For many families who must relocate because of ties to the military or other 'on command' industries, relocation is a matter of necessity and not convenience. For some of us, though, relocating is a way to reach for our dreams and goals. We are the ones who have the freedom to search out places that satisfy our needs before we commit to a move.
One big question for those of us who homeschool and wish to relocate is:
What is homeschooling like in (insert state or country)?
It is wonderful to be able to take this question into consideration when making a decision about where to live. Even those who are undergoing relocation due to transfers, it makes sense to work out the legalities before you move so that you are prepped and ready to go when you get settled in your new home.
A few things I have found helpful in searching out homeschool law and environment are:
- Join a statewide homeschooling e-group for the place you will be moving to. You might begin your search here: http://homeschooling.gomilpitas.com/regional/
- Find the state's homeschooling law online and read over the law, pausing to look up any unfamiliar words. If you have questions after reading the law, ask on the group mentioned in number one. You might begin your search here: http://homeschooling.gomilpitas.com/directory/Legalities.htm
- Join an email group for homeschoolers in the area in which you intend to live. Ask about park days and co-ops, athletics and what sort of social environment exists. It is helpful to know that you're going to live in an area that is mostly Southern Baptist or Libertarian humanist. For those who can make a choice, it may sway you one way or the other to be aware of these things. You might begin your search here: http://homeschooling.gomilpitas.com/weblinks/support.htm
- Order travel information from the state. There is almost always a state road map included.
- Talk to your children about the move. Commiserate about the pending stresses of leaving friends behind and the excitements of making new ones. Do a unit study on the state and have them learn a bit about its history, the state capitol, the name of the governor. It will help them feel more at home there.
- Read homeschool and other blogs written by natives of the area you are relocating to. Contact them with questions if you want. Bloggers are chatty by nature.
The internet is a great tool, especially for a family preparing to make a move. We can now make our choices based not only on availability of work or the lifestyle we wish to pursue, but also on the level of regulation we are comfortable with. If you enjoy strictly governed homeschooling, try North Dakota. Prefer a less government-heavy approach? Maybe Idaho, where you don't have to notify anyone of anything, would be more your style? Either way, it's good to be prepared.
Bettina Colonna Essert is a native of the Virginia/North Carolina borderland. She currently lives on a 'farmette' in rural NE NC with her husband, 2 home schooled children and a menagerie of farm animals. Bettina is an Equine Sports Massage Therapist and also handcrafts a line of fine, organic bath products, Alchemy Redefined.