Reasons You Should Never Over-Comply With Homeschool Laws
The homeschooling movement is growing like never before. Thankfully, homeschooling is legal in all 50 United States and all 10 Canadian Provinces. The law varies, however, from State-to-State and Province-to-Province, so it is important that as a homeschool parent, you know and comply with the law.
At the same time, it is important to avoid the temptation to over-comply with homeschool regulations.
Some states require a written evaluation. Some do not. Some states mandate standardized testing. Some do not. Some states require tracking of hours or days of attendance, but again, some do not. As a homeschool parent, it is easy to feel pressure to “justify” your homeschool and the work you and your children have done throughout the year—to your extended family, to your public school district, or maybe even just to yourself. In doing so, it is tempting to compile huge amounts of evidence to prove what your kids know.
The problem here, especially in states that require reporting to the school district or the state on a routine basis, is that by over-complying with the law and furnishing more information than is required, you can make families who are actually complying with the law as written look as if they are actually not doing their job—even though this is not the case.
The homeschool law and regulations in your state are the direct result of years of the diligent efforts of your homeschool lobby and advocates—most often, parents like you—who have fought to ensure as much freedom as is reasonable in your state. When you understand the law and comply ONLY with the law as it is written, you are reinforcing their efforts.
Without a doubt, homeschooling is a difficult and rewarding job, and every homeschool parent wants what is best for his/her children. We have chosen to opt-out of the state run system, and therefore, we should desire to push for as much autonomy as possible.
Know the law to avoid over-complying with regulations.
It is important in states where records must be submitted to authorities, that only the required information is provided. If a reviewer or school district official requests additional information, it is important that you know and understand the requirements and your rights as a homeschool parent. The official may be overstepping their authority, or they may simply not be up-to-date with the homeschool regulations in your area, but either way, if you have a solid understanding of the law, you will be able to stand firm, knowing that you are in compliance without going beyond what is necessary. Don’t let the school district or evaluator intimidate you into giving more than you should.
The growing popularity of homeschooling and the abundant resources available to homeschool families is, in large part, thanks to the efforts of the generations of homeschool families before us, who served as trailblazers to bring the movement into the mainstream. Let’s do our part to keep homeschooling legal and to continue to push for even greater freedoms for those who will follow in our footsteps by turning in or documenting only what is required, and nothing more.