Deciding to homeschool is the first step in an amazing journey. Now that you’ve taken this step, you are probably wondering what legal hoops you have to jump through so you can start educating your child at home. The important thing to keep in mind as you work through the legal requirements is that you have the right to make decisions about your child’s education. All states recognize the right of parents to homeschool their child, in one form or another. However, the laws regulating homeschooling vary between states, and it is important for homeschooling families to read and understand these laws, to know their rights, and to ensure they are complying with regulations.
One of the documents that parents most often have questions about is the intent to homeschool form. From a legal perspective, this form can be one of the most important requirements to homeschool your child, so you want to ensure you fill it out correctly. Unfortunately, there is no one rule regarding the intent to homeschool form that applies in all states. This post is intended to provide you with the answers that you need in order to continue with the process of homeschooling your child.
What is an intent to homeschool form?
The intent to homeschool form is a document or signed notice required by most states to start homeschooling. This legal document provides the department of education and your local school district with necessary information about your student and your plans to educate at home. Since the regulations for education are controlled at the state level, not only do the rules vary from state to state, but so does the terminology. Thus, in your state the intent to homeschool form may have a different name, such as “notice of intent”, “notice of enrollment”, “declaration of intent to homeschool”, or “letter of intent”. Some states require a signed affidavit or curriculum plan, and in some states home schools need to be registered as a private school.
Why is it required?
The answer to this question is partly dependent on your state, but can usually be found by looking at the section of the law that names this requirement. For example, this may be a way for the state to ensure that the mandatory attendance policy is being met by your student. For other states, this is part of a process of supervision and ensuring all students receive a good education. If you live in Connecticut, Idaho, Illinois, or Texas, an intent to homeschool form is not required, but may be recommended.
Where can you find this form in your state?
This information should be available through your state’s department of education and is usually found on their website. Some states provide the opportunity for online submissions, while most require that the intent to homeschool form be submitted to your local school superintendent. Information about these forms is also provided by homeschooling alliances. If you are having trouble finding this form, contact your local school district.
What will be on the form?
For some states, the parent simply submits a signed letter informing the school district of the intent to homeschool. In other states, the intent to homeschool form will request information about the student’s age, school level, the curriculum that will be used, and the teaching qualifications of the parent. Some school districts will provide forms that actually ask for more information than is required by law. In these cases, parents have the option not to provide all the information requested on the form
What else do you need?
On most department of education websites, information about homeschooling can be found under a “non-public school” heading. This is one of the areas that varies significantly between states. In some states a homeschool is considered a private school, and is treated as such by the state, including requirements for the parents to submit attendance and “enrollment” in the home school. In other states, homeschooling is not supervised closely, and the requirements are far fewer.
When should the form be submitted?
In many cases, the intent to homeschool form must be submitted two to four weeks before you can start homeschooling, though in some states it may be submitted within a set time after you have started homeschooling. Other states have specific date regulations (such as August 15th). It is important to start this process as soon as possible, as you don’t want to miss a deadline.
Do you have to submit the form every year that you homeschool?
Usually, yes. Submitting the form only during your first year of homeschooling is not enough.
What happens if you fail to comply with this requirement?
You will be contacted by your local school district and asked to comply. In extreme cases, your child may be considered truant from school.
Where does Enlightium Academy fit in?
Enlightium Academy is a non-public school option. While it is an online, private school, in some states EA would be viewed as a homeschool curriculum. If, after reading the regulations and laws, it is unclear to you how to represent Enlightium Academy in the paperwork, we recommend contacting your state’s Department of Education or your school district superintendent.
How can you get started?
- Look up “homeschooling in (your state)” on the Internet. This may be the fastest way to find the appropriate laws/regulations, AND/OR
- Contact your state’s department of education or look at their webpage. Locate “non-public schools”.
- Read the laws and regulations governing homeschooling in your state, paying special attention to the following:
- Does your state require an intent to homeschool form?
- When does the form need to be submitted?
- Who does the form need to be submitted to?
- Fill out and submit the form.
- Make sure you are meeting other regulations.
- Find a program.
- Start learning!
Even though the process of completing an intent to homeschool form can feel a little bit overwhelming, the good news is that you don’t have to do it alone. In all states, homeschooling families, groups and online homeschools have compiled resources to help you on your way. Organizations like hslda also partner with homeschooling families to provide support and advocacy. Enlightium Academy has the Family Alliance Program on Facebook. When in doubt contact your local school district superintendent with questions.