Since this week’s passage of the Homeschool Provisions in the 2011 K-12 Omnibus Bill, Minnesota homeschoolers have had a lot of questions about what will still be required and when.
State homeschooling groups are still scrambling to write up new information and understand the revised laws, but the basic gist of reporting for Minnesota homeschoolers seems to be this:
Homeschoolers must submit a full report to the district superintendent on the first year after the child reaches compulsory school age (7), moves to a new school district, or is withdrawn from local schools (even if the child is under 7, if the child has already been enrolled as a student).
This report is due by October 1 of the school year.
In that initial report, parents must provide for each child:
- Child’s name
- Child’s address
- Child’s birthdate
- Annual standardized test that will be used
- Name of each instructor
- Qualifications of each instructor to teach the child (being a parent of the child is still one accepted qualification)
- Immunization records or a notarized statement stating why the child has not been immunized (such as because of health reasons or conscientiously held beliefs of the parent)
After that, parents must only send an annual letter of intent to continue homeschooling. Parents are required to note any changes from the full report (such as updated vaccination records or a change in the standardized test used) in their annual letter.
The annual letter of intent to continue homeschooling will also be due by October 1 of each year.
In addition, parents are still required to maintain documentation such as curricula used and their school calendar. They no longer have to make it available to the superintendent upon request. These must be maintained only in order to present them to school system if the child is ever enrolled in the schools at a later date (for placement purposes) or in the rare case of a child protection investigation. This documentation does not need to be presented if children are partially enrolled in classes through a local school. It is only necessary if the child will be attempting to obtain a high school diploma.
Parents will no longer have to:
- Submit annual calendars
- Submit quarterly report cards (formerly required if the parents did not have BA degrees)
- Submit full reports annually
- Maintain documentation for the inspection of the superintendent
- Be subjected to on site visits by the superintendent
At one point, the proposed bill also included the requirement for parents to submit a full report in each child’s 7th grade year as well as the first. However, that language seems to have been stricken from the final bill.
Another proposed change was to eliminate the textbook reimbursement for homeschoolers. That was also left out of the final bill, meaning homeschoolers are still able to apply for Nonpublic Pupil Aid for reimbursement of some textbooks. One change was made to the law, however — electronic books now qualify for the reimbursement, as well.
What should you report this fall?
It is unclear at this time what sort of report parents will need to submit for children who are already in the system as homeschoolers. MHA and MACHE will no doubt be rushing to create new forms, example letters and detailed information for homeschoolers by the fall. I’ll post links to those new pages as they become available.