One treasured benefit of homeschooling is that it incubates and encourages a child’s natural curiosity and love for learning. The customization homeschooling offers can significantly increase student engagement and interest. Homeschooling’s unique flexibility is a feature, not a bug.

But this feature occasionally is treated as a bug when a homeschool student is processed through bureaucratic systems.

Katrina Butler experienced this frustration firsthand over the summer when she was notified that her twin sons’ child support payments would be terminated because the child support enforcement agency could not verify that they were enrolled in school. The agency did not recognize her homeschool as a program that would lead to a high school diploma, so it determined child support must cease when her sons turned 18.

Had her sons been enrolled in public high school, benefits would have continued without question through graduation or turning 20.

Correcting a Costly Error

Even though her sons are not enrolled in a traditional high school, Katrina is homeschooling them, and they are on track to graduate next spring. But Katrina couldn’t seem to get child agency officials to recognize this.

At her wit’s end, she contacted HSLDA. We reviewed the correspondence from child support enforcement and responded with a letter clarifying that Katrina is providing a lawful homeschool program for her sons, and that they are pursuing a high school diploma. Georgia law also has a helpful provision recognizing that a homeschooling parent has the authority to verify enrollment in a homeschool program and to sign documents evidencing this enrollment.

After a follow-up phone call, an agency official quickly agreed to continue child support services for Katrina based on her sons’ enrollment in homeschool program.

Homeschool students should not be penalized simply because their parent chose to educate them at home. We’re happy to report such a speedy resolution in this case, and we will continue to advocate for appropriate recognition of homeschooling as a lawful alternative to traditional school attendance.