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Sorry! Recently, I've been spending hours a day putting together my kids' homeschool schedules, double-checking them, adding up hours, etc. so that come spring, I'm not in a two week panic to get everything sorted out before we have the portfolio review.

 

Can we vent here? Commiserate? Celebrate?

 

I see the evils of our regulations, but I'd like to hear about the successes (like maybe how well-received our homeschoolers are compared to less rigorously regulated homeschool states)?

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The National Home Education Research Institute (NHERI) has not found any evidence that homeschoolers from more-regulated states do better academically, which causes me to think that homeschoolers from more regulated states are not better received than those from less-regulated states (whatever your definition of "well received" is). Since PA pretty much stands alone in its level of regulation, I would think that the regulation doesn't guarantee anything down the road (college, employment, etc.). :-)

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Does PA really stand so far above other states in regulations? Personally (I live in PA) the thought of moving to New York would put me in a panic--it seems like so much more paperwork. But maybe it is just the legalese.

 

As for binders, I tend to keep them as I go. One huge 3" binder for everything (my kids can't toss a school paper without angst) and another 2" binder for the portfolio stuff, which tends to be tests, drawings, especially good pieces of writing, and photos of experiments/outings/crafts, as well as a few worksheets or workbook pages from each subject. I spend less than an afternoon compiling my final binder in the spring. As far as hours--are you doing high school level work? I am not yet, and I just count days, which is easy-peasy. I imagine I will stress about portfolios more as they get to high school.

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Does PA really stand so far above other states in regulations? Personally (I live in PA) the thought of moving to New York would put me in a panic--it seems like so much more paperwork. But maybe it is just the legalese.

 

Right across the Delaware here in NJ, we have zero HS regs, so to me, PA and NY look a LOT different.

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:p LOL. Show off!

I imagine I would do a few things differently if I had no regulation at all--less worksheets for sure. It just doesn't seem all that onerous after a few years. Kind of like the frog in the hot water I guess. However I *am* running out of new and different ways to prove we have taught fire safety yet again this year... :)

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See, I count hours as we sometimes don't have 5 hour days. I'm also preparing for high school as my kids are all currently in 7th grade...so 990 hours it is. It's probably more the homeschool evaluators that are picky. I envy the states (like VA) that only have to take a test to show learning.

 

As far as a student from a highly regulated state like PA and one which allows the unschooling equivalent of homeschool, I'm not buying they are just as well received. That unschooling family that was on WifeSwap had an 11-year-old who couldn't read the word cycle whereas my 11-year-old is reading at a graduate college level...

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Also, I'm a little miffed that across districts they are so inconsistent. In my rural county alone, there are 8 school districts. We can move five miles in any direction and be faced with completely different issues because it's a new (to us) school district. Didn't someone mention that Danville School District might be problematic because of a new superintendent?

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When I lived in PA, I used paper folders with brads for portfolios. I had the evaluation, my log of books read (no dates or times, no pages, just titles--incredibly useless bit of paperwork), a list of numbers 1-180 with checkmarks for days done, testing results if needed, and 6-8 pages of work and a write-up of things done (fire safety presentation, for example, that would have no worksheet). I never had a complaint from the SD that there was too little work shown.

 

I also used Freedom Evaluators Network for evaluations. We lived in Potter County about 1/4 mile from the NY state line but drove to Pittsburgh to get evalutors who would not insist on more than the law requires.

 

About the days vs. hours, I see no mention that to count a day, one must have done at least 5 hours of school. Are you dividing 180 days into 900 hours to get that? Since the law doesn't define a school day, I got to decide what was, ignoring the number of hours. 

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As far as a student from a highly regulated state like PA and one which allows the unschooling equivalent of homeschool, I'm not buying they are just as well received. That unschooling family that was on WifeSwap had an 11-year-old who couldn't read the word cycle whereas my 11-year-old is reading at a graduate college level...

 

WifeSwap always chooses the most out there families to make the show interesting. They likely purposely chose a homeschooling family where a kid couldn't read. Any time they show homeschooling families (or any family, really), they are the weirdest of weird. I wouldn't judge homeschoolers in lax states based on that show. ;)

 

My state requires that I register with a "church school" cover and report any days absent. So basically, I don't have to do anything (once I've signed up for a cover school which requires nothing from me). No testing, no nothing. My kids are well educated. I just don't have to prove it to anyone. Around here, homeschoolers are very well received. Though I did talk to a librarian today who was asking about homeschooling, and she was surprised that we didn't have to take a test to prove we could move on to the next grade. :lol:

 

Yes, there are "homeschoolers" in unregulated states who don't teach their kids (and I'm not really talking about "unschoolers", as some are very well educated and some are not, just like non-unschoolers... that's a double negative, but you know what I mean :lol: ). There are also "homeschoolers" in regulated states who don't teach their kids. They just find ways around the regulations. Regulations don't appear to actually cause people to educate their kids if they otherwise wouldn't. Someone who thinks "homeschooling" is just letting their kid play video games all day isn't going to suddenly switch to a classical education because regulations exist.

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You know, I'm not sure to what extent colleges etc. understand or even care about individual state regs. They pretty much go by high school transcripts, portfolios, interviews and the like I imagine. If a child were illiterate at 11 but doing college level work at 18, and meeting the schools acceptance criteria, well, so what? (Not that I support keeping children illiterate, mind you, just that colleges probably don't care what anyone was doing at age 11, unless they engineered world peace or are applying for admission at age 12 KWIM?). But maybe you are not talking about college admission?

 

I agree about the problems with inconsistency between districts. Sadly, too many Superintendants feel antagonistic towards homeschoolers and are uneducated about the laws. Hopefully, as more people start homeschooling that will change. I think it would be great to be able to feel that we could share ideas and resources between the homeschool and public school communities, and help each other rather than fear each other.

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I wonder if it's too late to do that model, thewaka, as the school district is accustomed to seeing a certain level of detail from us. We've had two different homeschool evaluators and both were pretty insistent about the detailed daily log. Also, we're rapidly moving them toward dual enrollment at the local university as my husband's a prof and they don't have to pay tuition. I'd feel better about my 14-year-olds auditing a Spanish class if I can show they've exhausted Rosetta Stone, Madrigal's Magic Keys, and telemundo. ;-0

 

So the daily logs are PITAs and I'm just hoping/justifying they'll be worth it.

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Does PA really stand so far above other states in regulations? Personally (I live in PA) the thought of moving to New York would put me in a panic--it seems like so much more paperwork. But maybe it is just the legalese.

 

As for binders, I tend to keep them as I go. One huge 3" binder for everything (my kids can't toss a school paper without angst) and another 2" binder for the portfolio stuff, which tends to be tests, drawings, especially good pieces of writing, and photos of experiments/outings/crafts, as well as a few worksheets or workbook pages from each subject. I spend less than an afternoon compiling my final binder in the spring. As far as hours--are you doing high school level work? I am not yet, and I just count days, which is easy-peasy. I imagine I will stress about portfolios more as they get to high school.

 

Yes, it does.

 

NY's regs have lots of words, but when you read them slowly, it's nothin'. Even I could breeze through them.

 

I graduated both of my dds many years ago. :-)

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I keep our paperwork and documents on Google Drive, since I've managed to murder two laptops in two years. I pick through and scan in some paper-based stuff to upload to our files and that's about it for the portfolio. The last couple years the school district got a cd with a pdf file on it from me for each kid, this year they are getting the url and a temporary password to each child's portfolio portion of their individual website. Each kid has a password protected website with a blog and a slew of pages with written work, scanned in stuff, and more, some of the pages will be made available to the school district for the portfolio. I have a section on each kid's website for the daily log, attendance, ect. that I use to track progress and link lessons to online resources. This spring I'll just have to decide what to give them access to. Though I do admit I'm curious how the website portfolio thing will go over.......:)

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We moved 5 miles from Delaware to PA for the public school system.   This is our 3rd year HS'ing after we spent 2 years in the 'great' public school.  

 

Delaware has almost no rules to follow and PA is a pain.  I often dream of moving back 5 miles and not having to deal with the bureaucracy.  The part that really bothers me is the busy work we have to complete to meet comply with our district.  That said, I am trying to be a 1/2 full kind of girl ... so here are the benefits of all that unnecessary paperwork:

 

  • We have a great summary/scrapbook of work at the end of the year.
  • I like that I am forced to test.  It give me a benchmark even if other's don't value it.  I know when my kids does well on the test, that he learned something.
  • It makes me do things with the kids that I would otherwise avoid  (PA's state study)
  • When I tell the boys 'this is going in your portfolio", their handwriting magically, but temporarily, improves.
  • It teaches the boys a certain level of accountability (albeit minor)
  • It helps me stay organized, focused and thorough in my researching and tracking of what we accomplish.

Of course, if I could move back to DE - I would!

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  • It helps me stay organized, focused and thorough in my researching and tracking of what we accomplish.

 

 

Agreed. Last year when I was compiling our curriculum resources (books and films watched) I was really surprised how much ground we covered in history. We started with Genghis Khan and went all the way up to the late 1700s including a long unit on pirates, an in-depth study of Vermeer, and finally they learned about their Huguenot ancestors who moved from France to Amsterdam (and we even looked up where they lived on Google Street View) to Williamsburg, VA and the tavern they ran at the time of the Revolutionary War (they really enjoyed that unit).

 

The regulations keep me on my toes and pushing them to learn more and more in depth than I probably would. ;-0

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Remember that PA provides some other pretty decent benefits too. I actually don't mind doing the portfolios, as they make me put together a keepsake that I might not otherwise get around to doing. I don't like the state oversight, and I think the testing requirement is stupid, but I don't mind doing the portfolios. And it's nice that there's nothing required until age 8. I live in a friendly SD, though; they leave post-it notes with compliments in our portfolios. :)

 

Remember that PA allows homeschoolers to take classes at the public school, plus homeschoolers can participate in activities and sports. That could be a nice thing. Our SD's annual letter to the homeschoolers reminds us of that fact. Also, our library system is awesome! I feel for other people who complain about how bad the libraries are in their areas. And on another thread, people talked about how lousy the state parks in their areas are too; PA's are nice! I'll handle the state in trade for the other benefits. (And PA's requirements are generally just dumb, not onerous, IMO -- a bunch of silly hoops to jump through, but really nothing too horrible.)

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I'm kinda freaking out at the thought of homeschooling our new adoptive daughter next year because she is "special needs" and so I have even more requirements that I'll have to meet with her. It's daunting to say the least! And honestly it makes me mad because her public school is unconcerned that she is not reading, because she's deaf and special needs they think it's okay. But if I can't get more progress and document like crazy what we're doing at home I could get in trouble. 

 

All in all I'm just happy I don't have to do anything for my son until he enters 3rd grade :)

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Remember that PA allows homeschoolers to take classes at the public school, plus homeschoolers can participate in activities and sports.  And on another thread, people talked about how lousy the state parks in their areas are too; PA's are nice! I'll handle the state in trade for the other benefits. (And PA's requirements are generally just dumb, not onerous, IMO -- a bunch of silly hoops to jump through, but really nothing too horrible.)

 

Yeah, the hoops drive me crazy, but I send 1-2 my kids down to the local school for music not to mention clubs.

 

Let's not forget our state game lands, too. Those are like state parks if you're adventurous enough to go hiking on them. Ya got to be careful about bears there, though. ;-0

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There is so much variety in PA school districts.  I don't have to turn anything in yet, but from what I hear my school district is pretty easy.  One friend only checks off days on one page calendar and turns it in with a stack of papers thin enough to staple together easily and another friend never even bothered to turn her portfolios in last year.  She got a reminder phone call and then they dropped it.   I also know several unschoolers here. I don't know what they turn in, but I know there are a lot of them.  None of that would have happened in the school district I grew up in, my mom still has annoying interactions with them over my younger siblings.

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There is so much variety in PA school districts.

 

We'd like to move, but because of this variety, we're a bit apprehensive. Again, 8 school districts in our rural county. I feel ours is easier than some and I know someone who cyberschooled in our district, moved a few miles away to another school district and continued to cyberschool, but ended up having probs with the new school district. Crazy.

 

Add to it, that any time there's a new superintendent or principal things can get hairy as they might not know the law or even what's been allowed/is allowed in their SD.

 

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Does PA really stand so far above other states in regulations?

Yes, yes it does.  If we ever move to another state, homeschool regulations will be considered as a major determination on where we'd be willing to go.

 

Here is Washington, we don't have to do anything at all until the child is 8.  At that time, we have to submit a piece of paper to let the school district know that we are homeschooling.  

 

We have to be "qualified," which means we indicate on the above piece of paper that we have 45 college credits or have taken a homeschool qualifying class or work under a certified teacher or be deemed qualified by the superintendent.  No one verifies that we are qualified.  The homeschool qualifying class I took spent 3 1/2 hours explaining the items in this list...and telling a lot of stories to fill in the time.

 

Then we have to teach 11 subjects, but there is no requirement to teach them all every year.  

 

We have to keep records but there is no indication on what records we have to keep other than vaccination records.  

 

Finally, we have to test every year after age 8.  

 

Our records and tests aren't shown to anyone; they are for our own private records. 

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Yes, yes it does.  If we ever move to another state, homeschool regulations will be considered as a major determination on where we'd be willing to go.

 

Here is Washington, we don't have to do anything at all until the child is 8.  At that time, we have to submit a piece of paper to let the school district know that we are homeschooling.  

 

We have to be "qualified," which means we indicate on the above piece of paper that we have 45 college credits or have taken a homeschool qualifying class or work under a certified teacher or be deemed qualified by the superintendent.  No one verifies that we are qualified.  The homeschool qualifying class I took spent 3 1/2 hours explaining the items in this list...and telling a lot of stories to fill in the time.

 

Then we have to teach 11 subjects, but there is no requirement to teach them all every year.  

 

We have to keep records but there is no indication on what records we have to keep other than vaccination records.  

 

Finally, we have to test every year after age 8.  

 

Our records and tests aren't shown to anyone; they are for our own private records. 

 

Doesn't it seem silly to "require" people to do something but then not require proof that it was done? I mean, goodness, would we not think to teach our children to read and write and cipher and everything else if the government didn't tell us to do it?? ::rolls eyes::

 

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Doesn't it seem silly to "require" people to do something but then not require proof that it was done? I mean, goodness, would we not think to teach our children to read and write and cipher and everything else if the government didn't tell us to do it?? ::rolls eyes::

 

To be fair, we have a similar thing in Texas. Leeper v. Arlington requires a "curriculum designed to meet basic education goals of reading, spelling, grammar, mathematics and a study of good citizenship"; but as there is no state or county agency with the authority even to inquire whether we have such a curriculum, let alone take a look at it, we all ignore it. Of course we teach those things, but only brand new homeschoolers who've bothered to read Leeper wonder what "good citizenship" means or whether these subjects have to be taught every year.
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Another PA homeschooler here... I've never understood the big deal.

 

Every week I go into  HST and check off the days they were "present". I do NOT count hours! That would be such a pain!

 

I put together a portfolio every spring by gathering the pamphlets I've collected in a box all year.

We take it to our evaluator friend who spends an hour chatting with  my daughter.

 

Three times (3,5,8 gr) they are tested.

 

That's it!

 

I would absolutely not tolerate a SD who "required" (in quotes because it's not in the PA law) a visual sample of daily work. I would call HSLDA and they would make the SD back off. It's happened before.

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See, I count hours as we sometimes don't have 5 hour days. I'm also preparing for high school as my kids are all currently in 7th grade...so 990 hours it is. It's probably more the homeschool evaluators that are picky. I envy the states (like VA) that only have to take a test to show learning.

 

As far as a student from a highly regulated state like PA and one which allows the unschooling equivalent of homeschool, I'm not buying they are just as well received. That unschooling family that was on WifeSwap had an 11-year-old who couldn't read the word cycle whereas my 11-year-old is reading at a graduate college level...

 

Very few people outside of homeschooling have any idea that each state has its own homeschooling law, let alone that some are barely regulated or not at all.  When we lived in PA we met upper elementary school families with children who had been exposed to very little actual learning as well as families whose students were excelling.  When we lived in Oklahoma and Arizona, we met families from all over the spectrum as well.  My kids performed equally well no matter how much or how little garbage paperwork we had to submit to the state  :closedeyes:

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We'd like to move, but because of this variety, we're a bit apprehensive. Again, 8 school districts in our rural county. I feel ours is easier than some and I know someone who cyberschooled in our district, moved a few miles away to another school district and continued to cyberschool, but ended up having probs with the new school district. Crazy.

 

Add to it, that any time there's a new superintendent or principal things can get hairy as they might not know the law or even what's been allowed/is allowed in their SD.

 

 

 

Another PA homeschooler here... I've never understood the big deal.

 

Every week I go into  HST and check off the days they were "present". I do NOT count hours! That would be such a pain!

 

I put together a portfolio every spring by gathering the pamphlets I've collected in a box all year.

We take it to our evaluator friend who spends an hour chatting with  my daughter.

 

Three times (3,5,8 gr) they are tested.

 

That's it!

 

I would absolutely not tolerate a SD who "required" (in quotes because it's not in the PA law) a visual sample of daily work. I would call HSLDA and they would make the SD back off. It's happened before.

 

Read the quote above yours for one explanation of what is wrong with it.  The regulations in PA give the district superintendent ill placed power.  Why should families be accountable to the superintendent?  The superintendent is accountable to taxpayers for the education of their public school students because he's paid to oversee it. He's accountable to parents because they are entrusting him with the education of their children. Making homeschooling families accountable to the local SI is completely back-ass-ward.

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Read the quote above yours for one explanation of what is wrong with it.  The regulations in PA give the district superintendent ill placed power.  Why should families be accountable to the superintendent?  The superintendent is accountable to taxpayers for the education of their public school students because he's paid to oversee it. He's accountable to parents because they are entrusting him with the education of their children. Making homeschooling families accountable to the local SI is completely back-ass-ward.

 

Our superintendents can even "graduate" homeschoolers, which can be an issue for advanced students who are ahead and need to finish up high school before they are at the compulsory school age of 17. I'm going to face this eventually with my youngest, but the SD isn't recognizing that she's already ahead a year academically and that she has a late-ish birthday (May), so we'll likely be head banging with the SI...

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Read the quote above yours for one explanation of what is wrong with it.  The regulations in PA give the district superintendent ill placed power.  Why should families be accountable to the superintendent?  The superintendent is accountable to taxpayers for the education of their public school students because he's paid to oversee it. He's accountable to parents because they are entrusting him with the education of their children. Making homeschooling families accountable to the local SI is completely back-ass-ward.

 

I was not saying that I was ok with the law itself. Regardless of my feelings (and I agree with you!), the law is there and we can't change it at this point. I was saying that since it is necessary, I do the minimum required and don't think it's terribly difficult to do what they ask. I was referring to the OP who said she spends hours a day keeping up with the requirements- that is too much and unnecessary, IMO.

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Our superintendents can even "graduate" homeschoolers, which can be an issue for advanced students who are ahead and need to finish up high school before they are at the compulsory school age of 17. I'm going to face this eventually with my youngest, but the SD isn't recognizing that she's already ahead a year academically and that she has a late-ish birthday (May), so we'll likely be head banging with the SI...

 

I understand about her being a year ahead academically, but having two dc with May bdays, it would never have occurred to me in a bazillion years that their birthdays were "late-ish." :huh:

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I was referring to the OP who said she spends hours a day keeping up with the requirements- that is too much and unnecessary, IMO.

 

Just 'cause I got behind on entering in the data on my homeschool scheduler. :-(

 

I've been dealing with chronic sinus/allergy problems for a couple of years that I've only recently been able to address, so I'm spending the rest of the month catching up on homeschool scheduling and the rest of home-related things.

 

All that being said, counting hours is a PITA, but I prefer it as my planned homeschool diploma program is hours-based.

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Is there a good reason why if the USA is one country you do not have a one set of rules and one curriculum?

 

The U.S. is made up of 50 sovereign states which have voluntarily joined together in a union, which is why we are the United States of America. There is a federal government, which has the powers specified in the U.S. Constitution and the Bill of Rights. Anything not specified in the Constitution and Bill of Rights belongs to the individual states, which includes the education of the children of each state. That the U.S. federal government has overstepped its boundaries is a whole other issue. :glare:

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I was not saying that I was ok with the law itself. Regardless of my feelings (and I agree with you!), the law is there and we can't change it at this point. I was saying that since it is necessary, I do the minimum required and don't think it's terribly difficult to do what they ask. I was referring to the OP who said she spends hours a day keeping up with the requirements- that is too much and unnecessary, IMO.

Sorry, I misunderstood you, and ITA with putting the minimum into the requirements. Going above and beyond just encourages them to continually ask for more outside the law. The PA law irked me SO much when we lived there. It's a badly written law, inconsistently applied by superintendents who really have no business having any authority over homeschoolers in the first place.

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(like maybe how well-received our homeschoolers are compared to less rigorously regulated homeschool states)?

  

I envy the states (like VA) that only have to take a test to show learning.

 

As far as a student from a highly regulated state like PA and one which allows the unschooling equivalent of homeschool, I'm not buying they are just as well received.

  

 

The regulations keep me on my toes and pushing them to learn more and more in depth than I probably would. ;-0

Sorry, universities are clueless about state regulations and don't perceive homeschoolers from one state more highly regarded than another. We move a lot and at the end of this yr we will have 4 graduates from 3 different states. So don't buy it if it makes you feel better, but 2 of my graduates are from VA.;). No problems with their transcripts and homeschool diplomas.

 

As far as the third quote, that sounds like a personal issue. ;) State regulations have zero influence over what I teach my kids. My 12th grader lived in VA from 6th grade until the middle of 11th. In a state with little regulation, he was taking AP cal and chem in 10th and physics and multivariable cal at a local university in11th. I think the idea that regulations keep you motivated is untrue. Regulations would simply consume more of my time and hamper my teaching, not make it better.

 

Fwiw.....there are 3 states I have told my dh that I refuse to live in....NY, PA, and RI.

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Sorry, universities are clueless about state regulations and don't perceive homeschoolers from one state more highly regarded than another.

 

 

This is true. Universities have no obligation to know anything about homeschool regulations, and I doubt that anyone takes the time to learn them, or to notice which applicants got better scores (or worse) on entrance exams or anything else by which a comparison might be made.

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Recently, I've been spending hours a day putting together my kids' homeschool schedules, double-checking them, adding up hours, etc. so that come spring, I'm not in a two week panic to get everything sorted out before we have the portfolio review.

Just wanted to chime in with a few thoughts.

 

~ I kept portfolio fodder as we went along, putting it on a certain shelf or into a binder pre-filled with sheet protectors, so that in the early spring I could take stock and see if there were any "holes" I felt needed filling.  By this time of year we had generated enough stuff naturally that it was easy to put the portfolio together.  

 

~ As my kids got older, much of what I put in their port was written work (essays, lab reports, creative writing) which were on the computer.   You only need "samples",  and only enough to show "sustained progress".  I found that written pieces usually spoke well enough to literacy and competency with the subject that I did not need a lot of them.  

 

~ The portfolio process is pretty much designed to "red flag" those kids who may not be being well served by homeschooling.  I felt my portfolio mainly needed to project the idea that the district did not need to worry about my kids.  A basic air of competency on my part, and literacy and numeracy at more-or-less grade level on their part, was sufficient.  The district didn't need all the fine details as to what we did from day to day, and I don't believe the law requires it.

 

outnumberedhomeschooler, on 10 Oct 2013 - 3:29 PM, said:

See, I count hours as we sometimes don't have 5 hour days. I'm also preparing for high school as my kids are all currently in 7th grade...so 990 hours it is. It's probably more the homeschool evaluators that are picky. I envy the states (like VA) that only have to take a test to show learning.

 

~ The law requires 180 days OR 900/990 hours.  There's no requirement that a "day" equal five hours.  By the time academic-type kids get to high school, they are usually working *most* days during the school year anyway, whether they are homeschooled or publicly/privately schooled.  Counting days or counting hours is a very inaccurate way to measure the effectiveness of a homeschool program anyway, as for most of us there isn't a hard line between "school" and "not school".  For homeschoolers, things like scouts, sports, volunteer work, hobbies, and such are all part of our curriculum and all can legitimately be counted as "school".   Not to mention audio books in the car, bedtime stories, dinner table conversations about current events, and so on.

 

~ The law *doesn't* require you to tell the school district, or your evaluator, what you did on any particular school day.  It *does* require that your portfolio + written evaluation "demonstrate that appropriate education is occurring", where "appropriate education" is "a program consisting of instruction in the required subjects for the time required... in which the student demonstrates sustained progress in the overall program."  You can show that in a number of different ways.  For example, I felt that my kids' test scores demonstrated sustained progress, so in years that we tested I didn't feel much pressure to put tons of samples in our portfolios.  I included an attendance calendar with 180+ days checked off to show that we had met the time requirement.

 

~ I chose an evaluator who didn't expect more than the law required.  I believe that if we are following the law we should not feel pressure from our evaluators!

 

~Now of course a diploma program may require more documentation.  But there's no need to give all of that to the district.  

outnumberedhomeschooler, on 10 Oct 2013 - 3:29 PM, said:

Also, I'm a little miffed that across districts they are so inconsistent. In my rural county alone, there are 8 school districts. We can move five miles in any direction and be faced with completely different issues because it's a new (to us) school district. Didn't someone mention that Danville School District might be problematic because of a new superintendent?

 

~ While new personnel sometimes do create problems, my personal experience has been that a friendly phone call or letter usually sets them straight, and if not a call to the PDE can be helpful.  Even if the superintendent changes, the law does not.

 

~ I usually put lots of law quotes throughout my portfolio, to educate the port reviewer as to what was required, and to show that I had met those requirements.  For example, at the top of my log, I labeled it "Log of Reading Materials", as that's what the law requires.  I felt it was a preemptive move on my part, to head off any misconceptions as soon as possible.

 

I wonder if it's too late to do that model, thewaka, as the school district is accustomed to seeing a certain level of detail from us. We've had two different homeschool evaluators and both were pretty insistent about the detailed daily log. Also, we're rapidly moving them toward dual enrollment at the local university as my husband's a prof and they don't have to pay tuition. I'd feel better about my 14-year-olds auditing a Spanish class if I can show they've exhausted Rosetta Stone, Madrigal's Magic Keys, and telemundo. ;-0

 

So the daily logs are PITAs and I'm just hoping/justifying they'll be worth it.

 

The law requires "a log, made contemporaneously with the instruction, which designates by title the reading materials used".  I don't think it requires me to write "Monday:  Little House on the Prairie, pages 45-67".  I think it requires me to write "Little House on the Prairie", once and done, so that the end result is a list of reading materials, not a daily list of instructional activity.  I think a detailed daily log is a huge waste of a busy homeschooling mom's time, unless she is keeping it for her own records, and even then a weekly summary would probably suffice.  And I think if the portfolio + evaluation shows time (days or hours), subjects (through samples + log + test scores or whatever else), and progress (samples, test scores, level and quantity of books in log), and if it shows a general air of, again, competence on the part of the supervisor and literacy/numeracy on the part of the student, then that should be sufficient to serve the interests of the state.  I've never used an evaluator who requested a daily log, and my impression is that a good number of homeschoolers in PA don't keep them.

 

I think it's much more useful to be able to show samples of work and/or test scores to convey what the child has learned.  It can also be useful to write an annual summary of the work.  For high school, it may be wise to write a "syllabus" of each course, including textbook info (and possibly chapter titles), major projects, etc.  No one is going to wade through a daily log; they will want the "executive summary".  And if you, say, finish Singapore Math 5, then that can be conveyed in a sentence, or at the very most a paragraph.

 

Agreed. Last year when I was compiling our curriculum resources (books and films watched) I was really surprised how much ground we covered in history. We started with Genghis Khan and went all the way up to the late 1700s including a long unit on pirates, an in-depth study of Vermeer, and finally they learned about their Huguenot ancestors who moved from France to Amsterdam (and we even looked up where they lived on Google Street View) to Williamsburg, VA and the tavern they ran at the time of the Revolutionary War (they really enjoyed that unit).

 

The regulations keep me on my toes and pushing them to learn more and more in depth than I probably would. ;-0

 

It *is* neat to see how much you've accomplished over a year.  Just don't do it from fear of the district, or worse yet your evaluator, you know?  Read the law for yourself, see what you think it requires of you.  Also, you might find the Yahoo group "hs2coll" helpful.  You'll get to watch the year's crop of academic homeschoolers go through the college app process, which helps you to learn what is and is not useful to do to prepare.  

 

 

 

All that being said, counting hours is a PITA, but I prefer it as my planned homeschool diploma program is hours-based.

 

Gotcha.  Just don't beat yourself up over it, you know?  And don't mix up what the law requires with what the diploma program requires. 

 

:-)

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As far as the third quote, that sounds like a personal issue. ;) State regulations have zero influence over what I teach my kids.

 

Thanks for that. It makes me feel so much better about my recent health issues and how they've been adversely affecting my ability to homeschool to the best of my ability.

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I stressed over the regs in the beginning, but my district hasn't been a problem. I hate the way they word things when they send me reminder letters, but that doesn't change the way I do things.

 

I have a Google doc with all our regular books listed and check off the ones we use each day. (Or insert Field Trip, Reading Day, Movie Day, Nature Day, or whatever.) I pull my samples at the end of the year, which is probably more work for me than doing it through the year, but that's how I like it.

I evaluator-hop, which is a pain, but I didn't like the first one we used, loved the second, and then that one disappeared, so I'm still shopping for a new one. I've never had my portfolio questioned, even when I used the evaluator who simply checked off a short list of boxes and signed the page.

 

For the 8 years we've lived here, I've dreamed of moving back to NJ, but PA is growing on me. I think we may just stick it out!

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I should say, too, that my kids need a detailed to-do list as some of the things they complete entirely on their own. So as much as I'd like to just list books on a calendar, they'd run amok if I didn't write:

 

October 15th, 2013

 

Writing- complete research for newspaper article

Reading- read pages __ and __ of _______ and answer comprehension questions on worksheet

Vocabulary- complete Quizlet for lesson 6

 

Etc.

 

And...all that being said and now that I'm caught up in double-checking and printing our my homeschool schedules, my kid with the least amount of 2013-2014 school hours has 331 hours, so we're "officially" one-third of the way our school year. :hurray:

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I should say, too, that my kids need a detailed to-do list as some of the things they complete entirely on their own. So as much as I'd like to just list books on a calendar, they'd run amok if I didn't write:

Well that's a whole other topic, lol. My kids get a detailed work list. My school district does NOT!

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Carrie--can you explain a bit more about how you use the Google Doc to check off your books? I keep a handwritten list of books we've used, with each book assigned a number, and then I write the numbers onto a blank calendar to show which ones we used each day. It is fine, but a little clunky. I'd love to streamline it. We use lots of books (35 so far and way over 100 by the time we get to the end of the year) and it can be irritating to be flipping back and forth to find the numbers.

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Carrie--can you explain a bit more about how you use the Google Doc to check off your books? I keep a handwritten list of books we've used, with each book assigned a number, and then I write the numbers onto a blank calendar to show which ones we used each day. It is fine, but a little clunky. I'd love to streamline it. We use lots of books (35 so far and way over 100 by the time we get to the end of the year) and it can be irritating to be flipping back and forth to find the numbers.

My columns are somewhat vague. A is "Day" (1-180), B is "Date". C through S are Math, Latin, BTB (Breaking the Barrier), RS (Rosetta Stone), Science, History, IEW, WWS, AAS, Sent. Const., Grammar, Vocab, Geography, Logic, Art, Music, Character. My separate book list is done by subject, so the columns that use multiple books are covered, and I also have a last column labelled "other" if I feel a need to add something that doesn't fit in a box.

 

ETA: I settled on this route b/c my dds use the same books for nearly everything, but their Math, Latin, and some Lit books are different. I can print out the same log for both, but separate book lists for each.

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I homeschool in PA. I have always counted days. Can't imagine counting hours.

 

I homeschooled in NY for 4 years. Initially, the paperwork sounds intimidating, but after you do it the first time, it's easy. Plus they have no complaints about parents proctoring the tests. Having lived in both states, I would say I definitely find NY's laws easier than PA's. The portfolio/evaluation in PA is the biggest pain in the neck. The one thing PA has going for it is that it allows homeschoolers to attend individual classes and participate in sports/extracurriculars. If they had asked me, I would probably would have voted against it, but since it's the law, I take full advantage of it. Dd takes 2 classes at the public school and participates in marching band and plays. 

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I keep a log in google documents for each kid also, but I do it differently and in the interests of offering a different perspective I thought I'd add it to this thread. My document has two sections: Ongoing and Intermittent. Ongoing stuff means the books we use on a fairly regular basis like math books or the like. Intermittent stuff means the books we got from the library one time, and that kind of thing. 

 

Under the 'Ongoing' section I have the following headers: Title, Date Started, Date Completed. So, assuming I'm using Saxon 54 for math I just list the title, the date we began using the book, like 9/3/13, and the date we finish the book. It has been suggested to me that I could add in a third column that lists the days of the week that we use a particular book, like MTWRF for math for example, but I have not done so. I may or may not, but there is no way I'm ever going to go to the trouble of writing down actual dates or something so annoying as writing little codes on the blocks in a calendar. The school district gets the title of the book, the date started and the date ended. Period. 

 

This means that for those books we use pretty much daily or at least weekly I only have to write them down once. I just add the end date when we stop using them. I don't get too crazy over keeping track of the intermittent books. Sometimes I add them and other times I just get too busy and don't bother. 

 

I also keep my attendance calendar 'backwards' too. I don't check off the days we have school because that is too much of a pain, instead I check off the days we take off of school. Much easier and much less paperwork. If the day isn't checked off as a sick day or a vacation day then we had school. 

 

As for taking hours and hours to make up detailed lists for the kids for the whole year ahead of time, I could NEVER do that! My kids just won't cooperate and learn at a regular reasonable pace. I take an hour or so on a Sunday evening to make five day's worth of daily instructions for each child, just enough for that week. Even so, inevitably one child will breeze through a week's worth of grammar or something in one day, or take two or three days to trudge through a writing assignment that I had figured would only take one day. By planning only one week at a time I get to adjust my plans to take into account how the child is doing with the subject, and when the inevitable kid finishes what I had estimated to be five days worth of work in just one day, the following week I can give that child a bit more of a challenge in that subject.

 

Conversely, if a child runs into a problem grasping an idea or completing a written assignment in the time I had originally planned for it to be done I can adjust next week's task list accordingly instead of trying to rush my child through the concept or nagging them to hurry up and get the assignment done (I do make sure the child is actually working on the written assignment, I just don't stress over getting it done by a certain date just because I've already got the next assignment scheduled to start).

 

Anyway, I don't consider any of that sort of planning to be my daily log and the school district never gets to see any of those lists. If you have to keep detailed records like that for a high school diploma program then presumably your kid is in high school, so why not let your student maintain a daily school diary of what he or she actually did, to the specifications of your diploma program? Then you don't have to worry about it, you can just review it on a daily basis and remind your child to add in anything he or she forgot or overlooked, and voila! You have a detailed daily record. I don't know of any diploma program that requires you to PLAN on that level of detail and so far ahead of time. Diploma programs are more interested in records, which means recording what was actually done, not what you planned.  It sounds like you are stressing yourself out over something that you really don't need to worry about. I mean really, if you plan to count hours how exactly can you manage to count hours that haven't even happened yet? Or is the idea that lesson X will take Y hours, no matter how long your child actually spends on Lesson X? That isn't how homeschool is supposed to work. 

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Hmmm. Food for thought Rainefox. I love the idea of less busywork, but our use of books is so crazy--there are almost no books other than math and Latin that we use daily. Some are 3 days a week, some are 2 days, etc. I guess I never thought of just doing start and finish dates for "standard" curricula and then keeping another list for our one-off books. I definitely wish that the law was clearer in what constitutes "a log, kept contemporaneously with instruction"!

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Oh heck no! I don't want the law to be any clearer! I have no doubt the idiots would want so much detail it would mean I'd need to hire an administrative staff! As it is the legislature couldn't decide between an evaluation, a portfolio, or standardized test scores and decided to insist on all three instead of just choosing one! The idea of those morons trying to specify in detail how I should keep records gives me nightmares! My first rule is.....No spending more time planning/recording than actual teaching. 

My kids kick butt on standardized testing, Last year one dd took the PSSA just for fun and kicked butt there too. How much more proof of 'academic progress' does any school superintendent need anyway? I think with the average PSSA scores in my district they need to hire ME as a consultant to get THEM straightened out. I'm certainly not going to bend over backwards to 'prove' anything to them. 

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