I was disturbed by an article I read this afternoon in the Lawrence (KS) Journal-World. The Kansas State School Board is considering homeschooling reporting regulations after one of the board members heard “several” reports from public school principals about teenagers being kept to home to provide “day care” for younger siblings in the name of homeschooling.
Really? First I question the source, it seems rather vague to me. Secondly how exactly did these principals come across this information? Did they approach these students because they were behind and directly question what was done while they were being homeschooled? Third, because of a few alleged bad apples some what to consider regulations for all homeschoolers. Also considering how homeschoolers out perform public school students this seems to be a waste of resources and time for them.
In Iowa, where I live and where my wife and I homeschool, keeping your kids at home without actually educating them would be considered educational neglect which is considered Child Abuse in the Iowa Code. No reason to create an additional law since there is a law that already handles that type of scenario if true. I have a hard time imagining that Kansas doesn’t have a similar law since they have a compulsory attendance law ranging from age 7 to 18.
Kansas homeschooling law is pretty relaxed compared to Iowa (as it should be Iowa has onerous homeschooling laws as far as I’m concerned). It basically states that a homeschooling family if they want to pursue the private school option must create a name as a “non-accredited” private school and register that name with an address to the Kansas State Board of Education. The teacher must be “competent,” but the State Board, an accredited private school or a local public school board doesn’t have any authority to determine whether a parent is competent to teach or not. It also should be noted that there is no requirement in Kansas law that public school teachers be competent. Homeschooling families must provide instruction for approximately 186 days roughly the amount of time public school students spend in school. The law also states that instruction must be planned, scheduled and that periodic testing must occur. State approval is not required. Homeschooling families can also operate as a satellite of a private school within Kansas. No student assessments are required.
Also according to Kansas law the Kansas State Board of Education has no authority over non-accredited private schools so they shouldn’t even be having the conversation.