The Home School Court Report
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Compulsory Education Laws: The Dialogue Reopens

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A Week in the Life of David Gordon

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a contrario sensu

A Home School

My niece graduated from home school the same week that the National Spelling Bee was held this year. At her graduation ceremony, sponsored by their home school support group, my niece’s father gave a brief speech. He stated, “This week was a great one to be a home schooler. As most of you know, the top three places in the National Spelling Bee went to home schoolers. All I can say to that is: A-M-A-N!”

Elaine Rudy
Twin Lakes, Wisconsin

Revised Form Causes Confusion

Under Wisconsin law, home school families operate as a “home-based educational program.” By October 15 each year, parents must submit a Home-based Data Enrollment form, which was recently revised to include portions of the Wisconsin statutes.

Two statements on the revised form are causing confusion. First, the form states that “the administrator of each home-based private educational program shall indicate in his or her report whether the system or program meets all of the criteria under section 118.165(1).” This “report” is simply the Home-based Data Enrollment form. No additional report must be submitted to the state department of public instruction.

Second, the form states “an instructional program provided to more than one family unit does not constitute a home-based private educational program.” Some parents have asked, in light of that quote, whether or not a home schooling mother can teach children other than her own.

The answer is yes! Parents have the option of providing the instruction directly or “by a person designated by the parent.” However, a home schooling mother may only file the Home-based Data Enrollment form for her own children. The parents of the other children whom she is teaching as a “person designated” must file a separate Home-based Data Enrollment form for their children.

It is important to note that Home School Legal Defense Association can only accept for membership families where the parents are providing at least 51 percent of the home instruction program.

Some school districts have told home schooling parents to meet with local school officials in conjunction with submitting this form to the department of public instruction. HSLDA has advised our members that such meetings are not required by law.

HSLDA Averts Removal of Children

After police received an allegation of excessive discipline, four officers and two social workers paid an unexpected late night visit to an HSLDA member family in the Milwaukee area. The parents immediately called HSLDA’s emergency number. The social workers announced they were removing the family’s children. After negotiating with the police and social workers for an hour and a half on the phone, the HSLDA attorney pointed out that the social workers had improperly conducted this investigation, violating their own department’s internal policy. The police and social workers left without the children. — Christopher J. Klicka