Choosing to homeschool for even the best of reasons won’t necessarily prevent you from running afoul of the law—that’s what I discovered when I withdrew my disabled granddaughter from public school in our little town in North Dakota.
Fortunately, I also discovered that help is available—sometimes from the most unlikely of sources.
The trouble started long before we began homeschooling last September. My granddaughter—whom I have been raising—struggles with heart problems that lead to other health complications.
My granddaughter spends a great deal of time in hospitals, which makes a regimented education program difficult. I finally decided the best thing would be to teach her at home.
She’s very fragile. This is my biggest reason for homeschooling her.
I filed a notice of intent last fall as required by law, but unfortunately I didn’t realize I also needed to submit additional paperwork the state demands for homeschool students who have a developmental disability.
I was subsequently visited by a child protective services investigator. But in a refreshing turn of events, the investigator not only closed the case, but also helped me compile the additional documentation for my granddaughter.
By February, the public school superintendent’s office had received our paperwork and removed my granddaughter from their rolls.
Unfortunately, I wasn’t able to get the documentation filed in time to avoid being charged with truancy by the local city prosecutor.
To make matters worse, the legal trouble coincided with my granddaughter’s extended stay in a Minneapolis children’s hospital, an eight-hour drive from our home.
That’s when I contacted Home School Legal Defense Association. Their local counsel Greg Lange quickly got my trial postponed because of my granddaughter’s hospital stay.
Then he conferred with a new prosecutor who had been assigned to the case.
Lange pointed out that with the caseload the prosecutor had inherited, it made little sense to crack down on a grandmother raising a girl with special needs—especially since all of my required homeschooling paperwork had by now been submitted and received.
“Let’s get this trial dismissed,” Lange suggested. “We both have better ways to spend our time.”
The prosecutor agreed.
My case was dismissed on May 7! I was so relieved, and I’m very thankful for HSLDA’s help.