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January / February 2004

Can Judicial Tyranny Be Stopped?

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"For informational purposes only"

Ohio law requires an annual notification of intent to operate a homeschool, unless a parent with a bachelor's degree elects to operate a "non-chartered, non-tax supported school," also known as an "08 school." The notice of intent must include an assurance that the homeschool will include certain required subjects, a "brief outline of intended curriculum," and a "list of textbooks, correspondence courses, commercial curricula, or other basic teaching materials that the parent intends to use." Ohio's homeschool regulations specify that such an outline and list are "for informational purposes only." Two questions keep arising in Ohio: how brief is "brief"? And what is the meaning of "for informational purposes only"?

Many homeschoolers provide an assurance that they will teach each required subject, and offer as their "brief outline" this statement: "We intend to teach each of the subjects listed above, using the textbooks listed below." This statement has long been accepted as a "brief outline" by many school districts. Some districts, however, insist on more. One district is threatening to call a hearing for a particular family who refuses to provide an outline of their physical education and fire safety programs.

Home School Legal Defense Association suggests the following approach to notification. We will defend any notice of intent that provides enough information to allow another experienced homeschool family to take over the education of the children in the event of their parents' deaths. A "brief outline" of this sort is not intended to persuade your local superintendent that your homeschool program is "good enough," but it is intended to spell out what you plan to do, so that a friend could take over the educational program if necessary. While HSLDA cannot guarantee that Ohio superintendents will accept such an outline, we are prepared to defend any such outline in good faith.

— Scott W. Somerville