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Withdrawing a Child from School

Homeschooling Expert Advice from Isabel Shaw

Q: My son is seven years old and a first-grader. Recently a child in his class threatened to kill him. The school has done nothing and even moved his seat next to my son's. They even share a locker now. I would like to remove him from school ASAP!

How do I find out how I will need to finish out the school year? How do I properly notify the school? He has already met his "levels" to begin second grade and is in some third-grade "levels." How long does it take to get set up to homeschool and how do I do it?

A: What a frustrating experience this must be for you! In the past, parents knew that children this age often say hurtful things to their peers, and very few acted upon their threats. I would hope this is the situation in your son's school. However, no threat against one's life should be taken lightly, and if you feel there is a real danger, you have every right to remove your child from that school and continue his education at home.

Your first step is to find out what the homeschooling laws are in your state. Homeschooling is legal in all states, but requirements vary quite a bit. I would also contact a homeschooling support group near you, and speak with a homeschooling family. Often, experienced homeschooling families can guide you and help you interpret the laws. For lists of homeschooling laws by state and a support group near you try:

Once you know the legal requirements, simply notify the school that your son will not be returning, and you will be homeschooling him. This is your legal right as a parent.

At this point, my concern would not be keeping him at his grade level, but rather providing a safe, loving environment so he can regain his confidence. From your description, he is a very bright boy, and will easily catch up to his peers with a minimum amount of effort when the time is right. Please visit our homeschooling channel and read the homeschooling articles. Also, The Beginners Guide To Homeschooling by Patrick Farenga will help you get started with a minimum amount of effort. Good luck!

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Isabel Shaw is a freelance writer and homeschooling mom of 15 years. She and her husband Ray homeschool their two daughters, Jessica and Amanda. Besides being a contributor to FamilyEducation.com, Shaw has written for Home Education Magazine, The Link, Homeschooling Horizons Magazine, The Homeschool Gazette, and other publications.

Please note: This "Expert Advice" area of FamilyEducation.com should be used for general information purposes only. Advice given here is not intended to provide a basis for action in particular circumstances without consideration by a competent professional. Before using this Expert Advice area, please review our General and Medical Disclaimers.

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