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homemommy83

Tax credits for homeschooling families.

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Please keep this thread civil and let the discussion show the strengths and weaknesses of funding for homeschooling/ basic testing requirements of homeschooling.

 

Our family lives in a county that the schools teeter between "D", "F", with an occasional "C" score from the state, and the vast majority is very low-income due to the low wages paid in our area.  I know that many families in our area are choosing to homeschool, but they have very limited funds (its either pay the bills or buy curriculum-and I am talking not able to spend any amount of money).  The school district is not exactly friendly towards homeschooling as by us not attending they lose 10,000 dollars per student, so they are not going to share resources.  â€‹

 

​I understand most people worry about the government adding requirements, and I am not saying that down the road that they wouldn't add to the requirements, but at what point is it worth accepting government funding?  If you are from a low wage area with poor schools where 95% of the kids have been offered drugs by there freshman year and 1/4th of the freshman girls are pregnant (so it is not an environment good for students ), and there has been cases of a teacher selling meth out of 2nd grade classrooms, but you are too poor to afford homeschooling does the lack of funding to homeschoolers contribute to the low educational goals of children in the area?  I know that most people on this forum can afford curriculum, or at least have good libraries and enough money to print materials (or buy cheap second hand, or low cost curriculum), but what about the families that truly cannot afford to homeschool because of the extra curriculum cost- should the poor be required to either not educate their children properly or send their children to these "schools".  

 

​I know that there is free online programs, but they usually still require printing, a computer, internet access- all of which many of the low-income families in our area still cannot afford.  Our family is personally doing well enough to afford curriculum, but I know of several families that cannot.  I share curriculum as I am able, and I have recommended names to Rainbow Resource for help, and they kindly helped them, but you cannot recommend yourself as you have to be recommended by someone else so families without friends knowledgeable of this avenue have no options.  They can send their children to a school that is dangerous, full of drugs, and where over half of the students can't get a real diploma from the school because they can't pass the 10th grade exam or they can keep them home without being able to afford curriculum.  The best they could do is take them to free events in the town (which aren't many in rural areas like ours), use the very small library (which sadly doesn't carry most classics, but does have books for every t.v. character known to man-lol), and get the free school stuff at the back to school bashes in the area for their school supplies, but that is still lacking.  They may be able to purchase the 10 dollar Walmart workbooks and call that their curriculum, but I personally don't believe that that is adequate long-term.  

 

​I personally have a homeschooling lending library- that is anyone who is homeschooling can borrow anything that I am not using for the year that is on my shelves (which is a lot for the K-6 crowd).  

 

​I have wondered if we are hindering other children's futures because we can afford to homeschool our children, and are not thinking about those who cannot afford the most basic curriculum so we stand against all funding for homeschoolers to keep our personal freedoms with low regulation still viable.  

 

​I know several families who would pull their children if they had the funds to home educate their children.  

 

​I am wondering if encouraging states to offer curriculum (that you simply go a choose from) or a small amount of credit with a supplier like Rainbow Resource (still saving them 9500 a year per student) should be totally off the table.  

 

​A lot of states do offer financial help to those homeschooling or public schooling- has it added to the requirements for their states?  I just have a lot of questions, in regards to how federal education dollars are spent.

 

​Our state offers 90% vouchers to private schools (even Christian), but that 10% totally knocks our family out of that option.  I love homeschooling, but wanted to mention that funding is going to "private" schools here and the only thing they are required to do is the testing of their students every few years.  Would either a portfolio or yearly test be that bad, if you would now be able to afford curriculum? 

 

Our state doesn't require much of anything from homeschooling- not even intent- just keep track of 180 days and you are done, but I know a few families who do not unschool- and do not do anything with their children beyond- go outside and play- do children have a right to a good education- or do parents have the right to do no education with their children.  If we don't have even a low bar for testing or evaluation are we encouraging these families to not educate their children?

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This is where we would seriously have to rethink school and what education looks like in a flexible society.  We're getting there, but I think we would have to lay a groundwork first.  Things like:

 

-every child has a right to a free and appropriate education.  Full stop.  Not a "free education through a public school building".  This means that if parents or private schools are educating they should have to prove that they are providing an education.  They should be held accountable to the community that they're raising a child to be a part of.

-resources paid for with tax dollars need to be allocated among all children living in that community.  If the school is not a good place, children should still be able to get books and equipment free of charge.  If it is a good, but not appropriate learning environment for that child, they should still be able to do sports, go to dances, theatre, band, choir..

-education should be properly funded.  Again, full stop. 

 

If we want to then allocate those funds as tax credits, fine.  But a credit later isn't going to help families homeschool now. 

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our state is all in or all out. We don't get access to part time classes, extra curriculars, therapies or anything. If anyone gets any funding it is through a charter school which does allow some choice in curriculum. They have a couple to choose from, but you must do it completely. It is not homeschooling. It is not choosing things to use as part of your curriculum. If you join, you use what they do. You see a teacher. You do testing. You fulfill their requirements daily, so can't schedule field trips or science fairs as your curriculum for a day, etc. No flexibility. I don't see our state every offering anything like what you are describing. 

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A credit through a few suppliers, made available at the beginning of the school year would allow homeschoolers immediate funding.  

 

I do personally believe that even children have certain rights-basic clothing , food, healthcare, and an education (I would prefer to their best ability, but that isn't possible for every family- due to time constraints in addition to money).  So a minimum bar at least so that students can at least pass a GED (unless metally handicapped obviously).

 

It would save the government education funding to encourage home education as well.

 

I always enjoy your post Home Again.

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No. No. No. No funding for homeschoolers, because that will entail being controlled by the government. No.

 

I do not believe that government funding makes the difference between homeschooling and not homeschooling. The cost of instructional materials is not nearly the cost of living; people who cannot afford for one parent to stay home and teach the children will still not be able to stay home even if the state funded their instructional materials.

 

A good education and homeschooling are not mutually exclusive.

 

Parents have the right to decide how their children are educated. It is a God-given right; it does not come from the government, and they do not need permission of any kind to decide to teach their children at home. And if they have decided to teach their children at home, they do not need any oversight from the government, and no funding of any kind.

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​I know that there is free online programs, but they usually still require printing, a computer, internet access- all of which many of the low-income families in our area still cannot afford.

 

 

In Texas a family that demonstrates financial need is loaned a computer and given a stipend to pay for internet access when they enroll in K12. I would imagine other states have a similar program.

 

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A credit through a few suppliers, made available at the beginning of the school year would allow homeschoolers immediate funding. 

 

That is a horrible idea.

 

If the taxpayer is to subsidize homeschooling at all, then via a tax credit or stipend for families who then select their own curriculum.

 

I am absolutely against tax payer money subsidizing select curriculum suppliers for providing curriculum to homeschoolers. That is ripe for abuse and cronyism and for using public funds to push views that support the agenda of whoever is in power. Nope. Give me money or not, but keep your fingers out of homeschools.

 

Edited by regentrude
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In Texas a family that demonstrates financial need is loaned a computer and given a stipend to pay for internet access when they enroll in K12. I would imagine other states have a similar program.

 

 

They get a computer and K12 when they enroll their children in Texas Virtual Academy. It is a public school, and so legally not homeschooling (in Texas, homeschoolers are the equivalent of non-accredited private schools). AFAIK, it is not just because they "demonstrate financial need." In fact, in order to enroll in TVA, the children must have been enrolled in a campus-based public school the previous year. Yes, a number of states have public virtual academies, including California, West Virginia, and Illinois.

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They get a computer and K12 when they enroll their children in Texas Virtual Academy. It is a public school, and so legally not homeschooling (in Texas, homeschoolers are the equivalent of non-accredited private schools). AFAIK, it is not just because they "demonstrate financial need." In fact, in order to enroll in TVA, the children must have been enrolled in a campus-based public school the previous year. Yes, a number of states have public virtual academies, including California, West Virginia, and Illinois.

 

I didn't claim it was homeschooling. I just pointed out that not being able to afford a computer was not a barrier to low-income families that wanted their child to have a decent education but also didn't want their child physically present on the campus of the local school. It isn't necessary to provide a homeschooling stipend when a free (public) education at home is already an option.

 

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In Indiana you can join connections academy which does give you a free computer, curriculum, and internet access, but you have no say on the children's curriculum and are required to be logged in for 5 hours daily irregardless of age of the student.  It would be prohibitive for a mother of more that two students in lower grades to sit next to their children to do such a program.  It would be great for a smaller family though.  

 

I have always been against the government getting in the business of families whether it was education, vaccines, or some other thing that "everyone" is required to do.  

 

I think after hearing the horrible accounts of abuse in the other threads I started wondering if any regulation was good.  I tend to float anti- regulation, as why do we lose our rights because others don't follow basic rules.  People were mentioning in the other thread requiring yearly physicals, vision, and dental appointments for children- that didn't even happen for me IN the public school.

 

Thank you to everyone responding to respectfully in this post.

 

 

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I think I would prefer homeschoolers to help homeschoolers by setting up foundations for curricula donations or whatever, than see the gov't get involved.  I don't think that's anything to worry about here anytime soon. School funding in TX is a disaster at best- they can't even properly fund the public schools. There is no risk they'll start doling out funds to homeschoolers in the near future. 

 

A PS teacher I spoke to this weekend said they've put caps on the schools in TX now for how many kids can even be categorized as special ed- my assumption was to limit the additional funding that comes with that designation. I am not sure if that meant a cap on IEPs or not, as I didn't get a chance to ask. But the mere mention of charter schools provokes massive amounts of blow back from people who scream the public schools are being robbed. I cannot imagine in a million years what would happen if they handed a stipend to homeschoolers. The teachers unions would be screaming from every rooftop. 

 

 

ETA: I'm assuming this is what the PS teacher was talking about- however she made it sounds as if it were STILL happening at her school as being pushed from state level. 

 

https://www.nytimes.com/2018/01/11/us/texas-special-education.html

Edited by texasmom33
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Perhaps an opt-in / opt-out program that follows the states that provide "free" materials and testing, but is optional?

 

Dumb question perhaps, but what about retired school curriculum?  I used to own a used book store, and about every year the local school would donate piles of retired textbooks and other materials - so many that we didn't know what to do with them all.  The library also donated a lot of retired but useable kids' books.  I would think those would be of value to low- or moderate-income homeschoolers.  The substantive quality of the material is likely comparable to the "new" stuff used at school.  (Sometimes better.)

 

I think it makes sense for the state to provide internet access to those who can't afford it.  In our area, that is a big local project - the goal is that nobody is without internet at home.

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We live below poverty level and homeschool. I would not want government money with any strings attached for homeschooling.

 

My husband is physically disabled and receives disability. I cannot work full time outside the home because I am his caretaker as well as our son's. We could not afford nurse care for dh and daycare for our son for the hours I would have to work to work full time and the wages around here are atrocious. We could never break even. We homeschool because when we enrolled our son in the local school district's Headstart program, the teacher blatantly ignored multiple doctor's orders to not feed him anything or allow him to receive food from others due to food allergies and texture issues. Then she would wonder why he was fine one minute and vomiting the next. This happened multiple times before we pulled him. We also had doctor's orders that were given to her that stated he was to have nothing applied to his skin at school including lip balm, sunscreen and face paint. You guessed it, she applied all three. The final straw was when he came home with a face painted Batman symbol across his entire face that required a doctor's care because he had blisters forming under it from allergies. For weeks it looked like he had burned his entire face somehow. His doctor actually suggested we consider homeschooling after the number of times we had to bring him in because of the school's lack of concern for ds's allergies and conditions that were on his IEP. All that to say, our decision to homeschool was not purely philosophical. While he was not being offered drugs (to my knowledge), the environment proved to be unsafe for him due to negligence of the teachers and staff.

 

I had homeschooled my kids from my first marriage. My ex was military and we always had plenty of money for curriculum. But during the nasty divorce, I lost the vast majority of the homeschooling curriculum that we had collected over the years. So I was pretty much starting from scratch again when my new dh and I  started homeschooling our son. And with much much less disposable income this time.

 

I pick up books from the thrift store when I have a spare $5 - $10. I've been able to find lots of classics and even some curriculum. I spend an average of 25 cents per book and I'm very choosy about condition since allergies and a huge problem. The few curriculum items I have bought from the thrift store averaged $5 an item. To be honest, I don't think I've made a trip to the thrift store since last fall. We just haven't had the extra money lately. But we have plenty for our son to read.

 

Our internet is prorated because we receive food stamps. This isn't a local program; there are lots of programs out there to get internet for low income families. It's not the best, downloads are not lightening fast and videos often have to buffer but it is very usable. Our computers are hand me downs with thrift store monitors. Again they aren't the best but they get the job done for us. We "splurged" on a $60 ink jet printer last summer when we received some unexpected extra money. The printer is HP Instant Ink compatible so for $10 a month we receive ink in the mail at no extra cost any time our printer needs it. So far it has been fantastic and cost effective for us. I don't print every little thing for school but I don't feel limited at all even though we technically have a 300 page limit per month. We print whatever we need to and have only crossed that limit once. It cost us an extra dollar that month.

 

Our son has a tablet for his speech therapist's apps and other school apps. We paid $30 for it on sale. It is slow and clunky sometimes and it is only able to connect to the internet by wi-fi but we get tons of use out it. Absolutely worth the $30 investment for us even though it was a tight month when we found it and bought it. Tons of free apps that are great and we've even shelled out the $8 or so a piece for two of the Dragonbox apps. Again totally worth the investment for our mathy little guy.

 

I use lots of free curriculum from the web. I was honestly amazed to find out how much more was available for free compared to when my older kids were little and still homeschooled. MEP math, Progressive Phonics. Ambleside Online, blogs that offer freebies, Teachers Pay Teachers freebies and low cost items. I've used bits and pieces of all of them and there are more (that I just can't think of right now) that I know I've looked at and just decided they were not for us. We had a thunderstorm roll through last night and that brought up a conversation on what makes lightening. A 15 minute conversation and couple of Youtube videos later and 5yo ds was satisfied and can now explain what makes lightening. No expensive curriculum necessary for that interest led science lesson last night.

 

Our local library is deplorably outdated and I don't use it at all but we have to go monthly to a bigger city 90 minutes away for dh's dr appointments. I just found out that we can purchase a non-resident membership to that city's library for $30 a year that gives us access to hard copy items from the library and e-books and services online. It is on my to do list to scrape together the funds to make that happen.

 

It's not easy but we make it work. Our son is thriving and actually ahead of his peers already in math and reading. We have to make some sacrifices that others with more disposable income probably do not have to make but it is something we are willing to do for his health and well being. Not everyone is willing to make those sacrifices and there is nothing wrong with that either. But I absolutely believe that everyone should have the opportunity to make that choice for themselves without interference from government agencies or anyone else.

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Perhaps an opt-in / opt-out program that follows the states that provide "free" materials and testing, but is optional?

 

Dumb question perhaps, but what about retired school curriculum?  I used to own a used book store, and about every year the local school would donate piles of retired textbooks and other materials - so many that we didn't know what to do with them all.  The library also donated a lot of retired but useable kids' books.  I would think those would be of value to low- or moderate-income homeschoolers.  The substantive quality of the material is likely comparable to the "new" stuff used at school.  (Sometimes better.)

 

I think it makes sense for the state to provide internet access to those who can't afford it.  In our area, that is a big local project - the goal is that nobody is without internet at home.

 

When my ex-husband was stationed overseas, we were part of an opt in virtual school that provided a stipend for us to spend on curriculum in exchange for our homeschooled kids to be counted as DODS students so they also had to participate in testing years. It was a very well run program and we had complete freedom in the choosing of curriculum (even religious if you wanted but you couldn't use stipend money to pay for it) and the day to day running of our homeschool. If something like that could be implemented to the general public in the states, I would definitely consider it.

 

Many of the books I find at the thrift store are school library culls and some curriculum that is no longer used.

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I don’t want the state dictating, now or ever, how I educate my children.

 

The only thing I’d be okay with is if ALL families with school age children were able to choose what to do with some or all of the allotted state funding per child. If I choose to send my child to the Montessori charter school, my district has to pay for it and for busing. I would love to have a portion of that to spend on my own kids, especially since I already have to report to the state/district. But I don’t want the state telling me in any way what materials I have to use or what subjects (except that I’m okay with some subject requirements for high school diplomas with the state’s name on them) or where I have to buy them. So in practice, I’m not sure how that could actually work.

 

Love the idea of homeschoolers helping each other though! Around here, there are lots of uses curricula sales and the like.

Edited by happypamama
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We live below poverty level and homeschool. I would not want government money with any strings attached for homeschooling.

 

My husband is physically disabled and receives disability. I cannot work full time outside the home because I am his caretaker as well as our son's. We could not afford nurse care for dh and daycare for our son for the hours I would have to work to work full time and the wages around here are atrocious. We could never break even. We homeschool because when we enrolled our son in the local school district's Headstart program, the teacher blatantly ignored multiple doctor's orders to not feed him anything or allow him to receive food from others due to food allergies and texture issues. Then she would wonder why he was fine one minute and vomiting the next. This happened multiple times before we pulled him. We also had doctor's orders that were given to her that stated he was to have nothing applied to his skin at school including lip balm, sunscreen and face paint. You guessed it, she applied all three. The final straw was when he came home with a face painted Batman symbol across his entire face that required a doctor's care because he had blisters forming under it from allergies. For weeks it looked like he had burned his entire face somehow. His doctor actually suggested we consider homeschooling after the number of times we had to bring him in because of the school's lack of concern for ds's allergies and conditions that were on his IEP. All that to say, our decision to homeschool was not purely philosophical. While he was not being offered drugs (to my knowledge), the environment proved to be unsafe for him due to negligence of the teachers and staff.

 

I had homeschooled my kids from my first marriage. My ex was military and we always had plenty of money for curriculum. But during the nasty divorce, I lost the vast majority of the homeschooling curriculum that we had collected over the years. So I was pretty much starting from scratch again when my new dh and I  started homeschooling our son. And with much much less disposable income this time.

 

I pick up books from the thrift store when I have a spare $5 - $10. I've been able to find lots of classics and even some curriculum. I spend an average of 25 cents per book and I'm very choosy about condition since allergies and a huge problem. The few curriculum items I have bought from the thrift store averaged $5 an item. To be honest, I don't think I've made a trip to the thrift store since last fall. We just haven't had the extra money lately. But we have plenty for our son to read.

 

Our internet is prorated because we receive food stamps. This isn't a local program; there are lots of programs out there to get internet for low income families. It's not the best, downloads are not lightening fast and videos often have to buffer but it is very usable. Our computers are hand me downs with thrift store monitors. Again they aren't the best but they get the job done for us. We "splurged" on a $60 ink jet printer last summer when we received some unexpected extra money. The printer is HP Instant Ink compatible so for $10 a month we receive ink in the mail at no extra cost any time our printer needs it. So far it has been fantastic and cost effective for us. I don't print every little thing for school but I don't feel limited at all even though we technically have a 300 page limit per month. We print whatever we need to and have only crossed that limit once. It cost us an extra dollar that month.

 

Our son has a tablet for his speech therapist's apps and other school apps. We paid $30 for it on sale. It is slow and clunky sometimes and it is only able to connect to the internet by wi-fi but we get tons of use out it. Absolutely worth the $30 investment for us even though it was a tight month when we found it and bought it. Tons of free apps that are great and we've even shelled out the $8 or so a piece for two of the Dragonbox apps. Again totally worth the investment for our mathy little guy.

 

I use lots of free curriculum from the web. I was honestly amazed to find out how much more was available for free compared to when my older kids were little and still homeschooled. MEP math, Progressive Phonics. Ambleside Online, blogs that offer freebies, Teachers Pay Teachers freebies and low cost items. I've used bits and pieces of all of them and there are more (that I just can't think of right now) that I know I've looked at and just decided they were not for us. We had a thunderstorm roll through last night and that brought up a conversation on what makes lightening. A 15 minute conversation and couple of Youtube videos later and 5yo ds was satisfied and can now explain what makes lightening. No expensive curriculum necessary for that interest led science lesson last night.

 

Our local library is deplorably outdated and I don't use it at all but we have to go monthly to a bigger city 90 minutes away for dh's dr appointments. I just found out that we can purchase a non-resident membership to that city's library for $30 a year that gives us access to hard copy items from the library and e-books and services online. It is on my to do list to scrape together the funds to make that happen.

 

It's not easy but we make it work. Our son is thriving and actually ahead of his peers already in math and reading. We have to make some sacrifices that others with more disposable income probably do not have to make but it is something we are willing to do for his health and well being. Not everyone is willing to make those sacrifices and there is nothing wrong with that either. But I absolutely believe that everyone should have the opportunity to make that choice for themselves without interference from government agencies or anyone else.

Our family is right at the poverty level as well, and the Lord has always provided our needs as well.  We both work fulltime, but our wages are still low compared to other areas for the same jobs.  I have used tax refunds and my inheritance to build a rather nice nonconsumable homeschool library.  

 

I do think some people are better at making use of free curriculum and printables.  I would do just about anything to be able to stay home with my children.

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When my ex-husband was stationed overseas, we were part of an opt in virtual school that provided a stipend for us to spend on curriculum in exchange for our homeschooled kids to be counted as DODS students so they also had to participate in testing years. It was a very well run program and we had complete freedom in the choosing of curriculum (even religious if you wanted but you couldn't use stipend money to pay for it) and the day to day running of our homeschool. If something like that could be implemented to the general public in the states, I would definitely consider it.

 

Many of the books I find at the thrift store are school library culls and some curriculum that is no longer used.

That sounds fabulous, and exactly what I meant.

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I can hardly believe that someone who truly wanted to, can’t afford to make it work. One of my dearest friends is a SINGLE and working full

Time mother who make less than 30k per year and she was very resourceful!!! The public library, was her number one main source. She got all the math books at the TextBook Repository. They didn’t have internet at home till the girls freshman year of high school! They used the library for that too. The girl got her OWN job to save for college and received a college scholarship and is now attending a private Christian uni. She biked herself in the RAIN in south Florida and in the 93 decree heat and humidity to her job and she was proud that over four years of high school she saved enough to pay her room and board for two years. She used the FREE dual enrollment Florida offers for about half of her high school courses and she used Khan acadmy ans guess what she even had a social life too! She went on missions trips to Haiti, out of state to visit her father and stepmother, yearly vacations in Little inexpensive cabins by lakes (during the off season in FL), and they NEVER ate out! Even on their little vacations their eating out budget was $5 for the week (they used the grocery store and cooked in the cabin)

 

If you want something you can make it happen.

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In my state there is a charter school geared towards homeschoolers. You get a generous curriculum stipend (pay yourself for religious curriculum), a fine artsstipend to pay for something like music or dance lessons, internet, and a computer. In return you email in weekly proof of work in each subject (usually a screen shot of a worksheet or photo of an activity) and take standardized tests each year. There are also teacher counselors you can call and free tutoring if your childtests as “behind.†I have friends hovering around the poverty level who use it. I think it’s a very good compromise between making sure the taxpayers money is spent for the purpose it was collected and giving the families as much freedom to tailor as possible. But I’m glad I don’t have to use it bc I would hate the extra paperwork. ;). Generally speaking, I agree with Ellie, but I do personally know some awesome homeschool families who are working opposite shifts to stay afloat and just couldn’t make homeschooling happen without this program, so I’m glad it exists.

 

Eta: I am in favor of having these types of programs available to those who need or want them rather than ptax credits for all homeschoolers and the interference that would inevitably follow.

Edited by Spudater
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I didn't claim it was homeschooling. I just pointed out that not being able to afford a computer was not a barrier to low-income families that wanted their child to have a decent education but also didn't want their child physically present on the campus of the local school. It isn't necessary to provide a homeschooling stipend when a free (public) education at home is already an option.

 

 

But you cannot pitch public school charters/virtual academies by saying that they will help low-income people. They will not. Low-income families still probably need two incomes. Enrolling their children in a public school program will not change anything.

 

There is never a "need" to "provide" a "homeschooling" stipend. Never. 

 

Your argument is all wrong.  Let us be clear about that. We are talking about parents having the right to teach their children at home free of government regulation. Stipends and computers only happen when the children are enrolled in government-funded public schools and so therefore not free of government regulation.

 

In order for there to be tax credits for homeschooling families, there would have to be clear proof that the families are homeschooling. In states with actual homeschool laws, such as North Carolina or Virginia, that would be possible; it would not be possible in states like Texas or Illinois or New Jersey. where parents don't have to have any interaction with their state government and so cannot prove that they are homeschooling. There would need to be legislation, and the chances of homeschoolers getting the good end of the stick would be slim and none. And are we talking about *federal* tax credits? Oh gosh. What a messy, messy cess pool of government involvement that would be.

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I can hardly believe that someone who truly wanted to, can’t afford to make it work. One of my dearest friends is a SINGLE and working full

Time mother who make less than 30k per year and she was very resourceful!!! The public library, was her number one main source. She got all the math books at the TextBook Repository. They didn’t have internet at home till the girls freshman year of high school! They used the library for that too. The girl got her OWN job to save for college and received a college scholarship and is now attending a private Christian uni. She biked herself in the RAIN in south Florida and in the 93 decree heat and humidity to her job and she was proud that over four years of high school she saved enough to pay her room and board for two years. She used the FREE dual enrollment Florida offers for about half of her high school courses and she used Khan acadmy ans guess what she even had a social life too! She went on missions trips to Haiti, out of state to visit her father and stepmother, yearly vacations in Little inexpensive cabins by lakes (during the off season in FL), and they NEVER ate out! Even on their little vacations their eating out budget was $5 for the week (they used the grocery store and cooked in the cabin)

 

If you want something you can make it happen.

Not trying to be obnoxious here, but I actually grew up in a town without a public library and no public transportation or bookmobiles. In the US. :)

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But you cannot pitch public school charters/virtual academies by saying that they will help low-income people. They will not. Low-income families still probably need two incomes. Enrolling their children in a public school program will not change anything.

 

There is never a "need" to "provide" a "homeschooling" stipend. Never. 

 

Your argument is all wrong.  Let us be clear about that. We are talking about parents having the right to teach their children at home free of government regulation. Stipends and computers only happen when the children are enrolled in government-funded public schools and so therefore not free of government regulation.

 

In order for there to be tax credits for homeschooling families, there would have to be clear proof that the families are homeschooling. In states with actual homeschool laws, such as North Carolina or Virginia, that would be possible; it would not be possible in states like Texas or Illinois or New Jersey. where parents don't have to have any interaction with their state government and so cannot prove that they are homeschooling. There would need to be legislation, and the chances of homeschoolers getting the good end of the stick would be slim and none. And are we talking about *federal* tax credits? Oh gosh. What a messy, messy cess pool of government involvement that would be.

I also would not want a tax credit for homeschooling families, but I would like to see more homeschoolers have the opportunities that homeschoolers in my district have: the ability to take various classes at the public school while maintaining their homeschooling status. Homeschoolers in my state also have the right to participate in all afterschool activities, including Varsity sports. This law went into effect a few years ago, and despite the concern from certain homeschooling groups, we did not have any change in our homeschooling regulations.

 

I do think that public virtual academies can be very beneficial to low-income families. The school environments in many of our inner-city schools are filled with gangs and drugs. Virtual academies can help families avoid that environment when they can't afford to move into a better school system.

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But you cannot pitch public school charters/virtual academies by saying that they will help low-income people. They will not. Low-income families still probably need two incomes. Enrolling their children in a public school program will not change anything.

 

There is never a "need" to "provide" a "homeschooling" stipend. Never.

 

Your argument is all wrong. Let us be clear about that. We are talking about parents having the right to teach their children at home free of government regulation. Stipends and computers only happen when the children are enrolled in government-funded public schools and so therefore not free of government regulation.

 

In order for there to be tax credits for homeschooling families, there would have to be clear proof that the families are homeschooling. In states with actual homeschool laws, such as North Carolina or Virginia, that would be possible; it would not be possible in states like Texas or Illinois or New Jersey. where parents don't have to have any interaction with their state government and so cannot prove that they are homeschooling. There would need to be legislation, and the chances of homeschoolers getting the good end of the stick would be slim and none. And are we talking about *federal* tax credits? Oh gosh. What a messy, messy cess pool of government involvement that would be.

Methinks you are not reading any of the words that I am writing.

 

The OP said that she understood that there were free online programs that people could use, but not having a computer or internet access was a barrier for low-income families. I cleared that up by informing her that some of the free online programs like K12 or the state's virtual academy would provide them for free. That is all I said.

 

I did not claim that the government should provide a stipend for homeschoolers. I actually said just the opposite. The government funds online public school programs and helps make it affordable for those that *want* public school at home. I understand that the mere thought of it makes you twitch, but it is a real and viable thing that actually benefits lots of people. And it is fine with me if the government continues to fund and oversee the public school at home options and leaves homeschooling alone. I am not doing public school at home, I am homeschooling, so I do not want the government's interference, money, oversight, or restrictions. But for people who *want* public school at home, there are ways that they can do it.

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Perhaps an opt-in / opt-out program that follows the states that provide "free" materials and testing, but is optional?

 

Dumb question perhaps, but what about retired school curriculum? I used to own a used book store, and about every year the local school would donate piles of retired textbooks and other materials - so many that we didn't know what to do with them all. The library also donated a lot of retired but useable kids' books. I would think those would be of value to low- or moderate-income homeschoolers. The substantive quality of the material is likely comparable to the "new" stuff used at school. (Sometimes better.)

 

I think it makes sense for the state to provide internet access to those who can't afford it. In our area, that is a big local project - the goal is that nobody is without internet at home.

When we left the LCMS school, the principal offered me the chance to browse their retired curriculum room, and I got a ton of useful stuff-which has helped DD and got passed on to other homeschoolers. I wish public schools would do that.

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Not trying to be obnoxious here, but I actually grew up in a town without a public library and no public transportation or bookmobiles. In the US. :)

 

Not obnoxious...thank you...

 

BUT I would question whether someone in that town, with that situation, with NO MONEY AT ALL to even buy a set of Rod and Staff textbooks, should homeschool. I would worry about the myrad of other things they'd be missing out on....(Not that suburban or urban life is the panacea by which all other lifestyles should be judged...maybe the opposite! ...but what I am saying is that sort of extreme isolation from both book knowledge and place knowledge and people knowledge seems to be a bad idea.)

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Not obnoxious...thank you...

 

BUT I would question whether someone in that town, with that situation, with NO MONEY AT ALL to even buy a set of Rod and Staff textbooks, should homeschool. I would worry about the myrad of other things they'd be missing out on....(Not that suburban or urban life is the panacea by which all other lifestyles should be judged...maybe the opposite! ...but what I am saying is that sort of extreme isolation from both book knowledge and place knowledge and people knowledge seems to be a bad idea.)

I am really not sure what you mean by isolation from place knowledge and people knowledge in that situation. I do agree that I don’t know how you could homeschool with zero room in the budget for books and no access to a public library or the internet. That’s why in my other post I said I was glad my state has a charter to help people in that situation while letting them have many of the advantages of the homeschooling lifestyle (though they are not technically homeschoolers).

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Not obnoxious...thank you...

 

BUT I would question whether someone in that town, with that situation, with NO MONEY AT ALL to even buy a set of Rod and Staff textbooks, should homeschool. I would worry about the myrad of other things they'd be missing out on....(Not that suburban or urban life is the panacea by which all other lifestyles should be judged...maybe the opposite! ...but what I am saying is that sort of extreme isolation from both book knowledge and place knowledge and people knowledge seems to be a bad idea.)

One of the three reasons that I chose Rod and Staff was that was so affordable.

1. It is a mastery based program, and that jives with the way I like to teach.

2. It is a solid back to basics program..

3. It was actually in my tiny budget.

 

If you have a hundred dollars- which may be a stretch for some- you can use Rod and Staff, and it is mostly reusable for younger children.  With my inheritance I bought curriculum as we were hit terribly by the recession, my husband was unemployed for six months and that is after working full time still under the poverty line.  We didn't have my cleaning jobs at the time so we were well under the poverty line, and even our entire tax refund went to paying house payments and bills, so we wouldn't have been able to get ANY curriculum that 2 year period (he went through two shorts jobs in that time as they were temporary).  

 

With my small inheritance from my grandmother I purchased all levels of Elementary Apologia, LOF Mathenmatics/ Rod and Staff Mathematics, Rod and Staff English and Spelling, and several other nonconsumable books for reading aloud and some MFW curriculum.  It was the best thing that we ever did, as I never worry that I can't homeschool my children due to funds, and I can help other moms who need books.  

 

I now only have to add my oldest sons books each year in high school and consumables for my littles and middles each year.  

 

I am smart and could have just used a printed off goals to teach and taught reading, writing, and math well without any curriculum, but content subjects would have been nonexistent over those years if we hadn't been blessed, as we truly had no money at all after bills.  To be quite blunt- we lived off of only my cleaning income for one year two years ago (900 a month doesn't leave any money for curriculum- even Rod and Staff sadly (I already had them, but others wouldn't-kwim), and I am sure there are other families that go through these times as well, especially in our area).  I used my tax refund to get our consumables that year, but again for a couple years that wasn't an option as house payments, house insurance comes before curriculum.

 

We are doing so much better with two incomes, but our income still lands at the poverty level, which to us isn't poverty at all.  There is a big difference to at the poverty line in Amercia vs. way below that line.

 

 

Brenda

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When we left the LCMS school, the principal offered me the chance to browse their retired curriculum room, and I got a ton of useful stuff-which has helped DD and got passed on to other homeschoolers. I wish public schools would do that.

THey often do.  Many states have county or district "Textbook Repositories"

 

My friend I talked about above called her local middle schools, and they invited her TO THE SCHOOL to look at the old textbooks that no one was using.  She chose a few that she used a loved and made work for her...then they're the ones who steered her to the repository which is open to the public on certain days of the year.

 

If you are friendly, kind, thankful and keep asking/knocking you can often be helped even by the public schools.

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I am really not sure what you mean by isolation from place knowledge and people knowledge in that situation. I do agree that I don’t know how you could homeschool with zero room in the budget for books and no access to a public library or the internet. That’s why in my other post I said I was glad my state has a charter to help people in that situation while letting them have many of the advantages of the homeschooling lifestyle (though they are not technically homeschoolers).

 

I think we need to quit including people with low income in this discussion. You must know that boatloads of people who have joined the charter schools are not "low income."  In fact, of the many people I knew who joined the charter schools, none were in the "low income" category. You are muddying the waters by bringing this up repeatedly.

 

And we need to differentiate between homeschooling and public school at home. *Homeschoolers* might get tax credits; public-school-at-home people would not, because they are not legally homeschooling; their children are public school students, and they are being funded by public school tax monies.

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Ellie,

The op’s questions was about very low income people

 

Very low income people will not be helped by either tax credits or charter schools. And any laws that touched tax credits for homeschoolers would affect *all* homeschoolers, not just low income families.

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Haven't read the thread but I live in an area such as the OP described and many very low income families homeschool just fine by using the EITC and/or the child tax credit for curriculum. Its not the money for curriculum that is the issue for low income families around here, it's the loss of a full-time second income. Many homeschool moms in my area have to work part time, too. More tax credits probably won't make the rent in areas that have housing affordability issues. (The main problem around here).

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Very low income people will not be helped by either tax credits or charter schools. And any laws that touched tax credits for homeschoolers would affect *all* homeschoolers, not just low income families.

I know low income people in real life who are being helped by this charter school.

I agree tax credits for homeschoolers are a bad idea.

Bowing out now.

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Very low income people will not be helped by either tax credits or charter schools. And any laws that touched tax credits for homeschoolers would affect *all* homeschoolers, not just low income families.

I think this is the first time that I have ever disagreed with you-lol.  I know many low-income families that while yes would PREFER better paying jobs, but the mothers are not going  to make money sending their children to be babysat while they work so they stay home and a tax credit for homeschooling supplies would help them. It would help our family.  I would have purchased the dissection stuff for my sons Biology labs if they gave us a credit- it was out of budget last year.  This year I will be able to get him a Chemistry kit for Chemistry, but we still don't have a microscope.  Funding would help us do a better job, but they can learn to use a microscope in college if needed.  He is a science and math kid, I was captain of the math team throughout high school, but some parents would benefit using those funds towards math tutoring in high school.  Many low-income families would be better off with some financial help, as a lot of low income families live in terrible school districts as well.

 

I do agree that tax credits would probably end up affecting all homeschoolers, which is why I asked the question of whether helping the poorest homeschoolers would be worth the affect it may have on all homeschoolers. 

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I know low income people in real life who are being helped by this charter school.

I agree tax credits for homeschoolers are a bad idea.

Bowing out now.

Thank you for your contributions to this discussion.

Edited by homemommy83
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When we left the LCMS school, the principal offered me the chance to browse their retired curriculum room, and I got a ton of useful stuff-which has helped DD and got passed on to other homeschoolers. I wish public schools would do that.

 

Public schools would need to be allowed to do that.  When I was on the PTO, I found out our school had a room ful of desks and other unused stuff that they would love to get rid of -- but could not without the district okaying it. It was purchased with public money and needed to be kept in case it could be used at a different school. It had to be officially declared surplus and then sold in the district surplus store to get rid of it.

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Low income families are actually more likely to have a parent at home than higher earning families. Workforce participation is greatly impacted by the affordability of childcare. While many families do use a child starting school as an entrypoint for a SAHP to return to the labor force, many two parent low income families are already used to getting by on one income and can, if they choose to, continue to do so. I know a lot of families who homeschool who are below, at or just beyond the poverty line.

 

We don’t have homeschool charters here. We do have programs operated by the school district for those who are doing primarily home based instruction. Also, PT enrollment and extracurricular access is permitted.

 

Despite the naysayers, who often repeat the same ideological objections offered here, we have not found PT participation in such a program to be intrusive or problematic. We get a small stipend that helps a little with books but the main thing we benefit from is free access to classes with other homeschoolers. This helps from a social and financial perspective. Our peers at this program are a wider cross section of the local community and much more economically and racially diverse than the local homeschooling community as a whole, which bluntly is not a group that is very welcoming or easy to connect with and I say this as an extrovert who cracked the code and have a lot of strong connections within that group as a whole. My son takes art 2 days a week plus robotics and PE one day a week. I find that this addresses many of my personal misgivings about homeschooling being the best for my sons. While he could do that at fee based programs run for and by homeschoolers, I prefer the option from the school district because my son is in a more diverse group. Also my autistic sons’ inclusion and access is a right and not something I have to lobby a private group for. Lastly, because when we are forgoing the not tiny income I could bring home of able to work FT, zero dollar in cost is fantastic. We don’t have to test. We opt to test some years but it’s not required.

 

So I do think there are ways for districts to better support home based instruction. The district recieves public funding for this program so it’s not like it’s coming from anything besides what the district would be getting and spending if we enrolled as FT school students.

Edited by LucyStoner
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No. No. No. No funding for homeschoolers, because that will entail being controlled by the government. No.

 

I do not believe that government funding makes the difference between homeschooling and not homeschooling. The cost of instructional materials is not nearly the cost of living; people who cannot afford for one parent to stay home and teach the children will still not be able to stay home even if the state funded their instructional materials.

 

A good education and homeschooling are not mutually exclusive.

 

Parents have the right to decide how their children are educated. It is a God-given right; it does not come from the government, and they do not need permission of any kind to decide to teach their children at home. And if they have decided to teach their children at home, they do not need any oversight from the government, and no funding of any kind.

 

I've stated this before, and I'll say it here again. We can get a tax credit in MN for homeschooling. And the state government, within the last few years, actually reduced regulation.

 

So no, government funding does not automatically entail being controlled by the government.

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We do not need the government in our homeschool, this is one of the reasons I homeschool. I am unschooling and I teach what I want. You do not need a computer to homeschool. We all have a public library where we can go and they have tons of books. Even if you are low income it still should not be that hard. You do not need hundreds of dollars to homeschool. If you don’t have a computer, I am pretty sure your kids have tablets or the parents have cell phone, you can print from your cell phone. It is ways out here to homeschool your kids with being low income.

 

I read your post and chuckled a bit to myself.  Just reading a bit on this board, people have or are homeschooling in the middle of nowhere.  Really - you should see the post about managing to get store bought ice cream home on the hours long trip. :laugh:   People school all over: RVs, small towns, islands....heck, my own libraries have varied from a double wide trailer to a cute little brick house.

My first smart phone came this past June.  Until then we had sliders, and we didn't believe our teen needed a smart phone at all.  While I don't *need* a computer to homeschool, it makes it a hundred times easier as I make tailored worksheets (rather than buying), use an online schedule app, teach typing (which does require a keyboard), and so forth.  Not to mention my computer has a disk drive, which means we can use more programs on it.

 

Breathe, take a minute, and remember that your experience is not the same of everyone else's. :closedeyes:

 

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I've stated this before, and I'll say it here again. We can get a tax credit in MN for homeschooling.

I’m going to leave off the debate of government funding homeschools and instead focus on the tax credit bit because if we’re talking about low income homeschoolers then I question the usefulness of tax credits. If it’s not refundable, then you risk it being of no benefit. If they’re truly low income, the likelihood is that their tax liability is probably either very small or effectively zero and you can’t reduce that much further and unless it’s refundable you can’t tack on the extra credit to their refund.

 

Tax credits are more likely to benefit folks on the higher end of middle class and those who make more. Not to mention the fact that this money is only available once a year after filing one’s taxes. That’s not going to be super helpful for the target homeschooler of this thread. I would imagine the initial funding is somewhat of a sticking point for the homeschooling families in question. Offering funds potentially several months off into the future isn’t really going to incentivize homeschooling which is really what tax credits are for - incentivizing activity or behaviors deemed important by the government.

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I read your post and chuckled a bit to myself.  Just reading a bit on this board, people have or are homeschooling in the middle of nowhere.  Really - you should see the post about managing to get store bought ice cream home on the hours long trip. :laugh:   People school all over: RVs, small towns, islands....heck, my own libraries have varied from a double wide trailer to a cute little brick house.

My first smart phone came this past June.  Until then we had sliders, and we didn't believe our teen needed a smart phone at all.  While I don't *need* a computer to homeschool, it makes it a hundred times easier as I make tailored worksheets (rather than buying), use an online schedule app, teach typing (which does require a keyboard), and so forth.  Not to mention my computer has a disk drive, which means we can use more programs on it.

 

Breathe, take a minute, and remember that your experience is not the same of everyone else's. :closedeyes:

 

This is us.  We didn't have a phone or tablet until a couple of years ago, and got a laptop and tv one year ago.  We do feel that the tv has benefited our homeschool- shock, I was anti tv for over a decade-lol.

 

It is true that not everyone has access to the internet- and even 10 was out of our budget for years.

I feel so blessed that my younger children have more advantages now that we are a little better off.

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I am definitely talking about refundable tax credits, not deductions.  Indiana has a deduction for homeschool/ private schools but that doesn't help the lowest income earners for the reasons stated above.  They have not added any requirements for this deduction and I doubt that they would if they made it a credit(it was discussed, but didn't pass).  A refundable credit at tax time would help us and others like us, as I desire to plan and purchase long before August comes around.  It would help homeschoolers to  purchase in Feb-May when most people get their refunds.  

 

 

If the state gave $500 per student for materials of their choice, they save 9500 dollars per student- that is a good deal for them and helps those doing a great job educating their children have more specialized options (microscopes, computers, tablets, and games/activiities) that they can not presently afford.  It would bless some children (obviously some families can afford these things without any help).

 

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While I enjoy being an independent homeschooler, some of my friends enjoy taking part in one of the "Alternative Learning Experience" (ALE) programs available in my state. The program pays for (secular) curriculum and the student checks in with a teacher on a regular basis. Legally they are public school students, but I meet lots of families who use ALEs and are active in the local homeschool community. I like that there are options. 

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How can you get refund on something you didn’t pay? I’m confused

There are a few refundable credits at the federal level that have been around for quite some time. Refundable means that you get the cash if your tax liability is say $200 and you apply a $500 credit. The credit doesn’t just cover the $200 liability and stop, as with a non refundable credit, it actually works out to give you the $300 difference in cash.

 

 

Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

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No. No. No. No funding for homeschoolers, because that will entail being controlled by the government. No.

 

I do not believe that government funding makes the difference between homeschooling and not homeschooling. The cost of instructional materials is not nearly the cost of living; people who cannot afford for one parent to stay home and teach the children will still not be able to stay home even if the state funded their instructional materials.

 

A good education and homeschooling are not mutually exclusive.

 

Parents have the right to decide how their children are educated. It is a God-given right; it does not come from the government, and they do not need permission of any kind to decide to teach their children at home. And if they have decided to teach their children at home, they do not need any oversight from the government, and no funding of any kind.

In NZ we get a small amount per year once we have received our exemption certificate. To get the certificate you are basically required to proved you have given the matter some thought, done some research and come up with a plan. No one will check you follow the plan unless there is a complaint and there is no testing. I can't see how this would be a problem to anyone. All you have to do is sign a declaration your child is not attending school twice a year.

 

I don't see it as a God given right to homeschool. In the case of schooling I am much more concerned about the rights of the child than the rights of the parents. And since taxes pay for kids at school why shouldn't you get a bit if you are saving the state by schooling at home.

Edited by kiwik
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