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Author Topic: Homeschooling in NH  (Read 3023 times)

avdi

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Homeschooling in NH
« on: December 19, 2009, 09:37:42 am »

My wife and have long agreed that we want to leave PA.  Several years ago we took our kids and made the trek up to NH for the Porcupine Festival. We enjoyed the people and the scenery and decided that it topped our list of potential destinations.

More recently, however, I've been doing some research into homeschooling regulations in the various states, and discovered something disturbing. NH has some of the more stringent and intrusive homescholing regulations in the country, and last I checked the legislature was considering new laws that would make it one of the very worst states for homeschooling in the country, right up there with our home state of PA. I don't know whether it passed or not, but the discovery that NH is so harsh on homeschoolers came as a rude shock. NH dropped from the top of our list of potential destinations to not even being on the list any more. It is essential to us that we settle somewhere with better, not worse, homeschooling laws than we live under now.

But I don't want to write off NH and the FSP completely. So I'm writing to get your perspective. I'm particularly looking for homeschooling FSP families (I know there have to be a few).  Is it really as bad as I hear? What interactions do you have with the state regarding education?  Is the school board generally understanding or suspicious? Are the reporting requirements as onerous as they sound, or are there mitigating factors?  Are things getting better, or worse?

Thanks,

--
Avdi Grimm
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Pat McCotter

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Re: Homeschooling in NH
« Reply #1 on: December 19, 2009, 09:42:32 am »

NHLA is hot ion this topic right now. Michelle is posting about the issue here:

http://forum.nhliberty.org/index.php?topic=2628.0
http://forum.nhliberty.org/index.php?topic=2534.0
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avdi

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Re: Homeschooling in NH
« Reply #2 on: December 19, 2009, 09:47:01 am »

P.S. I scrolled down a bit and saw that there was another thread with the exact same title. However, it seems to have devolved into the eternal "homeschoolers are smart/homeschoolers are stupid/I know the only way to teach kids correctly" debate that 99% of the discussions of homeschooling turn in to. So please don't refer me to that thread; as a second generation homeschooler you'll forgive me for not wanting to rehash that particular discussion for the millionth time. What I'm looking for is specific, practical reports from freedom-oriented people currently homeschooling in NH.
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Russell Kanning

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Re: Homeschooling in NH
« Reply #3 on: December 19, 2009, 09:54:21 am »

i know firsthand  that you can homeschool your child and not tell any government in nh about it
they also have laws about it in california, but i never even thought about filling out paperwork

if you move here, you don't have to tell any government people that you have children not being subjected to public schooling
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avdi

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Re: Homeschooling in NH
« Reply #4 on: December 19, 2009, 09:57:10 am »

Thanks for the links.  Unfortunately as someone with no knowledge of the NH legislative process I found a lot of the jargon difficult to follow.

Can anyone with hands-on homeschooling experience in NH sum up the current situation and the status of proposed changes to the law?
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avdi

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Re: Homeschooling in NH
« Reply #5 on: December 19, 2009, 10:01:33 am »

if you move here, you don't have to tell any government people that you have children not being subjected to public schooling

Yes, going unreported is always an option in any state. I am primarily interested in the experience of reporting families.  However, I'd also be interested to know if there are a lot of unreported homeschoolers, and if so, why they chose to go unreported. Also, if they have felt the need to hold their kids back from any activities or interactions in order to maintain their unreported status.
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Pat McCotter

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Re: Homeschooling in NH
« Reply #6 on: December 19, 2009, 11:07:41 am »

Please PM Michelle and get her take on what is happening. She will be glad to fill you in. Here is her PM link on this forum. I don't know how active she is here.
http://forum.freestateproject.org/index.php?action=pm;sa=send;u=5229

If you are signed on to forum.nhliberty.org here is her PM link there.
http://forum.nhliberty.org/index.php?action=pm;sa=send;u=270
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Dreepa

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Re: Homeschooling in NH
« Reply #7 on: December 19, 2009, 12:57:20 pm »

Avdi... I know 3-4 homeschooling families... I am going to point them at this thread to PM you.

My small take:
NH laws aren't the best... but laws change with the help of FSPers and NH locals... and the future is bright here... (seriously)
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Toowm

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Re: Homeschooling in NH
« Reply #8 on: December 19, 2009, 01:48:29 pm »

Avdi-

Michelle will send you an email. To answer your questions directly:

NH homeschooling laws are so/so. No advance notice is needed to homeschool and you do not have to use the government system at all  - our "participating agency" is a small private school that is very homeschool friendly. Their are two options for annual compliance - having a portfolio reviewed by an outside person or standardized testing. We use the testing route, and all we tell the participating agency is the total percentile rank of each child (which, speaking to the idiots on the other thread, has always been 97th-99th percentile). There are some brief rules about the range of subjects, but no requirement about grade-level topics. The best place for information on the rules is http://www.nhhomeschooling.org/

To repeat the answer to one of your concerns, you do not have to involve the state at all

We don't find the reporting requirements difficult -- we use the California Aptitude Test, which my wife administers over a couple days in the Spring -- so it's a very minor part of our children's education

The rules have become better through the work of some FSP early movers, but the current trend is worse. There is one nasty state rep, Judith Day, who targeted homeschooling with two bad bills in 2009. Working with FSP activists and hundreds of homeschoolers, we were able to get the worst bill dropped, and the other one was put old hold to create "study committees." Those committees reported back and the Education Committee voted the bill ITL - inexpedient to legislate, usually meaning it would be summarily rejected by the whole House. Rep. Day, the villain in this tale, added an amendment to give the second bill some of the worst features of the first, and will have whole House vote on it on January 6. We have been calling and emailing reps, and will have over 100 homeschoolers in attendance, but the bill may pass due to backroom pressure from Teacher's Unions on the majority Democrats.

As you can tell, there is a large and active homeschool community in NH, including many who chose not to comply with the regulations. Should these more onerous rules pass, you can be sure that they will continue to be fought, through a Constitutional challenge, and an increasing amount of noncompliance. I believe a key difference from other states is that we already have a strong network of homeschool activists, but also general activists, that will fight stupid rules on multiple fronts. Just like we help activists on guns, drugs, and marriage, while those are not our key issues, we know they will help us with this struggle.

As a side note, while HSLDA has done good things for some home schoolers, they have often been at the sidelines on NH homeschooling issues, while claiming credit for victories. They are not often a good source of information, but we welcome their support in fighting these most recent issues.
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toowm
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Re: Homeschooling in NH
« Reply #9 on: December 20, 2009, 12:18:56 am »

Honestly. I understand the concern about the homeschooling regulations compared to other states. But NH is the place to live free. I honestly don't care how stringent the regulations will get. I'm homeschooling my daughter. To hell with the bureaucrats.
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Russell Kanning

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Re: Homeschooling in NH
« Reply #10 on: December 20, 2009, 07:11:53 am »

new homeschooling bills bring out huge numbers of activists to the nh state house
last year  they overwhelmed the system
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The NH Underground - "First they ignore you, then they ridicule you, then they fight you, then you win." -Mahatma Gandhi
New Hampshire Free Press - The Nonviolent Revolution Starts Here

"Resolve to serve no more, and you are at once freed. I do not ask that you place hands upon the tyrant to topple him over, but simply that you support him no longer; then you will behold him, like a great Colossus whose pedestal has been pulled away, fall of his own weight and break in pieces." -- Etienne de La Boetie, The Politics of Obedience: The Discourse of Voluntary Servitude

time4liberty

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Re: Homeschooling in NH
« Reply #11 on: December 23, 2009, 02:48:57 am »

I was homeschooled in NH, and turned out fine (I think) :)

Once a year, we had to have a certified teacher look over our coursework. This can be a homeschool friendly teacher at a Christian school. That was it.
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creaganlios

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Re: Homeschooling in NH
« Reply #12 on: December 23, 2009, 08:23:34 am »

Avdi,

We homeschooled 5 of our 6 children in NH (including two all the way through 12 grade, and these two are currently in college). We never reported to anyone, never received 'approval,' and never had a problem either, even though we were very vocal and involved in homeschooling organizations and activities.

New Hampshire has a unique board called HEAC (Home Education Advisory Council), a state-created group that serves as advisors to the State Dept. of Education on all education issues.  This group is, by law, comprised of representatives from the largest home education groups in the state, and so it  (a) is strongly pro-homeschool, and (b) has its fingers on the up-to-the-minute goings-ons in Concord.  When something begins rolling that they don't like, you can bet that word gets out FAST, and legislative hearings on bad home school bills get packed very quickly with a well-organized opposition.
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Pat McCotter

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Re: Homeschooling in NH
« Reply #13 on: December 23, 2009, 08:54:41 am »

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