A Philadelphia-area New Jersey mom sent a note to her child’s public school, stating her intention to begin homeschooling her son. She received a reply saying her plan to homeschool “must be approved” by the local Board of Education. The school representative also asked for information about the curriculum the mom planned to use.

I wrote to the official and asked what law, regulation, or policy requires a family to obtain approval. The official wrote back and referred to the family’s “request” to homeschool but didn’t answer my question. I replied and asked the representative whether he was requiring information from the family or merely requesting it.

The representative responded and said the parent is required to formally withdraw the student to avoid truancy issues. Probably no one would argue with that. But he still avoided my questions about the need for approval and curriculum information.

I asked in turn whether a note of withdrawal via email was sufficiently formal (because, of course, the mother had already sent such an email.) He then made the surprise announcement that the parent must make the withdrawal or transfer in person at the school office!

After I asked for a bit of clarification, the representative finally threw up his hands and said all issues were resolved.

We are thankful to have prevented any further hassle for our New Jersey member, and stand ready to do the same for any other members experiencing similar, unfounded requests.