There are a few who want to start homeschooling for the first time. These are mostly moms, but a few may be dads or grandparents. Herein I will explain the laws about how to begin homeschooling in Utah and what will be required.
Utah SB 39 of 2014 was created by Senator Aaron Osmond to change the Utah Homeschool Laws and make them better. I am sure Senator Osmond was doing this because of many years of awesomeness by homeschool moms in Utah. When I found out about it online, I helped by sending E-mails with a video of my kids doing montessori pink reading words in front of our Christmas tree. I hope my video made all the difference! A few really awesome people went and represented the rest of us in person.
It passed the Senate, then moved on to the House. We were all very excited and nervous. We all worked hard in our own ways to make it happen. Some did a lot more than people like me, by going to the capitol building for meetings again and again. Thank you so much, if you were these wonderful heroes!
A few great points were made in front of the school board members. Here are the points that were made:
1) Parents should not have to sign an affidavit every single year. Signing it one year, it should stay in effect until the parent puts the child back into school or until the family moves into a difrent school district geographically.
2) Parents, not teachers or principles or people in charge of testing, should get to tell the school at which grade level they believe their child is, when parents put their child back in school after homeschooling for any amount of time. I believe this is reasonable, as no parent in their right mind is going to say, “My child is at a 6th grade level,” if their child is 9 years old.
I know that, should I ever be in this situation, I would be completely honest about everything with the teacher, meaning that after my child started school I would meet with the teacher. I would tell the teacher how my child is doing in each and every subject. Being that every child has strengths and weeknesses, in my opinion, a child can be at one skill (grade) level in language arts and in another in math.
3) Homeschooling should not have to fit into a 180 day 6.5 hours a day type thing. Formerly, the affidavit said we had to teach our kids 180 days of the year. This was ridiculous, being that most homeschool families claim that learning takes place every day of the year. Indeed, my kids are “homeschooling” and “learning” 365 days in the year, so the 180 thing was pointless. Many prefer homeschool to be year-round and not spread out into “180 days.”
Governor Herbert signed the Bill into law on April 1, 2014.
This is the new stuff. You have to give your address and the names of the parent (or parents if there are 2 parents). You have to give the first and last names of each child that will be homeschooling from here on out. You have to say you, the parent(s) will be responsible for the education of your child(ren). If you are just adding on one new child, which I will be doing in a couple years, you do not have to include the names of the older kids again in the future. When I do it in a couple years for my younger child, I only have to put that child’s name on it. I do not have to put grade level or age. I can do like Barbara Clapp did and just tell them when they ask for age “school aged.” Legally, that is all they get to know.
Then you need it stampd by a notary public, which they have on certain hours at the library next to the district offices in my county, or they have at banks usually, too. They arer also AT THE DISTRICT OFFICES, but I learned from my husband what happens when you depend on using one there. What happens is they make you feel like you have to fill out THEIR FORM, which asks for birthdates, ages and grade levels. It also makes you sign that you will teach 180 days and will teach math, science, social studies, language arts, music, art, theater, health and p.e. Some districts may even add more.
You only have to fill this form out once for each child if you do not send them to a regular public school, charter school or homebased online charter school in between affidavit filings. You do have to fill out a new form for each child if you move to a different school district.
These affidavits legally need to be filed when your child is 6 on Sept. 1. Before that it does not need to be filed legally. If you need to have an affidavit for little 10% discounts on craft supplies or some such silly thing, you can fill one out when the child will be in preschool or kindergarten, so that you will have a form to show the cashier to get the discount. I do not think this is even worth the money I would save, though, so I do not care to do that. I have never used an affidavit for a discount. I do not care so bad about ten percent discounts. Some people do, though, so go ahead if you are into that.
You do not legally need an affidavit that is an official looking form, You can just write your stuff on a piece of paper big enough to include the inforrmation and a stamp from the notary public. However, getting a form which mentions UTAH SB 39 of 2014 will make you feel legal and official, so that you will not be tricked into filling out the form THEY have for you! Feeling confident, law-abiding and like a good person is so important.
I sent my husband in with the form I made myself, all filled out. I told him he just needed to get it stamped by a notary public, then give it to the district. The district told him, “We don’t need that form you have. Just fill out ours.” Theirs asked for way more information (birthdates, ages, grade levels) and had him sign that we would teach them math, science, social studies, language arts, p.e., health, music, art and theater, and 180 days per year. Don’t fill out their form, whatever you do! Don’t sent your husband in, either. Just say, “Thanks for offerig to go in, dear, but I would rather do it myself!” I wish I would have done that. It bothers me that my husband gave them so much information. They legally should only get a statement that you are willing to be responsible for their education. They legally only get names (not birthdates, birth years, ages or grade levels), your names (parents) and your address.
A homeschool mom I know but whom I will not name (for privacy reasons) said the district always thinks her child is little, but I think her child was High School aged. One person asked, “So should we just put (your child) down as kindergarten, then?” even though she had come in for years. She said something like, “School aged.” When they ased what they should input into the computer and whether they should just put “kindergarten,” she said, “I don’t care. Put down what you want.” You would think, after going in so many years, they could figure it out by using math! My friend’s story tells me that she had never given a grade level or age, which tells me that legally, even before the new SB 39 passed, the parents did not have to give a birthdate, birthyear, grade level or age.
Although I do teach my kids all the subjects above and at least 180 different days of the year, my husband signing that we would, even though he legally did not have to, made me upset. I do not want to give the district more than I legally have to. The reason is, I want the laws to limit the power the district has over us. I also want the district to KNOW it does not have the power over us, that it thinks it does. I also love that the homeschool moms who have proven over the years that they were awesome and deserved this, eon this battle for us. I feel their sacrifices and awesomeness deserve our respect for what power they took back for all homeschool parents.
Besides, now that we are on this Common Core stuff, the district shares all data with the state and the state shares all data with the Federal Government. I sure do not want the Feds illegally changing the laws of a sudden, and coming after the homeschooled kids because they have all our birthdates and grade levels.
Our names, our childrens’ names and our former in-district address are what they have that they deserve to have by the law. That is enough to give them. They do not need more. I am glad that we moved within district and they don’t have our new address. I love that so much! I am upset that they have birthdates because my husband gave them those. Oh, well. There is nothing I can do about it now. I can just make sure that next time, I am the one who goes in, or I go in WITH my husband so that he “gets it.”
Here are some more things.
- You do not have to teach a certain set of standards or a certain curriculum.
- None of your school-aged kids have to learn any certain prescribed subjects.
- None of your school-aged kids have to take any tests. They do not have to take any district, state or federal tests.
For information on High School diplomas, graduation, college or university acceptance and scholarships, do a search and check out my other posts.
Best of wishes! Enjoy the homeschool journey with your family!