day. Yep, they woke up here! I don't have to account for the amount of time I work with them, or how many hours they spend each day working on their own, etc. I do have to turn in 8 samples of work per year, and photos count. So, I snap a lot of pictures write a sentence about what they were doing and that's it. Done.

I wouldn't consider those who choose to use K-12 any different than those who go rogue and use whatever they choose to teach their children, other than their personal choice for the materials they choose. Heck, in my home I have never used the same materials to teach either of my kids which means we've seen a LOT of curriculum in this house!

farrarwilliams
04-02-2014, 08:20 PM
I think California is a weird state for this discussion because of that. There is no such thing legally as "homeschool" in CA. You can join a charter or become a private school. But it definitely pushes the question...

freerangedad
04-02-2014, 09:07 PM
Are homeschooling rights threatened in the US right now? In Canada, the federal laws are rock solid in support of homeschooling rights. Each province is a bit different, but there is no threat of homeschooling rights being eroded. .

I would say, "yes", for states that require testing. I would not be able to teach the way I do if my DD were tested. No, she is not falling behind. One of the beauties of homeschooling is to be able to teach in the progression that that fits your educational philosophy. I am not an unschooler, but I can see the validity in their approach. We should not have to teach certain concepts earlier than we would have otherwise to satisfy the state.

farrarwilliams
04-02-2014, 10:42 PM
I would say, "yes", for states that require testing. I would not be able to teach the way I do if my DD were tested. No, she is not falling behind. One of the beauties of homeschooling is to be able to teach in the progression that that fits your educational philosophy. I am not an unschooler, but I can see the validity in their approach. We should not have to teach certain concepts earlier than we would have otherwise to satisfy the state.

I used to sort of feel this way, but having seen what "testing" looks like for homeschoolers in Virginia, I now feel like it can be one of the least expensive, least invasive ways for the state to feel like they've covered their rear ends regarding homeschoolers and for homeschoolers to go about their business. In Virginia, the parents pick the test. They administer it themselves. There are many, many tests available, including some that are untimed and are widely considered to be "below level." As well, students don't have to achieve a very high score. It's a really low bar. Most of the tests don't cover specific content - they're basic skills tests. And if a child can't pass the test, the parents can opt to do a portfolio assessment instead to show instruction. The VA families I know just give the test toward the end of the year and move on. They don't prep much if at all. Many of them are unschooly but they still don't find it to be onerous.

Christen99
04-04-2014, 01:50 AM
I think California is a weird state for this discussion because of that. There is no such thing legally as "homeschool" in CA. You can join a charter or become a private school. But it definitely pushes the question...

Exactly, it's not illegal...but it isn't specifically legal either. Most of us don't know the difference, because of the weirdness so we all agree that if we don't have kids sitting in a brick and mortar school...we home/custom school.

freerangedad
04-04-2014, 06:35 AM
I used to sort of feel this way, but having seen what "testing" looks like for homeschoolers in Virginia, I now feel like it can be one of the least expensive, least invasive ways for the state to feel like they've covered their rear ends regarding homeschoolers and for homeschoolers to go about their business. In Virginia, the parents pick the test. They administer it themselves. There are many, many tests available, including some that are untimed and are widely considered to be "below level." As well, students don't have to achieve a very high score. It's a really low bar. Most of the tests don't cover specific content - they're basic skills tests. And if a child can't pass the test, the parents can opt to do a portfolio assessment instead to show instruction. The VA families I know just give the test toward the end of the year and move on. They don't prep much if at all. Many of them are unschooly but they still don't find it to be onerous.

That's good to hear. I wonder if it is similar in other states?