In 1997 Florida began an Internet-based K–12 education program, Florida Virtual School (FVS), offered free to Florida residents if our school district confirmed that our homeschool program was in good standing. But after my family had moved out of state on military orders, we had neglected to keep up with our Florida school district. When we later sought to use FVS for my oldest daughter, the district refused to provide us with the letter of good standing. Supposedly the district had “terminated” my family’s right to homeschool in Florida, even though no provision of law provided it such extensive powers. Using the tools of legal persuasion, I finally reached a compromise with the school district and got the letter of good standing. But I also found out why I should keep up with my home state.

3. Know Where to Find Assistance

Military homeschoolers and other families “on the move” should recognize they cannot go it alone when educating their children. We are part of a community and all need help. In every state, and on military installations, homeschool groups provide both moral support and a view to the local regulatory environment. On the web, sites such as militaryhomeschoolers.com offer valuable military-specific advice in this area. And, from a legal perspective, you should consider joining a group such as the Home School Legal Defense Association (hslda.org) or Homeschool Legal Advantage (homeschoollegaladvantage.com) to receive continued updates and support on legal issues.

And, of course, keep reading my column in The Old Schoolhouse® Magazine!

 

Q & A

Q: “I am preparing to home educate . ... Where do I start as far as legalities are concerned? I live in Tennessee.” --Laura

A: Laura, welcome to the wonderful world of homeschooling! Tennessee updated their homeschooling law in 2011, and there are some very specific requirements and options available for you. In addition to my last bit of advice in this month’s column, I recommend that you read about the law at Tennessee’s official website on homeschooling at tn.gov/education/homeschool. You can also read the basic homeschool statute free online by going to lexisnexis.com/hottopics/tncode and searching for “49-6-3050,” which is the statute number.

There are several good Tennessee websites supporting homeschoolers that contain a wealth of information to get you started. Google them and see what’s out there. God bless you as you contemplate this important decision!

Antony B. Kolenc (J.D., University of Florida College of Law) is an attorney, author, and speaker. He and his wife have homeschooled their five children for over a decade. He is author of The Chronicles of Xan historical fiction trilogy, as well as several legal articles. Learn more about him at www.AntonyBarone.com/. And if you have a legal-related question, e-mail TOS and Tony may get a chance to answer it in his monthly column!

Endnote:

1. 50 U.S.C. App. 501, et seq.

Copyright 2012. Used with permission. All rights reserved by author. Originally appeared in The Old Schoolhouse®Magazine, January 2012. Read this digital, interactive magazine free by visiting: www.TOSMagazine.com or read on your Kindle Fire or Apple and Android devices by downloading the free TOS apps.

Publication date: May 24, 2012