I've had a number of people ask about the changes in the new homeshool laws in our state. Today I listened in on a webinar hosted by HSLDA and thought I would pass on the things they talked about.
First, the changes are a result of having a some great senators working for us. Senator Gen Olson was very helpful especially. Mary Kiffmeyer did a lot of work on this as well. Congress basically came to the conclusion that parents were primarily responsible for their children's education (which is stated in the law) and whether you were rich or poor, educated parents or not educated parents, the homeshoolers still average at the 80th percentile compared to the public school's 50th percentile. Even more important then congressmen, a lot of prayers were answered and we know that God had his hand in this!
Intitial Reports - This is done one time and is a simple one page report and is sent in to your superintenant by Oct. 1st. After that, you simply send in a yearly "Letter of Intent" which can be a form letter or simple handwritten letter that says something like, "We intend to continue homeschooling and there are no changes. Have a great year." You need to list changes if there are any. This really is a short form with almost none of the questions on the previous form.
Visits by Superintenants - Previously there was room for them to visit you or request to see your materials and they can no longer do this. You are required to keep materials / records by law in the required subjects: reading, writing, literature, art, math, science, history, geography, health, and PE. They recommend teaching all subjects yearly in the elementary years and then not necessary all each year of high school and junior high.
Quarterly Reports - Parents that did not have college degrees previously had to send in quarterly report cards. You no longer need to do this. In other words, they have decided all parents are qualified and some do not need more regulations than others.
Immunizations - You need to report them when a child turns 7 and 7th grade. Yes, you can still get notorized letters stating you object to having them if that is the case. The nurses view on this was, and I quote, as long as "sufficient number of the herd are immunized"!
Testing - This was not changed. You still need to test yearly with a standardized test. If you have a child who is 16 at the beginnning of the school year and turns 17 during the year you do not have to test them or children who are not 7 as of Oct. 1st. This was one thing that they wanted changed but it wasn't.
Driver's Ed - Previously we had to go to the public school to get a paper stating our child was homeschooled. According to my understanding, the department of transportation is working on a form so that parents can testify they homeschool themselves or they may waive this totally.
It was recommended that if you have not sent in your form this year so far, to wait just a bit for the schools to get educated on the changes. They encouraged us to be patient with them. Also if you have no changes at all, you can already send a letter of intent to continue rather than the initial report.
They also emphasised that you should not report more than necessary. If you test your six year old, do not report them or that they were tested for example.
They recommend keeping school records for two years before tossing.
While a lot of this doesn't seem like a big deal, a lot of work went into these changes. It is nice to see congress recognize homeschool excellence. More changes might have been included but with the big budget and shutdown problem they were all a little nervous and so some things had to be left out in order to pass some rather than none.
I think this about covers it. If you have a question I might be able to answer it because it was a long webinar and I didn't take notes on everything.
If you're not a member of HSLDA, wherever you live, it's a great way to invest in our children and grandchildren's freedom! Anyone can sign up for their free e-lert emails. Information in on their website.