Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Welcome To The Neighborhood: Are Homeschoolers Flocking To Vermont?

While our children were growing up and I became a home-education advocate, I saw a pattern to the phone calls, emails and contacts I received from parents seeking information or help. The month of August, just prior to the opening of public school, usually included the largest spate of frantic parents. That was followed by another grouping of contacts in late December to early January from parents desperate to not send their children back to school after the holidays. The parents included doctors, lawyers, truck drivers, teachers and even a school principal. Once I began publishing information and my blog the direct contacts subsided somewhat.

Seeing a need for information that parents could access easily without my assistance, and so I didn't have to repeat myself over and over, I began to compile and publish my newsletter Right At Home along with several booklets. Once weblogs arrived on the scene, it was difficult to contain my euphoria. What better way to disseminate information without constantly parroting to others my discoveries and experience.

Our children are grown now and there was a time when I thought I could just relax, forget about homeschooling, and putter around in my garden until the arrival of grandchildren. That didn't happen. I thought I had passed the torch to the very capable hands of a few other homeschooling moms. What I learned over the few years since our children aged-out of homeschooling were two things:

1. Your children never truly age-out of learning from you.

2. There is a need--no, a demand--and an obligation for those of us seasoned, battle trained homeschooling veterans to share our expertise and maintain our position at the front.

The army of homeschoolers in this country and the world, has grown so large and so determined, there is no stopping it from accomplishing its mission. They want freedom and a safe haven for their families. When I made the decision to jump back into the fray with Guerrilla Homeschooling, the phone calls, emails and contacts began again and in full force. Still, they come in waves but, with the internet it's much easier to direct parents to information. Parents are now able to access volumes of material on their own. Twenty-five years ago we didn't have homeschool websites and there were barely 10 decent books written about the subject.

Lately, I'm noticing another pattern. The majority (and there have been many) of parents contacting me and inquiring about homeschooling, do not live in my state (Vermont). However, they are considering moving here or have recently moved here. There seems to be an influx of homeschoolers into Vermont from as close as New Hampshire, to as far away as Alaska, and beyond.

Vermont is a beautiful state. Most here have a 'live and let live' attitude. It's a popular destination for 'trust fund baby-boomers' and a playground for nearby New York, Massachusetts and Connecticut. Vermont is one of the most expensive states to live in. So, what is the draw to homeschoolers?

Vermont is independent. For many years it had what we call lapel politics because you could hold the lapel of the politician while giving him a piece of your mind. Vermonters vote for some whacky legislation at times and we have the most lenient gun laws in the nation. Vermonters love their guns and rightfully so.

Vermont has the best of both worlds. It is small, rural and laid back. Travel some of the back roads here and you may think you're in the Appalachians. It also has a teaming community of organic farmers, artists, writers and craftsmen. It has some well known industries such as maple syrup, snowboards, skiing and some darn good salsa. For such a small state there is a boat load of colleges here and, although the primary and secondary schools are truly deficient, the homeschool population is thriving! Many homeschoolers begin college at ages 15 or 16, thus skipping ahead of their public school counterparts who are dragging out their pre-graduation years.

Vermont also has some of the most lenient homeschool laws in New England. New York, Maine and Massachusetts have nightmarish homeschool laws. Connecticut is a darling in comparison with basically a shout out to the local authorities. Vermont homeschoolers tend to go their merry way too, providing the state follows it's own laws.

For the parents who are considering a move to Vermont and want to know about the homeschooling community, here is a run down for you:

* the home-study law and requirements can be found at

* enrollment forms are at

* Vermont law:  
Title 16 V.S.A. Section 1121 Attendance by Children of School Age Required
A person having the control of a child between the ages of six and 16 years shall cause the child to
attend a public school, an approved or recognized independent school or a home study program
for the full number of days for which that school is held, unless the child:
(1) is mentally or physically unable so to attend; or
(2) has completed the tenth grade; or
(3) is excused by the superintendent or a majority of the school directors as provided in this
chapter; or
(4) is enrolled in and attending a postsecondary schools, as defined in Subdivision 176(b)(1) of
this title, which is approved or accredited in Vermont or another state.

Notice the law reads: or a home study program... A home study program...not the state's, not Oak Meadow, not Clonlara, etc. Some at the VT Department of Education may argue this but this is the law!

* some Vermont (there aren't too many) homeschool groups, forums or websites include:
- guerrillahomeschooling@yahoogroups.com
- VT-homeschooling@yahoogroups.com
- http://guerrillahomeschooling.blogspot.com/

* If your child is presently enrolled in public school and you want them out it is recommended you download the home-study application and enroll in the state's program. If you previously enrolled in public schooling the state owns you...for life! That also goes for welfare and food stamp assistance...the state owns you! At least they think and act like they do.

* Your signature on the state's home-study enrollment notification (it is NOT a registration--there is a difference) gives the state YOUR permission to hound you, harass you, make you jump through their hoops, and stick their nose into your personal business.

* If you enroll be wary of the assessment process. Of the choices, the portfolio is the least invasive and you will have more control over the assessment.

* Sometimes parents who homeschool choose to do nothing when considering enrollment in a program. The state of Vermont is unable to enforce truancy laws. That is done on the local level by the individual schools. Get to know your local school at arms length. They are a rat's nest of certified strangers controlled by a thuggish union. Your local school is not quaint nor is it immune from outside controls. It is a small kingdom run by tyrants. Your local school is required to follow state and federal mandates decided by the money changers in Montpelier and Washington, DC. Your child has a $16,000.00 bounty on their head. Public schools are not about educating your child. They exist for the money changers, and for the job comfort and the job security of the teacher's union members.

* Clean up your act if you plan to homeschool. Learn to read beyond a college level, write as though you're capable of penning the great American novel, and for heaven's sake, LEARN TO SPELL! Maybe you can't do these things but at least strive to.

Keep your hovel clean. Clutter is fine but no child should live in filth! I've been in homeschooling homes where there was lots of half finished projects, mounds of clutter, dirty dishes and laundry piled 3 feet high. That's fine and understandable. The perfection is in the child's knowledge, abilities, attitude and abundant love of life.

However, if you have 18 jobless, lazy people, all over the age of 21, living together in a 3 bedroom house, with 100 flea infested pets running around and a yard full of broken down vehicles so there is no room to play, don't expect your community or state to turn a blind eye to your child and your homeschooling. Children deserve better! All the constitutional rights in the world won't protect you from your pathetic dereliction of duty to your child, especially if you expect taxpayers to pay for your selfishly chosen uncouth lifestyle. Soap, water and a little self-improvement can go a long way.

A young homeschooler enjoying the laid back life in Vermont

Connect with Guerrilla Homeschooling on Facebook!

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I read your post, "Are Homeschoolers flocking to Vermont." I was interested in what you said in this article, can you clarify what you mean by the following:

"Your signature on the state's home-study enrollment notification (it is NOT a registration--there is a difference) gives the state YOUR permission to hound you, harass you, make you jump through their hoops, and stick their nose into your personal business.

Is filling-out the home-study enrollment notification actually optional???