Before our move from MI to NH, in 2012, I researched New Hampshire homeschool laws and requirements, so I would know what I would need to do to continue homeschooling legally.
I loved homeschooling in Michigan! Michigan is a great state to homeschool in because there are no registration, reporting, or testing requirements.
Before moving to NH, I never had to fill out any forms, submit an intent to homeschool, create a portfolio, or participate in mandatory testing.
So, why would a homeschooling family move from a state with lots of homeschooling freedom, to a state that requires registration, testing, and other requirements?
Well, first let me tell you more about New Hampshire homeschool laws.
To homeschool legally in New Hampshire, you will need to:
1. Submit an "intent to a homeschool" with a "participating agency", which is your school district or a participating private school. You will do this once for each child, but do not need to register each year, unless you move to another school district.
Basically, you will send a letter stating your intention to homeschool your child/ren. You need to include: a) the names, addresses and birthdates of each child, 6 years old by September 30th - 18 years old, b) names of parents, along with addresses c) the date you are going to start homeschooling and d) a phone number where you can be reached should someone need to contact you.
2. Keep a portfolio of your homeschool student's work and reading materials; you do not need to submit this to the district, just keep a record for at least two years.
3. Perform an annual evaluation. You can complete the evaluation requirement by one of three ways:
Through a standardized test, an evaluation performed by a certified teacher, or another agreed upon evaluation method like a portfolio of your child's work from throughout the year, etc. Recently, New Hampshire homeschool laws changed and you no longer have to submit your evaluation to the district; you just keep everything in a file for your records.
It's nice that you have different options for evaluation in case your child does not do well with standardized testing. I don't really like standardized tests, but for our family it seems like the most affordable and hassle-free option, right now.
We moved to a very small town in New Hampshire; actually, it's so small that if you blink when driving along the winding road, you will miss it... and I'm not exaggerating!
Although we love it here, after living in the Metro Detroit area, small-town homeschooling does take some getting used to. However, living on a farm and homeschooling in NH has brought many new learning opportunities to our family.
Our children help grow food for our family, feed the farm animals, hike in the woods surrounding our home, breathe in fresh air all day, stoke our wood burning furnace, watch baby animals being born, observe the many critters in our pond, and more!
Another New Hampshire homeschool law states that homeschooled students have access to public school "curricular courses and co-curricular programs". Local districts may limit participation, but if this opportunity interests you, contact your local school district to find out what is available to your child/ren.
Some homeschooling friends of ours, take classes at the high school and a soccer-mom friend, told me that our kids could join sports teams in middle school. I'm not sure everything that our district offers homeschoolers, maybe someday I will contact them to get more information.
One program that we participate in is an afterschool music program; my daughter takes violin lessons every week during the school year. Through a generous grant, music lessons are considerably discounted - private lessons are $225 per semester (2) and group lessons are only $75.
You will find a variety of groups around NH that provide support, educational, and enrichment opportunities for your family. Taking time away from book-study for hands-on fun, field trips, or building friendships will provide encouragement for you and your family.
Ok, now for the answer to your previous question: "Why would anyone leave a great homeschooling state like Michigan, for a more restrictive state like NH?"
Our family moved to NH to serve at a ministry that provides long-term residential care to adults struggling with drug and alcohol addictions, eating disorders, depression, pornography, and other debilitating behaviors. His Mansion Ministries has always had a special place in our hearts and we couldn't say "no" when the door opened for us to move and volunteer our time here... even to a farm in the beautiful NH "boonies", near an extremely small town that you could miss if you happened to blink while driving through it, and to a state with more restrictive homeschooling laws.
I'm sure many New Hampshire homeschool families would agree; NH may not have the best homeschooling laws in the country, but it's definitely one of the most beautiful states to homeschool in!
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