School districts often insist on information that homeschool families are not legally required to give.
The school district Declaration of Intent forms here in Washington almost always contain additional lines that, if parents are ignorant of the laws, they just dutifully fill in. You can read Washington State’s laws on home based instruction here.
For illustration purposes, below is the DOI form that my local school district has homeschoolers fill out.
You can clearly see all of the information they are requesting. It doesn’t even indicate which items are voluntary and which are required. I have highlighted in yellow the information that we (in WA) are required by law to give.
Parent name, address, signature and date signed
Child name and age
Most forms ask for the child’s date of birth, grade level, and even a local school they would attend if they were in school. None of this information is needed by a school system that the child is not part of. It makes as much sense as if they were to ask you to give the same information for a child in private school.
My children are not in their system, therefore this information is private and none of their business. The concern here, of course, is that if we give them an inch they will take a mile. Many years ago, the forms asked for less information. I recall when they actually only asked for what the law requires. In order to avoid this, for the past 5 or 6 years I have only used the Declaration of Intent form provided by the Washington Homeschool Organization.
Now I think the districts are just getting a little pushy. Last year when I took my DOI form in as I always do, the secretary told me I needed to include a phone number “So we can reach you if we have any questions.”
“No,” I replied, “the law requires my address. You don’t need my telephone number. Besides, if they really needed to reach me I’m sure they would have no problem doing so. Have a nice day!” She was not happy with my response but really, what could she do? I had never seen her before and it was obvious that she didn’t know what the rules were.
It is SO important that homeschoolers, no matter what state you reside in, to know your state homeschool laws.
Better know them and stand firm than not know them and unintentionally give the district precedent for insisting families give more than they are supposed to.
If your school district is giving you a hard time by asking for things which you are not legally required to give, contact your state level homeschool organization or HSLDA. Usually just a letter on official letterhead is all that it takes to make them back off, or even get their DOI form changed to reflect the law.
In Washington State, contact the Washington Homeschool Organization. Also, you can download my FREE Washington State Homeschool Resources guide by clicking below!