I'm in the throes of preparing for the upcoming school year. "WHAT?!" you say. "It's July. School's supposed to be out for summer. You know: No more pencils, no more books, no more teacher's dirty looks." It would seem that those dirty looks were not intended for you (although you no doubt deserved them), but were actually directed at the law-makers that require that each child have a paper trail so long that said child is personally responsible for killing his or her own tree.
Let me back up a bit and explain what I mean. As a homeschooling parent, I am responsible for answering to my local school district regarding my child's education. How much information that a parent is required to provide varies from state to state and in some cases from district to district. For example, in Jessica's home state, she is required to send a letter to her district stating that she intends to homeschool her children for the coming school year (also known as a letter of intent) and then administer a standardized test to her homeschooled child and keep those records should the school ever need to see them. New York is a little more...involved. Here is what is required of a homeschooling parent in the state of New York:
Step One: Write a letter of intent. Asking a parent to account for how their child will be receiving their education seems perfectly reasonable and may I say, responsible.
Step Two: Create an IHIP (Individualized Home Education Plan) An IHIP is a document that outlines your entire curriculum for the coming year including all texts books, reading books, manipulatives used and how much of all these materials you'll be using. Our schools give us specifics of subjects that must be covered and even tells us how often throughout the child's education we must cover any one topic. Once an IHIP is completed it is sent back to the district to be looked over and approved. If it is not approved, they contact you, and you must amend your curriculum to their liking.
While this starts to feel a little big brother, I can understand the desire to see that a homeschooling family is covering all the bases and that all children are receiving an adequate education.
Step Three: File Quarterly reports with the district letting them know how much of the curriculum they already have a full copy of, you have covered with your children. This step seems a bit unnecessary to me because,
Step Four: Administer standardize testing to your homeschooled child. You may choose any of the standardized tests from the approved list, and you must administer the test at the required intervals (every year or every other year depending on grade level).
Once a student completes the twelfth grade state approved curriculum, New York will graciously and happily provide a homeschooled student with a diploma. Oh wait, no, scratch that. Homeschooled students are ineligible to receive a New York State diploma. I have absolutely no idea why this is. It boggles my mind.
Yeah, I have nothing more to add to that. I just needed to rant a minute. Maybe you'll have a different perspective on it that I haven't thought of.