After a Montana superintendent of schools refused to process the homeschool paperwork for several families until they provided more information, one veteran homeschool mom coordinated with the other parents to contact HSLDA and push back on these unlawful demands.
Families in the district who had submitted their notices of intent to homeschool received a packet in response that stated the superintendent could not process their paperwork until they provided their children’s dates of birth and grades—information not required by Montana law.
In addition, the packet indicated that the superintendent expected regular attendance reports submitted “at the end of the school year, at the end of each semester, or at the end of each quarter.” The superintendent added in an attached fact sheet that parents needed to provide instruction for four hours a day for the primary grades and six hours a day for all other grades.
What the Law Says
In Montana, parents annually notify their county superintendent that they plan to homeschool their children. They must keep a record of attendance but only submit it upon specific request. And finally, they must homeschool a minimum of 720 or 1,080 hours over the course of the year, depending on grade level.
I wrote to the superintendent explaining the problems in her homeschool packet and urging her to process our member’s paperwork without further delay. The superintendent did not respond.
But in the meantime, the Montana homeschool mom who originally reached out coordinated with the homeschoolers in her community so that HSLDA could follow up with another letter on their behalf.
This time, the superintendent did respond—with a forthright apology.
As we informed the superintendent, it is very important that the requirements for homeschoolers remain clear, well-understood, and enforced in accordance with the law.
Thanks to the efforts of the homeschool community, the issue was addressed quickly and without setting improper precedent in the district.