Chesterton Tribune

Neighboring states' laws more stringent

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By KEVIN NEVERS

This is what the Indiana Department of Education (DOE) says about homeschooling on its website:

(1) Parents may “choose” to register their homeschool with DOE but are not required to do so.

(2) Homeschooled students, like public-school students, must attend 180 days of class over the school year, although parents decide “which days (the) school will be in session and how long to teach each day.”

(3) Indiana Code requires a homeschool education to be “equivalent” to that provided by public schools but does “not define equivalency of instruction” and so there is “no state-approved curriculum for home education at any grade level” and no state-approved textbooks, nor does DOE provide curricula or books to homeschooling parents.

(4) Homeschooling parents should keep attendance records, copies of which the local public-school superintendent may request “to verify attendance.”

(5) Parents should notify the local public-school when they withdraw their children for homeschooling or the children “may be considered truant.”

Illinois and Michigan

The laws governing homeschooling in Illinois and Michigan are—on paper at least—somewhat more stringent than the law in Indiana.

In Illinois and Michigan, homeschooling parents are not required to register their homeschool either with the local public school corporation or with the state department of education. In Illinois and Michigan—as in Indiana—homeschool reporting is entirely voluntary.

Illinois and Michigan, however, do require homeschooling parents to teach specific subjects. In Illinois: language arts, math, biological and physical sciences, fine arts, and physical development and health. In Michigan: math, reading, English, science, and social studies in all grades, and U.S. and Michigan government and history in grades 10-12.

Indiana Code, by contrast, specifically exempts homeschooling parents from all curricula and programs mandated in the public schools.

Kentucky and Ohio

The laws governing homeschooling in Kentucky and Ohio are far more stringent than the law in Indiana.

In Kentucky, homeschooling parents must not only—annually and by letter to the local public school superintendent—report their homeschool but also the names, ages, and place of residence of all pupils in attendance, “together with any facts that the superintendent may require to facilitate the laws relating to compulsory attendance and employment of children.”

In Kentucky, homeschooling parents must provide a term of instruction “at least as long” as that in effect for public schools: 1,062 hours of actual instruction over 177 days per year.

And in Kentucky as well, homeschools must be open to inspection by the Director of Pupil Personnel, the Department of Education, or the Cabinet for Families and Children, “to ensure that the requirements of compulsory attendance are being met.”

No such regulations are in effect in Indiana. In particular, Indiana Code requires homeschooling parents to provide a 180-day school year but does not specify the number of instructional hours to be offered over the course of that year.

In Ohio, homeschooling parents must likewise notify the local public school superintendent of their intent to homeschool their children; must provide assurance that the children will receive a minimum of 900 hours of instruction per year; must provide a “brief outline of the intended curriculum” and list of textbooks, correspondence courses, and other “basic teaching materials”; and must themselves meet certain minimum-education requirements.

If the homeschooling parent in Ohio does not meet those requirements—as determined by the local public school superintendent—he must “work under the direction of a person holding a baccalaureate degree from a recognized college” until the parent himself earns a high-school diploma or GED.

In addition, homeschooling parents in Ohio must maintain their homeschool status by demonstrating through an annual assessment that their children are “making sufficient academic progress,” either by providing certified standardized achievement test results or by securing a review of their children’s’ work by a “certified teacher or other person mutually agreed upon by the parent and the superintendent.”

No such minimum-education requirement is in place for homeschooling parents in Indiana.

 

Posted 3/30/2012