The Home School Court Report
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Beginning-of-the-Year Problems

Following a flurry of problems at the beginning of the school year, things have settled down quite a bit. The most common disputes with school districts were over what is required to be included with the notification. Home School Legal Defense Association wrote numerous letters on behalf of member families who were being asked to submit unnecessary information and most of these situations have been resolved.

Not all of the problems have disappeared, though. Consider the following:

  • Some school districts insist on assigning grade levels to home educated students based upon the student’s age. However, the home school regulations do not require this, and, in fact, a home schooled child can work at various grade levels in a range of subjects. It appears to be difficult for districts to refrain from imposing the traditional school mindset on home schooling.

  • Other districts have suddenly begun to enforce the regulations, which require home schoolers to submit curriculum information. Because home schoolers in these districts were not asked to submit this information in the past, they often believe this new request exceeds the regulations.

    Ohio’s home school regulations require the following curriculum information to be submitted: a list of textbooks (title, author and publisher, like a bibliography) and a brief outline of the goals and objectives to be covered in each of the required subjects. HSLDA interprets a “brief outline” as at least five concepts. This information is not subject to school district evaluation or approval, but simply demonstrates that required subjects are being taught.

  • Another issue that always creates confusion at the beginning of the school year is mandatory kindergarten. Kindergarten is mandatory if your child is going to attend public school first grade. If home schooling parents do not intend to send their child to public school, the compulsory school age is six, and they are not required to demonstrate completion of kindergarten.

  • Finally, when families withdraw a child from public school, problems often arise from their failure to notify the local public school that they are withdrawing their child from that school and that they intend to teach him at home. Simply submitting a home school notification to the superintendent does not withdraw the child from local public school. Until a withdrawal notice is submitted to the school, each day that the child does not attend public school is counted as an absence which can lead to a truancy problem. Notifying the school of both withdrawal and intent is an important step for new home schoolers to remember.