Mid-morning in the middle of last week, I received a message from a new member family in Boyd County, Kentucky.
They had just gotten a call from a local public school official demanding information about the homeschool curriculum they were using, and they were very concerned.
The mother stated she had done her best to comply with state homeschool laws.
“I had submitted my notice with everything I needed,” she said. “I thought I was good to go.”
But when the official insisted she needed to provide information about her curriculum or face an audit, our member said she felt threatened.
I reassured our member that we would address the situation right away.
After calling the school district and leaving a message, I was finally able to reach the individual who had contacted the homeschool family. When the official admitted that she had told the family they risked being audited unless they agreed to her demands, I launched into a short history of homeschooling.
I pointed out that way back in 1979 the Supreme Court of Kentucky, in Kentucky State BD., etc. v Rudasill (589 S.W.2d 877), held that the commonwealth is prohibited under Section 5 of the state Constitution to dictate textbooks or curriculum for use in a private or parochial school. In fact, the Kentucky court stated that:
To say that one may not be compelled to send a child to a public school but that the state may determine the basic text to be used in the private or parochial schools is but to require that the same hay be fed in the field as is fed in the barn. Section 5 protects a diversified diet.
I also reminded the school official that the Best Practice Document dealing with this topic presumes that a parent who submits their notice to homeschool by the first two weeks of the school year is operating a bona-fide private homeschool. This document has been agreed to by the Kentucky Directors of Pupil Personnel and the primary statewide homeschool organization, Christian Home Educators of Kentucky (CHEK), and has been around for over 20 years.
When the school official objected to my characterization of her demands as a “threat,” I pointed out that if she were to get a letter from the Internal Revenue Service stating she could be audited unless she provided certain information—she would probably categorize that as a threat. My analogy apparently had an effect, because the school official promptly agreed to notify our member family that their homeschool program was all set, and no further information was needed.
Since this member family submitted their notice early, and certainly by the first two weeks of the school year, we expect no other families in Boyd County, Kentucky to have any trouble with similar demands from the district. If your family gets contacted by local school officials about your homeschool program, know that you have an advocate in HSLDA ready to help you navigate the situation.