When our members decide to begin homeschooling in Kansas or Missouri, many will withdraw their children from an existing school. Something about the school’s environment concerned them enough to pull their children out formally.
This reflects a national trend, where 91 percent of parents said a reason they homeschool is from a concern about the environment of other schools (via HSLDA).
In fact, the single most important reason for homeschooling for 25 percent of parents was from this concern about the environment of other schools. Another 74 percent of parents cited their dissatisfaction with academic instruction in other schools.
Because this is such an important decision, it helps to know the steps involved in a school withdrawal. Here’s a quick list:
If in Kansas, register your school before you withdraw.
The state of Kansas considers homeschools to be non-accredited private schools, so you must register with the Kansas Department of Education. Make sure you do this step before you officially withdraw from the school.
(You will have to give your homeschool a name to register it. See some great homeschool name suggestions here!)
Fortunately, you only have to register your homeschool once. If another child “enters” your homeschool or graduates, you don’t have to change or update your registration in any way.
If you want to change the homeschool name, or if you’re moving to a different address, you will need to update your school registration. See other FAQs about homeschool names here.
NOTE: The Kansas Department of Education suggests that you make copies of your registration for your records and “for the school from which your student is withdrawn.” Making a copy for the school is not required under state law. If the school pressures you for a copy, you can politely decline (and maybe call HSLDA as a backup).
Write and submit a school withdrawal letter.
We have a step-by-step process to create your own withdrawal letter, complete with templates. They will be different, depending on whether you live in Kansas or Missouri.
While Kansas requires a school withdrawal letter (so that your homeschool is not charged with truancy) and Missouri does not, we still recommend an official withdrawal letter for Missouri homeschoolers. The school will appreciate the courtesy of knowing why their student is not coming back!
NOTE: We’ve heard of some schools that want parents to sign a withdrawal letter that the school has already written. Sometimes these letters contain statements or intrusive documentation that you are not required to give (such as what curriculum you intend to use). As a result, we strongly recommend that you do not sign any pre-formulated withdrawal letters, but come up with your own.
Choose your method of record-keeping.
Missouri law requires homeschoolers to keep a record of at least 1,000 hours of instruction during the school term that you set. Most people use a daily log to accomplish this by notebook, form, spreadsheet, or notepad.
Although Kansas does not require documentation, it’s still good practice to keep records of your children’s academic progress and achievements.
We have a whole session dedicated to record-keeping in our How to Homeschool Workshop.
Help prepare your children for the transition.
Your children may love the idea of withdrawing from school. Alternatively, they may think it’s the worst decision you’ve ever made. We know – we’ve seen both sides of the spectrum!
Fortunately, you can find many resources and strategies to help ease them into homeschooling. Play up the benefits such as:
- Individual one-on-one time with the teacher
- More flexibility within the school day for breaks and impromptu field trips
- Room to create your own school traditions or playtimes
(See more suggestions in this blog post: 9 tips to help with the transition from public school to homeschool.)
Maybe you’re not having trouble with the children, but with your other family members accepting the change! If so, we have some tips for you on winning relatives over to homeschooling.
Find support within your community.
That’s why it’s so important to have support from fellow homeschoolers around you. Start with these easy steps:
- Find a “mentor mom.” Our group of volunteer moms love to give advice and encouragement to beginning homeschoolers, and it’s all confidential.
- Come to our annual conference for practical workshops, curriculum options and networking.
- Enjoy our Encouragement Day in the middle of the school year.
We have updated this blog post for timeliness and detail (originally published in July 2016).