As if there wasn’t already enough to do while homeschooling, staying abreast of new legislation should be added to the list. Although homeschool laws don’t change very often, sometimes state requirements for homeschoolers are reinvented, reinterpreted or renegotiated over the years. And while major changes are relatively rare, sometimes even the slightest tweak or update can affect the way that families must homeschool in a particular region.
As an example, the laws that govern homeschooling in Florida have remained unchanged for many years. On the other hand, subtle changes resulting from new legislation last year changed the way that Florida homeschoolers now meet eligibility requirements for the state’s largest college scholarship program. While this may not seem like a big deal to many people, to the graduating homeschool Seniors affected by the change, it has significantly impacted their ability to apply for state aid and attend college. Other states routinely make similar tweaks — and even larger changes, too.
So, how can homeschooling families remain on top of homeschool laws AND stay informed about changes that could affect them directly?
There are several ways to stay informed, which can be used alone or in combination:
1. Belong to a statewide homeschooling organization
Membership or affiliation with a statewide group almost always results in hearing about news that may impact you. But just joining a state group is not enough — it is important to visit the web site regularly, attend at least one annual meeting, and read all mailings and newsletters sent to you, too.
2. Join a legal group
Some homeschool parents opt to join legal organizations created especially for homeschoolers. Several of these exist nationwide and there are some that serve individual states, as well. Though membership in these groups is not required to homeschool, many families like the peace of mind they get from knowing they will be alerted to any changes made to homeschooling procedures and laws where they live. Legal groups often publish headlines and case studies, too, making timely and relevant information available to members on a moment’s notice.
3. Stay in touch with other homeschoolers
Apart from the many other benefits, staying in contact with other homeschoolers in the area is a good way to hear about legislative changes going on in your state. Though you might want to verify this word-of-mouth type of information, it is a great way to learn about the possibility of changes made in your state or district.
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