The following reminder was sent to me this morning. Remember to sign up with HSLDA (Home School Legal Defense Association) and FHE (Families for Home Education) to receive important updates about your homeschooling rights!! If you are part of a local homeschool community many times you may obtain a discount on your membership with either groups by showing your membership card.
Greetings fellow home educators,
As the school year approaches, FORMS from school districts are surfacing in home educators’ mailboxes . These forms come with the request that parents fill out all the information and thereby register their homeschool with the district. Some parents, uncertain of their legal rights and understandably loathe to bring trouble on themselves, hasten to comply.
It seems like a logical time to address this perennial problem. MISSOURI LAW DOES NOT REQUIRE THAT YOU REGISTER WITH YOUR SCHOOL DISTRICT.
In recent years, school districts around the state have really stepped up their efforts to deceive (and I do not use that term lightly) home educating parents into believing that registration on an annual basis is required by the state.
This is an absolute falsehood. In fact, every time the school lawyers are contacted by HSLDA lawyers, they back down. I have a copy of a letter that Scott Woodruff sent to the Ashland school district a few years ago. Upon receiving Woodruff’s letter, the school quietly stopped harassing parents for that school year. However they resumed the campaign to persuade families to register the following year. They go so far as to put an advertisement in the Ashland paper, putting the burden on homeschool families to register in order to not be considered truant!
You can look up on the DESE website to see that they correctly state that home educators are not required to register with the school districts. They underline the word “may”.
Unfortunately, there are too many parents who comply with the erroneous demands of school districts; it emboldens the district personnel to continue to create these forms and to harass home educators.
What is in it for them? MONEY. There is some sort of formula through which they can collect more money from the state if they can list home educated children in their district as having registered with them. Additionally, there is no shortage of those in the state system who have philosophical objections to families not enrolling children in public school. It is a control issue.
Why is it in our best interest to resist their demands? To retain jurisdiction over our own children and the education programs we choose. If we concede that the state should have the right to oversee our homeschool programs, then we will lose our footing as free and independent “schools”. We will inevitably slide down that slippery slope of losing freedoms. We have already seen in the last decade how legislators have tried to introduce bills that would infringe on our freedoms. Bills that would require * mandatory testing * state teacher certification for parents *common core curriculum for all etc. etc. It is not passé to be at the ready to defend our rights to choose home education!
Pleas KNOW the Missouri statute pertaining to compulsory school and particularly the section directly pertaining to home education.
If you feel obligated to respond to the school district in one way or another, having received a form, then consider writing a letter — similar to the withdrawal letter sample offered on FHE website. Craft your letter so that your message is not misconstrued as registration; it is merely notification of intent to homeschool, it verifies that you are familiar with the state statues and will comply; your children are not truant. You do not have to give names and ages of children. You do not have to re-notify them on an annual basis.
Thanks for defending your right, and the rights of all homeschoolers now and in the future. By all means, spread the word to homeschool families who may not be a part of your local support group.