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What’s the Best Way to Approach the School When I Start Homeschooling?

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What’s the Best Way to Approach the School

When I Start Homeschooling?

By Pat Montgomery

homeschoolingDo your homework on homeschooling:

1. Determine first of all whether your state regulations require any interaction between homeschooling parents and school officials. In most of the United States, no contact is required, so parents need not approach the school administrators at all.

However, if your child has already been in attendance at a conventional school, it is merely an act of courtesy to inform the official at the previous school. A brief note to the teacher or principal will do. It ought to state, very simply, that your child “is no longer enrolled in the school.” A written note is preferable to a phone call for many reasons, the chief of which is that a note can be placed in the file folder.

The school officials then remove the student’s cumulative file folder (school records) from the active files. If another school or program requests the records, the school personnel send the originals or copies of the originals to the next school. If no school requests them, the records are placed in the inactive files. This means they are, for all intents and purposes, “dead” files.

2. If you reside in a state where contact between home-educating parents and school administrators is required by the regulations, ask other homeschooling parents how they dealt with the matter.Or you may choose to hand this task to someone else, like Clonlara School officials, who have a long and successful history with it.

You Are Not Asking for Permission for Homeschooling

Remember, you are engaged in a political activity: a parent, the primary teacher of her child, is approaching a school official who has, very likely, grown accustomed to believing that he or she bears that primary responsibility. Remember, too, that many school officials are sincere when they state they take their roles seriously.

Know for certain what the regulations require; use those as the yardstick. This coin has two sides: Parents are expected to obey the law; school officials must also obey the law. Only what is stated in the regulations need be provided; nothing more. Homeschooling is enough of a job without restrictions and requests being hoisted by (perhaps) well-meaning officials.

Don’t hesitate to point out to school administrators that both you, as parent, and they must obey what is written in the regulations. Don’t hesitate to point out that when a school official asks for more than is required, this reveals underlying doubts and fears. Ask what prompts these fears. Most parents, after all, graduated from public schools. Is the official implying that the education given was riddled with error?

You are not approaching school officials with hat in hand asking for permission. You are in a position of power and status. You are notifying the officials, not begging or usurping or stealing what is theirs. Politeness, firmness, and humor are excellent tools to employ. Enter with a confident air. The lesson will not be lost on your ever-watching children.

Adapted from The Homeschooling Book of Answers: The 101 Most Important Questions Answered by Homeschooling’s Most Respected Voices by Linda Dobson


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