2020-2021 Annual Assessment Waiver

I wanted to give you an update on the annual assessment that is required for homeschool families to continue educating their children for the subsequent year. On March 21, 2021, Governor DeWine signed House Bill 67 into law. This bill is an an extension of the annual assessment waiver that was enacted as an emergency measure for the 2019-20 school year. 

HB67 requires the ODE to seek federal waivers on the assessments that are federally required for these students. To extend assessment waivers to all students, the legislators have included a section to waive the academic assessment report for home educated students this year. This means that the academic assessment report will not be required when notifying for the 2021-2022 school year. They have also included language waiving the assessment requirement for Jon Peterson Special Needs Scholarship students. You can read the bill for yourself. HB67

While you do not need to do an assessment, I would suggest you continue to have your child assessed (a portfolio review or testing). There are some very valid reasons to do this and instead of me parroting what I feel are good points to do so, I suggest you read the Ohio Homeschooling Parents blog page. CLICK HERE

I appreciate all of you who have scheduled your review with me at this point. I will continue to do assessments for those who would like to have me review your child’s work. If you decide to cancel, please delete your appointment. It will notify me and you won’t have to do anything further. If I do not get the opportunity to see you this year, have a great school year and I will see you next year.


The History of Homeschooling in Ohio

My good friend, Becky, and I were talking about the history of how homeschooling was legalized in Ohio. I believe it is worth sharing because the opportunity and privilege to homeschool is something that I treasure and it makes it all the more special when you learn how it happened. My information is taken from a fantastic 142 page book that I wish every homeschool family could have as a reference. In it, Diana Fessler shares her story and explains every point of Ohio’s homeschool laws and the Home Education Notification Form. Sadly, it is out of print, but I hope someone will reprint it and update the few details that have changed since it was printed. If you ever come across the book, you should purchase it. Home Education : Answers for Ohio Parents by Diana Fessler.

It all began as a seed of an idea in 1982 when Diana Fessler and her husband, Bob, were considering pre-registering their son for kindergarten while at the same time being introduced to the idea of schooling their own children. They decided to homeschool their four children for several years without notifying the superintendent. When they did choose to do so, they sent their philosophy of education, a daily schedule, curriculum overview, and test results. The test results for all of the children were in the 90-99th percentile range. Mrs. Fessler presumed that the superintendent would excuse her children from compulsory attendance. However, contrary to this belief they received “twenty-one pages of documents”.

The superintendent requested copies of her and her husband’s transcripts and teaching certificates. They only submitted Mr. Fessler’s transcript (they didn’t have teaching certificates) to the superintendent as well as seventy-five pages of information that included things such as their background, assessment plans, and resource materials. They submitted an additional one hundred thirty pages after the superintendent had said it was a “good start” and they needed to supply details of all the courses in every subject they were teaching for each of their four children. The Fessler’s agreed to send in weekly and monthly reports and permit school officials to “visit” their home. They also were asked to have a notarized statement that absolved the school of any educational and social growth of their children.

It seemed that no matter how much information they sent, there was always a request for additional information. The Fesslers drew the line when the request for psychological testing was issued. With help from Representative Monahan, their superintendent excused their children (in December) from compulsory attendance.

In 1988 the Fesslers were invited to share their testimony before the House Education Committee. A State Board of Education advisory committee began a year long process of developing home education regulations and Diane represented the home educators. In July 1989, the State Board of Education adopted these regulations without amendment, and they became codified as OAC 3301-34.

I am thankful for the Fesslers and other parents who had the conviction and fortitude to home educate their children and make it possible for us to do the same. May we be diligent in teaching our children and as Diana states the reason for writing the book was that “people are destroyed for lack of knowledge” but “the truth will set you free.”

Have a great week! ~Lisa~

Busy Jar

Having things to do for your children after they complete school can be a challenge. Creating a Busy Jar can help. Write activities on pieces of paper and place all of them in a Busy Jar. Your child(ren) can pull out one from the jar to do. Here are some activities for your jar. another benefit to this is that it can be considered school. (art, science, language arts)

Build a fort.

Paint a self portrait.

Write a play and act it out.

Make cards for: nursing homes; veterans; family; friends; neighbors

Using a roll of paper, create a comic strip or storyline. One person writes, the next person draws/ writes a line, the the next person does the same.

Draw a design on a piece of paper and then hand it to the next person. They add to the design. Continue around to the rest of the group until it returns to its creator. You get some fun and crazy things!


Make a maze or marble tower out of a cardboard box and paper towel rolls.

Air dry clay- create a sculpture and paint a few days later.

Make goop.

Make slime.

Blow bubbles and see if you can pop all of them before they land.

Google Lego 30 Day Challenge and choose your favorite prompts.

Choose a theme and make a photo collage with words/ pictures. (ex; pictures that have red in them; all pictures begin with a certain letter, etc.)

Learn to say your name and a few phrases in sign language.

Hide an object and draw a pirate map to its location.

Create a stuffed animal zoo.

Play flashlight Hide and Seek.

Create window art.

Using a map, close your eyes and point to a place. Now, figure out the roads you will use to get there. What places would you like to visit along the way?

Write a song or create a cheer about a topic without using the word.

Dance for three songs in a row.

Create a new board game (This can stretch out over weeks if you like. They have to write the rules/ directions, draw and color the board, play the game.)

Have relay races inside or outside.

Have a great week! ~Lisa~

Homeschool Assessments

I have been getting several inquiries about homeschool assessments (portfolio reviews) this year and thought I would share some things with you.

Do I need to have my child assessed? No, you do not need to have an assessment done this year if you are going to continue homeschooling next year. This requirement has been waived for the 2020-2021 academic year. However, if you would like to do this, I am happy to do it for you.

Are you meeting in person or online this year? I am meeting everyone virtually via Zoom. You can sign up for a free account by going to zoom.us

How do I schedule an appointment? You can sign up using an online scheduling website. It will sync to your calendar and send you a reminder of your appointment. https://calendly.com/schoolmarmohio

What should I send to you for the portfolio? If you follow the Home Education Notification Form that you submitted to the superintendent it has all of the subjects listed. Please send me samples of the beginning and the end of your student’s school year. This can include workbook pages, a written story, videos, pictures, or anything that you feel would show what your student has done this year to show progress has been made. For subjects that you do not have physical documentation, write a brief descriptive paragraph of what you did. Example: We watched a video on volcanoes, discussed how eruptions occur and damage that is created, and read various books about geology and volcanoes.

How do I send work to you? There are three ways to do this:

Option 1: I will send you a family folder through Google Drive and you can upload samples of work any time prior to our appointment.

Option 2: You can drop off work to my house or mail me copies of work that you don’t need returned. If you are choosing to do this, then please send me an email.

Option 3: Use Dropbox or send me a file via email.

What is the cost? My fee for one student has not increased in many years and I know family’s budgets are tight, so I am offering a discount if you have multiple children.

Fees for 2021
1 student $40.00
2 students $75.00
3 students $102.00
4 students $132.00
5+ students $155.00

I look forward to serving you. Please contact me if you have any questions. schoolmarmohio@me.com

Have a great week! ~Lisa~

2021 Homeschool Assessment Giveaway

2021 Portfolio Review Giveaway

Today is the last day to enter the annual portfolio review giveaway. CLICK HERE TO ENTER

Two families will be chosen to receive a free portfolio review. (Each one is a $40.00 value) Feel free to share this post with other families who need a review. I would love to see them win.

I will announce the winners on Tuesday, February 23. So be sure to check back and see if you have won.

Have a great week! ~Lisa~