"Let me in or I'll take your kids," stated the social workers back in 2005. Not exactly the words of a stress free homeschooling experience, but eight years later documents are still being filed from this violation of the 4th and 14th amendments of this homeschooling family.
Even though homeschooling has been legal in all fifty states for many years, we all know-- change happens. So if you're hoping to have a positive homeschooling experience, here are a few suggestions to follow.
1. Keep records and samples of work on each child. Therefore, at the beginning of the school year, make sure that you have folders labeled and all completed and graded worksheets from the four core areas in the file.
Make sure that the date and your child’s name is on each worksheet. Also, most social workers and psychologists are keenly aware that home schooled children don’t get as much physical activity as regularly schooled children do, so to counter that, keep a P.E. log of activity in your child’s folder.
2. Keep your children inside the house or at least in their backyard during local school hours. “I see those children outside everyday playing,” “Those children are screaming and playing unsupervised all the time.” (The fact that homeschooling children get recess too before lunch and that you are inside watching them while making their lunch is lost on nosy neighbors.)
3. Choose your words carefully with your neighbors. For example, if a neighbor asks how your children are doing in school, simply tell them that they are doing well. Details that you are homeschooling are unnecessary, but stating that your son or daughter just finished a book report on reptiles is a good idea.
4. Avoid criticizing or idle ranting about the local school systems with all but your closest friends. While most Americans agree that the schools need reforming, public schools are major employers in the area, and most people have friends or relatives employed by those districts. It’s not a far stretch that casual or vehement ranting to casual acquaintances or neighbors could have some backlash for you, which doesn't make for stress-free homeschooling. So save it for close friends because as we all know there is plenty to criticize about the publics.
5. Maintain a friendly, community presence. If there is a fund raising campaign at the neighborhood school and a student knocks on your door, buy a candy bar. We all know that any real educational activity like a field trip or special activity is paid for by fund raising, so help out. It’s these marks of “normalcy” that will encourage your own stress free homeschooling and keep the neighborhood a friendly and supportive community.
6. Keep your front and backyards clean and safe. If the outside of your house is messy, the inside might be too. Avoid, if possible, major home improvements during the school year where safety might be an issue with children underfoot.
Every community seems friendly on the surface, but really I'm only talking about one neighbor, one mess too many, and one phone call that can heap an eight-year litigation around your neck and hamper what otherwise might have been a stress free homeschooling experience.
7. Teach your children not to open the door during the day. Imagine that you are going about your business teaching your children and some neighbor, unbeknownst to you, is having a stressful day.
Perhaps, she is gabbing to her friend who doesn't believe in home schooling or knew someone who was home schooled and the parents did a lousy job.
Perhaps, she decides to report that information to the “protective” services. Now let’s say that child protective services is having a slow week and perhaps, cutbacks are imminent. Following up again and again on an anonymous tipster, will keep employees busy.
Unfortunately, there is a growing snitch mentality in the United States as evidenced with the “See something, say something” campaign.
Standing up for what you believe and wanting to live free and unencumbered is how most of us grew up. But with daily revelations of how the NSA and other government agencies are monitoring our emails and social networks, that is not the way our world is now.
The Loudermilk’s case against Arizona has been in litigation since 2006. Remember your goal is to have a stress free homeschooling life that gives your children a quality education, not a thorough knowledge of the justice system.
To read other blogs for stress free homeschooling, click here.