People sometimes ask, “How do I withdraw my child from public school?” The short answer is that it depends on where you live. For legal advice, contact HSLDA. For a few tips from a mom, read on…
People usually become teachers (and administrators) because they want to help kids learn. Even if you are withdrawing a child from school because of bad experiences, most teachers are still trying to help kids. Remain on good terms with your school district.
It is not possible to make a universal statement about school districts: “they like homeschoolers” or “they hate homeschoolers.” In truth, many people who work in the public school system are friendly toward homeschoolers and do what they can to help parents educate their children in whatever manner works best on a case-by-case basis. Reportedly, some school districts are not as friendly, but my personal experiences have been positive. Unless a district demonstrates an antagonism toward homeschooling, it would be wise to assume that district administrators will be either helpful or neutral.
In Washington State, it is easy to notify your school district that you intend to homeschool your child. HSLDA members can download a form from HSLDA’s website and submit it to the school district in which they reside. Otherwise, contact your school district office for a “letter of intent” form.
Some district-provided letter-of-intent forms contain the term “request.” In Washington state, we do not request permission to homeschool. We inform the district that we will homeschool. Residents of some other states are not so fortunate. It is important to know your state’s law.
In Washington, homeschoolers provide only their physical address (this allows the district to verify that the child resides in the district), the child’s name (they need to know who will be homeschooled), and the child’s age (this verifies that the child is between the ages of 8 and 18, thus subject to compulsory schooling laws). You do not need to provide the child’s date of birth – just age.
Some districts request additional information. This is sometimes because they don’t know the law, and sometimes because the SPI’s office asks local districts to submit a report which includes additional information. If they have to turn in a report with that information, it makes sense (from their point of view) to ask for it. HOWEVER, homeschoolers are not obligated to provide the information. If you decline, do so politely and cheerfully.
Complete the required information on your letter-of-intent form and submit it to the district superintendent’s office. My personal recommendation (remember, nothing on this site is to be construed as legal advice) is that if you use the postal service, keep a photocopy and send the letter return-receipt-requested. Your other option is to hand-deliver your letter-of-intent. If you do this, politely request a copy with a “received” date-stamp on it.