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nrdnolan

Relocating to PA/MD from Texas. The homeschooling laws there frighten me!

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My family is relocating to the York area or  northern MD during the summer.  I currently live in Texas where homeschool laws are simple.  My children have never ever entered the school system.  I’m concerned that I may miss something, register late, not teach all the subjects or not do something to the evaluators liking and have truancy all over my case.  I have 5 kiddos to boot and it seems like an awful lot of work for each of them.

Im more inclined to move to Maryland because of this. However, because we are not familiar with either area, the plan is to rent near York/Harrisburg for a while then figure out where we really want to be.  Right now, I’m making homeschool plans to be in PA for atleast the first year.  

Please give me insight into the laws and what I need to do to make sure I’m compliant. For ex, when do I need to submit affidavits? What if we are staying in a hotel for the first month or so? What if we end up moving after the school year began? What if we move before it ends?  I know, so many variables!

Would also like info on co-ops in the area, a la carte Co-op high school classes, homeschool youth sports and dance, foreign language, field trips.

Any insight would be much appreciated!

Natasha

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Well, you could come to NJ where we are non-reporting and don't need to tell a single thing to anyone!  

In all seriousness, we have been making plans to move to PA.  I went through the process of getting my PA teacher's license so that I would be exempt from all of the requirements except a yearly letter.  This was easy for me to do because I already have an NJ teacher's license.  I recently asked about high school graduation requirements here and another member replied and indicated that it is easier to homeschool in PA than MD.  I'm going to link the thread:

 

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@Kristin0713.  Thank you for that info.  I use to live in NJ when I had my first child.  There began my homeschooling adventures as I met a homeschool family in NY who opened my eyes to homeschooling.  If we moved to NJ, we would come full circle. 😂 

Unfortunately, we are relocating from Tx where we’ve been for the last 14 years due to my husbands job.

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On 4/27/2020 at 8:04 AM, kristin0713 said:

 I recently asked about high school graduation requirements here and another member replied and indicated that it is easier to homeschool in PA than MD.  I'm going to link the thread:

 

I don't see how it is easier to hs in PA than in MD. o_0 PA requires a portfolio, plus an evaluation by a qualified person. MD has the umbrella option, which looks easy peasy.

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My point was that Pa Evaluators are usually homeschoolers with a teacher certificate.  Evaluations are a breeze.  Its not like in Maryland where each county actually have public school teachers be your evaluators and you end with homeschool umbrella group for evaluators and paying over 100's dollars per year and now I am in PA and I pay only $50 bucks!   I should have moved in PA sooner and saved so much money.

 

^^ that is what the poster said in the thread I linked.  🤷‍♀️  None of it is my own experience yet, as I'm still in the easy non-reporting state of NJ. 

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12 hours ago, Ellie said:

I don't see how it is easier to hs in PA than in MD. o_0 PA requires a portfolio, plus an evaluation by a qualified person. MD has the umbrella option, which looks easy peasy.

You get to choose your evaluator in PA, and you pick one who matches your philosophy.  In MD, yes, there are umbrellas, but I have heard that they don't necessarily work for everyone; one friend has had a hard time finding an umbrella for her area, and she does not get to choose the person evaluating her children.

 

PA looks hard on paper, but it really is mostly just minor paperwork.  We don't stress about the portfolios.  Yes, I'd love not to have any of it, but I know we've also looked at other states that looked easier on paper, and when I went searching forums, I got the feeling that they were actually harder in real life.  IRL, PA is quite easy, and it only takes a few minutes to get the paperwork done, plus an afternoon in testing years, and a few hours per kid to put together some samples and photos of work, plus 15 minutes per kid for the evaluation.

ETA: This year, covid made it a ton easier for us!  No tests, no evaluations (high schoolers graduating still need them, and some other high schoolers may also, depending on the evaluator), no 180 days to check off.  I don't need test for my two test age kids this year, and I don't need to pay for four evaluations either!  I hope we get those changes permanently!

Edited by happypamama
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@happypamama Those changes would be great. But, I read an article on one of the homeschool websites stating that those changes were only for the 2019-2020 school year because of covid.  Plans are in place to resume normal operations beginning in August for the 2020-2021 school year.

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38 minutes ago, nrdnolan said:

@happypamama Those changes would be great. But, I read an article on one of the homeschool websites stating that those changes were only for the 2019-2020 school year because of covid.  Plans are in place to resume normal operations beginning in August for the 2020-2021 school year.

That is correct; they are just for this school year.  We are hoping that they will eventually become permanent!

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I've been homeschooling in Maryland for 10 years. We currently use an umbrella, but even when we used our county monitor it was no big deal. You just file a letter of intent to begin and verify each year that you are continuing (which can be verbal), notify them of any changes (like if your address changes or you add a child), then do a portfolio review. In our county, we only saw the monitor once a year in the spring after a brief phone convo in the fall, but this does vary by county. For our umbrella, I am able to do online reviews and they are easy. It's really just some minor paperwork and scanning some samples. No, I don't pay hundreds of dollars. I would recommend joining a Maryland homeschooler group and a PA homeschooler group on FB. You can ask all about umbrella options and evaluators. 

ETA: I don't know why the quote is there, but I can't get rid of it.

Edited by HomeschoolingHearts&Minds

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On 4/27/2020 at 9:46 AM, nrdnolan said:

My family is relocating to the York area or  northern MD during the summer.  I currently live in Texas where homeschool laws are simple.  My children have never ever entered the school system.  I’m concerned that I may miss something, register late, not teach all the subjects or not do something to the evaluators liking and have truancy all over my case.  I have 5 kiddos to boot and it seems like an awful lot of work for each of them.

Im more inclined to move to Maryland because of this. However, because we are not familiar with either area, the plan is to rent near York/Harrisburg for a while then figure out where we really want to be.  Right now, I’m making homeschool plans to be in PA for atleast the first year.  

Please give me insight into the laws and what I need to do to make sure I’m compliant. For ex, when do I need to submit affidavits? What if we are staying in a hotel for the first month or so? What if we end up moving after the school year began? What if we move before it ends?  I know, so many variables!

Would also like info on co-ops in the area, a la carte Co-op high school classes, homeschool youth sports and dance, foreign language, field trips.

Any insight would be much appreciated!

Natasha

 

If you’re comfortable with it, you could pm me your email address.  I have a bunch of Word documents I could send to you so you can see what the paperwork looks like (affidavit, objectives, doctor/dentist paperwork if you don’t exempt from it, info about portfolios, etc.).  You could create a new email on hotmail or something if you don’t want me to have your real one.  

I’m about 45 minutes south of York.  I can also send you the link to the local York homeschool FB page, so you can ask them for their local co-ops.

 

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I find the paperwork to be an annoying hoop to jump through, but nothing much happens because of it.  Like, you have to write out your “objectives” for the upcoming year and give them to the school system.  But, if you don’t meet the objectives, nothing happens.  I tend to write things like.  Math Objective:  to continue in the study of mathematics, including addition.  It’s the lamest objective in the world, but it means NOTHING.  No one ever checks to see if I met the objectives.  I could probably write:  Math Objective: to dance around in circles singing songs, and no one would even notice.

There are tests you’re to have your students take in 3rd, 5th, and 8th grade, but if they bomb the tests...nothing happens.  You pick the tests, the kids take them and....nothing happens. 

It’s all a bunch of hoop jumping that leads nowhere.  So don’t fret too much.  You’ll figure out the hoops, you’ll jump, and then go about your homeschooling day the way you would have anyway.

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54 minutes ago, nrdnolan said:

@Garga  Thank you for your response. I will pm you.

I just realized my messages were at 100%, so if you tried to PM me and it didn’t work, try again. I cleared out some old messages. 

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This is my neck of the woods.  I don’t have anything to add, except to recommend a homeschooling Facebook group for the York area:

Homeschooling in York, PA

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I’m in PA and it’s no big deal. We file two things at the beginning of the year (an intent to homeschool and a list of objectives, which I print off a site and is incredibly vague). I make a portfolio of a few pieces of work from each subject. I have a friend who’s an evaluator, and she talks to each kid for 30 mins or so about what they learned. 

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@Upennmama  Thanks for posting. I appreciate your comment.  I’m feeling more comfortable about homeschooling in PA thanks to fellow homeschoolers like yourself who has given me in state insight. Im now focusing on getting my objectives, affidavits, and curriculum log done.  I’m also in search of evaluators and homeschool groups for resources.

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You might want to wait on finding an evaluator until you know your location because it’ll depend on what school district you’re in.

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On 5/3/2020 at 7:47 PM, nrdnolan said:

@school17777. Thanks.  Would I just contact the school district to find out the criteria?

Some school districts may keep a list, but it would be better to reach out in the homeschool community for recommendations for your particular school district.

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I just asked around in homeschool community. I would not ask the district. It just has to be any licensed teacher. IME a lot of homeschooling moms are ex teachers who are happy to evaluate. Choose an evaluator who meshes with your style. Do you know what part of PA you may be moving to? 

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On 5/4/2020 at 9:49 PM, school17777 said:

Some school districts may keep a list, but it would be better to reach out in the homeschool community for recommendations for your particular school district.

Thank you.

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10 hours ago, Upennmama said:

I just asked around in homeschool community. I would not ask the district. It just has to be any licensed teacher. IME a lot of homeschooling moms are ex teachers who are happy to evaluate. Choose an evaluator who meshes with your style. Do you know what part of PA you may be moving to? 

We are considering Mechanicsburg/Hershey/York. Don’t really know yet as we’ve never been.  My hubby’s job will be in York so anything with 30-40 min commute time or shorter is ideal.

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10 hours ago, Upennmama said:

I just asked around in homeschool community. I would not ask the district. It just has to be any licensed teacher. IME a lot of homeschooling moms are ex teachers who are happy to evaluate. Choose an evaluator who meshes with your style. Do you know what part of PA you may be moving to? 

I have joined a couple of PA homeschool FB pages per the suggestion on this thread. I’m definitely getting good info there.

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12 minutes ago, nrdnolan said:

We are considering Mechanicsburg/Hershey/York. Don’t really know yet as we’ve never been.  My hubby’s job will be in York so anything with 30-40 min commute time or shorter is ideal.

Even within those areas, there are different school districts, so some evaluators may not be approved in different school district.  No need to find an evaluator until you are settled in your new place. 

Glad you are finding good info from the groups you have joined.  This area has a strong home school community.

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