I'm not going to quote the whole question, but basically, the parent was wondering about how to keep the appropriate paperwork and meet the testing requirements--so that "they" know what learning is happening in the home, how to "physically prove" to "them" that learning is happening. Further discussion revealed that the questioner received information about the laws in Georgia in a second-handed, unverified manner.
I wrote the person back and we had a nice little back-and-forth exchange, and then I posted my main remark to the group. It was all very congenial, and I think the person was helped by my response and the responses from others, and I'm glad this matter has been settled.
But I was slightly alarmed, because here in Georgia, there is no "them" to which we homeschoolers are required to demonstrate any kind of "physical proof" of testing or curriculum choices. Nope. And I should make this clear--the person with the question is already homeschooling in the state of Georgia.
There is a "they" to whom we send a yearly notice of our intent to homeschool (DOI), and monthly attendance reports that mark the days each student attends homeschool. That particular "they" is the local (often county) school system. As far as I'm concerned, the above information is way more than "they" deserve to know in the first place, and I certainly don't want "them" to get any more information than is already required of me, lest they begin to expect it, as government officials are wont to do (give 'em an inch!).
I was slightly alarmed by the question, because I think that people who choose to homeschool in our state ought to already be aware of this.
And this is not the first time such questions have been posed to the email lists on which I lurk or participate. So I really don't mean to pick on this particular person. Still. Here I am, alarmed.
So here is my unsolicited advice to homeschoolers here, and across the country:
Know your state's homeschooling laws.
Read those actual laws yourself, with your very own eyes and using your very own mind.
Do not rely on information you receive from your school system, or information that comes in conglomerated, summarized formats (such as on HSLDA's site), or information that comes from other homeschoolers in your state (including me!).
Know your state's laws backwards and forwards, and pay attention to any new laws that might impact the current state of things.
If you know what your laws are, then:
- You can decide for yourself how (or even if) you will follow them.
- You will be able to know if (when?) the state or the school system demands information from you that you are not required by law to provide to them.
- You will be able to stand up for yourself in the event you or your child is ever questioned by a truancy officer. (Note: I haven't heard of that happening recently, or in metro Atlanta, but this is a possibility that lurks in the back of my head.)
- You can help other homeschoolers who have questions know where to go to find the answers themselves.
In my perfect dream world, there would be no compulsory attendance laws (aka "Butts in Seats" Laws) anywhere. But alas. So for now, I have to deal with the laws of the state I've chosen to live in. I will fight my hardest to keep our laws just the way they are thankyouverymuch, and then I will fight even harder to change them in the direction of MORE freedom for home study families.
The absolute BEST way (in my humble) to ensure that the laws that already encroach on our freedoms remain where they are and do not encroach further, is for the citizens of our state--especially those to whom these laws specifically apply--to be informed about the laws, and alert to any changes (for good or ill) in their status.
So please, inform yourself. If you live in Georgia, here's a good link that will get you to the right place. Go there first, then click the link to the Georgia General Assembly web site to look at the law yourself. If you live in another state, I encourage you to contact your local homeschooling resources to get information about where to read the appropriate statutes, or actually go to your legislature's website.
Your homeschooling freedoms--and possibly your family's ability to remain together--depend on you being an informed citizen.