Today I am printing declaration forms for both of my children. In the state of Georgia, you are required to submit this form each year, in addition to sending a monthly attendance record to your district's homeschool coordinator. I'm certainly not an expert on homeschool requirements in other states, but I do know that Georgia is very relaxed about its regulations - as it should be. The only things required of us are the intent form, monthly attendance forms, and a record that your child has taken a standardized test once every three years beginning in the third grade.
Most of the homeschooling moms I know keep very meticulous records about their children's education - portfolios of their work, copies of attendance records, logs of field trips, etc... Remember, we care enough to educate our kids at home so it just stands to reason that we will document it carefully.
There have been slight rumblings this week in our homeschool group that our county is going to begin reviewing these records carefully and coming after the violaters. Good. If you keep your records (and have taken copies of what you send to the county board of education) you are in good shape and have nothing to worry about. Of course, however, if someone does get in "trouble" for not keeping proper records it will make all homeschoolers look bad. That's just the way it is. If I have learned one big thing from homeschooling it is that you cannot worry about what others think of you - if you did you would be miserable.
Case in point: last month at the YMCA my children were in childcare. One day after childcare my daughter was so excited about some card games she had learned from one of the workers. She taught them to us that night and it was great to learn new games and to have our daughter teach them to us. The next day I made a point to tell the woman who taught the games how appreciative I was. We continued talking and it came out that my children were homeschooled. She said (and I quote) : "We have some homeschooled kids who don't even know their letters or numbers. They are dumb as rocks. Thank goodness for us or they would never learn anything." Really? Did she just say that to me? My first response was to fire back something nasty, but I just kept my composure and said, "Really, that's a shame, isn't it?" Mental note: don't talk with that woman again.
It irritates me to no end that in some states the government is making homeschooling very difficult for competent families that just want to educate their children the way they see fit. One blogger I love to keep up with is Spunky Homeschooler. She puts these thoughts into words much better than I can. I could digress into a conversation about government intrusion into our lives, but I have lesson planning waiting for me.
Long story short, if you live in the state of Georgia be thankful for the lack of government regulation. If you live somewhere else and have different regulations, I'd love for you to leave me a comment and tell me about them!