A school district’s extraordinary list of unlawful demands created confusion for this New Jersey family that switched to homeschooling this spring.

After deciding that homeschooling was the best educational option for her children, Sharron Campbell selected curriculum, filed a notice of withdrawal, and began her homeschooling journey—just like thousands of others this year.

But officials at her children’s former school didn’t think the transition could be this simple. Based on a flawed district-wide policy, the local school attendance officer insisted that Sharron file additional paperwork, including a specific homeschool notification, information about each child, and curriculum descriptions.

While New Jersey law requires that homeschooling parents provide an education that is academically equivalent to what the children would receive at school, it does not mandate that parents file paperwork with school officials on an annual basis. Parents have the freedom to focus their time and attention on educating their children.

Looking for Help

Despite the mother’s best efforts to explain the law, school officials were insistent that additional paperwork was required. So she joined Home School Legal Defense Association to ensure she had legal protection.

After reviewing the district’s policy and communication with Sharron, we quickly contacted the local public school superintendent and pointed out how the district’s policy conflicted with state law.

The next day, the superintendent requested a conference call with HSLDA, the school district’s legal counsel, and several other staff. The officials were receptive right from the beginning, which led to a productive conversation. The district agreed to update its policy, notified Sharron that she was homeschooling legally, and expressed appropriate concern about the old, inaccurate policy.

When the dust settled, it was a win-win. Sharron had peace of mind and the district had a policy makeover, which will help prevent unnecessary confusion for other new homeschooling families.