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Author Topic: Homeschoolers view of NH  (Read 9472 times)

jdavidb

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Re:Homeschoolers view of NH
« Reply #15 on: October 16, 2003, 11:47:09 am »

I understand the eval has to be given to the school district. However, I see nothing that says how detailed the written eval must be. Many in PA (worse than NH) just have a sentence that "this student is progressing at a grade-appropriate rate" or something like that. Not much info to the district at all.

Yes, but can you find an evaluator who will append "We thumb our noses in your general direction and hereby request that you stay out of our business and not require this silly evaluation next year?"

:)
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GodBlessTexas

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Re:Homeschoolers view of NH
« Reply #16 on: November 19, 2003, 10:43:55 pm »

Ok, here's NH's homeschooling laws, from my previous post in the NH Information forum.

New Hampshire Homeschooling Coalition - http://www.nhhomeschooling.org/

New Hampshire Law, Chapter 193-A: Home Education - http://gencourt.state.nh.us/rsa/html/indexes/193-A.html

New Hampshire Department of Education Administrative Rules - http://www.ed.state.nh.us/HomeSchooling/ed_515text.htm

Summary (from http://www.nhhomeschooling.org/leglreqs2.htm):

Quote
Home education in New Hampshire is governed by RSA 193-A, which went into effect on July 1, 1991. Under this law, parents or legal guardians who wish to homeschool their child(ren) are required to:

  • a participating agency (in most cases, the local school superintendent) of their intent to homeschool and provide information about the curriculum used.
  • a portfolio of the homeschooled child’s work and log of reading materials
  • an annual evaluation demonstrating educational progress commensurate with the child’s age and ability. These requirements are explained in more detail below.

Notification:
The compulsory attendance law (RSA 193:1), and by extension, the home education law (RSA 193-A), applies to those children who are six years of age (by September 30) and under 16 years of age.

Although the law states that parents may choose to notify either the commissioner of education, resident district superintendent, or a nonpublic school principal, the majority of families choose to notify their local school superintendent.  Typically, nonpublic schools that are willing to act as the participating agency charge a fee for this service, which may or may not include access to the nonpublic school's curriculum, classes or other activities, and/or participation in the school's testing/evaluation programs.

The commissioner of education does not personally process the notifications received by the Department of Education.  Currently, the staff member responsible for handling matters related to home education is Joyce Johnson; she can be reached by phone at 271-3582.  The DOE prefers that homeschooling families use the commissioner of education as a participating agency only if there are circumstances which would prevent a family from working with their local school superintendent.  (During the 1997-98 school year, the DOE processed only about 1% of all homeschooling notifications in the state.)

According to RSA 193-A, the letter of notification should include:

  • names, addresses and dates of birth for all children of compulsory attendance age (from age 6 up to 16, as of September 30) to be homeschooled, and
  • list of the subjects to be taught, along with a description of any correspondence school program, curriculum, scope and sequence and/or list of instructional materials to be used. There is generally a good deal of latitude in interpreting what constitutes an "educational plan". Parents are required to plan and supervise their child’s educational activities; however, "planned educational activities" are not assumed to mean any particular educational method, curriculum or materials. Parents are free to use whatever educational methods, curricula, or other materials they choose.  


Many parents include the sentence "I reserve the right to change any and all methods and materials in order to meet my child’s needs", or words to that effect.
[/list]

If a child is withdrawn from a public school after the school year has started, parents should ensure that officials are aware that the child will be homeschooling in order to avoid being charged with truancy.  (It's often a good idea to put things in writing just in case there should be any disagreement about what was said.)  If you are unable to provide curriculum information at the time your child is withdrawn from school, let the district know that you plan to submit the necessary curriculum information within the 30 day period provided by law.

The participating agency is required to acknowledge your notification, in writing, within 21 days, assuming it contains the information listed above.

If you decide to end your home education program prior to age 16, written notice should be filed with your participating agency within 15 days of termination of the program.

Portfolio
Parents are required to keep a log of reading materials and a portfolio of the child's work related to the homeschooling program for two years. The portfolio is the property of the parents; the superintendent cannot require that you submit it to the district for review.

If you plan to use the portfolio method for your evaluation, you will want to include enough samples of your child’s work so the evaluator can determine that educational progress has been made. How much is enough? It varies depending on the evaluator, but one or two pages of work in each of the subject areas your child has studied, taken at three different times of the year, is often sufficient to demonstrate progress.

Evaluation
Parents are required to have their child's educational progress evaluated each year, and submit the results of the evaluation (in writing) to the participating agency. The child's progress may be evaluated by any of the following methods:

  • evaluation by a certified teacher or a teacher currently teaching in a nonpublic school (the teacher may be hired by the parent, or, if the parent requests it, the local school district must provide an evaluator);
  • national student achievement test, administered by a person who meets the qualifications established by the provider or publisher of the test, OR a state student assessment test used by the resident school district. A composite score on either test at or above the 40th percentile is considered an acceptable score.
  • Any other valid measurement tool mutually agreed upon by the parent and the commissioner of education, resident district superintendent, or nonpublic school principal. (It’s recommended that you get this agreement in writing ahead of time to avoid any unpleasant surprises.) If you choose to use an independent evaluator, try to set up the evaluation at well before the deadline (July 1).  Find out exactly what information the evaluator needs in order to perform the evaluation.

The results of the evaluation, typically no more than one or two pages, are to be submitted to and reviewed by the participating agency. An evaluation is not considered complete unless it has a parent's signature, so if you feel your child's evaluation is not accurate, do not sign it.

If the child has not demonstrated educational progress at a level commensurate with his ability, the superintendent or principal will notify the parent that acceptable progress has not been achieved, and the parent shall have one year from the date of receipt of the written notification to provide remedial instruction to that child. At the end of the one-year probationary period (or sooner, if the parent chooses), the child shall be reevaluated, using any of the four methods, and may continue homeschooling if educational progress is demonstrated.

Conclusion
It is very important that homeschooling families become thoroughly familiar with the requirements of the law, and that they not submit to any requests other than those required by law. Even if your family doesn't mind complying with requests for information which are beyond the scope of the law, your doing so may make things more difficult for the other homeschooling families (who may have different opinions about what is "reasonable" than you do) who come after you.
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thewaka

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Re:Homeschoolers view of NH
« Reply #17 on: November 23, 2003, 11:21:21 am »

I agree that NH laws could be considerably better and *still* be a compromise with those who think some regulation is necessary. The climate for change of these laws is something I am looking into. I hope things are better before I move in a few years.

On the second part... I had a shudder when I first read this, because I think I was reading it wrong.  Short-term, compromises may need to be made to improve the law from where it is now.  Longer term, the goal needs to be returning complete educational responsibility to parents -- at least to those who want it.  

I didn't mean to imply that I thought compromise was a good idea. I meant only what I said. I don't know the attitude of the legislature there, or the citizens (including those who homeschool) towards lessening the restrictions of the HSing law. In PA last year, even HSers were against reducing the restriction of the law. The majority (90%+? ) were for the change, but that still looks bad and is hard to fight against.

If the climate is similar in NH, I see two possiblities. One, we go for an intermediate step, lessening the restrictions (for instance, notification and maybe periodic but not annual eval), then 7-10 years later, go for repealing all compulsory schooling. Two, wait for all porcs to get in-state, talk up the issue, then repeal compulsory schooling. Either way takes around 10 years from now.

If the attitude towards HSing and compulsory schooling is far more favorable then perhaps this could be accomplished much sooner. No matter, I doubt this happens soon enough for many of us. I probably won't be moving until my oldest reaches compulsory school age in PA (8) in order to keep her away from the state as long as possible.

Diana
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varrin

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Re:Homeschoolers view of NH
« Reply #18 on: November 25, 2003, 01:39:30 pm »

We don't have 10 years.  My oldest will be 6 (as of September 30th) in 2007.  I'll be in Keene in late 2004.  My goal is to have homeschool educational reform (i.e. repealing all laws with respect to education for homeschoolers) completed by September 30, 2007.  That means we have 4 years from right now (and I can work for 3 years after I arrive) to get the job done.  Any questions?

V-

P.S.  We can pass a substantial decrease in regulation in 2005 if that's okay with everyone else.  But the rest of it needs to be done by 2007.  

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thewaka

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Re:Homeschoolers view of NH
« Reply #19 on: November 25, 2003, 11:23:18 pm »

P.S.  We can pass a substantial decrease in regulation in 2005 if that's okay with everyone else.  But the rest of it needs to be done by 2007.  

Varrin, if we can do it, GREAT! :)  I can't be there for at least 3 years, probably 4 (when my oldest will be 8 ). And I'll have two children who meet compulsory school age, as my second will be 6 in 2006. [Wow, it is weird to think of them as that old!]

I still haven't managed to find a good online source for legislative activity in NH. I can find where posts of bills are and how HSers should feel about them, but not what has gone on in the past, what HSers want to change, when they are going to attempt another run at the law. Varrin, have you found anything?

I hate to get too involved on a NH HSing list since I am not there and won't be for several years. I don't want to be seen as trying to fix things for them. But I sure wish they were talking about how they feel about the law as it is now.

Diana
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varrin

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Re:Homeschoolers view of NH
« Reply #20 on: November 26, 2003, 12:46:06 pm »

Diana,

I haven't started on any of that yet.  Tony Lekas is connected somewhat with the homeschooling community.  I presume HSLDA has information about that but we're busily working on buying a house out there right now.  Once we get a place selected (we won't be actually moving for a year) things should get a little easier.  Then I've gotta finish my trip report and then I'll be working on the homeschooling issue.  

And I know what ya mean about thinking about them being that old.  Sounds like your youngest is a year younger than my oldest.  But I guess if we're talking about 3 years from now.. well... they'll be 3 years older ;)

V-

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Tracy Saboe

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Re:Homeschoolers view of NH
« Reply #21 on: December 14, 2003, 05:18:28 am »

That would be wonderfull.

And at the same time while Home Schooling restrictions are repealed, property taxes can be lowered at least by the amount that those restrictions cost.

I'm sorry, I won't be able to make it for a couple years myself :-(

Wasn't governer Benson already working on reducing homeschooling restrictions somewhat?

Tracy

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