Lis & the Single Girl: Home Schooling Regulations

I am a single mom who is considering an at-home education for my kids. I currently live in New York, but I plan on moving to New Jersey if I decide to home school my kids. Are there any rules or regulations on home schooling that I should be aware of?

Great question! Home schooling regulations vary from state to state. For example, Oklahoma, Missouri and New Jersey only have minimal requirements that parents must meet, whereas New York's, Rhode Island's and Pennsylvania's requirements are very specific on parental notifications, state tests, professional evaluations and curriculum approvals. Before we go further in details, however, you should know that home schooled children may be taught by one or both parents, by tutors who come into the home, or through virtual school programs conducted over the Internet.

If you plan on home schooling your kids in New Jersey, the state requires that your child receive instruction equivalent to that provided in the public schools for the children of similar grades. Given that New Jersey has not adopted a comprehensive set of regulations governing home schooling, parents are not required by law to notify their public school district of their intention to educate the child elsewhere than at school. However, although the local board of education is not required or authorized by law to review and approve the home based curriculum, the board may request documentations of proof from the parent or guardian if there is credible evidence of a legal violation that the child is not receiving equivalent instructions provided in the public schools.

Now that you have some insight into the New Jersey regulations, let’s take a look at New York as it stands on the opposite end of the regulation spectrum. The home schooling regulations in New York require parents to follow a more demanding set of procedures. For example, parents must:
1) submit a notice of intent to home school to the district superintendent by July 1 annually, or within 14 days of starting home schooling during the middle of a school year;
2) fill out an Individualized Home Instruction Plan (IHIP) form with details of the curriculum materials;
3) maintain records of attendance equivalent to 180 days;
4) file quarterly reports;
5) file an annual assessment either in a norm-referenced achievement test or a written narrative evaluation;
6) choose a standardized test approved by the State Education Department and administer the standardized test at least every other year in grades four through eight, and every year beginning with ninth grade.

Overwhelmed by the list of requirements yet? Don’t panic! Studies show that there may be some benefits to all your hard work. In study after study, the home schooled scored, on average, at the 65th to 80th percentile on standardized academic achievement tests in the United States and Canada, compared to the public school average of the 50th percentile. These academic performance analyses indicate that home school graduates are as ready for college as traditional high school graduates and that they perform as well on national college assessment tests as traditional high school graduates.

Bottom line: if you home school your kids, don’t feel that the education you are providing is inferior to the traditional K-12 education of your neighborhood peers! A child’s abilities never cease to impress us!

Homeschoolers on to College: What Research Shows Us
First-Year College Performance: A Study of Home School Graduates and Traditional School Graduates
New York Education Law
New Jersey Department of Education

What is so hard to understand? When a woman says “No,” she means it! And she should only have to say it once! It doesn’t matter who says “No” either, be it a wife, a girlfriend, or even a prostitute! Once a woman expresses a lack of consent to any sexual activities, any use of force, even touching, could mount to sexual assault and rape!

In North Philadelphia, a 20-year-old single mother testified that she worked for an escort service and had agreed to have sex with Dominique Gindraw for $150. When she arrived at Gindraw’s home to “seal the deal,” he ordered her at gunpoint to perform sex acts with three other men. Gindraw took away her cell phone and a purse containing pepper spray. "He said, ‘You’re going to do this for free, you’re not going nowhere, and you better cooperate or I’m going to kill you,’" the prostitute testified at a preliminary hearing.

On October 4, 2007, Municipal Judge Teresa Carr Deni upheld conspiracy, robbery, false imprisonment and other charges against Gindraw, but dismissed the more serious rape and sexual assault charges. The chancellor of the Philadelphia Bar Association, Jane Leslie Dalton, took issue with the ruling and questioned Deni's understanding of state law. "The victim has been brutalized twice in this case: first by the assailants, and now by the court. We cannot imagine any circumstances more violent or coercive than being forced to have sex with four men at gunpoint. Even though the woman is a prostitute, it doesn't mean she couldn't be a victim," Dalton said. "Once she says 'No, it's not OK,' then to have sex with her is rape."

That’s right, ladies. You can say “No” to anything at any time! Not just with words, but actions, such as struggling and trying to leave, show that you do not consent. Even if you did not resist because you were too afraid, the attacker cannot say that you consented. You are not expected to put your life at risk when there’s a gun in your face! And even if you agree to the sexual activity at first but then change your mind, there is no longer consent once you say or show through actions that you no longer agree to the sexual activity.

Keep in mind as well that consenting to one kind of sexual activity does not mean you consent to any other sexual activity. The prostitute that Gindraw hired only agreed to have sex with him, and him alone. To force sexual activity on her with three other men is much more than just robbing her services! It’s rape regardless of who says “No” When a woman says “No,” she means “No”!

Judge Criticized for Considering Gang Rape on Prostitute 'Theft of Services'


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Lis Wiehl joined FOX News Channel as a legal analyst in October 2001. To read the rest of Lis's bio, click here.