Still here…

I apologize for dropping off the face of the blogosphere for the last few weeks.  I’ve been busy with other projects, but most of all, I have rights and responsibilities, Corn and Oilbeen preoccupied  helping my youngest get ready to move away to college and away from home for the first time.   My last post before my brief respite, was “Let Them Be Little” and I posted it in honor of the gift of time that homeschooling gave us.  We have enjoyed  countless moments,  hours and years that have blessed our lives.

I’m reformatting things a bit, and won’t always be posting daily, but I still look forward to exploring  and sharing great resources here with you.

One great resource is Susan Ryan’s Corn and Oil Blog.  Susan remains a tireless advocate and really understands the importance of knowing your rights and that responsibly protecting them gives each family the freedom to live and learn in a way that best meets their needs.  She has an important post up this week, Don’t Write These Laws on Our Children that you won’t want to miss.

– Mary

Cups of Kindness

My very good friend Michelle came by to get crafty with me again this week.   This time, in addition to enjoying each others company and working with our hands, we also had a mission.    I was invited to participate in an upcoming fundraiser for the Akron and Cleveland Food Bank.   Here is part of  the press release with all the details:

Cups of Kindness

Opening Dec 6 & 7, 2008 – show runs thru Jan 10, 2009
A collaborative with Peninsula Art Academy and Elements Gallery to benefit Akron/Cleveland Food-bank.

A show and sale of original hand-made “cups”, functional or decorative, 2 and 3-D, to be sold to benefit the Food-bank.

A preview party will be held on Dec 6, 10am -2 pm, at a cost of $10 per person.
The cups will be sold at Elements and PAA on Dec 6 and 7,  and the entire remaining cups will be for sale at PAA in our exhibit hall thru Jan 10, 2009.

Makes a great gift – for you to give and gives to the Foodbank. (under construction) or e-mail

For additional details, please visit (under construction) or e-mail

I had  decided I would make some note-cards for Cups of Kindness and Michelle wanted to as well. Here is a sneak preview of our donations.

First, here are Michelle’s lovely cards. She used stencils, card stock  and embossing powder.

And here are mine.   The first is a set of 12 whimsical cards that I made using graphics from my computer, card stock and cellophane.

The other is a set of 10 cards, made using my own cup stencils, card stock, embossing powder and watercolors.   Each cup is also embossed with the Chinese symbol for kindness.

Ohio State Board of Education Meeting – September 2008

Several homeschoolers attended the Ohio State Board of Education Meeting yesterday (Sept. 8th, 2008) to hear what the Ohio Department of Education was going to suggest concerning the regularly scheduled five year review of Ohio Home Education Rules.

Kim Murnieks spoke briefly about the Ohio Department of Education’s intent concerning our regulations. Here is a brief summary of what she had to say:

Ms. Murnieks said there were two suggested amendments to the regulations and that these changes will bring Chapter 3301-34 Excuses from Compulsory Attendance for Home Education 3301-34- 01Definitions and 3301-34-04 Acadmic Assessment up to date.

Pertaining to both rules, Ms. Murnieks stated that they  want to update certified teacher to include licensed teacher to reflect changes in the code that involves teachers.   Teachers are  licensed these days and they want the language to reflect that.

3301-04-04 must be updated due to the reference to nationally normed tests because this citation – 3301-12-02 that is included in that section was rescinded in 1996.

Chapter 3301-34 Excuses from Compulsory Attendance for Home Education. 3301-34-02, 3301-34-03, 3301-34-05,3301-34-06 will be filed with JCARR for no changes.

The updated text will be compiled for 3301-34-01 and 3301-34-04 and submitted at the October Ohio State Board of Education Meeting.  Those rules will be filed in November and there will be a public hearing on these in December.  Final rules will be adopted in January 2009.

Co-Chairman Ann Womer Benjamin asked about the public comments that had been gathered.  Ms. Murnieks responded that they received over 8,000 comments, mostly  from parents expressing  satisfaction with the rules.  At this point, I believe that she reiterated that the plan is to correct the 2 technical rules and bring them up to date.  There is a transcript of the meeting here.

Yesterday was step one of the process, so Ohio homeschoolers  may  want to continue to follow and make sure that they are comfortable with the language that will be used to update Chapter 3301-34 Excuses from Compulsory Attendance for Home Education 3301-34- 01Definitions and 3301-34-04 Acadmic Assessment that will be presented to the Ohio State School Board in October and sent to JCARR in November.   Before the language is finalized, homeschoolers willhave the opportunity to  attend the public meeting in December to provide our input, if necessary.

OH State Board of Education to discuss homeschool rules…

The Ohio State Board of Education has their agenda listed at the OSBE website and it states that they will be discussing Rules 3301-34-01 and -04.  It has been explained that they are looking to address  two particular sections because there are citations within those that are outdated that need updating.

These would be:

From section  3301-34-01:

(A) “Certified teacher” means a person who holds a valid Ohio teaching certificate, excluding the certificate issued under section 3301.071 of the Revised Code.

As I understand it, the law regarding certified teachers has been changed, so they must update this to match the change.

From section 3301-34-04

(1) Results of a nationally normed, standardized achievement test which meets the requirements set forth in rule 3301-12-02 of the Administrative Code.

3301-12-02 of the O.A.C. was eliminated when public school testing rules changed.  If  you visit the O.A.C and read the present section  3301-12-02 of the O.A.C., you will see that it refers to superintendent issues and no longer has anything to do with testing.

If you click on this link, you will be taken to the Ohio SBE website. Once you are there, you can find the agenda within their Sept. 8th date, by clicking on Time  Schedule.  This will open up as a PDF.  If you don’t have the free Adobe Software to open PDFs, you can download the free Adobe Reader here.

Here is the section of the meeting  that pertains to us:

2:45 p.m.

75 minutes

Achievement Committee Meeting – Delaware Room


• To discuss Rules 3301-34-01 and -04, Home Education Rules

• To hear an update from the International Education Advisory Committee

Mike Cochran and Ann Womer Benjamin

Committee Members:
Virgil Brown, Jr., Colleen Grady, Heather Heslop Licata, Eric Okerson, Steve Millett and Emerson Ross

Lead Staff:

Curriculum and Assessment
Stan Heffner, Associate Superintendent, Center for Curriculum and Assessment

Diana Branham, Kim Murnieks and Donna Nesbitt

I also learned that my public records request is on its way.  There were 8,000+ comments, some of them from homeschoolers and some from districts.

I will offer a report here after I receive my public records request and after attending the meeting.

Daytime curfews

Susan Ryan at Corn and Oil got me to thinking about daytime curfews again after reading one of her recent posts, A Trend: Random Home Visits

Whenever I read this type of news, I’m always reminded to go and read the 4th Amendment to make sure it is still  firmly in place.  It reads:

U.S. Constitution: Fourth Amendment

The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.

Yet cases like the one that Susan wrote about continue to grow?  If you would like to make sure you aren’t surprised by a daytime curfew in your state, go to google or any other newsfeed and set up a “daytime curfew” + “your town” search that will be sent to your inbox if one is suggested and the media picks it up. Google’s can be found at the bottom of their page.  For example, since I typed in daytime curfew laws into the search, at the bottom of the page I found:

New! Get the latest news on daytime curfew laws with Google Alerts.

Click on the link and they ask for your email. You will be alerted whenever there is news on the subject.

If you are aware of a proposed daytime curfew in your town or nearby, I would love to hear what local folks are doing to try and stop it.   ~~~ Mary

Funding losses are not Ohio homeschooler’s fault…..

Valerie Bonham Moon recently wrote a post, Public school administrator wants newspaper exposé of homeschooling in response to an Ohio newspaper article, In defense of home schooling.

It was reported locally that the administrator’s comments followed a remark about the loss of funding to private schools and home educators. Perhaps the local public school administrator is confusing those enrolled in a public virtual school with home educators? He or she wouldn’t be the first. Except for tax dollars paid by the parents of home educated children, Ohio home educators do not bring money into a district, nor do they take money away from it. They simply happen to live in the district. However, public e-schoolers who live in the district and are enrolled in a statewide e-school that originates somewhere else in the state or country do require local funds to leave a district.

I visited the Ohio Department of Education’s website to document the amount of money the Hillsboro district did pay out to statewide e-schools. The latest payment listed is for July 2008. Here is how it breaks down:

Alternative Education Academy (OHDELA) – $39,400.53

Electronic Classroom of Tomorrow (ECOT) – $152,337.16

Ohio Connections Academy (OCA) – $20,409.42

Ohio Virtual Academy – $83,023.17

Virtual Community School of Ohio (VCS) – $54,115.30

This is a total of $349,285.58 that is paid to the e-schools from Hillsboro School’s local funding. It really does make me wonder if the public administrator is not erroneously confusing homeschoolers, those following the Ohio Administrative Code- Chapter 3301-34 Excuses from Compulsory Attendance for Home Education and take NO state or local funding with those who are enrolled in public e-schools and comply with the ORC Chapter 3314:Community Schools and do use government funding.

If I were living in the Hillsboro district, I think I would attend the next school board meeting and ask the administrator in question if he understands the seven different school options in our state and bring a list of the citations for each.

There is a big difference between homeschooling, private schools and public e-schools. Homeschoolers do NOT take money away from districts. I do not object to options that do, they are simply caught in the Ohio unconstitutional school funding dilemma, but I think it is a mistake for districts to accuse homeschoolers of causing them to lose money when indeed they do not.

California Update – Interview with Debbie Schwarzer

On June 23, 2008, the California Court of Appeals held their rehearing in regards to In re Rachel L.

Debbie Schwarzer, homeschool Mom, HSC Legal Co-Chair and Attorney attended the hearing and she spoke to me earlier this week to bring us up to date.

You can hear the interview here:[display_podcast]

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California Appelate Court Rehearing

Many of you may recall the ruling in February that grew from an alleged abuse case involving one family to a broad reaching decree stating that CA parents must be “certified” if they to teach their children at home.

The case was rescinded in March and yesterday, June 23, 2008, the California Court of Appeals held their rehearing.

The news is that many homeschoolers and homeschool advocates spoke in favor of overturning the decision and the CA Teachers Union spoke in favor of keeping it. Debbie Schwarzer, homeschool Mom, HSC Legal Co-Chair and Attorney was at the hearing. Look for an interview with her later this week to hear more of what happened at the hearing.

Educational choice does not determine abuse

Toni at Musings highlighted a report from N.C.’s WRAL summarizing the Sean Paddock case. The Mother, Lynn Paddock has been found guilty of young Sean’s death. The media has pointed out that the family was homeschooling, but reports of child abuse can be found among any educational option. The type of education a family uses is not the issue, the issue is that there are mentally ill and criminal individuals who hurt children. My heart breaks when I think of young Sean, but our society must remember that abuse is a criminal act and there are laws against it. We must enforce those laws.

I am not going to link to any of the Paddock articles because as Valerie Bonham Moon points out, The Associated Press is getting a little testy about Fair Use Policy, but if you do any type of news search for Sean Paddock, you will pull up articles on this sad case.

The headline that Toni linked to suggests that there needs to be further regulation for homeschooling. I’d like point you to an article by Larry and Susan Kaseman at Home Education Magazine that shares common sense reasons why increased regulation will not help, Why Legislation to Prevent “Unqualified” Families From Homeschooling Won’t Work.

WRAL offers a link to the DSS review of Sean Paddock’s death. I’ve read the review and there are many questions and statements presented. The members of the State Fatality Review Team are definitely taking a long hard look at foster care policy, adoption policy, better communication between each agency, positive discipline training and unfortunately, home education.

Here is what the section on homeschooling states:

Finding #5

  • According to the Department of Non-Public Instruction’s web site, Lynn Paddock had a registered home school, Benjamin Street School.
  • The Department of Non-Public Instruction is unable to make site visits to monitor and support home schools’ compliance with state policy due to limited funding and oversight resources.
  • Home schooling may contribute to social isolation if children are not involved in outside activities and adoptive parents are not utilizing adoptive services.
  • The Division of Social Services began to gather statistics related to specific school situations in child protective services in May 2006.

Recommendations #5:

  • The Department of Non-Public Instruction should conduct a study regarding a Needs Assessment and pursue funding to support increased monitoring and oversight of home schools.
  • The State Fatality Review Team supports the continued efforts of the Division of Social Services in regard to the gathering of statistics related to specific school situations in child protective services.
  • The State Fatality Review Team recommends that the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner begin to track school status at the time of death and make available this information on a yearly basis to the North Carolina Child Fatality Prevention Team.

I know that homeschoolers in NC will become proactive in this situation, but it is a shame that it is being brought into the case at all. Educational choice does not determine who will and will not abuse children.

Ohio Home Educators Network

Ohio Home Educators Network (OHEN) is a regional network of homeschooling families. We are an inclusive group supporting families of all religious beliefs.

Although OHEN supports a student-led, interest-centered approach, we welcome all homeschooling families regardless of educational philosophy or teaching style.

OHEN’s purpose is to provide interested parents with accurate information about home education in Ohio.

We hold informational meetings and offer a discussion group for families to share resources and discuss homeschool issues.

OHEN is a network of homeschooling families in the Northeast Ohio area. The network, started in 1991, is run completely by volunteers. O-HEN does not sell or distribute any curriculum, textbooks or teaching supplies.


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