We were getting a great start on our homeschool day, when a shiny sedan pulled up in front of the house. It was 9 a.m. A young woman in a business suit headed for our front door. Ut-oh, I thought, this looks like trouble.
As I opened the door she thrust a business card at me announcing her name and department. She was a representative of child protective services here to investigate a report of my children not attending school. I invited her in.
I’d heard of what homeschool pioneers went through to keep their kids from being considered truant. Horror stories were told about the state taking kids and putting them through intrusive and long interrogations about the current environment in their home. At one conference I attended, a speaker counseled to never open the door to government officials. Instead, she advised, run out the back door with all your kids, throw them in the car and don’t stop until you reach Canada. I had just broken the first rule.
Neighbors and Family aren’t Exempt from Reporting You
Smiling I said, “Come in, I’ve been expecting you.” She raised her eyebrows and I explained, “Our neighbors have said they never want to see or hear our kids. They’ve done a lot to bother us, so I figured it was just a matter of time before you came.”
I’m glad I was dressed and ready for the day, that wasn’t always the case at 9 a.m. Also, the kids were dressed sitting around the dining room table eating breakfast.
I introduced the kids, including their ages, six, four, and one. I offered to show her our school work, but she scoffed. Now angry at the neighbors, she said she knew this was a false alarm the minute she turned into the neighborhood. Furthermore, my kids were barely school age. In Georgia, you don’t have to file for an intent to homeschool until your child is six-years-old. We chatted a few more minutes and she left. She said she wouldn’t even start a file on us and this whole thing had been a waste of her time.
As she pulled away, I stapled her business card to the school room bulletin board. I thought I’d leave it there as a reminder to keep good records.
Know Your State’s Laws
Each state set it’s own standards for homeschooling. Make sure you know your state’s requirements and follow them. However, don’t be afraid of authorities, you have a right to homeschool. To refresh yourself, the Homeschool Legal Defense Association has an easy link to your state’s laws.
What about you? Have you or a friend of yours been reported by someone for not schooling? Have you or anyone you know been accused of truancy for having your kids out during the day?