As obvious as it may seem to some people, following state laws is not always a given when it comes to others. There are no definitive numbers nationally, at least partly because those not in compliance are somewhat harder to track. This is a good thing, really, because statistics often lead to solutions — and these solutions do not always work in favor of homeschoolers. In this article, I’ll explain why.
Failure to follow homeschooling laws occurs when parents are either unaware laws exist, or have difficulty understanding their specific legal responsibilities and inadvertently get things wrong. And, there are occasionally those who consciously choose not to comply — another story altogether, but contribute to the problem nonetheless.
Why is it so important for families to understand and follow state homeschooling laws? Apart from placing their own homeschooling in jeopardy, non-compliance works against the homeschooling population as a whole. So important is this issue, that I devoted an entire section to it in my book. I urge everyone to read and pass along this information to those they know.
Put simply, non-compliance in individual families may result in larger issues for homeschoolers at large. That’s because when families do not comply, they may contribute to a district’s or state’s overall impression that homeschoolers in general tend to be non-compliant. Over time, these offenses, small as they might be, may appear to grow larger and out of control, eventually making homeschoolers themselves seem difficult to control, thus requiring legislation to insure compliance in the future.
In order to avoid the perception that homeschoolers are non-compliant, and to curb this accumulation of often innocent omissions, it is crucially important for homeschoolers to follow their laws. Doing so helps to protect themselves, but also serves to protect the homeschooling population from eliminating the need for states to impose additional restrictions in the future.
Veteran homeschoolers can help new families by explaining the laws and fielding questions about how specifically families should operate in an area. Homeschoolers themselves must also take it upon themselves to familiarize themselves with where laws can be found, and how they are interpreted and put into practice by local families. Compliance should not be encouraged out of fear, but instead from an informed stand-point, and one that works to preserve homeschooling freedoms for all.
The laws of every state can be found in many places on the web, as well as public libraries, in the hands of homeschool group leaders, and on the pages of statewide homeschooling organizations.
Begin with the resources listed below, and then bookmark any other resources that you locate as well:
Dr. Marie-Claire Moreau is a college professor who traded in her tenure to become a homeschool mom 20+ years ago. A homeschooling pioneer and the founder of many groups and organizations, she works to advance home education, and is an outspoken supporter of education reform coast to coast. Her book, Suddenly Homeschooling: A Quick Start Guide to Legally Homeschool in Two Weeks, is industry-acclaimed as it illustrates how homeschooling can rescue children and families from the public school system, and how anyone can begin homeschooling within a limited time-frame, with no teaching background whatsoever. A writer, a homeschool leader, and a women’s life coach, Marie-Claire mentors in a variety of areas that impact health, education and lifestyle. A conference speaker, she has appeared at FPEA, H.E.R.I., Home Education Council of America, The Luminous Mind, Vintage Homeschool Moms, iHomeschool Network, and many other events. Her articles have appeared in and on Holistic Parenting, CONNECT,Homefires, Homemaking Cottage, Kiwi, Circle of Moms, and hundreds of sites and blogs nationwide. Marie-Claire can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.