This week, I will file my first little bit of homeschool paperwork with the state, notifying them of our intent to homeschool. (A copy of the Declaration of Intent to homeschool (aka DOI) can be found here.)
And I'm really grumpy about it. :o)
Now there is a part of me that is filled with nostalgic pride that my little boy is big enough to move on to this next stage of his life. But that has less to do with him reaching the official age of formal schooling than it does with the fact that he is maturing and changing right before my very eyes. His interests are those of a Big Kid now--his skills are more Big Kid, too. He is leaving his babyhood and toddlerhood behind. And in a hurry, too. The kid already wants a job and his own house! (No need for us to worry that this one will never leave the nest!)
I also have nearly identical reminders of Ryan's babyhood, too. I look at Sean, and Morgan, and I see Ryan at their ages. All of those people (even my mom!) are right--the time really does fly by. I know that in the next heartbeat, Morgan will be changing into a Big Kid, and then Sean. Although it seems impossible!
I see that I have digressed somewhat. Blame it on postpartum hormones. My baby's all growns up! Ouch! Being a parent is terrific fun, but it's a painful thing, too.
But my point is that I am all excited that Ryan is moving onward and upward. And if we were sending him to school, that first day would of course be a logical occasion by which we could mark his progress toward adulthood.
But we aren't sending him to school. And I can't seem to make myself complete the form and send it in. Not because I want to postpone Ryan's growing up, but because I don't see why on earth I need to tell anybody in my state government about it. And so I grump.
Georgia's reporting requirements are relatively painless, compared with the laws in some states. What I have to do is file this DOI once a year, to declare us as homeschooling. This is our insurance against truancy officers. I recently learned that private schools are also required to report the names and ages of their students to the state as well. That just doesn't sit well with my inner paranoia. Why on earth does the government need the names and ages of all the kids who aren't in the government education system? I'll let you pick your favorite theory.
And you know, I really resent having to carry papers in case I have to prove to someone in the government that I'm following the law. (Never mind the fact that the education of my kids is not a valid interest of the state.) I am not a criminal or negligent parent. There should be a presumption of innocence, yes? Why am I reporting up to the government? Don't they work for me? Why, yes! Yes they do.
In fact, I vehemently oppose ANY law that requires innocent citizens to have to prove anything to the state "just in case." Homeschooling paperwork, the Real ID, etc. Heck, it even irked me when I received Sean's freshly minted Social Security Card and birth certificate. The fact that there are formal records in the state and federal governments of the existence of my kids--and me, and Brendan--irks me. Hmph hmph hmph. (That'll show 'em!)
The other reporting requirement is that I will have to file monthly "attendance" reports with our local school board until we reach our 180 days of school as mandated by the state. All that is necessary is that we mark the days as "yes we did school" and "no we didn't do school." No reporting as to what or what does not constitute said "school" is necessary--it's all up to us. Which is something--I think if I lived in a state that required oversight of curriculum choices or educational progress (as defined by the state) I would go nuts. I know people do it and still manage and more power to them. I don't envy them, though.
There are other requirements in Georgia's law, but nothing else that requires any oversight by officials from the government. So really, it's not too bad. I know that. But I'm irritated that I even have to do anything! And this is not like the American Community Survey, for which non-compliance with the law has few (if any) consequences. I must do this, since not to comply invites all kinds of other trouble for us and our kids.
Now I feel better, having gotten that off my chest! I suppose I can go fill that form out now. Thanks for listening!