Homeschooling in Indiana: Attendance Records
So often I give thanks for the opportunity to teach my children at home. I love watching them grow, develop, and learn, and I am grateful to be able to teach them from a Biblical framework. Homeschooling is legal in all fifty states, something we shouldn't take for granted, especially when you see what is happening in several European countries. Indiana particularly is a homeschool friendly state. Here’s what’s required:
1. A child must start school the fall of the school year he will turn seven.
2. Homeschools must be in session for the same number of days as other
schools, or 180 days.
3. We are to provide an “equivalent” education to that taught in the public
Number one is not difficult. Number three is ambiguous, but it does pay to give this some thought. Though we approach many subjects quite differently than the public schools, in general we are covering the same content areas – mathematics, English literature, composition and grammar, history, sciences, etc. By high school this idea of “equivalent” education becomes perhaps more clear cut as it makes a lot of sense to use the state’s “Core 40” requirements as a starting place in planning your curriculum.
But what about that 180 days requirement? The standard recommendation is for Indiana homeschoolers to keep attendance records which show the days your school is in session. It makes sense for this record to be separate piece of paper from your other documentation. Wouldn’t you rather hand over a single document rather than your entire lesson planner to an inquisitive school authority? Before the beginning of each year I print an attendance sheet on cardstock and keep it in the front of my planner. Periodically I bring it up to date, marking days in session along with holidays or the odd day off.
Until this week I’d never heard of any homeschoolers who were even asked to present this information, much less were found deficient. However, the Fort Wayne Journal Gazette reported Dec. 30 about two women who were found guilty of a class A misdemeanor for not keeping sufficient records to show educational progress. They are now on probation and their children back in traditional schools.
So, if you’re not already doing so, take a few minutes to set up a simple attendance record. Most likely you’ll never need it. And if you are not a member of Homeschool Legal Defense Association, I’d highly encourage you to join!
Indiana Association of Home Educators: State association. (No membership fees!) Free print magazine – sign up online. Numerous articles and info on state laws and more. Check it out!
Home School Legal Defense Association: Legal support and much more. Even if you never need to call them (I have a few times), you will be supporting your brothers and sisters in less homeschool friendly areas.