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No. 4

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Is the Online Enrollment Form Required?

Indiana homeschooling parents often ask whether they have to complete an online enrollment form when they begin homeschooling, as requested by the state department of education (DOE). The form, found on the DOE’s website, requests the parents’ names and contact information, the name of the school corporation in which the family lives, and the public school the child would have attended. The DOE also requests the number of students and their grade levels.

In the 1904 case State v. Peterman, the Indiana Appellate Court recognized that a place of instruction can be considered a school no matter what number of students attend. The court went on to say that the compulsory attendance law “was made for the parent who does not educate his child.” In 1985, the Northern District Court of Indiana acknowledged in Manzanec v. North Judson–San Pierre School Corporation that parents have the constitutional right to educate their children in a home environment.

Under Indiana Code § 20-33-2-20, all nonpublic schools (which would include homeschools), must keep an accurate daily record of attendance for each student. These records are required to verify the enrollment and attendance of that student at a school. The nonpublic school is only required to furnish these records at the request of the state or local superintendent of education. In addition, the state superintendent may request the school to provide the number of students by grade level.

A court would likely consider the DOE’s request that all homeschooling parents fill out the online enrollment form to be a blanket request—insufficient to require compliance under Indiana law. Instead, the law requires the state or local superintendent to privately request the relevant records from the individual school from which the information is required.

Thus, it is Home School Legal Defense Association’s opinion that the online enrollment is not required. However, filling out the enrollment form does provide evidence of a homeschool program, and there are a number of reasons that a parent may decide to fill it out. If you have any questions on whether you should fill it out, please contact HSLDA.

— by Thomas J. Schmidt