By Angela Hurd
I have a high school student. Do I need to cover all the subjects required by state law every year?
The simple answer is yes.
You need to show proof in your year-end portfolio that you have covered all of the required subjects. However, keep in mind that your separate high school transcript will reflect the courses that your student has taken. For example, the transcript may have Physical Education as a course listed in the 9th grade year even though your student will continue doing physical activities throughout all four years which will be reflected in the portfolio. Your transcript may list Engineering as a course in the 11th grade year, a class that you can use to cover Math and Science through the portfolio. In other words, the high school transcript reflects the specific courses that your student will take each year; the portfolio shows how you will cover all the general subject areas.
What are your options for covering subject areas? You can teach all of the subjects separately every year, or you can keep in mind that many subjects overlap, and what you are doing in one subject area may “count” for another subject area. Be sure to be clear in your portfolio where you have covered each subject area. For example, if you did Human Anatomy and Physiology for Science, then for the Health section of your portfolio, you can put in samples from that class with an explanation that Health was covered during that time.
Here is what needs to be covered every year as per Maine state law:
English and language arts, math, science, social studies, physical education, health education, library skills, fine arts, Maine studies (in one grade between grades 6 and 12), and computer proficiency (in one grade between grades 7 and 12). Me. Rev. Stat. tit. 20-A, § 5001-A(3)(A)(4)(a)(iv).
Unless you're an exceptionally mature and spiritually healthy person, you've probably fallen into the comparison trap.... And unless you live and homeschool in isolation, you've probably run into the homeschool parent who tries to tell you you're doing it wrong and sell you on the merits of their method.
Have you ever been here? You're doing the best you can, but you see so-and-so's kid mastering a foreign language while your child is still struggling to read English. You see that family over there investing tons of money and time (which you don't have) into stringed instruments, sailing camps, riding lessons, or whatever it may be, and you start to feel very, very bad that you can't provide your kids with the same - especially when they ask you if they can join their friends. So-and-so, blessed with excellent health and energy, tackled every subject plus more AND brought her kids on a hike today and it's only 2 pm. So far you've gotten some laundry in and helped your oldest with her math; the rest of the time was spent in various forms of damage control. I once sat in a library program in which another (very well-heeled) homeschool mom asked me if I liked to travel Europe alone. I almost choked on my coffee (out of laughter or indignation, I'm not sure). Excuse me? I'm lucky if I can run errands on a Saturday morning alone. I would be over the moon if I could manage a trip to Europe on a cattle boat.
Or have you ever been here? This or that homeschool parent goes by THIS curriculum/philosophy and they are really excited about it. Or maybe even pushy. Things have been going just fine for you and your homeschooled student(s), but now you wonder if you've been going about it all wrong. Did I invest in the wrong books? Should I stay up late following all these threads about Charlotte Mason? I once had a homeschool parent (I kid you not) over several playdates try to convince me that I shouldn't be teaching my daughter to read. She was so sold on a particular radical unschooling guru that she thought my first grader - who was meeting each educational and developmental milestone just fine and who demonstrated no ostensible obstacles to reading at that age - shouldn't be learning to read; I shouldn't be teaching her. She should only be playing outdoors (barefoot, of course. I received several lectures on the evils of shoes as well.)
By Kimberly Miller
The following post is meant only for informational purposes and should not be taken as medical advice. It is highly recommended that you do your own research and consult with a medical professional if necessary.
In discussions on preparedness, it is always a good idea to give some thought to medical emergency situations. Having the skills, supplies, and knowledge to deal with a health emergency could mean the difference between life and death for a member of the family. Knowing how to deal with such a situation is an invaluable asset and could be of service not only to your own family, but also to others within your community.
Of course, we are all familiar with the need for skills such as CPR and other basic first aid. But how many of us actually have these skills ourselves? And are there other important skills that can be helpful to have acquired in the occurrence of a medical emergency where no other help is available? It is wise to give some thought to this matter and put some time into planning for the event of a situation where we might be called upon to use some of these skills.
It is also wise to take responsibility for our own health and the health of our families rather than completely depending on a system of care that may not always be available or desirable. One thing many of us have learned over the past couple of years is the importance of doing our research and taking full responsibility for any decisions we may be required to make regarding our health care choices. Even within the medical community, there are differences of thought and philosophy with regard to medical decisions and it is always wise to follow up and use due diligence in such a significant matter as the health and wellbeing of ourselves and our families.
Another aspect of this to consider is the availability of and access to various types of medical care in the future. As discussed in previous articles in this series regarding food supply chains and other necessities, medical care is an area where it is a good idea to have alternative options available in the event when normal avenues are not accessible.
Have you been contacted by your school district regarding your notification to homeschool? You are not alone. Many homeschoolers receive contacts from school officials requesting that only the state form be used.
School superintendents and designees continue to erroneously demand use of the state's online or paper form as a means of homeschool notification. Maine law does not require use of a particular form as long as the required information is included in the notification. For further verification of this, please visit the Maine Department of Education's "Home Instruction Frequently Asked Questions" page and refer to number 4 (https://www.maine.gov/doe/schools/schoolops/homeinstruction/faq).
Once you have submitted the required information, your job is done! No other communication is necessary. Since the lawful process is one of notification, not registration or approval, officials have no authority to place letters of intent in “pending status,” accept or reject them, or return them.
Please read more about why you should not use state forms, why to file only locally, and some common misconceptions: https://www.homeschoolersofmaine.org/the-law/letters-of-intent/using-doe-forms/.
If you choose to use a form, use a HOME or HSLDA form, and notify as you always have in the past. You will have fully complied with the law by filing the traditional way. Remember to send them by certified mail and keep copies of your mail receipts and forms in a safe place. If you are new to homeschooling and the notification process, read more here: https://www.homeschoolersofmaine.org/the-law/steps-to-comply/.
Many school districts are insisting that they need more information, so that they can enter it all into the state's portal. The law does not require the Department of Education or your local superintendent to file and keep your information or enter it into their portal once they receive it. You are simply required to NOTIFY and submit assessment results, if applicable. That's it.
Any communication with officials should be in writing. If you receive a phone call, request that they contact you by email instead. Save all communications. If you are an HSLDA member, send these communications to them.
The Maine Department of Education's overreach, the compulsory school attendance law change to age 6, COVID 19 and mandatory vaccinations are all issues that are currently presenting challenges to families with school-aged children. A current HSLDA membership is highly recommended during these uncertain times. You will want to have good counsel and protection, if it becomes necessary.
You can join HOME at any level to take advantage of our HSLDA group discount membership. Find out more here: https://www.homeschoolersofmaine.org/join/become-part-of-the-mission/. HOME's HSLDA group discount number is 291046 and our group name is Homeschoolers of Maine. Find HSLDA membership info here: https://www.homeschoolersofmaine.org/the-law/letters-of-intent/using-doe-forms/.
Thank you for standing firm with HOME for freedom!
By Brandi Schunk
Webinar 1 of 4 - Oct 5, 2022 Financing College (Recap)
With hosts Nikki Vachon from Finance Authority of Maine (FAME) and Angela Hurd from Homeschoolers of Maine (HOME)
Today I had the joy of attending the first of four educational webinars geared towards families with college-bound students. I highly recommend registering for this and the remaining three webinars (see link following article) to capture the full scope of information that was offered. In the meantime, here is the highlight reel from today.
With rising costs of living, how to pay for college is a topic on the minds of many families with college-bound students. HOME and FAME have partnered to bring you all the information you need to know for financing college. In this simple, easy-to-follow, 40 minute webinar, Ms. Vachon went through the basic 3 steps for funding higher education.
Step 1: Get ready. Step 1 is really a series of small steps to be completed. Each college has a “Net Price” calculator to help you know the true cost of education with them. Use these numbers to help figure out how much aid you may need. She recommends applying to at least 3 schools so you have options. Research and stay aware of deadlines and forms that each school requires. FAME has an easy downloadable form to help you track all of this information for the schools of your choice. You can apply for scholarships all year, even while you are still in middle school. See UCanGo2.org for a list of scholarships. Start saving now. A NextGen529 plan may be a good choice. Setup an account at StudentAid.gov and get your FSA ID to have ready for applying to colleges and for funding.
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