Wednesday, July 22, 2015

KY Homeschools - Annual Letter of Intent

Here in Kentucky, homeschoolers (for now, at least!) enjoy a good amount of freedom under the law. While home education is legal in some form in all 50 states, Kentuckians have nowhere near as many regulations or "hoops" to jump through as homeschoolers in some other states. We have no testing requirements, no mandatory inspections or yearly evaluations, no teacher qualifications, and no waiting for government approval to start homeschooling. We are supposed to keep attendance records and to teach basic subjects for a minimum number of days per year.

The biggest requirement we have to fulfill each year is to send a letter of intent to our local school board. This letter is supposed be sent within 2 weeks of the starting of the public school year if your child(ren) is (are) between the ages of 6 and 18. Your letter has to state the name(s) and age(s) of your child(ren) (again, only those between the ages of 6 and 18 must be listed) along with the address of your homeschool. No more; no less!

Last year when Big Brother was 6 at the beginning of the school year was the first time I had to send our letter of intent to the local school board. This year's letter is ready to go to the post office on my next trip to town tomorrow! My letter is short, cordial, and straight to the point. :)

You can type up a simple letter of your own (there is a sample on the CHEK website) or if your family is a member of HSLDA (you should be!!) they have a form you may use.

Remember, the purpose of this letter is to simply notify the local board that your child(ren) will be homeschooled this year. You are NOT requesting "permission" to homeschool (it is a constitutional right in KY!), nor are you "registering" your homeschool (what exactly would be the purpose of that anyway??) Many new folks get confused about this, so I just wanted to make that clear.

Some school boards are naturally friendlier toward homeschoolers than others; and some may push the limits, ask for more information than is required by law, or even threaten legal action against homeschoolers. But HSLDA lawyers are always able to clear up these "misunderstandings" pretty quickly, so again, make sure you are members!!

I recommend sending your letter Certified Mail and request a Return Receipt. Yes it costs a little extra and is a little more hassle at the post office; but this way someone at the school board office has to sign for the letter, and you get the receipt back as proof that your letter was sent and received. Keep this receipt stapled to a copy of your letter in your records.

I DO NOT recommend going personally into the school board office and delivering your letter. I have known of homeschoolers ending up with problems this way because the board supposedly lost or claimed to have never received their letter (and the family had no proof.) Some school board staff may also try to overstep their legal bounds (request more information than required, etc.) if you go to their office.

Even if you have friends on the school board or who work in the office, be careful. Many public school officials and teachers have not been properly educated on the laws that govern homeschooling, so just be aware of that and do not be swayed! (Again, join HSLDA!! They are not paying me anything to tell you this!)

If you do not live in Kentucky, please follow the laws in your state. If you are unsure exactly what the law requires of homeschoolers in your state, visit HSLDA to learn.

How about you? Have you fulfilled your homeschool-related legal duties for this year yet? I know it is still summer, but don't let it slip! I pray we all have a blessed, peaceful 2015-2016 school year!

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