entirelysonja: (Default)
Even though we live in a relatively easygoing state for homeschoolers, I will need to be prepared to discuss our educational activities with someone from the school district twice a year, and show a portfolio of my children's work.

Now that I'm aware of these requirements, I find myself thinking about how things we do now might be noted in the future as aspects of our educational program.

For example, some of today's activities surrounding our trip to the farm:

Science -- life cycle of chickens, production and processing of milk, crop rotation (we saw chicks hatch, cows being milked, discussed pasteurization, noted that a field which had been planted with corn last year was lying fallow and discussed this)

Language Arts -- storytelling, copywork (Erika had me write down some of her experiences at the farm, then copied what I wrote)

Art -- drawing, photography (Erika took photographs at the farm, and drew pictures afterwards)

From the background of a person who went to school, it seems almost like cheating that ordinary parts of life can wind up counting as "school".

Of course, from a homeschooling perspective, that's part of the point -- for kids to see that learning is part of everything we do, not segregated off into the part of life we call "school."
entirelysonja: (Default)
Here in Maryland, the homeschooling law says that we're required to provide instruction in certain subjects (English, math, science, social studies, art, music, health, and physical education), but the only thing it says about when and how we need to do this is that the instruction must be "regular," "thorough," and of "sufficient duration to implement the instructional program." We are required to meet with someone from the school district to have them review a portfolio of the child's work, which usually happens once per semester, but this is not especially onerous.

In learning about the homeschooling laws in some other states, I am so grateful that Maryland does not require a specific number of hours of instruction per year, a specific number of hours per day, etc. For example, in North Dakota, you must provide at least 4 hours per day of instruction for at least 175 days per year. The list of subjects there is also much longer, including things like hygiene and "disease control." I am so glad that I will not have to sit down at the end of each day and enumerate the time we spent on schooling, making sure it adds up to a specific number of hours!

I can see how lawmakers might think these kinds of laws make sense, but that's only if you think of homeschooling as being just like public school, only conducted in the home. Even if you presume that the number of hours required in North Dakota is reasonable, why shouldn't a family be able to have school for 3 hours 234 days per year if that's what suits them best?

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