We spent the first 11 years of our homeschool in Texas, where there are no homeschool regulations. No registering with the school district, no testing, no portfolios, no evaluations. Our school district didn’t even know that my kids existed.
We moved to Florida 4 years ago and I was a nervous wreck about having to submit a portfolio and do an evaluation. I made sure to register my older kids at the beginning of the school year; my 4 yr old didn’t have to be registered yet because she was still in PreK. I turned in our portfolios the next summer, and dutifully mailed in the evaluation forms to the school district. *Big Sigh of Relief* It wasn’t nearly as hard as I had expected.
I entered the next school year with a bit more confidence. I actually enjoyed the accountability of a portfolio because it took some of the pressure off of me. Knowing their work was going to be seen by someone other than Mommy encouraged my kids to try a bit harder.
We were plugging along with our studies and getting ready for Christmas break when a sudden realization came to me. I forgot to register my Kindergartener!! Panic set in as I started imagining all of the horrible consequences of my oversight.
I decided to go ahead and send in the form along with a heartfelt note of apology and an explanation that I was still new at all of this. A normal person might have called the district to sort it all out, but I’m one of those weirdos who prefers to use my phone for everything EXCEPT making phone calls. I held my breath and expected a chastising phone call, but to my great relief I received her acceptance letter in the mail a few days later.
If you are just starting to homeschool and need to report to the school district, I hope these tips will help keep you on track!
- Research your state requirements by searching for: (your state) homeschool laws
- If you must report to the school district, find out the requirements by searching for: (your school district) homeschool OR (your school district) home education
- Read the requirements carefully. Do you need one document per child, or just one for the whole family? Can you mail them, or do they need to be hand delivered?
- Set a reminder on your phone for important dates. I schedule mine through Google calendar and get a notification a few days before something is due.
- Choose dates thoughout the school year to pull work samples if you need a portfolio. It’s a big pain if you leave it all until the end of the year.
- It will cost a little more, but send your documents by certified mail. This will give you delivery and signature confirmation so you have proof that it was received.
- If your state requires you to keep items for a set time, put everything in a tub and tuck it out of the way so you know where to look if you need something.
- Save everything that you receive from the school district.
- DON’T PANIC if you make a mistake. It’s probably not as bad as you think. Contact the school district to find out how to fix it.
Joining a local homeschool group is also a great way to learn about your state’s homeschool requirements. Many of them even have a newbie night to go over all of the info.
Have you forgotten to notify your school district about your homeschool? Maybe you’ve never done that, but I bet you’ve been hard on yourself for someother mistake during your homeschooling career. The iHN mom bloggers are keeping it real about our Homeschool Mom Guilt. How many bingo squares can you cross off?