It sure seemed easy.
Go to the website, sign up for a free account, and file our Declaration of Intent to Homeschool Form online.
No more driving to the school district office, waiting for the receptionist to make a stamped “RECEIVED” copy of my form. No more worry that it might get lost.
I did it once. Two years ago. I filed that online form at HomeschoolCompliance.com. I thought that took care of it. It really didn’t occur to me that it WASN’T my school district’s website—or at least a website provided by my state’s education board.
Then last year, I got an email from the site, reminding me that it was time to file my DOI. I clicked the handy little link that led to the website. There, I was prompted to log in to file my DOI, which I did. When I logged in it indicated that I need to pay $6 for a one- year “subscription”, so that I can file my form. The form I file once a year, for free. And to pay for it.
I don’t think so.
Looking a little deeper into the website, I learned that the company is based in Georgia, not Washington. Meaning the state where I live and am required to file my Declaration of Intent to Homeschool is NOT one accepting the digital form I am sending. I honestly have no idea if they even received my DOI before, since I did use this service once. That’s a little scary, although I am assuming they did receive it, since we didn’t have a visit from any truant officers or nasty letters from the superintendent.
But really, where does that information GO? And what does a company in Georgia have to do with Washington state homeschool registrations?
I don’t know how long it takes them to send the forms that are filed digitally to the state/county/school district that is supposed to be receiving it. There are two school districts in my state with the same name. How do I know that it will get to the correct one?
The answer to all of these is that we have no way of knowing. And I like to be sure about these things. When in doubt, be smart and use the forms provided by your state’s homeschooling association or by HSLDA. I usually use the form provided by the Washington Homeschool Organization, so that’s what I did this time too.
One more small piece of advice…
Know what information is legally required to be reported to the state in which you live. [UPDATE 9/15/15: I wrote about the requirements, with an example form to show you! Read Homeschooling in WA and DOI Forms.]
When I brought my form in to my local district office and asked the receptionist for a “Date Received” receipt as I always do, she looked at the form and asked me to include a telephone number “In case we need to reach you for more information.” I stated “A phone number isn’t required on the DOI form”. She didn’t push but did not look happy about it.
As I walked out the door with my date stamped copy of my DOI I heard her ask another lady, “Aren’t they supposed to include a phone number on those forms?” I left and didn’t hear the rest of their conversation.
And no, we’re not.
In Washington State, the form must contain our students’ names and ages, parent name, address, and a statement (checkbox) indicating whether or not the education will be supervised by a certificated teacher. That’s it. If your district is asking for more than that on their form, you can either just ignore that part, which may earn you a letter or phone call from them later because your form is “incomplete”, or use a form that doesn’t even ask for that information.