Monday, October 08, 2007

I school therefore I file...

So today I filed my Private School Affidavit with the State of California. It is fairly easy to homeschool here, and I am grateful for that. It is not easy to *homeschool* necessarily (grin) but it is easy to get yourself established as a homeschooler. I have heard of the many state-mandated hoops that other families must go through outside of CA so I am grateful for our system.

I sort of dread filing the Affidavit though, and I don't really even know why. I think I just dislike having to have anything to do with the state. I guess I just believe that we ought to have the right as parents to school our children without involving the state, or notifying them, at all. They don't feel that way though so in order to obey the law, we file the affidavit. Have you California ladies filed yours yet?

What about you other state mamas - what hoops do you have to jump through?

We have having a better week - starting out right and jumping in.
Total Language Plus is going well and we are enjoying it very much. Do you ever find that what you think your children might not like, they end up really liking? I was not sure if all the different worksheets that are inside TLP were overkill or if they helped the children. They have Vocabulary, Grammar, Dictation (which I use as Copywork), Spelling, and Reading Comprehension. I was thinking that it was overkill. I spoke my thoughts and the children almost drowned me out with protest. :+) They really enjoy the worksheets because a) they are done in a pretty interesting and engaging manner, and b) they really help them learn the words they are studying. The vocabulary and spelling words are the same so they study them from many angles. Abigail had some difficult words last week and she aced her spelling test. I was very happy (and so was she!)

We have been using
Lamp and Quill for Bible study for the last nine or ten weeks now and there are many thoughts rumbling through my mind about it. I love the focused study on the sections and subjects and that it is systematic study. We are studying the days of creation and have been all over the Bible--not just in Genesis. I like that she makes us think, asks questions that don't always have one answer. (And then of course, there are the questions that do.) :+) I like that I am studying the same things with my children, but I have limited it to the oldest three. Currently the two youngest are with us listening and coloring, but the questions we are discussing are often really over their heads.

Their books are not like ours, and are, of course, on a more simplified level. This study is so so good for children who can really comprehend it, but I have been less impressed by the usability of the younger levels--at least within the scope of family Bible study time. This is not because the quality of the materials is any less, but more because it is very difficult to teach this subject to so many different levels at once. It really is not possible to teach the same material to a 13 year-old and a 5 year-old, at the same time, and have it be meaningful to both.

So, I am not 100% sure if I will continue to use the study with my younger ones, but I am 100% sure I will be using it with my older ones. If all I had was younger ones I would consider it, but I would also want to see samples of the questions to see if my children could really do the assignments. There are several that are quite over my seven year-old's head and her book is designed for a child her age and even a bit younger. At this point I have ordered the
The Child's Story Bible for my two little ones and we will enjoy reading that together. I will likely continue using the First Catechism with all of them too. (Search here under that title for a hardcopy and here for an online resource.)  

I would be interested in hearing how it is going from any of you who are using Lamp and Quill with younger aged children alone. Since that is not my situation, I would really like to know how it is working with your family. I think if I used it at a separate time with my little ones it might work better here. I may consider that and give it a "go" as well.

So what are you using that is new this year and how has it been working so far for your family? What are your "must have" products for this year? :+)

May your week be a blessed one.


reformed said...

Dear Kate,

This is Jessica. Thanks so much for taking the time to visit and comment on my blog! :) It was a pleasure to "meet" you and find that you also embrace Reformed theology! I'm glad to hear you like the RTS on iTunes link on my blog. I'm really enjoying it myself as well.

You have a lovely family... May our Lord continue to bless you and yours!

Anonymous said...

I filed my affidavit last week. It was my first time filing. I was pleasantly suprised at just how simple the form was and so thankful for not having to jump through many hoops. We are blessed.

Happy Homeschooling to you.



p.s. Our must haves-Crayola window markers for fun spelling on windows and personal dry erase boards for all subjects...it's a nice change up from regular paper... we love 'em.

Monika said...

I filed my affidavit last week. It makes me nervous. But I am "on file," and I do think the state has a legitimate interest in at least knowing how many of its citizens are literate and can do basic math, if only for national defense purposes. Mike doesn't think so, though!

I had to pull Joe out of College of Alameda - they went way too fast for him - so my "must have" this year is my Miquon Math Algebra. I was glad it was here for him. My BIL and SIL work for that company, so I had some "samples" around.

I was disappointed he had to pull out. He was doing well in Saxon Algebra 1 and had gotten beyond me. I was not able to answer his questions any more. I know he wasn't cheating because I hid the answer books! Also, he tested into Algebra at college, so I figured he was ready.

But, he had no idea what was going on after a couple of weeks.

hugabunchmom said...

You already know this, I must have everything!!! Just kidding! ;-) Really, we are thoroughly enjoying the Spears High School Art program, it is just awesome to discuss artists and complete art assignments together. We are continuing our Bible Study with Balancing the Sword, which has also been a huge success.

As for how our state handles registration and things like that? Oklahoma requires that we inform the school system if our students are in the school system, at the time that we remove them, after that, we have nothing in the way of contact requirements. So if you never place your kids in school here, they are never tracked. We are required to track our days, just in case they check, at a minimum 180, to work basic subject areas, and the HSLDA encourages proper recordkeeping and such, but that's a given for a good homeschooler anyway. So we are truly blessed as well, I appreciate not having to send in ten tons of samples of work or an all out report card and things like that. I track it all anyway with the full Homeschool Tracker program, but we aren't "required" to. Blessings to your family!!

Jeni said...

Hi, Kate! I don't usually comment, but Georgia's laws are so weird I simply must.

To homeschool in Georgia, you must send an Intent to Teach form to your County superintendent. At the end of each month, you must send in an attendance form, for the law states you must complete 180 4-1/2 hour days during a 12-month period. Completely worthless as insurance that the home-schooled youth of Georgia are actually learning something, but I don't complain, because it is pretty non-invasive. Also, beginning in 3rd grade, your child must take a Standardized Test every three years. This is completely on the honor system, as you are not required to show proof or results to anyone. Weird.

As for my favorite curriculum for the year, the award goes to our Catechism. Instead of using the typical First Catechism "Who made you? What else did God make?" etc, we are using one adapted by one of our elders. It's the Shorter Shorter Catechism, so the little kids are answering the exact same questions as the older ones, but with simpler words when necessary. For example, Question 2 states: "What rule has God given to direct us how we may glorify and enjoy him?" and the young kids' answer is simply "The Word of God." When they go to memorize the Shorter Catechism, the framework is already there. Love it.

God bless!


jess4him said...

I can't WAIT to have kids and homeschool them. I was just telling Charley that this morning.. he replied as he normally does when I have a giddy and excited "anticipation for kids someday" moment, "Someday soon my Love!". :)

hope you have a great day!



AFJen88 said...

I filed mine too. This is our 2nd year in CA and after living in ND, it's a breath of fresh air, trust me! :) We've hsed in 4 states now, and overseas, and overseas was the best, since we didn't have to notify anyone. It IS unnerving to think 'they' have us 'on file'--I know what you mean there.

BUT it's done!

hrlabonte said...

Saw in your sidebar that you have a wolf cub! Our oldest is a wolf cub this year. :-)

And, our middle one is working on the same catechism.

Have a great day!


curiouscat said...

I was talking with a friend in our HS organization and she told me I was the only one she knew who filed at all in CA. Then she said in biblical reality we are not to be under govt. accountability as they are not godly, and getting worse. What do you think of that? I've always been leary of filing too, esp this year it states we are all on a "list" under public view. If you file before the 15th you are on the "directory" but after your name doesn't get put on that list. Do you know anyone who doesn't file?

Re: catechism. I found one that John Piper had on his website, is this one similar? Thanks for the link :)



aka /HeartnSoul

UndertheSky said...

Hi there, Curious Cat, and thanks for your comment. It is an interesting one, but I think your friend is not taking the mindset to the end conclusion.

You asked: "Then she said in biblical reality we are not to be under govt. accountability as they are not godly, and getting worse. What do you think of that?"

Well, I would say that we are not biblically *mandated* to be under government accountability, but we *are* biblically mandated to obey the laws of the land if they do not prevent us from the worship/preaching of our God. We are also to be at peace with all men in so far as it depends upon us. I look at the example of Peter when he obeyed God rather than men - they were being told not to speak in the name of Jesus. Then it was OK to disobey the laws of the land because it would cause them to violate the laws of God. I just don't see that with regards to filing a simple affidavit. And if nothing else, it would help *you* in a court of law were you to run into problems. We have very few restrictions in CA - I would not want to upset the apple cart with what I believe is needless protest unless there was a serious reason or threat to our homeschooling freedoms.

Not only that, but the private schools listed online are only ones that have more than 6 students. This is from the CA Department of Education site: "The Private School Data information, below, lists only private schools reporting enrollments of 6 or more students on their Private School Affidavits." (Found here: http://www.cde.ca.gov/ds/si/ps/) So, if you have five or less children there is no issue as your data will likely not show up. However, even if I had six or more, or they changed the listings to reflect our family of five, I don't think I would worry about it. If you really have a concern there is membership with HSLDA or the California Homeschool Network available. CHN would help in any case.

I think we as Christians have to be extra careful what we protest. Filing as a private school enables us to teach what *our own* private schools mandate, not the state. We have so much freedom here. You could never experience this in many other states.

As far as not being under "government accountability" - I would want to know exactly how far she takes that mindset. We took that mindset and ran with it and it brought us no end of misery.

While I think that biblically, there is no ground for the government's involvement in our children's education, neither does the Bible forbid it. Do I believe that public education is a good thing? No, frankly, I don't. I think it is a dangerous place and Christians have no business sending their covenant children to a place of godless training. That is my own [very strong] opinion. :+) I don't see how we can truly honor God in our children's education by allowing the humanistic state to train and educate them - it just does not make sense to me. But that is one choice among many that we as parents have to make in our country. We *do* have the freedom to school our own children or place them in a godly Christian school. I just don't think we have the freedom to ignore the state when it is not commanding us to disobey our Lord.

Yes, I have known people who don't file, but very few of my homeschooling friends do this. God is sovereign over all of our lives--over every choice we make. I trust that He is able to do all that we need as we walk by faith and live to obey Him. If we love Him we will keep His commands. To file an affidavit does not break them in my opinion.



curiouscat said...

Thank you for that thoughtful reply, it puts my mind more at ease. :) more on filing: We are moving next week further north CA and will be in a hotel for a month. (oh joy!) I'm wondering if I should file with my address here or wait until end of November when we will have housing. What would you do?



aka /HeartnSoul

UndertheSky said...

I thought there was a limited time frame for filing that began October 1.

I would file now. :+)



Deborah said...

Hey Kate!

Happy Late Birthday!

I was very interested to read your thoughts on Lamp and Quill. We bought the year that does 1 quarter on Psalms and then goes into John for the remainder of the year.

We finally decided this week that it is ridiculous trying to do the study with our littlest boy (he is 5, using the Pre-K book). It is just too over his head. I have been wondering this week what to do for "bible study" with my youngest. Reading through the children's bibles is a good idea --he missed a lot of that the first time around!!

That said, my husband and I love our Lamp and Quill book. We have thought more deeply about Psalms than we would have on our own.

The study is a challenge for our 9 year old, but very good for him and he is definitely learning about God and Bible history/theology.

The book we use for my 7 year old is a bit more "workbookish" than I would like, but we still really like it. I think this child will enjoy the older books more, as he is a more thoughtful child and easily bored with the fill-in-the-blanks (of course, our older son loves fill-in-the-blanks and puzzles and struggles with the "deep thinking" aspects of his study! the boys have talked about switching books for a day for fun!).

It has been neat to all study the same thing at the same time, to have dad introduce it to us on Sunday nights, etc. I am REALLY looking forward to getting into a more "narrative" area of scripture as we study the life of Christ in the book of John. Overall, though, we really like this study so far. We feel blessed to have come across it at the Modesto Conference this year.

I'll keep you posted on our thoughts!!

seekingHim said...

and I love it! I am in CA too, but am in an inexpensive ISP so I don't have to file. We used Lamp & Quill too and we didn't get very far(My kids were 7 & under). I started Bible Study Guide for All Ages and think it's a better fit for us. It goes through the whole bible, but focuses on one person's life at a time (ex. we just studied all the passages about Joseph and then all about Daniel and now we are on Jesus's early life). My kids love it b/c there are stick figure visuals and they get to make a book about each chapter.


HisPoiema said...

Hey, I have heard that CA is a more difficult state to homeschool in! I'm glad to know that's not necessarily true. Here in Virginia, it's incredibly easy. Most people file each year with the local schoolboard and provide end of year testing results, but there are a bunch of us who went through the process of filing for religious exemption, a process in which we wrote a statement saying that we are sincerely convicted that it would be sinful for anyone other than us to have the primary educational care of our children.(and provide scriptural basis) And then we had to find 10 nonrelated people to write statements agreeing that this is what we really truly believe. Once our RE was approved, we are free free free. We don't have to report or submit anything to anyone. I found out later that Virginia is the only state that has this exemption (I think, anyway), which surprised me, I thought everyone had that option!

So we really enjoy the freedom. Although I have my kids tested at the end of the year, anyway, for my own benenfit.

And thanks for your post about Saxon from years ago, we use saxon and I've been pleased so far, but I have a new one starting math in the coming fall, maybe we'll try MUS. Why not, right??