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Faith's Firm Foundation: Home School Hop Theme: State Requirements

Monday, March 22, 2010

Home School Hop Theme: State Requirements

By Request, Theme For The Week:
State Requirements

This week's hop theme was requested by one of the other moms, and it's a good one! One of our fellow Homeschooling moms is interested in knowing some of the things we are required to do to meet our state requirements.
Well, we live in Minnesota and this is what HSLDA (Home School Legal Defense Association--go there to find out what it says about your state) says about the Minnesota law, summarized:
“The parent of a child is primarily responsible for assuring that the child acquires knowledge and skills that are essential for effective citizenship.” Minn. Stat. Ann. § 120A.22 Subd. 1.

The Minnesota law states that:The home instructor must satisfy one of the following six requirements:
a. hold a Minnesota teaching license in the field and grade taught,
b. or be directly supervised by a licensed teacher,
c. or successfully complete a teacher competency exam,
d. or provide instruction in a school that is accredited or recognized by the state board,
e. or hold a baccalaureate degree,
f. or be the parent of a child who is assessed according to procedures in subdivision 11 and the standardized test section below.

My husband has a baccalaureate degree, so we didn't have to fill out quarterly report cards, which is what we would have had to do if we were parents without a teaching license or college degree.  When our children were 7th and 4th grades, we became part of an Accreditation Association called TEACH (Teaching Effective Academics and Character at Home), which meant that we met with a consultant monthly who helped us and made sure we were meeting the state requirements.  We were required to fill out a form for that organization before each meeting with our consultant, on which we reported briefly what we had been teaching in the different subjects and we assigned a grade to them.  We also assessed our children's character, using another form, which we (mom and dad) went over with each child separately each month and also with the consultant, (a great thing because it caused us to talk about and deal with character problems and issues, and also gave us an opportunity to praise good character every single month)!  Being in TEACH meant that they were accountable to the state, and responsible to make sure we were doing what we were supposed to, so we didn't have to report to the state--they did. It was a supportive and helpful relationship.  If you live in Minnesota and are Homeschooling, I highly recommend this organization!

The school district that we are in is great and doesn't bother us at all!  They have realized that the vast majority of Homeschooling families are highly conscientious, and statistics of Homeschool success (see NHERI site) bear out that Homeschooled children are doing far better than the average child in the public school system, academically, and in many other ways.

In the first or second year of our Homeschooling, we were in a different district, and they decided to actually send out someone (a man who was a retired superintendent of the school district) to do home visits.  (I didn't know at the time that I could have asked to just bring my materials in and show them in their offices, but I personally think it's easier and more comfortable to have them come to my home, which is what happened.)  Though they have the right to request to do a home visit, it is not mandatory, as I said before, to allow them to come into your home, and also, I don't think districts do home visits anymore!  At least, I've never heard of anyone having it happen--they have way too much to do, and there are too many Homeschoolers now, plus there's a lot of proof of how well Homeschoolers are doing.  But, though I worried at the time, it wasn't bad at all!  The man who came turned out to be a Christian, and he was the sweetest twinkly grandpa type of person, that he put me at my ease almost immediately.  I put out what textbooks we had (maybe 1 or 2), books I was reading to my son and daughter (my record of library books we'd checked out over the previous year was impressive:), artwork, poems memorized, and examples of handwriting/printing (I think Dane was in Kindergarten or 1st grade, so there wasn't a lot to show him, but I tried hard to fill our dining room table, and make it look better! Kind of like dragging out every thing your child has done that might look good or impress someone--a Giant Show-and-Tell!  But seeing we had a (somewhat) organized home with decent lighting, and environment which would probably be conducive to a child learning, and then meeting Dane, who was respectful and shook his hand, and then talking to me, assured him that we were doing fine. It actually was a very encouraging visit, (I think one of his daughters was Homeschooling, as I remember!) and he said nice and positive things to me!

So, the only thing I had to do was, each year by Oct. 1, I had to inform the school district that we were Homeschooling, once our child was going to turn 7 during that school year, and then every year through their 16th year.  I had to fill out a form--I used the one which can be obtained from the MACHE (Minnesota Association of Christian Home Educators) website--go to the bottom and click on the compulsory reporting form--which required the names, addresses, and ages of my students.  In fulfilling the requirement noted above, we sent a copy of my husband's college diploma the first year, and they kept it on file, so we just noted that on the form after that, and also included on the form when we planned to administer the state tests (I usually said April or in the spring, since I didn't know in the fall what the actual dates of testing would be in the spring).  We tested our children, at first, at the site where the Homeschool Co-op that we attended administered the standardized tests.  The co-op had several moms in it who were now Homeschooling, but who had been former teachers, and had kept up their teaching licenses, and who could administer the tests.  (MACHE has a list available of optional testing locations, methods, and where to obtain tests.)  Later, when we were part of TEACH, they only required testing in the odd school years after 3rd grade, but we chose to have our children take the tests every year anyway.  (This was a social time for them, when they saw many friends who they didn't see often, so they enjoyed it, but we also felt it was good for them to take the tests, and also to have to do so in a group.)  Both of these situations were in group settings. There was one year that my husband administered the test to our children.  We never sent the results in to the district as this is not required.

Kylie, at Our Worldwide Classroom us our host again--Thank you, Kylie!  Here is what she says:

STOP: Please DO NOT add your link below unless you have a post published about the blog hop and the current theme, and the McLinky code showing in that post. Please ensure you have linked directly to your blog hop post and that the title includes the words 'blog hop' somewhere. All links added are checked via McLinky and those without these details are removed immediately. We are all enjoying this immensely, please play fairly as the majority of blog hoppers do! Thanks for participating, have fun!

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Blogger Debbie said...

Thank you for sharing. It is fun to read how other States handle the homeschool situation. I agree this is a good topic to be writing on. It kind of makes us question our knowledge of our State requirements and Laws!

March 22, 2010 at 8:53 PM  
Blogger Tinkr said...

Thanks for sharing your 'requirements' Sounds like you have a lot to manage. =)

March 23, 2010 at 6:35 AM  
Blogger Makita said...

Thanks for sharing. It has been fun to peak into other states. :)

March 23, 2010 at 9:27 AM  
Blogger legendswife said...

Hey Thanks for adding the TEACH link. I've never heard of it:) I'm following ya, but it's not pulling you up. So I'm going to retry it!
God Bless

March 23, 2010 at 11:04 AM  
Blogger Angela said...

Wow, we are so spoiled here in Kentucky, sounds like you have so many more requirements then us.


March 23, 2010 at 4:41 PM  
Blogger mother plus teacher said...

Ah, now I see why I "thought" Minnesota was strict. Thank you for elaborating and explaining! Have a blessed day. :)

March 24, 2010 at 8:36 AM  

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