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Vermont Home Education Network

 

One Message, Many Voices ...

Vermont Home Education Network is an advocacy organization, which maintains a strong homeschool lobby at the state level and acts as a watchdog by monitoring legislation relevant to homeschooling issues.

  • All homeschoolers have common ground upon which to stand regardless of methods, materials or worldview.

  • We work to encourage better communication and networking among all homeschoolers in Vermont that we might better preserve homeschooling freedoms for all by promoting a positive view of homeschooling on the state and local level.

  • We acknowledge that our fundamental right to home educate our children is essential to everyone's future and because we   believe   there   is   strength in a diverse network of homeschoolers, therefore, we support the freedom of all individual families to choose home education and to direct such education.

To Promote, Lobby, Network, and Enhance Home-Education in Vermont

Latest News: Senate Ed Bill S9 and background checks

Legislative update from Retta Dunlap when she testified in the Senate Ed Committee on January16, 2019 concerning S9 and background checks.

We discussed S9 for over an hour as I was given as much time as I needed to introduce homeschooling to the new members and then tie that into the issues of S9. Now that legislative council, who was also there, and committee members have a better understanding of what a home study program is, and after some committee discussion, I expect the next draft of S9 to be clearer than the “as introduced” language. **see note below** When they agree on the next draft, I will put it out in the wild for all to see and there will be more testimony needed.

The Committee was attentive and supportive of homeschooling in Vermont. They wish to leave the system that is called Home Study untouched and they DO NOT want homeschooling parents or guardians to have background checks to educate their own children. Also,they do not what them to have to get background checks on everyone who comes in contact with a home study student. For example, no background checks on the piano teacher nor on the person who is tutoring a child in math nor for everyone in a homeschooler enrichment program or coop.

However, Sen Baruth has a very specific concern which he tried to share with the committee through S9. And while, I do not necessarily feel his concern rises to the need of being address, the fact remains that he and the other committee members were elected to legislate areas of concern. What follows is a description of that concern:

In the Vermont Statutes, there are lists and lists of definitions that are to be used to define certain topics. Years ago, it was decided that the term “homeschooling” not have a statutory definition. However, the phrase “home study program” does and many people use the two terms interchangeably. This is the statutory definition of a home study program:

16 V.S.A. § 11. Classifications and definitions

(a) For the purposes of this title, unless the context otherwise clearly requires:

  (21) "Home study program" means an educational program offered through home study which provides a minimum course of study and which is offered to not more than:

     (A)  children residing in that home; and

     (B)  children not residing in that home who either are two or fewer in number or who are from one family.

 Most homeschooling families in Vermont fit under definition (A) in that they homeschool their own children in their own home in a home study program. Definition (B) was put into statute in the case the parents or guardians wanted to delegate the delivering of a home study program to someone else outside of their home. It is the second definition that gives the committee concern.

Even though definition (B) is rarely used, when I was homeschooling, I did fit this definition for a couple of years when I provided home study to my own children and to the children for one other family. Definition (B) could also be used in case of parents or guardians who want to delegate the delivery of a home study program to their children by a non-homeschooler while the parents or guardians are at work all day. In either case, whether another homeschooler or a non-homeschooler, if a person is delivering the home study program to a child that they are not the parent or guardian of ..… this is the person the committee wants to have a background check.

** Note: the “as introduced language” will not change on the Legislative website until it is voted out of committee. However, there can be many subsequent drafts of a bill after its introduction and before it is voted out of committee. I know that is not very transparent but that is the way it is done and why I go to the State House whenever they want to talk about home study in any way and ask for the most recent draft.