Making a Smooth Transition

The IAHE receives many calls regarding the procedure for withdrawing students from public Schools and notifying appropriate authorities of the intent to home educate.  In response the IAHE offers the following suggestions:

If a child has been enrolled in a public school, you should inform the principal of that school of any further responsibility for your student(s).  While you may communicate your decision verbally, it is recommended that you also give written notice.  In writing your letter to the school principal, you are merely providing information. You are not requesting permission.

You, as parents, have a fundamental right to educate your children. Therefore, you do not need anyone’s permission to withdraw them from a public school in order to educate them at home.  In your letter giving the local school principal written notice of your decision to home educate, it is also recommended that you request that a copy of your student’s records be forwarded to the private school in your home (since there is no home school statute in Indiana, your home school is considered to be a private school under Indiana law.)

Before a student is withdrawn from a public high school, the principal of the student’s school shall provide to the student and to the student’s parent information on a form that explains the legal requirements of attending a nonaccredited nonpublic school located in Indiana. The principal and a parent of the student shall both sign the form to acknowledge that the parent understands the content of the form.

(c) If the parent of the student refuses to sign the form provided by the principal under subsection (b), the student is considered a dropout and the principal shall report the student to the bureau of motor vehicles for action under section 28.5(g) of this chapter. The student is considered a dropout for purposes of calculating a high school’s graduation rate under IC 20-26-13-10.

Private schools are only required to furnish, upon request of the State Superintendent of Public Instruction, or the superintendent of the school corporation in which the private school is located, the number of children by grade level attending the school. Indiana law does not require private schools, and therefore homeschools, to ‘register’ with the State. The only requirement is that, upon request, a private school must report attendance.

You are not required to submit to home visits unless the authorities have first obtained a valid search warrant that has been signed by a judge. The Indiana Association of Home Educators, and the Home School Legal Defense Association (HSLDA), strongly discourage home visits.  As Michael Farris of HSLDA states in his book, Home Schooling and the Law, HSLDA (1990), “to us this is a very serious issue.  Home schooling is private education:  the ability of a public official to demand entry into a home is an unspeakable invasion of privacy. These are home searches, not home visits.”  (pages 135-136)

Attorney Mike Farris believes home visits to be unconstitutional for two reasons: They violate the Establishment Clause of the United States Constitution (the principle of the separation of church and state and government from making unreasonable searches and seizures) when conducted without a valid search warrant.  He concludes, “I have never heard of a situation where a public official has obtained a search warrant to conduct a home ‘visit’.  No court (which correctly applies the law) should ever issue a search warrant because of one’s homeschooling”. (page 140)

Originally published in the Indiana Association of Home Educators’ book,
Home Education in Indiana.