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Homeschool kids out and about during school hours


pinkmint
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Do you have any policy about staying out of public during certain hours with your homeschooled kids? I ask because we all know the furrowed brow questions, "Why are they not in school" etc. Speak to my cautiousness, or paranoia, whatever it might be. It's not like people never have CPS called on them for  not-abused, well taken care of kids who happen to be homeschooled. 

 

I'm thinking of this lately because my kids are enjoying playing outside more now that the miserable summer heat is letting up. And A. they are loud and B. we live in a crowded housing environment. We have a detached single family home, but just barely. It's more like detached duplexes with a shared driveway. Probably a good 50 neighbors can hear what my kids are doing when they're playing outside and all the normal kids are at school. 

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I have never encountered any problems. We were out and about during the day, and if somebody asked, I answered that we homeschool. It also was never a "furrowed brow" question, just mild curiosity.

I would refuse to shut myself up inside - we are not doing anything wrong, are in compliance with the state homeschool law, and I dare anybody to give me grief about it. Nobody ever did.

 

ETA: And I would bury them under veritable mountains of documentation so that they would be sorry they investigated.

Edited by regentrude
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We go out often.  We go to the zoo/museum/hair salon/dentist/park...and get to miss the after-school rush or weekend crowds.  

Now that the weather is nice, my kids play outside quite a bit.  I tend to make them stay in until after lunch because...well, school. But once they're done, I'd rather them be outside playing.  Then I can drink coffee and binge on Poldark. ;)

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I haven't been questioned about my kids playing outside either. I don't think CPS is really going to do anything about "kids are playing outside, noisily" in most places, since they usually are plenty overworked already. So, while I've heard the stories of CPS being called on kids outside, they iirc all involved kids not in their own yard, where the concern was kids being alone too young, not about being outside during school hours. I could see a truancy officer being called (at which point you'd explain you homeschool), but that's about it.

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We have always been out and about. If my kids were alone (no adult) they would sometimes get questions. No surprise there - it's safe but people get concerned over kids alone. If my kids were out with me, only friendly questions ("No School Today?").

 

My kids played outside, but we had no neighbors to bother so noise is never a problem.

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Very common here. People use the park and library. No one has an issue. Too complicated keeping up with the various schedules of all the different options. The PD know where the habitually truant hang out, and its not in the public view.

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What are the laws in your area?  City Ordinances?  Be aware of those.  In some cities in my state homeschooled children out during the day have to have a parent with them and it has to be a legitimate academic reason or medical reason for being in a public place.  That does not apply to playing in one's backyard.  If your kids are playing in their own backyard you should be fine.

 

In my specific location we don't have any ordinances but homeschooling is extremely rare compared to the general population.  If we are out (not hanging out in our own yard) most people assume one or another child had a doctor's appointment and it was too late to return to school.  If they don't ask specific questions, they just make assumptions, I don't disabuse them of the notion.  We have gotten questioned by various people and even professionals but when I answer with confidence and no hesitation that my children are currently homeschooling usually they leave us alone.   (The exception being an older lady at the vet clinic that thought it was horrible my pre-teen daughter was not in school and was very vocal about it.  Of course, she failed to acknowledge that while our cat was being treated for an injury DD was getting a tour of the facilities and a great impromtu lesson in veterinary medicine by the new veterinarian...something DD and I found quite educational.)

 

If your children are playing in their own yard, and you are following the laws of your state and any city ordinances regarding homeschooling and day time activities I wouldn't worry too much about it.  If you are questioned, please don't act worried or fearful or defensive (even if you are).  Smile, act confident, and answer clearly and succinctly.  (Don't babble on like my poor mom when she gets nervous.).  You should be fine.

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I have never worried about it.  Sometimes I will get a question about why they aren't in school, or asking if it is a school holiday, but when I say we are homeschoolers I get, almost always, positive reactions.  Although recently my kids helped MIL with an estate sale and some elderly people didn't believe my kids when they told them that they are homeschooled.  My kids thought it was funny.  I know the laws and follow them and don't worry about it.

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It has never been an issue here. At all. Ever.

 

Aside from there being a heavy home school population here, the public schools have so many days off, late starts and early releases that no one can keep up with it all.  There are 5 school districts in our immediate area and the all have different half days every other week for teacher work days.  Add the holidays and various things like parent/teacher conferences and there are likely as many public school kids at the park on a random Monday morning as there are home school kids.

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I never gave a single thought to being out and about when we were homeschooling. Homeschooling is very common here, plus kids go to many different schools (public, private, charter) that are all on different schedules. So it's common to see kids out and about all the time.

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Back in the 90's we did stay at home more.  Our state wasn't politically friendly to homeschooling.  Now, I don't give it a second thought.  One thing we still continue to do is to have our teen drivers carry a homeschool id and a note from me as the parent and administrator of our homeschool with my contact info.  

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We live in a small subdivision.  Whenever a new neighbor moved in, I'd go over & introduce myself . . . and after about 10 minutes of conversation would say that yes, we do have 5 kids . . . and yes, we will do our best not to disturb you all . . . and yes, we're even weird-that-way and enjoy homeschooling our kids.  All said with a cheerful truly-friendship-building intent.

 

I don't consider myself a Homeschool Ambassador, but I do think it's good for the community to see what healthy homechooling kids out in the community.  We should faithfully homeschool AND not hide at home!  I've been on our local library friends board for nearly a decade.  Most of the others are ps teachers, & without me pushing, they've seen our kids help out & have been won over IMO.

Edited by Beth S
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Nope.  We go all over.  Now, there is one park which is right outside an elementary school, and we don't go there during school hours because I think it would be distracting to any kids looking out the school windows to see my kids cavorting around on the swings at 10 am.

 

We are not underground homeschoolers.  We are doing what we should, and well within the law. 

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Do you have any policy about staying out of public during certain hours with your homeschooled kids? I ask because we all know the furrowed brow questions, "Why are they not in school" etc. Speak to my cautiousness, or paranoia, whatever it might be. It's not like people never have CPS called on them for  not-abused, well taken care of kids who happen to be homeschooled. 

 

I'm thinking of this lately because my kids are enjoying playing outside more now that the miserable summer heat is letting up. And A. they are loud and B. we live in a crowded housing environment. We have a detached single family home, but just barely. It's more like detached duplexes with a shared driveway. Probably a good 50 neighbors can hear what my kids are doing when they're playing outside and all the normal kids are at school. 

 

There is no reason to be concerned about taking your children out during the day. If they are with you, then you're fine. If someone has the audacity to ask you why the children are not in school, you just tell them there was no school today. :-)

 

 

It has sometimes been problematic if children are playing outside during school hours. I think Beth S's method is excellent. :-)

 

Some communities have daytime curfews, in which case the children are not allowed to be outside during certain hours without an adult present. Daytime curfews are evil. :cursing:

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I used to keep a copy of our letter of intent in my purse in the off chance that someone official might question us. In 13 years I have never needed to show it to anyone.

 

I'm a new homeschooler and going out in public* during school hours makes me a little paranoid.  I get less nervous running errands together and more nervous going to a park or attraction, because I know it probably doesn't look fair for my kids to be having fun (even educational fun) while others are stuck at school.  This is a good idea that will put my mind more at ease, thank you!

 

The funny thing is that whenever someone asks, one of my older boys immediately pipes up and explains that we homeschool... and hearing it come from the child usually nips the questioning in the bud!  Some of the expressions I have seen on the adults' faces have been priceless!

 

*That doesn't apply to our street, as our kids have told all the neighborhood kids that we homeschool now and word has somehow gotten around, even to those households without school-age children.

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We go out, we hit parks and libraries and stores. We eat out. The kids play outside.

 

I did worry when we moved to a new neighborhood, but I just included that we homeschool in our getting-to-know the neighbors introductions.

 

I don't worry when we're out and about, really, but DS knows that if he's asked - to say we homeschool.

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This is only our first year homeschooling, but I've never had a problem the times I've taken Squirrelboy out during school hours. Our church's youth group runs a pumpkin sale from 11-7 every day during the last two weeks of the year. It's the group's major fundraiser for the year, and they depend on church members, mostly parents of youth, to staff it. Traditionally, 11-1 is the hardest shift to fill, so I signed us up three times and ended up doing a fourth because the youth pastor put out an urgent call about shifts the next day that weren't filled. We served about 20 customers total and only two asked why he wasn't in school. Both of those responded positively when they learned that he's homeschooled. We were, in fact, doing schoolwork during our shift because it was pretty slow. The crossing guard at my daughter's school asked one day where he goes to school because he always come with me to pick her up, and public middle schools here get out more than an hour later than the elementary schools. She was excited to hear that he's homeschooled. It turns out she homeschooled her kids, who are now grown. I do try to spend most of the hours while Kittygirl is in school doing schoolwork because we need that time, but we've run a quick errand a few times and, yet again, he's never been questioned.

 

Maybe it's different in other parts of the country, but homeschooling is fairly common here. There are also so many different private schools with half days or off campus lunch periods or different days off that just the fact that a kid is out during the school day doesn't necessarily mean he/she is homeschooled.

 

Kids who are playing hooky aren't going to play in their yards or hang out in public with their parents. That would be too obvious.

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We have never had a problem but homeschooling is popular around here, we keep a detailed paper trail, my kids are doing well academically, so proving we educate isn't difficult.

 

I find for my sanity that we must homeschool consistently in the mornings anyway, so we are not usually our and about except for appointments, field trips, and the occasional play date. My kids go outside to play around 1:00 which isn't super early for our area compared with the public school kids.

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We go out quite often and have never had a problem.  People have asked (usually with school must be off today), but when we say we're homeschooling there's usually an ahh moment.  It's common enough around us with many area facilities offering homeschool programs that I don't think it phases many people when they hear we homeschool.

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I'm in my 4th year of homeschooling and the only questions I have ever gotten are from curious cashiers. Being out during the day is a great way to meet other homeschoolers. Once a police officer talked to my kids during the day but he never asked about school.

 

I have found that I need my mornings for school time so we aren't out mornings, we are out during the afternoons though.

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For what it is worth we have traveled to other states several times in the last 18 months on typical school days and we have only been asked why the kids weren't in school once. That includes travel to D.C., TN, TX, NC, SD, and CO. All but one of those we were driving so we went through several states on the way to our destinations.

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I don't worry about DD being out with me, or in our yard, but I don't let her go ride her scooter around the neighborhood or go play Pokémon Go and try to take over the gym at the church three blocks away until after about 2:00, when some of the schools are out. Part of that is to enforce that school is school-same reason I don't allow playing computer games or watching TV during those hours. During school hours, if she were in school,she might go to a park with her class, but she probably wouldn't be playing Pokémon there :).

 

And part of it is that, yeah, there are busybodies everywhere. Ever since the police pulled a friend out of her PT appointment because her 15 yr old and 7 yr old were sitting in the McDonalds right in front of the strip mall, eating lunch and doing school work during school hours, I've been rather nervous about the appearance of truancy. A kid with an adult, fine-a kid out by themselves, even when said kid is easily old enough to not raise eyebrows at other times of day, less so.

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I live in a condo complex. Most neighbors are out in the day but the upper floor paramedic works night and get upset by any noise. So my kids walk to the nearby parks to be noisy. Many under 3s at the parks and curious people just ask about standardised testing.

 

 

You know, you would think that after 4 years of us homeschooling my SIL would stop asking me how we handle standardized testing!

 

 

As for questions from strangers -- I used to worry about this, too.  In our first year only one person ever asked, and they did ask with a somewhat accusatory tone of voice.  It was a cashier at a store, and before I could even draw breath to respond her coworker promptly put her in her place.  The coworker did it gently and kindly, but quite firmly, explaining to the transplant from another state that in Texas LOTS of people homeschool, and do a good job of it, too.

 

I stopped worrying about others' reactions after that.

 

It's very rare that I even get a mention about it at all, and usually it's more in the line of a question about local school holidays or a sympathetic comment about getting to "miss" some school for appointments.  We usually respond simply with a friendly comment that we homeschool and can set our own break schedule, and that no school gets missed at all for appointments.

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I've never thought about it.  Seriously, if someone wanted to poke their nose in I have the hours and subjects worked on our computer, I have pictures up the wazoo of work in progress, I have lesson plans easily accessible, I have dated examples of work.

 

This is a verifiable school.  I have no shame or care what someone thinks we should be doing at a certain hour because I can back myself up ten ways 'til Sunday.  They can stuff it.

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As you're in TX, I wouldn't worry about it too much. 

I was surprised that I didn't see more people out with their homeschooled kids here (TX), like in stores, or just out, ya know?

We've been here for almost 10 years and have never had any problems. Our neighbors were not so close, but they were all very accepting of our homeschooling. 

I wouldn't just let them be outside all day every day.

If you do look up the law regarding homeschooling in TX, and you know that you are providing an education for them and keeping your own records, you really don't need to worry about it. 

 

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Yeah Texas is supposed to be a more homeschool friendly state. My area is not what people think of with white, conservative cowboy types who may be pro homeschool running through the prairie milking the cow in between 'rithmatic lessons.

 

My area is mostly African American and heavily democrat. Homeschool is not uncommon but still not quite normal.

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In my area, homeschooling is very common I've never gotten any negative comments about my kids being out. Questions, as in is she sick or is there a holiday. But I've had just about as many people ask if they are homeschooled who go on to share a positive story about themselves or a relative, or who are looking for homeschool connections. I really don't even think about it now, although I did at first.

Edited by MotherGoose
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In my area, homeschooling is very common I've never gotten any negative comments about my kids being out. Questions, as in is she sick or is there a holiday. But I've had just about as many people ask if they aren't homeschooled who go on to share a positive story about themselves or a relative, or who are looking for homeschool connections. I really don't even think about it now, although I did at first.

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I wouldn't worry about my kids being out and about during the day. Going to the zoo when it's less crowded is a fabulous plus of homeschooling  :laugh:

 

Unless you live in an area with no private schools or overlapping school districts, students have a variety of days off anyway. 

 

What do you mean by your kids being loud? Kids talking and laughing a bit louder than adult level is acceptable to most people. If they're normal kid-loud, that's fine. If they're shouters/screamers, that's going to get old pretty quick. Likewise banging balls on the wall or rattling sticks on the stair rails. Those types of noise are annoying enough to begin with, and you have the added factors of every day and a crowded environment. 

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