Tuesday, February 07, 2006

Homeschooling in Kansas: A Beginner's Guide

What is required to homeschool in Kansas?
Kansas does not have specific legislation regarding home education. Therefore, homeschoolers in Kansas generally function as non-accredited private schools.

A non-accredited private school needs to:

  1. register their name and address with the state board of education (see website link below),

  2. satisfy the state’s compulsory attendance laws (enter statute #72-1111),

  3. hold classes for a period of time “substantially equivalent to the time public schools are in session” and,

  4. have “competent instructors”

See Homeschooling in Kansas, Kansas State Department of Education.


Kansas Homeschool Network Note: First, we want to make clear that we are not, in any way, offering any legal advice about homeschooling. This is just a collection of answers to questions commonly asked by those new to homeschooling in Kansas. Second, anyone reading this should recognize, upfront, that these answers reflect an unschooling bias. They still have value, even for those who are planning a more structured type of school-at-home, but if you are looking for a more traditional approach to getting started homeschooling you will want to look elsewhere, as well. If you don’t know what unschooling is yet, keep reading. You can never have too many options, or too much information, when it comes to homeschooling.

If I plan to homeschool, when should I register as a non-accredited private school?If your child has never been in school, you will need to register with the Kansas State Board of Education by the time your child is seven years old in order to fulfill compulsory attendance laws. If your child is already attending school and you wish to withdraw them in order to homeschool, you should register as a private school even if your child is under age seven. In this manner, you will formally withdraw your child from the school they are attending and transfer them to your non-accredited private school.

How do I know if my homeschool has been approved?There is no approval process for homeschooling. The State Board of Education recommends that you register as a non-accredited private school and from there, they do not endorse or otherwise give you approval to homeschool. It is a good idea to print your registration confirmation for your files.

My child is already in public school. How do I go about withdrawing them?After registering as a non-accredited private school, a simple letter to the school they are attending is enough. Put it in writing that your child will be transferred to NAME OF YOUR SCHOOL and the date effective. You may request copies of school records, as well, if you wish.

Is it really that easy? Will I have to explain myself?The ease of withdrawing a child from public school depends entirely upon the situation and the individuals involved. Homeschooling is common in Kansas and much of the stigma and mystery that existed even a few years ago is gone. In most cases we have heard of in Kansas, withdrawing a child from public school to be homeschooled is quite easy. You may be bombarded with lots of “advice” and it may be that the individuals you deal with don’t entirely approve, but remember that you are entirely within your legal rights and their approval isn’t necessary.

In cases of children labeled with special needs, additional considerations may have to be made. Seek support groups and find people who have been in similar situations. Remember, as well, that where there is one answer, there are usually many. Keep asking questions until you find the support you are looking for to help make your homeschooling decisions.

We are now a non-accredited private school in Kansas? Now what?Excellent question. The answers you will receive are many and will be varied.

If your child has been in a public school situation, and especially if that situation has been difficult for either social or academic reasons, we recommend a period of deschooling. In short, take a break. Allow your child to take a break. Don’t think about education or learning or tests or requirements… just sit back and do whatever it is your child wants to do. Focus on pleasure (reading, crafts, playing…) or vegging (television, games, watching birds…). We have seen it recommended that you spend one month deschooling for every year your child has spent in public school.

What is Deschooling?
Deschooling for Parents

If you have planned to homeschool your children from the start, good for you! Keep doing whatever it is you have been doing. Read about homeschooling and unschooling. Find support groups (online & in real life) where you are comfortable asking questions.