Homeschooling Moms

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celticdragon77
homeschool regulations seem to have a bad rap here
November 26, 2013 at 11:47 AM

There are a lot of comments in that state regulations post. I haven't been able to find time to read through them all yet. However I am really surprised by the views expressed in the post so far.  

I feel like homeschool regulations / state laws are getting a bad rap amongst homeschoolers. 

I live in a highly regulated state. So I know and deal with what that means - and it isn't what many of you seem to fear. 

It gives and protects my rights to educate my children - as much as it gives and protects my childrens right to an education. 

I still have the right to parent my children how I see fit, I still have religious rights regarding their educations, I still have the right to teach with the methods and styles that I prefer. 

The school district is not allowed to bully me because I have well established laws. I personally feel like my state formally took a stand to support homeschooling by creating laws that allow it and regulate it in a reasonable manner. 

Schools in general need a reform. However, I am thankful that I live in a country that offers my family a formal education and the freedom to learn beyond just that. I also am thankful that I have homeschool as another option. Just because the schools themselves need a reform, does NOT excuse resistance to reasonable regulations over homeschoolers.  

Many times in that post, I heard fears that seemed unfounded. I have yet to see any state adopt homeschool laws that banned it or that seemed unreasonable. The states that adopted laws, made a formal stand to support and protect homeschoolers. That is what laws are for! If your state has NO homeschooling laws, it has NOT officially protected your rights. To me, that just seems irresponsible.

Replies

  • bluerooffarm
    November 26, 2013 at 12:24 PM

    You have a very different view about the purpose of the laws than most.  I do not see them as protecting my rights as a homeschooler.  I often see them as hoops I need to jump through.  I'm going to take them one at a time.

    1.  The affidavit:  There are 2 sample affidavits on the DOE of PA website.  Neither of these are actually legal affidavits.  When you first decide to homeschool, your first stop should be to your state's laws.  So my first run at homeschooling, I went to the state website, followed the links to an affidavit that I believed should fit my purposes (at the time a single child of age in an elementary age group.) When I took the paper to a Notary, she would not stamp and sign it, because it does not have the law number, name, and wording on the top.  It didn't have the state and county or the school district's name.  I came home with a whole lot of homework.  I had to learn how to write an affidavit, what needs to be included.  Now there are notaries that would have signed it without blinking an eye, but my district is not pro-homeschooling.  They try to bend and break the laws all the time.  She knew that she better have her stuff together and so she sent me home to try again.  How many people have tried it and gotten to that point, given up and went to K12 or other state funded cyber-style school?

    2.  Next came a legal battle.  I sent in my notarized affidavit and my objectives list using certified mail.  The sent a truancy officer to my door.  Thankfully I had the certified mail signed by the hsing liason.  Then they stated that I needed to hand over proof of inocculations.  But that is not true.  I have all of our vaccines up to date, but I was already getting truancy officers/ CPS sent to my door.  So I was ready for a fight.  The laws state that an affidavit is your proof.  The state must have proof that you do not have your vaccines in order to require them.  A judge upheld my claim and I do not turn in my innoculations each year.  But IMO I should not have had any of those issues.  They begin with the presumption that I am doing something wrong and shady because I am not sending my child to PS.

    3.  The portfolio: I must have an evaluator look over my portfolio each year.  Our school only recognizes 6 evaluators (3 for the elementary level, and 3 for the high school level.)  Our evaluator has a preconceived notion that people homeschool for religious reasons and she repeatedly pushes Abeka and Sonlight curricula.  It is difficult to get yourself an evaluator here, since there are only 3 and homeschooling is growing fairly rapidly.  So I am pretty well stuck with her.  She has problems with the science I teach my children, basically because it is science and not creationism.  She cannot fathom that I am homeschooling for other reasons.  It annoys her that I do not have a science curriculum and instead I teach science from multiple sources.  It annoys her that I never give my kids multiple choice tests.  You are right that I can teach how I see fit and I am free to ignore her "instructions" at the end of each year.  However, I am VERY strong-willed (read that as unbelievably stubborn! :-})  I am able to do that.  A few of my friends have caved and are now using full curriculum that they don't really like.  Besides beginning a (possibly costly, and definately time consuming) lawsuit, what are their real options?

    4.  Testing:  I got my son over his testing phobia, but it took a lot of patience.  Also it is free to take the PSSAs (or now the Keystones) but they need to be taken in the PS setting.  Xavier got sick every single time they at the local PS gave him one of the practice benchmark tests to prepare him for the tests.  They make a very big deal out of them.  Basically telling kinder and 1st grade kids that they will never amount to anything if they do not take these tests seriously.  When we pass the local PS, he still (after over 2 years of homeschooling) says "I hate that place."  I could not send him there for a test.  So instead we went through the PA homeschoolers and had him take the Terra Novas.  He is reading on an 8th grade level, his lowest score was halfway through 4th grade (he's a third grader).  But IMO we should have the option of the test OR the portfolio.  Not both.  There are children who have high test anxiety.  There are kids who just don't do well on multiple choice tests.  It depends greatly on question wording how they will do on the tests.  It is stressful for the parent who isn't sure how their child will react.  Will the school decide he should return to PS?  How exactly is it okay for anyone involved in the local PS to have any say in that?  They are not getting their funding, they have a lot riding on whether they "allow" one to homeschool or not.  

    So I highly disagree with the amount of regulation and oversight we have here in PA.  I would much prefer less regulation.

  • debramommyof4
    November 26, 2013 at 12:56 PM
    I think both of you have great points. Maybe the states with more regulations are trying to protect the right to homeschool.

    But some people do use it against homeschool families.

    I do wish there was a way to ensure that each kid gets a great education no matter what option their parents choose for them and that homeschool rights are kept protected. I do not see that happening.

    I am terrified that the government is going to try to force me to teach to the common core standards because my kids are already past the stuff they want me to teach and I disagree with the standards completely.

    I am afraid that the states with more regulations will be the first to do this. And while California is a pretty easy state to homeschool in, it is also one of the first to do crazy stuff like that. I do not want them adding more hoops because of that.

    But I had a friend that said she homeschooled her children and did nothing with them. I could not be around her after I figured out what she was doing. It hurt watching her kids fall behind. I wish there was a law protecting them.

    So it really is a catch 22.
  • romacox
    by romacox
    November 26, 2013 at 2:21 PM

    Government could be an asset, and it once was.  But when the bureaucrats are so greedy that they siphon  money that is intended for the children ,away form the children (and away from Seniors)  for their own profit, it is just not acceptable.  it has become too corrupt to be trusted. . 

    My generation (I am a senior citizen) is partly responsible.  I knew politicians were corrupt, but I thought If I left them alone, they would leave me alone.  I had no idea how bad it had become, because I was busy raising a family.  Now I realize that my negligence allowed a once great government, to become a liability.  If it is to be put back in the box of the Constitution so that it is no longer so attractive to thieves, it is necessary that all of us pay attention, and stand up for what is right.  We can no longer just leave it up to the bureaucrats.

    Quoting debramommyof4:

    I think both of you have great points. Maybe the states with more regulations are trying to protect the right to homeschool.

    But some people do use it against homeschool families.

    I do wish there was a way to ensure that each kid gets a great education no matter what option their parents choose for them and that homeschool rights are kept protected. I do not see that happening.

    I am terrified that the government is going to try to force me to teach to the common core standards because my kids are already past the stuff they want me to teach and I disagree with the standards completely.

    I am afraid that the states with more regulations will be the first to do this. And while California is a pretty easy state to homeschool in, it is also one of the first to do crazy stuff like that. I do not want them adding more hoops because of that.

    But I had a friend that said she homeschooled her children and did nothing with them. I could not be around her after I figured out what she was doing. It hurt watching her kids fall behind. I wish there was a law protecting them.

    So it really is a catch 22.



  • hwblyf
    by hwblyf
    November 26, 2013 at 2:23 PM

    I live in a state that is considered middle with their regs.  We have to test every other year, starting in 3rd, we have to notify the district of our intent to homeschool, and we have a set number of days and hours we have to meet at a minimum.  BUT, when we were in a total panic because our oldest was on the verge of being expelled, our homeschool liaison for the district rocked it for us.  They guided us, helped us understand that some of the rules are for our protection and forcing the school to do things, so if we didn't want that protection, we could accelerate our removal of our son from ps.  Honestly, more than the regs, it's the people who enforce them/work with them.

  • debramommyof4
    November 26, 2013 at 3:02 PM
    See I can back this. But how do we get the bureaucrats to do as we want and protect everyone? There is always going to be greed and dishonesty from our government. Unfortunately those who are greedy and dishonest are good at getting into positions of power.

    Quoting romacox:

    Government could be an asset, and it once was.  But when the bureaucrats are so greedy that they siphon  money that is intended for the children ,away form the children (and away from Seniors)  for their own profit, it is just not acceptable.  it has become too corrupt to be trusted. . 

    My generation (I am a senior citizen) is partly responsible.  I knew politicians were corrupt, but I thought If I left them alone, they would leave me alone.  I had no idea how bad it had become, because I was busy raising a family.  Now I realize that my negligence allowed a once great government, to become a liability.  If it is to be put back in the box of the Constitution so that it is no longer so attractive to thieves, it is necessary that all of us pay attention, and stand up for what is right.  We can no longer just leave it up to the bureaucrats.

    Quoting debramommyof4:

    I think both of you have great points. Maybe the states with more regulations are trying to protect the right to homeschool.



    But some people do use it against homeschool families.



    I do wish there was a way to ensure that each kid gets a great education no matter what option their parents choose for them and that homeschool rights are kept protected. I do not see that happening.



    I am terrified that the government is going to try to force me to teach to the common core standards because my kids are already past the stuff they want me to teach and I disagree with the standards completely.



    I am afraid that the states with more regulations will be the first to do this. And while California is a pretty easy state to homeschool in, it is also one of the first to do crazy stuff like that. I do not want them adding more hoops because of that.



    But I had a friend that said she homeschooled her children and did nothing with them. I could not be around her after I figured out what she was doing. It hurt watching her kids fall behind. I wish there was a law protecting them.



    So it really is a catch 22.




  • debramommyof4
    November 26, 2013 at 3:03 PM
    I am so glad you found an honest helpful representative. I wish more were like that!

    Quoting hwblyf:

    I live in a state that is considered middle with their regs.  We have to test every other year, starting in 3rd, we have to notify the district of our intent to homeschool, and we have a set number of days and hours we have to meet at a minimum.  BUT, when we were in a total panic because our oldest was on the verge of being expelled, our homeschool liaison for the district rocked it for us.  They guided us, helped us understand that some of the rules are for our protection and forcing the school to do things, so if we didn't want that protection, we could accelerate our removal of our son from ps.  Honestly, more than the regs, it's the people who enforce them/work with them.

  • JKronrod
    November 26, 2013 at 3:08 PM

    To my mind, the question should be, "Do the government regulations do something that isn't happening on its own and do they accomplish this with the minimal amount of impact on unrelated matters?"  The problem with HS regulations (or government regulations in general) is that they are a cannon.   If  the issue you want to resolve is a fruit fly, a cannon will, indeed work -- but it will have collateral damage that is far worse than what it is intended to prevent (sort of like drug laws -- but I digress).  Every moment I spend trying to comply with government regulations is a moment I can't spend figuring out how to give my children a better education, providing that education or working for income to support that education (or getting sleep).  If there was evidence that a significant number of homeschoolers did NOT give their kids a good education, as opposed to a few who usually are doing something else that's a "problem" or abuse, then regulations might be appropriate.  But I've seen no evidence to support that.  And I would suggest that any argument that lack of education of a few homeschoolers supports significant regulations for all because those regulations will ensure a better education is seriously questionable.  If that were the case, the public school systems would be producing better educated kids consistantly -- and they're not.  That's not a slap at public schools -- I'm merely pointing out that, since we're talking about people not machines, ALL educational choices/options will have some failures and that regulation does not guarantee a good outcome for everyone.  From what I can tell, states with little regulation of home schools (like California) and states with a lot of regulation do not have significantly different outcomes on student education levels (although, admittedly, this is hard to judge precisely -- just as it's hard to do an apples to apples comparison of public versus private school education -- again, we're talking people not machines).  Unless and until there is significant evidence that regulations actually produce a better  result, I have to take the position that regulations, and the time/money/reduction of rights overhead they produce for home schooling, cannot be justified.   

  • Zui77
    by Zui77
    November 26, 2013 at 3:52 PM
    While I do think that the government def has flaws...to me it's all about perspective.
    We do live in a country that no matter your gender, nationality, wealth class, etc --everyone is entitled to a free education. It's especially awesome that we have other options we can take as well... Like homeschooling!
  • romacox
    by romacox
    November 26, 2013 at 4:04 PM

    You have brought up the most important part of this discussion:.  "How do we protect our children from the greedy bureaucrats that care more about money and power than they do our children .

    1.  Don't do like I did for so long, and think they won't get worse if we just ignore them.

    2.  Do what you are doing.  Home schooling your children protects them.  And it is important to stay involved with other home educators, and to stay informed about any laws that may effect your children.  In Florida we have a lobbyist who keeps us informed so that we can fight any laws that will turn our State into an unfriendly home school environment.  Our local chapter of our State Association also informs us locally. We have visited the City Council together several times to stop unjust laws. The HSLDA also has a lot of free information about unfriendly home school  laws that are being discussed at state, and federal levels .  Many here on Cafe Mom have informed others of harmful laws too.

    3.  Learn, understand and teach the Constitution, Declaration of Independence and Federalist Papers to your children.  Many times by simply siting passages in these documents (in a non-confrontational manner), authorities have changed their minds on very wrong things they were about to do. Knowing your rights can make a big difference in protecting your family. 

    4. When all else fails:  Martin Luther King, and Gandhi, who both said they studied the teachings of Jesus , understood the following statement.  Sometimes, it is necessary to do as they did. ...Martin Luther King said: "One has a moral responsibility to disobey unjust laws."


    5. Never think that you can't make a positive difference, because as a home school Mom, you do every day.

    Quoting debramommyof4:

    See I can back this. But how do we get the bureaucrats to do as we want and protect everyone? There is always going to be greed and dishonesty from our government. Unfortunately those who are greedy and dishonest are good at getting into positions of power.

    Quoting romacox:

    Government could be an asset, and it once was.  But when the bureaucrats are so greedy that they siphon  money that is intended for the children ,away form the children (and away from Seniors)  for their own profit, it is just not acceptable.  it has become too corrupt to be trusted. . 

    My generation (I am a senior citizen) is partly responsible.  I knew politicians were corrupt, but I thought If I left them alone, they would leave me alone.  I had no idea how bad it had become, because I was busy raising a family.  Now I realize that my negligence allowed a once great government, to become a liability.  If it is to be put back in the box of the Constitution so that it is no longer so attractive to thieves, it is necessary that all of us pay attention, and stand up for what is right.  We can no longer just leave it up to the bureaucrats.

    Quoting debramommyof4:

    I think both of you have great points. Maybe the states with more regulations are trying to protect the right to homeschool.



    But some people do use it against homeschool families.



    I do wish there was a way to ensure that each kid gets a great education no matter what option their parents choose for them and that homeschool rights are kept protected. I do not see that happening.



    I am terrified that the government is going to try to force me to teach to the common core standards because my kids are already past the stuff they want me to teach and I disagree with the standards completely.



    I am afraid that the states with more regulations will be the first to do this. And while California is a pretty easy state to homeschool in, it is also one of the first to do crazy stuff like that. I do not want them adding more hoops because of that.



    But I had a friend that said she homeschooled her children and did nothing with them. I could not be around her after I figured out what she was doing. It hurt watching her kids fall behind. I wish there was a law protecting them.



    So it really is a catch 22.






  • AutymsMommy
    November 26, 2013 at 5:03 PM

    My opinion about regulations and homeschoolers doesn't come from "unfounded fears" - it comes from my desire to have minimal government involvement in the personal lives of its citizens... this extends to all things, not just homeschooling.

    Your last statement is confusing. A state with little to no regs has protected the right to homeschool and it is often spelled out. In my state we are not required to test, have an evaluation, or anything - we have to keep attendance and a portfolio, but nobody can ask to see it, lol - but our rights as homeschoolers are still explicitly spelled out, regardless of the lack of "accountability".

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