questions about traveling abroad and homeschooling

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Hello all! I’m sorry if I’ve posted this in the wrong place – I’m new at this site. Please let me know where else it should go and I’ll move it!

We are a family of 5 living and traveling aboard our sailboat. We left the US last November, traveled through the Bahamas, Turks and Caicos, Puerto Rico, then down the Lesser Antilles to Grenada. We are currently in the US visiting family and sitting out hurricane season. Kids are just about to start 3rd, 5th, and 7th grades. This will be our second year of ‘boat schooling’ and we are very excited about it.

Despite doing this for a year, we are still a bit sketchy on the laws about homeschool and travel. We have heard that you are subject to the laws of the state in which you reside. I assume this means where we are physically so I take it to mean we are not subject to any state’s laws once we leave the country. I’ve also read that once you are no longer in the US, you are subject to the laws of the country in which you reside. But what if you don’t stay put very long in any country? Does this mean we are free of reporting requirements? I’ve seen this topic discussed in terms of military and foreign service families, but haven’t seen anything about a situation like ours.

But what if we come back to/are in the US during the school year? Last year, we were living in Virginia until we left on our travels. We registered as homeschoolers in Virginia (the kids were pretty visible in the small community and clearly not at school), but have not returned to Virginia. We will be in the US at the start of the 2017-18 school year – probably through the end of September. Does anyone know if we should register as homeschoolers wherever we happen to be living at the time, knowing that we’ll never have to report since we are leaving the US soon after? Our main concern about not registering with the local district is that our children are seen not attending school, and we then attract unwanted attention and CPS gets involved.

Any thoughts or experience on this topic? Am I worrying too much? Thanks in advance!

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