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  1. #1

    Default Moving-which states are best?

    Hi! I’m brand new here. Wanting to know which states/areas we can move to that are best for homeschooling.
    Here’s our situation-Currently live in Pennsylvania but we are looking to move south. Hoping for warmer climate 😃 We are an agnostic/atheist family living in the middle of a very religious area. It’s VERY difficult to find programs for my kids to join that do not push very religious agendas. We have no problem with religions and teaching acceptance of all people and beliefs but my kids actually get teased if you can believe it. They get told on a regular basis they are going to hell. Or the parents say their kids are not allowed to play with mine because they aren’t Christian. ((Sigh)) This hinders their social and emotional growth within groups and I feel so desperate to find a new “home” for my kids where they don’t have to feel the pressure to be religious.
    I want more for them.
    Currently my kiddos enjoy a small “school” that meets and has classes on select topics for a few hours two days a week. It’s giving them a chance to learn from others and NOT just Mom. (The mental break for me helps too ☺️) And I would love to know where there are more things like that. Which states have embraced the homeschool community? Which areas in the south can provide more support? Are their places we can feel more at home?
    WHERE SHOULD WE MOVE TO??? Haha

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  3. #2

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    Welcome, and Im sorry youre dealing with such religious intolerance.
    Are you contemplating a move to the South, or just somewhere that doesnt have snow in winter?
    California is warmer, has a lot of homeschooling opportunities.... (including charters that have the classes you describe), but it is very expensive to live here. Homeschool groups here seem to either be Jesus-oriented, or unschooly/antivaxxing/essential oil crowds.
    Isnt Penn one of the hardest states to homeschool in? I think anywhere else is going to be easier.
    Some of the southern states require homeschoolers to be enrolled in an umbrella/church school... but even that sort of requirement is easy for fellow atheists to work around - secular options exist (I think “Farm School” is one such institution.) Once they enroll, those people disappear from here, so I assume they are getting their social needs met there. (Just like how Californians arent super common here, since the charters take care of most of their needs.)

    Id suggest looking for places that would improve the other aspects of your lives, and go from there. Moving near extended family can give you that needed break from your kids, and its possible grama or gramps could even do some enjoyable schooling with them.
    Homeschooling DS13, DS6.

    Atheist.

    My spelling was fine, then my brain left me.

  4. #3

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    Indiana is a very easy state in which to homeschool, but is definitely not warm all year round.

    I can't speak about the quality of homeschool groups (agnostic vs. religious) but Texas has minimal requirements. From the Texas Unschoolers website:

    There are only three requirements to homeschool in Texas:


    • The instruction must be bona fide (i.e., not a sham).
    • The curriculum must be in visual form (e.g., books, workbooks, video monitor).
    • The curriculum must include the five basic subjects of reading, spelling, grammar, mathematics, and good citizenship.


    There are no reporting agencies and no testing requirements for homeschoolers. The state of Texas does not regulate homeschoolers once they have been removed from the public school system.
    Carol

    Homeschooled two kids for 11 years, now trying to pay it forward


    Daughter -- a University of Iowa graduate: BA in English with Creative Writing, BA in Journalism, and a minor in Gender, Women & Sexuality Studies

    Son -- a Purdue University senior majoring in Computer Science, minoring in math, geology, anthropology, and history

  5. #4

    Default

    Hi!

    I am sorry to hear about your trouble. I have found there is no perfect place. We have lived in lots of places all over the U.S. and all of them have their issues. Since we have moved for work, I have learned to make those places work.

    Right now we live where all of the homeschooling groups are religious. We have opted not to participate in homeschooling groups. We have a couple friends that are homeschoolers, but we have discovered there so many social activities that kids can do that are not with homeschoolers. There are tons of activities for kids that get them out and doing things that other kids can do to. It widens your options and removes the religious aspects, most of the time. (Even then that can happen.)

    If you are determined to move, consider other life things that are important as a family.

    Are you looking for zero homeschool regulations? Then places like Texas, Idaho have no tracking. Places like California have options. If you want complete freedom, just register annually as a private school. Or you can get funds for schooling with a charter school.

    What about cultural aspects do you want to have access to or do you want to live closer to nature? Do you want to live in a apartment/condo or do you want land? Do you want to have a low cost of living or does it matter?

    You can homeschool everywhere, so I would focus on the aspects that enhance your family's life.
    A mama who teaches college writing, as well as help her 11-year-old in
    choosing his own life adventure. Using Global Village School to support our desire to develop a sense of social justice and global awareness.

  6. #5

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    I'll second Texas, we have talked about moving there.

    South Carolina wasn't too bad to homeschool in. We had to join an umbrella school but they weren't religious at all really. Now the local coop group was another story and while we weren't as shunned as you seem to have experienced they weren't exactly inclusive either. We went on some field trips with them and sometimes park day but I doubt we would have stuck with them if we had not moved.

    North Carolina wasn't horrible but we only lived there while homeschooling for part of one year (after testing) and left the next year before testing. They have an actual Department of Homeschool Education you have to report to and while they never gave us any trouble during the short time we were there, there was a awful lot of hoops to jump to be in compliance with the law.

    Arkansas is really laid back. You have to declare intent to your local school district each year and that is pretty much it. They dropped state required testing a few years ago because it was costing too much for them to enforce Homeschoolers are allowed to participate in public school extracurriculars like sports and band and most districts don't even blink or think twice about letting homeschoolers participate. Many were already allowing homeschoolers to participate before it became law. There are areas with high concentrations of religion but in the urban areas like Hot Springs, Little Rock, Texarkana and Fayetteville you get a much greater mix of people and more inclusive groups.

    Kansas, though they have quite cold and snowy winters, is easy to homeschool in. Turn in your intent to homeschool and that's it. Kansas City and Wichita have greater diversity therefore more inclusive groups. There are religious homeschoolers and homeschool groups but we were never called out or excluded from things even when they were put on by a religious homeschool group.

    I think those are all the states I've homeshooled my kids in. We've homeschooled overseas as well and if it were my choice and we had the money to do it, we would roadschool/travel-school. It would be my dream to either fly around the world and learn about different cultures first hand or travel in an RV around North America at least and homeschool on the road.

  7. #6

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    I think you want to move to one of the more liberal areas in North Carolina. Either Raleigh/Durham/Chapel Hill (Durham!) area, Asheville (though less warm there), or possibly Charlotte, though as a native of RDU I'm not a Charlotte fan (sorry Charlotte people... my grandparents were from Concord if it helps). NC has easy homeschool laws, decent cost of living, good job market, good weather, beautiful places all over the state, and pockets of excellent progressive communities. If you move somewhere in the boonies, you'll find it's pretty much just like where you are in PA though.

    You could also look at Texas - obviously around Austin is very liberal... I'm not as familiar with Texas though. You could look at Georgia too - around Atlanta there's a lot of homeschoolers and a growing number of secular ones. You'd need to pick and choose where you go in those states though - or anywhere in the south really. Every southern state has pockets of progressive communities where being an atheist is going to be fine and dandy and you'll fit right in but also large areas where you wouldn't at all. Just research your specific spots.

    To note, all the states (except, in various ways Maryland and New York, though even then) have easier homeschool laws than where you are now.
    Want to read about my homeschool?
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  8. #7

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    Oh I would LOVE to travel school. I think that worldly education would be so intriguing. But alas the funds are slim. HAHA But I appreciate all the advice on different places. I know they all have pros and cons.

    It’s not so much that I don’t want regulation. That doesn’t scare me in the least. It is opportunities to go to programs and “classes” that don’t push religion. I would like cultural and social enrichment classes that give my kids a taste of what it’s like to be with other children in a school-like setting - Teaching things I cannot do by myself. My belief is that, though a traditional school setting is not 100% necessary, it can prepare my kiddos for college life and being able to learn in that kind of setting. I think there IS a place for traditional rows of desks and kids getting to work in cooperative groups and respond in class discussions. So I want them to have at least a day of this.

    My IDEAL would be to have them homeschooled 3-4 days a week and in “school” for one or two. Particularly because there are some things I think others can do better than me (like teaching music or art or history - not my strong suits.)

    While I already take my kids on lots of homeschool outings and field trips, it is just not the same as seeing someone week after week. I don’t like government/public schooling much at all, but I don’t want my kids thrown into a world that has not caught up with the homeschool community. I think we all understand that sitting in a classroom is not the only way to learn - but it is indeed ONE way...and however unfortunate it is, it is a favored way to deliver info in the adult world whether in business meetings, college, or job trainings.

    So I guess I want a place where these sort of blended learning opportunities are more welcomed. I tried to get my kids into the public schools here to take band/music class and they straight up told me NO...

  9. #8

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    I would suggest researching either state's with "Tim Tebow laws" that allow homeschoolers to participate in public school activities or states with hybrid charter schools that have the students come to class a few days a week and they homeschool the rest of the week. They are also sometimes called university model schools but be careful because some university model schools are deeply religious. Just make sure you thoroughly research the school before you commit.

    Large cities and metro areas are going to have more of the things you desire for your homeschool. Pick a few that look like somewhere you would want to live and then research secular or inclusive homeschool groups for that area. Look into coops and charter schools. Find out what kinds of children's activities are offered in that area. Once you have that information you can start narrowing the list down and maybe visit some of those places for a few week and explore the area before you commit to moving there. Get in contact with the homeschool groups and ask to attend a meeting or class to get a feel for the group while you are visiting. Speak with the public schools in the area and get a feel for the climate between them and the homeschool community in the area.

    How far south are you wanting to go? Are you opposed to going south and/or west?

  10. #9

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    Virginia now lets students take individual classes... It's those Tebow laws like MapleHill mentioned.

    Near us there are now a ton of ways to be "in school" for a couple of days a week. My kids are going to do a STEM tutorial center that's basically like a mini-school. They're going once a week, but you can go for up to three days. There are also like half a dozen micro-schools that have cropped up around us. Expensive, but it's definitely an option that exists now. There's also a homeschool "co-op" that's basically a school for younger kids near us. It's up to four days a week.

    Basically, that stuff exists in large metro areas, like MapleHill said. And the landscape is changing dramatically right now. There's a lot of stuff out there that wasn't just five years ago. More people want this half week style school options.
    Want to read about my homeschool?
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    Children's Books, Homeschooling and Random Musings...

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  11. #10

    Default

    I agree that living near a city os likely a best option. I would do west, but I don’t want to go out of cheap flying and/or driving distance because of extended family. But I’m willing to hear if you know something about Arizona or Nevada or New Mexico.

    Someone told me Florida had good options for this university style plan (though I didn’t know that’s what it was called) Any thoughts on there?

    I will definitely research as stated. I just truly didn’t even know where to start!

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Moving-which states are best?