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Scare Tactics and Intimidation

If you have had to remove your children from public school, you may find that you are being a victim of some pretty sinister scare tactics and intimidation. It has been my experience that the first thing you can do is not panic, and understand that very little information you obtain from the school system is actually true or accurate.

The school system may tell you that you cannot homeschool your child until the end of the school year. NOT TRUE! You can remove your child at any time during the school year to homeschool.

They(the public school system) may tell you that you can ONLY use an “approved” distance learning program to homeschool. NOT TRUE! You are free as a homeschooling parent to use ANY curriculum that you feel will benefit your child and your family.
According to §22.1-254.1 (A), You may teach at home if any one of the following conditions is met: if a parent (1) has a high school diploma; or (2) is a certified teacher*; or (3) provides a program of study or curriculum which may be delivered through a correspondence course or distance learning program or in any other manner; or (iv) provides evidence that he is able to provide an adequate education for the child. These four options are listed on the form entitled, “Notice of Intent to Provide Home Instruction.”

You may be told misinformation, such as, you cannot homeschool, or you must be an “approved homeschooler” if you have a GED. Not true! You are never “approved” by the school system. You simply “notify” them of your intent to homeschool and supply a list of the curriculum you intend to use. Also, if your spouse has a degree or a high school diploma you can file under your spouses educational credentials.

They may threaten you with truancy or that your child will fail if they are not returned to school. Your child cannot be accused of truancy as long as you have filed your notice of intent(NOI).
As far as failing, your child cannot fail a grade they withdraw from.

They may make ridiculous claims and attempt to make you jump through complicated hoops. At that point, turn in your NOI and cease communication. My suggestion to any homeschoolers that are switching to homeschooling from public school is to immediately join Homeschool Legal Defense or HSLDA, right now they are running a great promotion so it is free to join! Should you receive any threatening communication refer them to HSLDA immediately.

Finally, find a local support group of homeschoolers either via Yahoo groups or word-of-mouth and let them know what’s going on. Homeschoolers are a loving and helpful bunch; they will provide the necessary emotional and academic-advice support you will need to get past this.

Above all, do not allow yourself to feel alone, scared, or swallowed in self-pity, you have just made the most awesome, wonderful, life-changing decision of your life, now is not the time for sadness; it is time for jubilation!
Blessings,
HomeschoolNewbie

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August 1st Testing Insecurity

Henry H. Goddard, former head of the Psychology Department at Princeton and father of standardized testing, said in his book, Human Eficiency (1920) that government schooling was about “the perfect organization of the hive.”  He said standardized testing was a way to make lower classes recognize their own inferiority. Like wearing a dunce cap, it would discourage them from breeding and having ambition.

For those of you who may not know, in Virginia homeschoolers are to turn in”proof of progress” by August 1st.  If you are a new homeschooler, and this is your first year homeschooling. August 1st is more than a date…. its a deadline, looming in the back of your mind like a sledgehammer.  However, it doesn’t have to be.  When did our obsession with “testing” begin I wonder? There was a time when a test was just an assessment.  A determination of weaknesses and strengths; not an indictment of inferiority and lack of ability.  Should your child do poorly on a “test” are they then an inferior human being not worthy of your further investment time and materials?  Ever notice that on most standardized tests, that there is a constant comparison of your child’s ability with other children of the same age. If all children are unique and individuals in talent and ability why would this matter so much?  I believe that the notion that all children of the same age should all know the exact same information at the same time is ridiculous. We are all different and inherently we will learn at different rates.  I recall being in 3rd grade and I could not learn my multiplication tables. I just couldn’t do it. I just didn’t understand the lack of calculation required. I didn’t like the memorization of it,  and I just resisted learning it.  I remember the teacher telling my mother that I was just not good at numbers, and it was really going to hinder my 4th grade progress and how I would never be good at math… because I had not learned my multiplication tables “on-time”.  I didn’t really “learn” my multiplication tables until I was well into 4th grade, and I would have to say that it didn’t “hinder” me at all. I just learned them in my own time.  I still see that 3rd grade teacher.  She still lives in the town I grew up in, and when I graduated from engineering school, she couldn’t help but marvel that I must have finally learned my multiplication tables 🙂  I tell this story because I pray that you and your homeschooled student will see tests the way they were meant to be used… as assessments and nothing more. They will not determine your child’s love for learning or their ability to learn… no test can do that.  Do not allow the labels of standardized tests to infiltrate your homeschool and pollute the love of education and learning you are striving to build for your children.

Blessings always,

HomeschoolNewbie