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No. 3

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Kindergarten Enrollment Unnecessary

Homeschooling families throughout Minnesota are receiving unnecessary kindergarten enrollment information from the local public schools. Despite the fact that most of these families have registered their older children solely as homeschooled students, the public school system continues to mail kindergarten packets to these families when a child in the household turns 5 years old. As most Home School Legal Defense Association members know, Minnesota’s compulsory school attendance starts at age 7. Thus, parents have no legal obligation to begin schooling their 5- and 6-year-olds, nor must they respond in any way to the mailing. If you have received one of these packets, feel free to ignore it.

— by Michael P. Donnelly

Seton Home Study School Accreditation

Recently, some homeschoolers have expressed confusion regarding whether the Seton Home Study School program is an accredited program according to Minnesota law. Homeschoolers who have been using this correspondence curriculum for years are suddenly being asked to submit to their local school district the same information that participants in nonaccredited programs must submit.

In Minnesota, a school’s accrediting agency must be specifically recognized by the Minnesota Education Council for those enrolled in that school to be exempt from certain filing requirements. Seton Home Study School is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools (SACS). Although SACS has united under one “parent” organization with the North Central Association (NCA), an accrediting association recognized by the Minnesota Education Council, SACS itself is not recognized by the council. Under the “parent” organization (the Commission on International and Trans-Regional Accreditation), schools accredited by SACS must accept transfer credits from schools accredited by NCA and vice versa, but accreditation criteria and processes vary by the association. Thus, the Minnesota Education Council's recognition of the NCA is not a recognition of SACS.

Technically speaking, then, Seton is not accredited by an association recognized by the Minnesota Education Council, so parents using the Seton Home Study School program must still meet Minnesota's homeschool law requirements.

HSLDA Staff Attorney Mike Donnelly recently wrote to the Minnesota Education Council requesting that it consider recognizing SACS, but the issue has not yet been put on the council’s agenda. We encourage Minnesota homeschoolers to have their say in the outcome of this situation either by asking SACS to apply for recognition by the council, or by requesting Seton to pursue accreditation by the NCA.

In the meantime, some local school districts have recognized Seton as accredited and are not requiring annual calendars, quarterly reports, or other information from parents using the program. If you are a member of HSLDA and your school district asks you for these documents, please feel free to contact us, and we will ask the district to consider recognizing Seton’s accreditation.

— by Michael P. Donnelly