Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Winding down--and winding up

Ahh, June!  A time for finishing up.  We're winding down Aleph Champ, and are just doing enough of the Three Rs to keep the kids' hands in.  Camp is around the corner, and with it the requisite physicals, supply shopping, and mentally getting ready for Thing 1. (Thing 2 will join her big sister next summer.)  Thing 1 complained about camp last summer, got excited for it last winter, and is back to complaining now that it's next month.  But, hey, it's only 4 weeks!
And, now for The Big, Serious News: This is our last year of unofficial homeschooling.  This summer, I am putting in our paperwork!  That's right, Thing 1, by virtue of her approaching-too-slowly-for-her-taste sixth birthday, is going to be of Compulsory School Attendance Age this fall.  Help.
See, I live in New York, aka Homeschooler Hell.  I'm not complaining about the amenities--in fact, I think you could learn more just going around the city in a year than you could ever learn in a classroom.  I'm talking about the PAPERWORK!  Every year, I have to submit a Letter of Intent, an Individualized Home Instruction Plan, four Quarterly Reports, and an Annual Evaluation.  I have to show that I'm teaching arithmetic, reading, writing, spelling, the English language, geography, US history, science, health, art, music, physical education, patriotism and citizenship (shouldn't be too hard in an election year), fire safety and arson prevention, dangers of alcohol, drug and tobacco misuse (neither Builder or I smoke), and highway safety and traffic regulations.  I also have to document 900 hours of instruction.
OK, OK, I get it.  There are people that pull their kids out of school, teach them nothing, and call it homeschooling.  The state has a vested interest in ensuring that a child not in school is receiving the substantive equivalent of a public school education.  It all sounds great--until you're the one sweating bullets over the IHIP.  Did I include enough?  Is the state really going to allow copywork instead of some fancy spelling workbook?  Are the materials chosen at grade level?  Should I list Thing 1 as a first grader or a kindergartener?  (I would still use the same curriculum--I would just get to push off the mandatory standardized testing for another year.)  Most importantly--Will the state accept it?

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