The Home School Court Report
VOLUME XVIII, NUMBER 5
- disclaimer -
SEPTEMBER / OCTOBER 2002
Cover
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Cover Story
Lewis & Clark: Rediscovering their journey

Special Features
Congressional breakthroughs in CAPTA reform

PHC adds faculty and students

HSLDA essay contest results

Regular Features
Active cases

Freedom watch

Around the Globe

Notes to Members

Prayer and praise

President's page

F.Y.I
HSLDA social services contact policy

A plethora of forms

Across the States
State by State

H  O  M  E     S  C  H  O  O  L  I  N  G     N  E  W  S     F  R  O  M
Across the States
AL · AR · CA · CT · DE · FL · GA · IL · KY · LA · MD · MI · NM · NY · OH · OR · VA · WI · WY

Home School Heartbeat in New Mexico

Alamogordo
KHII


Alamogordo
KHIL
88.9
FM
Albuquerque
KDAZ
730
AM
Albuquerque
KFLQ
91.5
FM
Clovis
KAQF
91.1
FM
Farmington
KLJH
107.1
FM
Farmington
KNMI
88.9
FM
Farmington
KPCL
95.7
FM
La Luz
KALH
95.1
FM
New Mexico
Are birth dates required?

When New Mexico's homeschool law was changed in 2001, families across the state rejoiced. The new law eliminated both standardized testing and the requirement that families send their homeschool information to local school districts, freeing them at last from the arbitrary and contradictory demands of different school districts. Under the new law, families are simply required to notify the state department of education of their intent to homeschool and provide a renewal notice, including the name of their school district, by April 1 each year.

Despite these great strides forward in the law, Dr. Michael Kaplan, the department of education official who supervises homeschoolers, this year demanded various items of information that are not required by statute. After discussion and multiple meetings with legislators and other officials, Dr. Kaplan finally reduced his demands to this: every homeschooling family must provide the name and birth date of their homeschooled children.

If New Mexico law required homeschoolers to provide the names and birth dates of their children, Home School Legal Defense Association would advise families to do so, unless they had sincere religious or other constitutional objections. What makes this situation complicated is that New Mexico law does not require this information. The statute simply requires parents to notify the department of their intent to operate a homeschool, and nowhere indicates that the family must identify the names or ages of their children.

The department of education received an interesting spectrum of responses by April 1 of this year. Some families provided the names and birth dates of all of their children. Others provided at least one name, but left other children off the form. Some families provided no name or birth date information. The department consistently returned all paperwork that left the name and birth date information blank, but accepted forms that included the name of at least one child. Thus, families who followed the "firstborn child rule" have not had any problems to date. It is not yet clear what the department intends to do regarding families whose notices were returned. September should be an interesting month for New Mexico homeschoolers, as we find out the department's intentions. Scott W. Somerville