When a traditional school system fails your child mid-year, whatever can a parent do to rectify the situation? Do you tough it out until the end of the year with potentially disastrous academic or social consequences? Do you risk angering the district and starting a battle by pulling your child out?

In most cases, the action of transitioning a child from a traditional school system to a homeschool or cyber-school is doable and fairly simple. Each state differs with requirements (ie. Some require an affidavit or intent to withdraw) so make sure to visit your state’s board of education website for exact information on what is required before you begin the process.

Education.com notes that “withdrawing a child mid-year may be a little more complicated than starting homeschooling at the beginning of the school year, because the school has a record of your child and may be unwilling to lose a student. The school loses funding attributable to your child.”

But as long as you follow the legal requirements set forth by your state, you can withdraw your child from public or private school and legally homeschool at whatever time you choose.

Some thoughts from other parents who have withdrawn children mid-year:

“Personally, I wouldn’t request conferences with the teachers. Even if the teacher says your child is doing fine on xyz, you will still need to use placement tests for any curriculum you plan on using.” 

“It totally depends on your relationship with the school, teachers, principals, and the reason you are pulling your kid, but for me, because my younger child was still in Kindergarten at the school, it was really important to maintain good relationships at the school.”

“You need to know the laws in your state and follow them to the letter. It is almost never a good idea to ask the school what you’re supposed to do.”

“If you have a good relationship with the teacher, then advance notice and a smooth transition may be possible. However, I think most public school teachers are opposed to homeschooling and may make it somewhat unpleasant during the withdrawal. Also, I would recommend joining HSLDA for legal protection if you are in line with their values and goals.”

“You don’t have to ask their advice or permission, but talking to the school can help alleviate any misunderstandings and perhaps help the school identify what they could do to improve.”

Getting Cumulative Records from Your Former School

In order to get your child’s cumulative records from the former school of attendance when you are beginning to homeschool under the private school (R-4) option, you can write the school a letter on your homeschool letterhead (it can be generated on the computer), and advise them that your child is attending private school, and ask them to send a copy of the cumulative file to you.

The Cumulative file includes transcripts for all grades attended, report cards and progress reports, disciplinary information and records, standardized testing participation and results, Individual Education Plan (IEP) if any, health records, psychological evaluations, speech and/or language evaluations, any other special education evaluations, and any other records the school has regarding your child.

Finding a Curriculum Mid-Year

With the popularity of homeschooling on the rise every year, the good news is that curriculum choices are rich, varied, and individualized to students’ needs. Schools like Bridgeway Academy even offer “Half-Year Packages,” with the aid of an advisor to consult with on choices and needs.

Beginning your homeschool journey mid-year may not always be easy, but it certainly may be the best choice for your family depending on the circumstances. There are many resources, forums, and other parents out there quite willing to help you on your way!

Jessica Parnell is passionate about homeschooling.  A wife, mother and former public high school teacher, Jessica has transferred this passion into her career as Principal of Bridgeway Homeschool Academy. Her passion grows out of a deep desire to see every child reach their God given potential and purpose through faith-based, customized, and flexible homeschooling.  With over 25 years of experience helping over 24,000 families to homeschool their way, Jessica is dedicated to helping families understand the freedom that comes with homeschooling and to empowering parents, a child's first teacher, to feel confident in taking control of their child's education.

Learn more at Jessica’s blog – www.homeschoolacademy.com

Publication date: February 19, 2014