Policies are not law.
We could stop there; those 4 words explain it all.
Policies are not legal documents, they put procedures in place, ways of doing business. Policies are put in place by district administration and school committees to describe how they will complete their legal responsibilities involving homeschoolers.
A school district is not required to have a homeschool policy, but most do. RI has 36 school districts, which means close to 36 district policies exist.
A well-written homeschool policy may be legally meaningless but can make it easier for both homeschoolers and frequently-changing administrators to understand their district’s procedures. The process should be quick and easy and a clear policy can help ensure that. A policy covers, at its most basic, the procedure in place to acknowledge that a student is adhering to Rhode Island’s compulsory attendance law via learning at home (homeschooling). That’s it. Simple. Easy. Quick.
Although a policy isn’t a law it can be intimidating, especially for new homeschoolers. It is essential for veteran homeschoolers and homeschool advocates to assist first- or second-year families to understand what is required and what can be ignored. If a new homeschool parent is panicking over a policy, over paperwork and requests from their school district, then reaching out to the established community can help them to feel confident that they do not need to jump through any additional hoops.
When writing a new policy, or revising an existing one, districts may draft language beyond what the law requires. Homeschool advocates provide feedback when a district is working on a policy and may ask homeschoolers of that district to get involved if it is needed (a situation which is uncommon).
If you believe that your district has a policy that involves over reach check FAQ #5 for what that could include. Simply stick to the basics (see sample Letter of Intent and End of Year Report) as others in your district have done and have had their plans approved with no problems. If you are having a problem with your district insisting on more information than what you have already provided, please reach out to ENRICHri for support.
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