Across the States
District Asks the Impossible
On the last day of February 2006, Home School Legal Defense Association member Candy Barr notified Cambridge City Schools that she intended to pull her son out of public school and homeschool him during the spring. She expected a letter acknowledging her right to homeschool, but instead received an unpleasant surprise.
On March 1, a school official wrote back to say, “After conversation with . . . the Ohio Department of Education, I was advised that the parent/guardian is required to assure that the child will be provided a minimum of 900 hours of home education each school year.” Apparently, school officials thought the department regulation meant that Candy had to promise to squeeze in 900 hours of instruction between March 1 and June 30!
Ohio’s homeschool regulations do require parents to assure school officials that they will provide 900 hours of home education during the school year, but the regulations do not require parents to use the same school year as the public schools. A parent who starts homeschooling on March 1 can promise to provide 900 hours of instruction during the family's school year, even though it may be physically impossible to teach 900 hours during what is left of the public school year.
HSLDA wrote to the local and state officials involved in the misunderstanding to remind them that it is their duty to construe statutes and regulations in a manner that is consistent with the United States Constitution. We don’t expect these school officials to prosecute the Barrs-but even if they do, we are confident the courts will uphold the right to begin homeschooling anytime during the school year. A family’s constitutional right to homeschool does not depend on the public school calendar!
—by Scott W. Somerville
* Read the letter.