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INTRODUCTORY PACKET PAGE 2

TABLE OF CONTENTS:


Submitting Your Annual Evalulation to the School Board

CAT/5 Testing

Termination Notice

Notice of Intent

Portfolios (Record Keeping)

Teens & High School

Recommended Books to Check Out of the Library

Bay County Public Library

Choosing Curriculum

Homeschooling Magazines

Catalogs

Curriculum Providers

Dr. Brian Ray Study

President of the National Home Education Reasearch Institute, this report was carried in the national news media.

Socialization

Alternative views on Socialization and Homeschooling: Links to well-written articles on the Internet which deal with the complicated issue of socialization and the home education of children.

Study on Socialization

A recent research study from Radford University, VA has concluded that home schoolers are more mature and better socialized than students in public schools.

Frequently Asked Questions


Submitting your Annual Evaluation to the School Board

Florida law requires that you submit your annual evaluation (test results, student evaluation, etc.) within one year of submitting your notice of intent. But some county superintendents have established deadlines for the receipt of results. For years, Bay District Schools has requested that all homeschoolers submit their annual evaluations by July 1st. However, there are so many homeschoolers in Bay County now, that the school board is now asking new homeschoolers to submit their annual evaluation on the anniversary date of their notice of intent. If you have already been submitting your evaluation by July 1st, please continue to do so. Newer homeschoolers in Bay County, however, should adhere to the anniversary date of their notice of intent to Bay District Schools.

The home education office at Bay District Schools has informed us that dual enrolled students can send in their college grades in lieu of their annual evaluation.



CAT/5 Testing

As a word of clarification, the Home Education office at the school board was contacted, and they have no problem with parents administering the CAT/5 tests themselves. The only stipulation is that parents strictly follow the guidelines and instructions of the company providing the tests.

Many parents utilizing this option have obtained the CAT/5 tests from Bayside School Services; P. O. Box 250; Kill Devil Hills, NC 27948; Phone/Fax: 800-723-3057. The cost is $25 per student. You may direct any inquires to this company regarding considerations that are alowed for special needs students.



Termination Notice

One of your responsiblities as a Florida homeschooler is to submit a letter of termination upon the completion of you home education program, or if you move from the county. You need to submit this notice of termination if: 1) your child is over 16, and you no longer wish to submit annual evaluations to the school district superintendent's office; 2) you won't be homeschooling you child(ren)next year, and will be putting them into a public or private school; or 3) you are moving out of Bay County.

The notice of termination must be sent within 30 days of the time you finish your home education program. It must include: 1) the name of each child you homeschooled; 2) the birthdate of each child named; 3) your address; and 4) a parent's signature (although a signature is all that is required for this notice as well as the notice of intent, it helps if you also PRINT your name, so it can be read and recorded correctly in the schools district's records).

Send it to:

Bay District Schools
P. O. Drawer 820
Panama City, FL 32402-0820
ATTN: Home Education Office

Many homeschoolers prefer to use certified mail for all correspondences to the school board, to be sure that they receive it. But that is a matter of personal preference.

Please note: If it has been more than 30 days since you stopped homeschooling, and you still have not sent in your notice of termination, please do so ASAP. There is no "late penalty," and you will be helping all Bay County homeschoolers by doing so. Each family's non-compliance with the law makes us all look bad.



Notice of Intent

If you submitted a notice of intent for your five-year-old, and later found out that Florida's homeschool law only pertains for children between the ages of 6 and 16, then you may choose to submit an evaluation for your child as a matter of courtesy, since your child is already on record. But if you prefer not to submit an evaluation, call Larry Sansbury's office at 872-4464, and explain your situation, so you will not be found in non-compliance. Remember, if you intend to place you child in a public school first grade program, you must have documentation of kindergarten, which includes a notice of intent when your child began kindergarten.

One sore spot with the superintendent's office has been the problem of people putting their child back into public school without sending in a notice of termination. Then the parents decide to homeschool again, and send another notice of intent. The district office makes up a new file for the child, goes to file it, and finds that a file already exists on the student, because his parents m=never sent in a notice of termination. This scenario makes for unnecessary, duplicate paperwork, and poor relations between homeschoolers and the school board.

Bay County homeschoolers now enjoy a good working relationship of cooperation with the school superintendent. The cooperation of each homeschooling family to comply with the law and to fulfill their responsibilities will lay a good foundation for homeschooling in Bay County in the years to come.




Maintaining Your Portfolio

Some homeschoolers place little importance on maintaining a portfolio, thinking that they will homeschool forever, and that nobody will need to look at it anyway. But no one can foresee the future. Some families have faced dramatic crisies, and have needed to place their children into public school, due to the mother needing to go back to work, etc.

When a child is placed into public school, a detailed inspection is made of the child's portfolio, for grade placement purposes. This is especially important for students entering public high school, which is extremely difficult, without proper documentation.

Your portfolio must be kept for two years upon completion of each year your child was homeschooled. It may be as elaborate or as breif as you prefer (see details in our Introductory Packet).

"Your portfolio should not and does not need to be a major time consumer. In whatever manner you keep your portfolio remember that it is an extension of your personality and style and should not be allowed to become an undue burden. Experiment and find the correct approach for YOU." - The Guide to Homeschooling in Florida.


Teens & High School

GENERAL DUAL ENROLLMENT INFORMATION

A student must be 16 in order to participate. Depending on when their 16th birthday is, you can get ready to enroll for the upcoming semester which begins after they turn 16.

Call, write, or visit Pat Martin's office at Bay District Schools (Home Education office) and request a letter stating that your child is registered with the district as a homeschool student. (You will need this letter for your advisory session at GCCC, which is scheduled after taking the Placement Test.)

Bay District Schools
1311 Balboa Avenue
Panama City, Florida 32401
Mr. Pat Martin's office: 872-4464; Terry Kyle is his assistant who usually answers the phone, and is also very helpful.

Go to GCCC to take the Placement Test. You can visit their web site for the schedule.

You can print up a practice Placement Test.

While your student is taking the test, go to the Dual Enrollment office on the 2nd floor in the Library and request a Home School Student Information Packet.

After your student completes the test, he/she will get a printout with his test scores and a list of the English and/or Math classes he qualifies for. If he didn't qualify for college level English and/or Math, he can still register for classes that don't have that class as a prerequisite. Or, your child can study more and then take the Placement Test one more time for that semester. (HINT: If you want to register for the Fall semester, take the test as soon as he finishes school, before he "gets rusty" over the summer.) Remedial classes are not available for dual-enrolled students at GCCC, so they must be working at a college level in English and/or Math in order to take those classes.

After getting your test scores, call the Dual Enrollment office to make an appointment for an advisory session. The current Director is Cheryl Flax-Hyman, and she is VERY homeschool-friendly. The number for the office is 747-3215.

Make sure you have everything filled out and the necessary documents before attending your session with Cheryl. She will discuss classes with your student and help him/her make a schedule. She is very helpful and enthusiastic about placing your child so he/she can be successful.

PSAT FOR 10th & 11th GRADERS

High School juniors who take the PSAT in October can compete for the National Merit Scholarship. Just call a local high school to sign up your child for the test. You will need to pay a fee for the test. Tenth graders may take the test for practice.

For more information, go to the Home Education Foundation web site and click on Scholarships & Opportunities, then on National Merit Scholarship.

More information & practice is available at CollegeBoard.com. Click on Taking the Tests. 11th & 12th graders can also register for the SAT test online here.

AFFIDAVIT FOR HIGH SCHOOL COMPLETION

There have been many questions about a homeschooler's need for a high school diploma in order to attend college. In order to attend a Florida community college or university, all that is required is "in the case of a student who is home educated, a signed affidavit submitted by the student's parent or legal guardian attesting that the student has completed a home education program pursuant to the requirements of s. 232.0201."

The inclusion of state universities will be effective January 7, 2003, thanks to the work of Brenda Dickinson of HEF.

An affidavit form for this purpose is now available on the HEF web site.

TEEN PACT

TeenPact is a teen leadership school dedicated to its motto of developing a passion for citizenship and justice in today's youth. The program runs Monday through Thursday at the state capitol complex.

HIGH SCHOOL CURRICULUM FAVORITES

Apologia Educational Ministries carries creation science courses.

The Write Source is recommended by Debra Bell as a complete high school language arts program.

The Chalk Dust Company carries high school Math text books and video programs, with e-mail support.

Teaching Tape Technology carries Saxon Math videos.


Recommended Books to Check Out of the Library

The Simplicity of Homeschooling** by Vicky Goodchild.
Vicky's revised version of An Orientation to Homeschooling in Florida, but not Florida-specific. Florida sections for first book are included in FPEA's The Guide to Homeschooling in Florida.
**Highly recommended! Here is the Table of Contents:
Introduction; Helpful Tips For Using this Book;
CHAPTER ONE - Me?! Homeschool?!;
CHAPTER TWO - The History of Homeschool Methods;
CHAPTER THREE - The Learning Lifestyle: The Heat of the Homeschool:
CHAPTER FOUR - Goals, Priorities, and Schedules;
CHAPTER FIVE - Choosing the Correct Resources (a.k.a. Curriculum);
CHAPTER SIX - Advice to Parents of Preschoolers;
CHAPTER SEVEN - Homeschooling Your High Schooler:
CHAPTER EIGHT - Legalities, Record-Keeping, and Achievement Testing;
CHAPTER NINE - Answers to Questions from "Well-Meaning" Family and Friends;
EPILOGUE - Simplifying Education... Simplifying Life;
APPENDIX A - Support Organizations;
APPENDIX B - Resource and Curriculum Suppliers;
APPENDIX C - Helpful Books and Resources for Parents;
APPENDIX D - Record-Keeping Forms

The Big Book of Home Learning by Mary Pride
Latest, most comprehensive home education information ever available.

Christian Home Educators' Curriculum Manual: Elementary Grades by Cathy Duffy.
Provides commentary and teaching information making it easy to put together a program to meet the educational needs of each child (K through 6).

Home School Burnout by Dr Raymond Moore.
What it is, what causes it, and how to overcome it. Read it first to avoid it!

A Survivor's Guide to Home Schooling by Shackelford & White.
Humorous and realistic practical guide to home schooling as well as things like, keeping up with the laundry and time for Mom.

Homeschooling For Excellence by David and Micki Colfax.
This pioneer homeschooling family built a homestead in California, while providing all the learning resources for their five adopted children, now all Harvard graduates. (Highly recommended for Dads unsure about homeschooling).

The Three-R's Series (K-3) and You Can Teach Your Child Successfully (Grades 4-8) by Ruth Beechick.
Lots of practical help for teaching your children, as well as planning your own curriculum.


**If the library does not have your selection, request an inter-library loan at the Reference desk. Check out The Bay County Public Library to see what's available.



Choosing Curriculum

Here are just some of the magazines, catalogs and curriculum providers which our local homeschoolers have enjoyed using over the past few years. New products are coming out all the time, so we recommend that you first refer to Vicky Goodchild's The Simplicity of Homeschooling, Mary Pride's Big Book of Home Learning (latest edition available through Great Christian Books), or another good resource book. A subscription to a homeschool magazine will keep you informed on events and latest products. Or, you may call or write for catalogs from the providers below (link).

If you feel rushed to buy a curriculum and start "school," relax, take a deep breath, and decide right now that you are not going to go "berserk" and spend tons of money on curriculum that everybody else thinks you should buy. Order the necessary items to do your homework, so you can decide what is best for you and your family. The more you read, the more you will learn and grow in confidence about what will meet your family's needs. (There is no "perfect" curriculum--successful homeschoolers are those who learn how to suit curriculum to their family's needs)

In the meantime, enjoy your children, and let them enjoy being at home with you. Visit the library and bring home a stack of books for you and your children to enjoy together. For your profolio, keep a weekly list of the titles of reading materials you go through with your children. Keep a journal of all their learning experiences, be it a family vacation-turned-field trip, kitchen science experiements, a journal of how they kept and took care of a backyard box turtle... you get the picture. Instead of bringing "school" home, show your kids how learning is a lifestyle, a life-long adventure.

......And by the time your curriculum arrives, you will know exactly how to use it!

WARNING: If you opt for any of the major textbook/worktext/workbook providers, be aware the "finish every problem on every page" syndrome. Many of these books were designed for classroom settings, providing "busywork" for the accelerated learners, while the teacher works one-on-one with the slower learners. Since you are working with the ideal teacher student ratio, 1:1, you will know what to spend more time on, and what you can skip over. Don't teach the books--teach your child!




Homeschooling Magazines

Practical Homeschooling
Mary Pride's Magazine For Living & Learning At Home. Product Reviews; Tips; Contests; Latest Ideas & Techniques; Educational Software, etc. Quarterly, $15 per year. Home Life: P.O. Box 1250; Fenton, MO 63026-1850. 1-800-346-6322 (Visa or MC).

The Teaching Home
A Christian Magazine for Home Educators. Teaching Tips; Events; News; Legal Matters; Book Reviews; Each issue focuses on a topic with various related articles. Bi-monthly, $15 per year. The Teaching Home: Box 20219; Portland, OR 972200-0219.

Home School Digest
Homeschooling in Biblical Perspective. Issues surrounding the Homeschooling Movement; Practical Helps, etc. Quarterly, $15 per year. WIsdom Publications; P.O. Box 575; Winona Lake, IN 46590.




Catalogs

Christian Book Distributors
1-508-977-5000; Mon.-Fri. 8am-11pm, Sat 9am-8pm, EST. Request Home Schooling Catalog.

R.O.C.K. Solid
1-800-705-3452; Mon.-Fri. 1-5:30pm, EST (Jacksonville FL).

Lifetime Books & Gifts
1-800-377-0390 (Lake Wales, FL).

Sonlight Curriculum

The Elijah Company
P.O. Box 12483; Knoxville, TN 37912-0483. 1-615-475-7500. Teaching tips, helpful hints, tremendous books (if for nothing else, a great guide for library visits), sections on every subject, including college preparation, economics, testing, thinking skills, unit studies, etc.

Family Christian Academy
1-800-788-0840; Mon.-Fri. 10am-5pm, CST. Email: FCAPub@aol.com

Home Training Tools
Science equipment and materials for home schools

Timberdoodle Company
E 1510 Spencer Lake Road; Shelton, WA 98584.

The Home Computer Market
P.O. Box 385377; Bloomington, Minnesota 55438. 1-612-844-0462. (Homeschoolers' hardware & software planning guide and product catalog).




Frequently Asked Questions

Q. IF CHILDREN ARE TAUGHT IN AN UNSTRUCTURED HOME SCHOOL ENVIRONMENT, HOW WELL PREPARED WILL THEY BE TO MAKE IT IN THE HIGHLY STRUCTURED COLLEGE ENVIRONMENT?

A. Actually, a college environment is not as highly structured as the public school, and is closer to home school structure than the public school is. In college, the individual is in charge of their own education. They choose when to study, go to class, and is independent. In the public school, the child is constantly being given directions on what to do and when to do it. If a child in the public school does not learn independence at home, they will take longer to adjust to the sudden independence that college offers. It will take time for them to discover that they alone are in charge of their education and they will have to develope self-control and independence.

Q. HOW DO CHILDREN FEEL ABOUT STAYING AT HOME WHILE THEIR PLAYMATES ARE AT SCHOOL?

A. Very little time is allowed for meaningful socializing in a typical school day in the public school. True, school is a place for children to meet, but friendships are built after school hours! Home schools, believe it or not, are actually fun, and children like them! Most homeschool children enjoy being home-schooled and, given a choice, would continue to do so, away from the unnatural and harmful pressures caused by peers and the restrictive traditional school setting.

Q. DESCRIBE THE HOME SCHOOL SCHEDULE?

A. Homeschools are held whenever the child is learning. Most home schools are not run by the clock. However, it helps to have a "game plan" with a tentative schedule. If you don't set goals, you'll never accomplish anything. There will always be interruptions. A successfull homeschooler has a schedule, but allows for flexibility to meet the family's needs. Not all learning has to take place in a classroom at a desk. Therefore, a child can be outside working on a project, or investigating something in nature, or having P.E. and still be in school. There are no required hours set to homeschool.

Parent teachers do need to guard their one-on-one teaching time, though. Some interruptions are unavoidable, and must be incorporated into the learning lifestyle. But friends and family need to understand that they cannot just "drop by" anytime, just because they know you'll be home. An answering machine will help immensely, allowing for less interruptions, and the ease of mind in knowing that calls can be returned at a more convenient time.

A home schooling mother LEARNS to make good use of time. She would benefit from learning organizational techniques to improve her organizing skills. By simplifying her home, it is easier and quicker to keep clean. Children are there to help with the chores and more can be expected of them. All members of the family participate in helping the home run smoothly. Supportive fathers make sure mothers take time off to be on their own and get their batteries recharged!

Q. HOW DOES THE HOME SCHOOL SCHEDULE WORK WITH BABIES AND TODDLERS AROUND?

A. Many toddlers love to watch, listen and join in with their older brothers and sisters. A mother can also get the younger children involved in different projects while helping the older child--often in the same room. It's amazing how much a mother who cares can do while toting a boby around. A mother also has the advantage of baby's naptime. It is convenient to have a table area for younger children to "study" at.

One idea is to have special toys reserved only for "school" time. Puzzles, building sets, and special coloring books will be more appreciated by the little ones, and will allow for quiet play while you teach older children. Mothers learn to allow for occasional reassuring hugs and questions, without regarding them as unwanted interruptions.

Q. HOW DO I AVOID GAPS IN MY CURRICULUM?

A. All materials the public schools have, home schools can also get, including curriculum guides and plans. World Book publishes a "Typical Course of Study" for all grades; ABeka has something similar called "Scope and Sequence". You can also find this information in other books, but these are only helps, and don't need to dictate in which grades you need to cover certain material. Many subjects can be handled in multi-level manner, or with unit studies, which accomodate teaching several children of different ages.

Q. WHY IS HOMESCHOOLING SUCCESSFUL?

A. There are several reasons why home schools are successful. The primary reason is that the parents are highly supportive and very involved in the child's learning process. Parents choose to make a home school work. Other reason include the following:

(a) Pace is individualized.
(b) Schedules are flexible.
(c) Parents can follow the interest of each child. This brings higher retention.
(d) Home schools can adapt to each child's learning style.
(e) There is a non-competitive environment - less challenge to one's self-esteem.
(f) Real life experiences are used rather than classroom simulation of real life.
(g) Since the school day is shorter than a conventional school's, the child has more time for reading, pursuing individual talents and for "social interactions".