- If your child is 4 or 5 years old on September 1 this year
- If your child will turn 6 on or before September 1 this year
- If you are considering sending your child to public school for first grade without completing kindergarten
If your child is 4 or 5 years old on September 1 this year
Kindergarten is not mandatory in Wisconsin! Compulsory attendance in Wisconsin begins the year the child turns 6 on or before September 1st. That’s right–if your child is 4 or 5 years old on September 1st this year, they are not required to attend school at all.
This also means that you should not file the PI-1206 Homeschool Report for a child who did not turn 6 on or before September 1, even if you plan to provide educational activities at home for this child.
Why not file the PI-1206 Homeschool Report before age 6? See Homeschooling at Age 6.
If you enroll your child in public school kindergarten, and then decide to withdraw them at any time of the school year, you should not file the PI-1206 Homeschool Report, even if a school employee says that you must. A simple letter may be sent to the school stating that you are withdrawing your child from kindergarten and that you will not be filing PI-1206 Homeschool Report because your child is not of compulsory attendance age (a letter is a courtesy and not required by law). You may choose to modify and use this Sample Kindergarten Withdrawal Letter.
If your child will turn 6 on or before September 1st this year
Kindergarten is not mandatory in Wisconsin! However, compulsory attendance in Wisconsin begins the year the child turns 6 on or before September 1st, so your child must be enrolled in school: public, private, tribal, or homeschool. If you are homeschooling, you must include this child on a PI-1206 Homeschool Report. See When and How to File the PI-1206 Homeschool Report.
Because kindergarten is not compulsory, there is not a space on the PI-1206 Homeschool Report for children in kindergarten. You will need to decide whether to designate this child as “first grade” or “ungraded.” The grade designation in no way restricts what educational materials or activities you, as the homeschool administrator, provide for your child.
If you decide to enroll a child who turns 6 on or before September 1st in public, private, or tribal school kindergarten (or any other grade), and later decide to withdraw them, you will need to file the PI-1206 Homeschool Report at the proper time. More information can be found on the Withdrawing from School page.
If you are considering sending your child to public school for first grade without completing kindergarten
A Wisconsin law passed in 2009 states that public school districts may not enroll a child in first grade if they have not completed kindergarten and that each school board “shall establish procedures, conditions, and standards for exempting a child from the requirement that the child complete kindergarten as a prerequisite to enrollment in the first grade.” If you are planning to send your child to public school for first grade, obtain a copy of your school district’s written policy and read it carefully and completely to learn their requirements for obtaining an exemption. Understand that, according to the Wisconsin Constitution, district schools “shall be free and without charge for tuition to all children between the ages of 4 and 20 years.” What this means is that public schools must accept all children who live in their districts, and cannot refuse to enroll your child.
This confusing state of the law has not been resolved by the legislature nor tested by the courts. Read more here: Is the Kindergarten requirement Enforceable?
If you continue homeschooling after kindergarten, this requirement does not apply to you.
If you enroll your child in a private school for first grade, this requirement does not apply to you.
If you enroll your child in public school in any grade other than first grade, this requirement does not apply to you.
Last Updated on 08/18/21