My Spring Reading List!

After the heavier reading of Lent, I thought I'd like to continue some inspirational spiritual reading through the Easter season as well. 

Here's my book list!

Private and Pithy lessons from Scripture - Mother Angelica
Little Book of Life Lessons - Mother Angelica
Three to Get Married - Fulton Sheen
The Little Oratory
Diary Sister Faustina
Getting Past Perfect - Kate Wicker
The Words We Pray - Amy Welborn
Perfectly Yourself - Matthew Kelly 
Crossing the Threshold of Hope - Pope John Paul II

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Ohio Homeschoolers sending in their notification of intent to homeschool - 2017/2018

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Ohio parents homeschool under Ohio Revised code  3321.04.  Parents who wish to homeschool their children must notify the superintendent of their local public school system every year.  The Home School Legal Defense Association suggests that parents have their paperwork turned in before the start of the school year in their district.  Unfortunately for some of us, that is going to mean mid-August as the schools start up earlier to accommodate the football season. 

Per the homeschool regulations, children under the age of 6 or 18 and over at the time of the school year DO NOT have to notify the superintendent as they are outside of the compulsary school law age parameters. If your child turns 6 after the start of the district's school year, you would not have to send in a notification.

Since 2014 parents are required to send paperwork to the superintendent of the local schools. Some school districts are still requiring parents to send the information to an educational service center. This makes me wonder why the law was changed in the first place since school districts don't seem to be on board with it. I did speak to HSLDA about this a few weeks ago and the lawyer there told me that if parents have a good working relationship with the ESC in their district and know that the superintendent will send their excusal letter, they could continue to do so. I did have a bit of a debate on a Facebook page about this. A homeschooler sent her notification of intent to homeschool (NOI) to the superintendent, who returned it to her and asked her to send it to the local ESC. I suggested making two copies, sending one to the superintendent again (certified or at least requiring a signature on delivery) and the other to the ESC. This is double work, and the moderator of this group was dead set against it, but I think it meets the letter of the law, and it helps get the excusal letter, which is the purpose of doing all of this in the first place!

The notification form for Ohio Homeschoolers is available here. This is the standard form for the state. Some school districts (like mine) send their own form.  Just ignore it.  The standard form is compliant with the Ohio law and that's all the school district is really entitled to.  YOU ARE ONLY REQUIRED TO GIVE THE INFORMATION ON THE FORM.  Do not give any additional information like social security numbers.

The first five items on the form are pretty easy to comply with.
1. School year notification this year is for 2017 - 2018.

2.  Name, address, and phone number.
Phone number is optional, and really all of their communication with you should be in writing. But if you are okay with then leaving a verbal message (I am) then write it in. My response to a message would be written. In 22 years of homeschooling I have never received a call from the superintendent's office.

3. Address of teacher other than parent.  This would be if someone else was overseeing the education. Co-op teachers or other tutors do not have to be listed. Parents of student athelets who may be looking to participate on NCAA teams for college should keep in mind that for eligibility purposes, they are always the ones in charge of the courses, requirements, and grades for their students.

4.  Full name and birth date of children to be educated.  You do not have to put their grade level. However, the Ohio High School Athletic Association does have some requirements for homeschoolers participating in high school sports that parents should be aware of. 

Athlete’s academic performance/grades from his/her entire educational history (To determine that the student is not a graduate and is in compliance with Bylaw 4-3-6)

So while grades aren't necessary for notifying, they may come up in the future when the student wants to play high school sports. So plan accordingly. I am keeping paper work in files by grade for my student athlete in case that is needed in a few years when she is in high school

5.  Check mark to assure that home education will include: language, reading, spelling and writing, geography, history - national state and local, math, science, health, physical education, fine arts, including music, first aid, safety and fire prevention. 

I interpret that to mean that some time, during home education, I will have touched on all of that and hopefully more - like government and world history.  It does not mean that I will touch on everything in great depth every year.  Even the schools do not do that. 

6. However, in the past I have run into a little trouble with the #6 in the list of required documents.

(6) Brief           outline of the intended curriculum for the current year. Such outline is for           informational purposes only

I wasn't sure what a "brief"outline was exactly?  Wouldn't my list of books and resources pretty much suffice as an outline of what I hoped to cover?  No.  Because when I sent I sent in just the book list with the forms, I got a letter back that they needed an outline. For years, I took every textbook with me down to Kinkos and copied all of the tables of content.  It was a lot of work, a lot of money and a lot of paper! Plus, I'm pretty sure they never even looked at them as I totally forgot to put Calvin's math book contents in with the packet one year and no one ever questioned it!

So a few years ago I tried putting the list on line with links to each book. In my cover letter I mentioned that this was to be my "brief outline."  That's the year I learned they don't read the cover letters either.  I got a form letter in the mail a few days later asking for my outline.

What to do?    I wanted something I wasn't going to slave over, something that wouldn't require LOTS of copying and would satisfy the regulations.  That's when I found the Typical Course of Study Site by the folks at the World Book Encyclopedia!

They have all of the grades through 12th grade and they are easily copied and pasted into a word document where they can be easily adjusted and changed to meet your needs.  They meet the requirement of a "brief outline" for my school district!  If you're a newbie in Ohio, or if your state requires an outline, maybe this will work for you too.

There are other options too. The Ohio Department of Education Standard Guides are available through grade 8. This isn't as easy to use for a quick cut and paste, but for parents that want to come up with a good outline, this is a useful tool.

For high school, The Ohio Department of Education Graduation Requirements are here, though that doesn't really help much in creating an outline.  I found a wonderful high school program with great course descriptions and one here also that could be helpful in designing outlines for Ohio notification.

A few  years ago,  I also purchased Cindy Down's Check list.  Here's a summary:

The Checklist contains 194 pages and includes:
step-by-step directions

a checklist (scope and sequence) of topics that students study from K - 12th grade. Unlike other scope and sequences, The Checklist is not organized by grade level. Instead, the topics are listed sequentially or by subject matter so that you can teach the subjects you want, when you want. For example, the history topics are listed by time period from creation through modern times; the math topics are listed by skill development; and the science topics are listed within subtopics such as oceanography, astronomy and meteorology.

lists of major events, important people, important places, discoveries and accomplishments, and/or terms to know for each history topic.

lists of important people related to each topic along with their country of birth, date of birth and death, and a brief description of their contribution.

lists of explorers of the world, countries of the world, U.S. symbols, U.S. States and capitols with their abbreviations and the dates they entered the Union.

lists of well-known authors, artists, musicians, and missionaries

recommended books for primary and secondary students (both American and world literature)

lists of reading, math skills, writing skills, grammar skills, art skills, and MUCH MUCH MORE!

There is no need to purchase more than one copy. There is room on The Checklist to keep records for two or three children. Purchaser is granted permission to make copies of The Checklist for additional children, if needed. (This permission is restricted to purchaser's immediate family.)

I have this on my computer and can print out any pages we are working on at the time.  This too is a good resource for coming up with the required Ohio outline. 

Speaking of lists - The Homeschooler's Book of Lists    is also a very good resource for making up an outline to send in for notification.  It could be photocopied or just hand typed in. 


7.  For #7 I make a list of the books and courses that I am going to use. There are sample book list is here and here.  As I save the list on my computer making changes to it every year is a snap - but for large famlies I advise keeping a copy of what you do every year so that as a new child enters a grade you have covered with an older child, you can look back and see what you ahve done and you won't be starting over!


8.   Assurance that the child will be provided a minimum of nine hundred hours of home education each school year.

Just put a check mark. If they're awake, they're learning.

9. A check mark that the teacher has one of the listed qualifications.

10.  Sign the form.

Make sure if you are re-notifying to include your composite test results.  You do NOT have to send in the entire test, just a copy that shows the name of the child and the composite score.  If you did not test, then the written narrative signed by your portfolio reviewer needs to be included.  

When all that is done then,  the following will be sent  to the superintendent

___Notification Form - completed and signed. 

___Curriculum Outline for each child.

___Book list for each child.

___Narrative Assessment for each child. 

Make copies of everything, put it all in a big envelope and send it in certified mail or hand deliver it to the superintendent's office requesting a receipt. 

If you have a student who is graduating from your Ohio Homeschool this year, it is very important that you keep the letter your superintendent sends back to keep with your permanent records.  I blogged about that here. 
Have a great homeschooling year Ohio!

If you want your child to participate in extra-curricular activities or sports at the local public schools via 2013 Ohio Law it is important to notify early and to be as complete as possible.  Homeschool mothers of high school athletes should take some time now to develop some kind of a report card to fill out and return at the start of each sports season. I had to make one for Noah that reflected his grades in the spring and again in the fall when he ran track. In the spring I will need to have his winter grades before he participates in track.  Be prepared for this so you won't be blind sighted when they ask! 

Here are two parts of a speech I gave back in June of 2012. The part about notification starts at 7:35 on the first video and continues on the second.