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Understanding the Reasons for Transitioning from "Regular" School to Homeschool

If your child is already in school and you have decided to homeschool him or her, your reasons for doing so probably fall into one of the following two categories:

  • My child is not doing well in school. For a variety of reasons, some children just don't do well in institutional schools. Sometimes, the school itself is just not very good for a variety of reasons. Or, it may be that your child's personality and capabilities just don't match an institutional school environment well. While it might be more common to think that the child has a problem, it might be just the opposite. It might be because a child is just not challenged enough to remain interested. After all, schools are generally geared toward the "average" or just below average students. If you have an exceptional student, it is possible that your child is just not interested because the pace is too slow. Children can also have problems in school for social reasons, like not fitting in or getting mixed up with kids who don't have the same values you do. Deciding to homeschool a child who is struggling in an institutional school might just be the best decision you have ever made.
  • My child is doing well in school, but homeschooling will be better for our family. You might know people who have homeschooled their children, or you might have thought about all the benefits of homeschooling and decided that it is for you and your children. Homeschooling offers many benefits for kids, even if they do well in institutional schools.
Both situations can lead to certain challenges for you as you transition a student from institutional schools to homeschool. The specific challenges you will face depend on the personality of the child you are transitioning and the reasons you have decided to homeschool.

Withdrawing a Child from Public School

If your child attends public school, you will need to formally withdraw that student from the public school system so that the school knows it is no longer responsible for your child. If you fail to do this, you might have to deal with truancy issues when your child fails to attend school.

How you formally withdraw a child from a public school varies by school district. In general, you should submit a formal letter to the school system's superintendent that informs the school district of your intention to withdraw your student. In most cases, you don't need to go into lots of detail. Just a simple statement that you are withdrawing your student from the school district will suffice. You should also include the option you are exercising, which legally allows you to withdraw your child. This will make it clear to the school district that you understand exactly what you are doing and that you also understand you are within your legal rights to do so. Ideally, you should quote the part of your state's education regulations that allow you to homeschool. A sample letter is shown below.

555 Main Street
Someplace, YourState XXXXX

John Doe, Superintendent
YourLocalSchool District
Somplace, YourState XXXXX

Re: Withdrawal of YourStudent'sName

Dear Mr. Doe,

This letter is to inform you that as of x/x/xx, I am withdrawing my child, YourStudent'sName, from the YourLocalSchool District. I will be educating my child in my home in accordance with YourState's education regulation. REFERENCE.


Your Signature

Before you create and submit such a letter, you should check with your public school district to make sure you understand what its specific requirements are so that you can make sure that you do things "by the book." For example, you might be required to complete and submit some type of form to be able to legally withdraw your child. Be as compliant as you can to make the transition easier on everyone.

Withdrawing a Child from Private School

When it comes to withdrawing a child from a private school, you don't have any legal obligations to explain what you are doing, unless you have some sort of contract that specifies how you can withdraw your student from the school. If you are withdrawing a student during a school year, it is likely that you will have to live up to any financial commitments you have made to the school for that school year.

Although not required, you should formally inform the private school about your decision as well so there is no ambiguity about the situation. Obviously, when you are dealing with a private school, you don't need to justify yourself with regards to your state's education regulations. But, you can still avoid potential problems by being clear and upfront about your intentions. Besides, it is the appropriate thing to do, in case the school is holding a slot open for your child.

Reproduced from Absolute Beginner's Guide to Homeschooling, by Brad Miser, by permission of Pearson Education. Copyright © 2005 by Que Publishing. Please visit http://www.informit.com/store/product.aspx?isbn=0789732777 to order your own copy.


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