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School Withdrawal FAQs (Homeschool Edition)

By October 30, 2023No Comments

Many people contact us as they’re considering a school withdrawal – pulling their children out from a public, private, or virtual school.

While we have free school withdrawal letter templates on our website, we’ve also collected some of the most frequently asked questions for quick reference:

School Withdrawal FAQ 1: When Can I Start?

Sometimes people think withdrawal has to take place before the school year begins. However, as a parent, you have the right to withdraw your children from their current school at any time before, during, or at the end of a school year.

school withdrawal homeschool faq

2. What are the steps in a school withdrawal?

The steps in a school withdrawal are important to do correctly to avoid any charges of truancy. Homeschool laws vary by state, so make sure that you know your state’s laws before proceeding.

Compulsory attendance age is the age at which school attendance becomes compulsory, or mandated, by the state where you reside. For both Kansas and Missouri, compulsory attendance age arrives when your child is 7 years old.

(Important note: If your child has already been enrolled in public school, then attendance has become compulsory even if they are younger than 7.)

For this reason, you should set up your homeschool first before withdrawing your child from their current school. In Kansas, setting up your homeschool involves registering with the Kansas Department of Education as a non-accredited private school. (You can see more of the steps on this page.)

Missouri homeschool law does not require registering with the state. However, you will still want to set up your homeschool in terms of fulfilling all requirements such as logging 1,000 hours of instruction, keeping documentation of periodic assessments, and keeping student work samples. (You can see more of the steps to withdraw here and read more about Missouri homeschool law in this Q-and-A interview.)

3. How long does it take to register with the KSDE? (for Kansas)

If people are already about to withdraw their children but haven’t yet registered their Kansas homeschool with the KSDE, they have concerns over how long the registration process takes. However, registering with the KSDE is extremely simple and can take place in just a few minutes!

Once you’ve accessed the KSDE website and read all the information on this page, you can go straight to this link to register (make sure to keep a copy for your records):

Bonus blog posts you may want to read:

4. What if we decide to go back to public school later?

If you decide to go back to public school later on, the process usually goes without a hitch. Your child may or may not need to take a diagnostic test to see where they fit, but they will almost certainly be admitted regardless. We don’t often hear of any student being denied admission because they were homeschooled.

homeschool after school withdrawal

5. My child went to an elementary school and a middle school. When requesting records, do I send a request to both schools?

When requesting school records, we recommend sending a request to every school your child has attended, especially if they have taken standardized tests for their grade levels. Since you are now the principal of their school, it’s well within your rights to have all their records.

6. Do I send the withdrawal letter directly to the school district or just to the school itself?

We recommend calling your child’s current school and find out who, in the administration, is responsible for school records. That way you can personalize your letter accordingly.

If you’re not sure whether the school officials will cooperate, we recommend delivering it by hand and asking for a letter receipt, just to be safe. The receipt doesn’t have to be from the school official you’re writing to – just anyone who can sign the receipt with a name, date, and official stamp.

7. The school wants me to sign their own withdrawal letter with a lot of extra things in it. Am I required to sign?

Definitely not! In fact, this is so important that we wrote a detailed blog post about this.

In both Kansas and Missouri, your own school withdrawal letter is legally sufficient to effect the withdrawal. We’ve heard reports from parents who were told, either in writing or verbally, that they needed to sign other documentation in order to “process the withdrawal.” This is legally not true.

Signing anything the school provides can give them power to investigate you at any time, especially if they consider your child to be “at risk” simply because they’re homeschooled.

If you receive pushback from the school in any way, we highly recommend contacting the Home School Legal Defense Association (HSLDA). They will help represent you and provide legal protection for your homeschool.

In fact, we provide a discount off annual HSLDA membership if you sign up for MPE membership at the Family tier or higher.

We have updated this blog post, originally published in 2021, for timeliness and detail.

Shanxi Omoniyi

Shanxi Omoniyi (@ShanxiO on Twitter) is MPE's online content director. A homeschool alumna, Shanxi graduated from the University of Kansas with degrees in journalism and English. Her company, Wordspire Media, helps businesses and nonprofits share their stories through content marketing, social media management, and email marketing.

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