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October 9, 2007

Somerset County Will Stop Seeking Unauthorized Curriculum Information

The superintendent of Somerset County Public Schools recently sent a letter and form to homeschool families asking whether they had made any changes in their curriculum. Counties are not authorized by law to seek this information.

Families operating under the home instruction regulations who are not in an umbrella program are required to provide instruction in eight broad areas: English, Math, Science, Social Studies, Art, Music, Health, and Physical Education. They are not, however, required to give notice of the specific course that will cover each area, or the content of each course.

Since families are not required to identify their courses or content when they file their original notice of consent, no one should expect them to notify the school system when they make any changes.

A regulation adopted several years ago requires families operating under the regulations to provide notice to the local school officials or their umbrella program if there is a change in the “home school status” of a child. A change in homeschool status occurs only when a child changes umbrella programs, or switches from an umbrella program to portfolio reviews or vice versa, or stops homeschooling altogether. It does not include a change in the curriculum or the content of what is being taught.

Families should disregard the county’s request for notice concerning a change in curriculum.

Home School Legal Defense Association Attorney Scott Woodruff called the office of the superintendent. The official who had sent the letter agreed to stop trying to obtain information about a family’s curriculum.