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Monday, March 31, 2008

Florida to cut public education money

To me this is one more good reason to homeschool. It was in the Sunday Gainesville Sun, that Florida is planning to cut 116 dollars per student in Florida, from their 2008-2009 budget. I think the schools in Florida are already bad enough, and now this. It seems that Homestead Act tax relief they pushed is going to cost the elderly, schools, and the poor alot of money. What a surprise.

Sunday, March 30, 2008

How to meet Physical Education requirements

Here in Florida PE is not required for homeschool students. We however do PE two or three times a week. It promotes health and well being and I feel it is important. Right now we are satisfying PE with youth league baseball. In the summer we swim in the pool. Here is a link that will help you with ideas for doing Physical Education for all age groups http://www.sfday.org/Academics/Physical_Education/pages/2.html

Friday, March 28, 2008

April Fools Day

Do you know what April Fools Day celebrates? I didnt, but I wanted to find some activities for my homeschoolers, so I surfed around. I didnt find a whole lot, and some I didnt like, but here are two links with April Fools Day information.

http://www.snopes.com/holidays/aprilfools/origins.asp

http://www.freekidscoloring.com/holiday/april_fools_day/

Thursday, March 27, 2008

Doing your yearly evaluation

In the state of Florida, you must submit a yearly evaluation to the school in your county. There are 3 different methods you can choose from.

1- Take the standardized test, given by the school district, for your childs grade.

2- Have a certified teacher, of your choice, evaluate your child. They can either do this in person or over the phone. They need to review your portfolio, and have a discussion with your child. Sometimes, especially in rural areas, it is hard to find a local evaluator. You could call your school district, to see if they know of any evaluators, they arent very helfpful though. You could join some support groups, and find out whom they used. Here are a list of Florida Homeschool Evaluators http://www.southcountyhomeschoolers.org/SCHS/HTH/Evaluators.HTML

3- The third choice is to have your child evaluated by a pyschologist.

Whichever method you choose, you do have to submit a yearly evaluation. Your school year will run from the date you gave your letter of intent, until the end of your school year. I did not realize this myself, so our school year actually started at the end of Sept, even though he went to public school in August.

Monday, March 24, 2008

Home Education Week

Here in Florida, Governor Charlie Christ has named March 30th-April5th Home Education Week. This is very exciting for all us Floridians. To read the proclamation, click the link http://www.hslda.org/hs/state/fl/FL_proclamation_08.pdf

Happy Home School week to all Florida Homeschoolers, and homeschoolers everywhere.

Saturday, March 22, 2008

Funschool

This website, is one of my sons absolute favorites. It has educational games, for all most levels, and subjects. We use it as a supplemental tool for science and social studies mainly, but the math and grammar games are great too. It is all free, and there is no limit how often, or how much you can play http://funschool.kaboose.com/arcade/arts-music/index.html

Friday, March 21, 2008

Homeschool Organizations in Florida

This link will take you to a list of Homeschool Organizations and groups in the state of Florida. Some of the them are not updated, or no longer valid, but I was able to find a few near me. There are more for the non rural areas.

http://www.geocities.com/hs_hopeful/organizations/US/offline/FL.html

Thursday, March 20, 2008

Free World U this site is awesome

We use this site, almost every single day. It is completely free, and is all flashcard teaching. You can repeat the flash cards as many times as needed. All grades k-12 avaiable, all subjects, with tons of subtopics. After we complete a topic I print it and add it to the homeschool portfolio. My 3 yr old even does preschool on it. Check it out, its a great site http://www.freeworldu.org/index.html

Note: You can make a donation to the site, which we will be doing at the end of the school year.

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Califronia passes new Homeschool Law could effect all of us

California has passed a new law, that states all homeschool providors must be accredited, and not just private schools. In another words, if I lived in California, as a parent who homeschools, I would have to be an accredited teacher to homeschool my children. This is a dangerous and scary precedent, as it may spread to other states. Keep your eyes and ears posted, for new updates. The law in California is being appealed, but thousands of homeschooling parents, now have to send their kids to public school or find a private school.

Monday, March 17, 2008

Be careful when classifying your homeschool as a private school

This was sent to me by, a member of a homeschool group I belong to. It is interesting, and has some important information. NHELD Bulletin #61regarding "Private schools and Homeschools"by Attorney Deborah Stevenson. Attorney Deborah G. Stevenson, Executive DirectorBulletin #61 Private Schools And Homeschools 03/13/08Did you know? that it is dangerous for homeschoolers to be considered"private schools"?In the late 1980's and early 1990's, when people began to call whatparents traditionally have done since the beginning of time,"homeschooling" , a certain organization began to advise people thathomeschoolers should call themselves a "private school". Theorganization encouraged parents in a great many states who wished tohomeschool to do so either under existing "private school" statutes, orto otherwise compromise with government officials in having themconsider homeschoolers as "private schools." Such advice was given to homeschoolers in Connecticut. At first,parents were divided as to the idea. In the end, parents rejected theidea. Parents in Connecticut derive their right from a differentstatute that mandates that parents "instruct their children" or "causethem to be instructed". Parents researched the history of that statuteand argued that they already had the duty and obligation to educatetheir own children and need not be considered a private school oranything else. The parents stood by that interpretation, repeated itoften, stood up for their rights, and, to date, have maintained their freedom.In other states, parents chose to accept the advice of that group andconsidered themselves to be private schools, with or without sufficientbacking in law.NHELD always has rejected the notion that homeschoolers should beconsidered "private schools" because of the dangers inherent in doingso. The primary danger in being considered a private school is thatprivate schools are regulated by state and federal governments, andthose regulations increase over time. For example, state governmentstypically regulate:1.. the type of building a private school is required to have; 2.. the health, fire, and safety measures that the private school mustundertake; 3.. the age of the children who attend the private school for it to beconsidered a private school; 4.. whether or not it must be a brick and mortar facility to beconsidered a private school; and 5.. whether the private school must be inspected;Most states have truancy statutes that provide that students who areenrolled in a public or a private school that have a certain number ofunexcused absences shall be considered truant. Students who have beenreported as truant from private schools also become subject to thestate's statutes regarding penalties for the truancy, including childprotective actions and juvenile court proceedings.Some states have "approval" processes for private schools, whether theyare voluntary or mandatory "approval" processes. Some states also have adopted statutes that mandate the teaching ofcertain courses in private schools, such as health, or civics.The federal government also regulates private schools. For example,under No Child Left Behind, there are certain provisions that privateschools must comply with in order to obtain federal funding. Privateschools also are required to comply with the Individuals withDisabilities in Education Act, or IDEA, the federal special educationstatute. Under IDEA, private schools must comply with all sorts ofrules, and be subject to the provision of Individual Education Programs,IEPs, for children enrolled in the private school that are developed andoverseen by the local public school. In addition, states have adoptedtheir own special education statutes that apply to private schools. Private schools also must comply with Section 504 of the federalRehabilitation Act of 1973, a statute that compels the private schoolsto put in place accommodation plans for the disabled. State and federal regulations have encroached upon the freedom ofprivate schools to such an extent today that it is difficult sometimesto discern where the "freedom" still remains in private schools. The danger is that because the state and federal government alreadyhave laws on the books "regulating" private schools, by parentsasserting that they, too, are private schools, to a certain extent,parents who may otherwise be free of government regulation, voluntarilysubmit to already existing regulation and make it that much easier forthe government to impose still more regulation. The parents in some states recognized this early on, while the parentsin other states did not. The parents in some states that considerthemselves to be "private schools" may be perfectly content in doingso. NHELD believes the parents in each state should choose to do asthey desire. We simply want parents to recognize the choices that theymake may have unintended consequences. Such is the situation in California today. Some parents in Californiachose to be considered "private schools", and for a while, thatinterpretation of the law was accepted by government officials. Now,however, a court has applied the facts of one family's homeschooling tothe actual letter of the existing law. That law requires parents who"tutor" their children to be credentialed, and apparently requires"private schools" to be full time "schools" rather than individualinstruction in a parent's home. While the actual court decision isonly binding on the parties involved, parents in California arerecognizing that the law actually does not specify that individualparents may be considered "private schools", thus calling into questiontheir status as homeschoolers under the "private school" law.Whether or not it was a good idea for the parents in California to callthemselves "private schools", since they seem to have widespread publicsupport for their ability to continue to homeschool, parents inCalifornia have a unique opportunity to change the law to enable them tohomeschool as individual parents in freedom. Parents in other states can look to California's experience and use itto their advantage to take the time to research what their statutes say,to determine whether their laws actually allow them to be considered"private schools", and whether being considered a "private school" isbeneficial, or whether they, too, may face dangers in the future.With knowledge, we can retain our freedom. Now is the time to armyourself with that knowledge.

Sunday, March 16, 2008

Where to buy books and materials.

There are tons of places to buy books, and materials. Some are very expensive, some are free, and others are somewhere in between. I bought alot of basic books from walmart. You can also buy on http://www.ebay.com/ http://www.homeschoolbuy.com/ this one is a small auction site for homeschoolers. Homeschoolers co-op there are tons of great things available here http://www.homeschoolbuyersco-op.org/%22%3EHomeschool it is free to join, and you get the benefits of buying in numbers. School House Rock website http://www.school-house-rock.com/ here you can buy the school house rock videos. Kids learn so easy through music, my kids love these, and since you can listen to one verse of the song on the website we use it for music class, as they have to learn the lyrics and music. http://wwwwww.bjupress.com this site was shared with me, from another homeschooler. They have some very nice options, they are a little pricey though, check it out. These are just some of the sites I use. I use alot of sites that offer free printables and information, and I will be posting all those under another topic.

Saturday, March 15, 2008

Choose your curriculum

Once you have written your letter of intent, you will need to either choose a paid curriculum or make your own. There are alot of choices, some are very expensive. I will be posting links to these in the future. I went to my local library, and took out a book for 2nd grade curriculum. I made my own curriculum using the book. It was a little more time consuming than just buying one, but he learned what I wanted, at our own speed and time frame. That is one of the pluses about homeschooling, you have alot of freedom.

Friday, March 14, 2008

Getting started

We decided to homeschool, when the town we moved to had only 3 bus stops, and my son wouldn't get home until almost 4 pm. We had wanted to homeschool anyway, but this just kind of made it the best choice. I was not exactly prepared, at first. The first thing you have to do, after deciding to homeschool, is send your school, a letter of intent, stating your childs name, birthdate, your intent to homeschool. When you decide to stop homeschooling, you will need to send another letter of intent to the school. These are Florida's standards, so be sure to check your states laws, to be safe.

Thursday, March 13, 2008

Florida Homeschool Law

This is the Florida Homeschool Law, that every homeschooler, or want to be homeschooler needs to know. It is short and simple, and fairly easy to understand. If you have any questions, feel free to ask.

GENERAL:1002.41 Home education programs(1) A "home education program" is defined in s. 1002.01 The parent is not required to hold a valid regular Florida teaching certificate.(a) The parent shall notify the district school superintendent of the county in which the parent resides of her or his intent to establish and maintain a home education program. The notice shall be in writing, signed by the parent, and shall include the names, addresses, and birthdates of all children who shall be enrolled as students in the home education program. The notice shall be filed in the district school superintendent' s office within 30 days of the establishment of the home education program. A written notice of termination of the home education program shall be filed in the district superintendent' s office within 30 days after said termination.(b) The parent shall maintain a portfolio of records and materials. The portfolio shall consist of the following:1. A log of educational activities that is made contemporaneously with the instruction and that designates by title any reading materials used.2. Samples of any writings, worksheets, workbooks, or creative materials used or developed by the student.The portfolio shall be preserved by the parent for 2 years and shall be made available for inspection by the district school superintendent, or the district school superintendent' s agent, upon 15 days' written notice. Nothing in this section shall require the district school superintendent to inspect the portfolio.(c) The parent shall provide for an annual educational evaluation in which is documented the student's demonstration of educational progress at a level commensurate with her or his ability. The parent shall select the method of evaluation and shall file a copy of the evaluation annually with the district school superintendent' s office in the county in which the student resides. The annual educational evaluation shall consist of one of the following:1. A teacher selected by the parent shall evaluate the student's educational progress upon review of the portfolio and discussion with the student. Such teacher shall hold a valid regular Florida certificate to teach academic subjects at the elementary or secondary level;2. The student shall take any nationally normed student achievement test administered by a certified teacher;3. The student shall take a state student assessment test used by the school district and administered by a certified teacher, at a location and under testing conditions approved by the school district;4. The student shall be evaluated by an individual holding a valid, active license pursuant to the provisions of s. 490.003(7) or (8); or5. The student shall be evaluated with any other valid measurement tool as mutually agreed upon by the district school superintendent of the district in which the student resides and the student's parent.(2) The district school superintendent shall review and accept the results of the annual educational evaluation of the student in a home education program. If the student does not demonstrate educational progress at a level commensurate with her or his ability, the district school superintendent shall notify the parent, in writing, that such progress has not been achieved. The parent shall have 1 year from the date of the receipt of the written notification to provide remedial instruction to the student. At the end of the 1-year probationary period, the student shall be reevaluated as specified in paragraph (1)(c). Continuation in a home education program shall be contingent upon the student demonstrating educational progress commensurate with her or his ability at the end of the probationary period.(3) A home education program shall be excluded from meeting the requirements of a school day.(4) Home education students may participate in interscholastic extracurricular student activities in accordance with the provisions of s. 1006.15.(5) Home education students may participate in the Bright Futures Scholarship Program in accordance with the provisions of ss. 1009.53-1009. 539,(6) Home education students may participate in dual enrollment programs in accordance with the provisions of ss. 1007.27(4) and 1007.271(10) .(7) Home education students are eligible for admission to community colleges in accordance with the provisions of s. 1007.263.(8) Home education students are eligible for admission to state universities in accordance with the provisions of s. 1007.261.(9) Home education program students may receive testing and evaluation services at diagnostic and resource centers, in accordance with the provisions of s. 1006.03.

Welcome to my Homeschool Blog

Hello, my name is Melissa. I have two children, 3 and 7, and I am currently homeschooling them both. We live in North Florida, but the tips provided will be helpful to all homeschoolers. Please feel free to respond to posts on my blog, leave feedback, or just say hi. I am new to blogging, so bare with me, it might take me a little bit to get it looking real sharp. For now just stop by and say Hi. I would love to hear from you.

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