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Homeschooling Options and State Exemptions for Childhood Vaccines
How to escape the COVID-19 childhood vaccination schedule that may be coming to your state soon.
By now, most US parents know of the unanimous ACIP vote yesterday to put the (currently Emergency Use Authorized) COVID-19 injections on to the CDC Childhood Vaccination Schedule and the Vaccines for Children (VFC) automatic federal purchase program. Due to blowback by parents everywhere, the CDC is quick to point out that it is up to each state to add these gene therapy injections to their schedule. For example, Governor Ron Desantis and its Surgeon General Joe Ladipo have made it clear that Florida will not mandate that these products be injected into the schoolchildren of that state. The truth is that many, if not most states will add these to the schedule of required childhood vaccines in the future - so it is time to make some plans.
In life, having a “plan A” and a “plan B” is just wise. So US Parents and Grandparents; let’s get planning.
A word to our valued readers and subscribers - this article is geared for parents with school aged children. If this isn’t you, feel free to stop reading here.
Many parents and grandparents are asking what are the options for homeschooling in their state? People are wondering if every state is going to require this vaccine for children going to school? What about for children not attending public school? At this point, we don’t have all answers, but we do have a lot of information. So, plans can begin to be made.
As discussed above, we all know Florida will reject the CDC recommendation that these unlicensed COVID-19 injections be required for participation in publicly funded education. They already have. But what about other states? I believe the answer for this one will be state by state, unless the Federal government ties other monies to a requirement that school children to get the jab. Then lots of states will mandate these vaccines for children. There are a lot of unknowns and unknowables at this point in time.
If the real agenda here is to provide an additional mechanism to protect Moderna and Pfizer from legal liability for the safety of their products, or to force congress to fund the purchase of the mRNA products via the automatic funding provisions of the VFC, then maybe the Biden Administration will not choose to leverage Education and Head Start funding, as the CDC and its “independent” Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) has already achieved these objectives. But if the objective is to force all of us to bend the knee and have all of our children accept these products which are neither safe nor effective at preventing infection and spread of the SARS-CoV-2 virus, then we may well see more federal overreach using the usual methods.
However, it is time to plan and get prepared. To this end, I did a search on which states allow exemptions to vaccine mandates for school aged children to attend school.
Each state has different vaccine exemption laws for children entering public school. Here is a nice chart by procon.org, with a linked spread sheet as to what each state allows or does not allow school vaccine exemptions. The spread sheet is linked to a PDF specifically for each state, which lists the exact rules and regulations for that state.
What if you can’t sell your home and move, and also live in a state that only has medical exemptions? What are the rules regarding homeschooling? How difficult does your state make it to homeschool?
Again, each state is different. Wildly different.
As summarized below, state laws regarding the ability to homeschool and the amount of oversight by the state vary from low to high regulation.
The Homeschool Legal Defense Association (HLDA) website allows a search by each state of rules and regulations regarding homeschooling requirements for each state.
Note that a few states (such as Virginia) STILL have immunization requirements for homeschoolers, and the HLDA website also lists those states on the individual state requirements page.
The webpage clip below uses Virginia to provide an example of the information summarized:
See that last bullet point? Virginia actually requires children to get immunized to homeschool, BUT they if you then compare that with the information about exemptions summarized in the first map provided at the top of this essay, Virginia does allow medical and religious (but not philosophical) exemptions.
By comparing the two websites, on a state by state basis your options will become more clear.
So, be smart - figure out those options now.
This might also include private school options, which will have a separate set of rules regarding immunizations. Facebook groups can be a great place to learn about the rules and regulations of your state.
The charts below are from KFF.org, a national poling center on health issues.
OVER HALF of the parents with children under five say their children will “Definitely” NOT be vaccinated with the COVID-19 injection. This is up from 30% a year ago.
OVER A THIRD of the parents with children 5-11 years old, say their children will “Definitely” NOT be vaccinated with the COVID-19 injection. This is up from 25% a year ago.
These are fighting words.
I have written before about homeschooling and the exodus of students from public schools. These numbers do not bode well for our nationally funded educational system retaining students. Policies that force teaching of partisan social agendas and unlicensed medical products continue to place an arbitrary and capricious burden on the part of the population which does not endorse them, and the ensuing financial burden forces lower income households to comply with federal policies which they may not endorse.
As we see more and more of this type of federal overreach, it would not surprise me to learn that by the end of this school year, 15-20% of students in the USA were being homeschooled or in some sort of alternative private education program.
I recognize that not everyone can homeschool, has money and resources for a private school, or can move to a different state. Particularly in this tough economy.
Co-op alternative school “pods” are another option to consider. Alternatively, parents take turn teaching, teach different subjects, or in some cases set up a collective to hire a well-qualified teacher for groups of children. All of these alternative models can work well.
It used to be an old environmentalist meme - “Think global, act local”
We now have to apply that to raising our children.
It takes a family to make a family, not a village and not a government.
It takes a family to raise a child, not a village and not a government.
Prepare and educate your children well for a productive, ethical and happy life.
This is not easy. Jill and I remember how difficult and intimidating it was to start homeschooling. How we gave up after a few months with our oldest and then picked it up again when he was a little older. We remember how when we started with our next one, it was so much easier - because we had understand the process.
Below are some good resources for those just getting started. Please feel free to add your own or offer advice to those just starting this adventure in the comments sections. Also, for people just starting, feel free to ask questions in the comments - we have such a wide range of knowledgeable people that their answers are sure to be informative to all.
Finally, have confidence in your ability to do this - if doesn’t take a college degree. You may have to do a bit of self-learning yourself! There are plenty of resources (see below) you can turn to, and I hope that local communities can start to set up mentorship programs to help make it easier. Most kids will start to self-learn once they get hooked into how interesting it is to learn. In my opinion, at some point, the teacher becomes a guide for self-learning, and that is where the fun starts! This can become a great opportunity to further strengthen your family ties, and to insure that your personal values are carried forward.
General Homeschooling/Vaccine Exception Resources:
Homeschool Resources (from Learning Lift-0ff)
TED-Ed - This site lets you build a lesson around any TED talk,
Reading Eggs - This subscription site promises to make learning to read fun with games, songs, and engaging rewards as well as a series of mobile apps.
Khan Academy - Khan Academy offers free online lessons and interactive exercises on just about every possible topic.
Project Gutenberg - more than 45,000 free eBooks, including a large collection of classic children’s literature
Duolingo - This free language app is available for iPhone, Android, and the web and offers fun and engaging lessons for a variety of languages, including Spanish, French, German, Portuguese, Italian, and English.
Steve Spangler Science - Engaging videos of experiments and science fair projects.
Homeschool.com Articles on getting started, curriculum reviews, printable lessons, and links to local support groups.
XtraMath - XtraMath features free math videos, lessons, and activities as well as progress reports and resources for teachers and parents.
HowtoSmile - With more than 3,000 science and math activities, How to Smile is an award-winning, free resource for teachers and parents. T
The Activity Mom - This blog is a great resource for parents looking for fun and educational activities, especially for toddlers, preschoolers, and elementary age students.
PowerMyLearning - Thousands of free, standards-aligned games, videos, and interactive activities in all K–12 subjects.
DiscoveryEducation - Offers free resources for parents, teachers, and students, including lesson plans, homework help, videos, and more.
BrainPOP - Subscription site, but many families—both homeschooling and those with kids in traditional school—find the quality of the site to be worth the yearly fee.
Coursera/edX - MOOCs (Massive Open Online Courses) such as those offered by Coursera and edX can be a great way for high school students and advanced learners to challenge themselves with college-level coursework. Courses from world-class universities such as Harvard, Yale, and MIT are open to anyone, anywhere, f0r free.
Special Needs Homeschooling - This site offers articles, curriculum reviews, and other learning resources for homeschooling kids with autism, ADHD, learning disorders, and other special needs.
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