Since “home-based private educational programs” are not included in the state statute regarding immunization (252.04), this statute does not apply to homeschoolers. Confirmation of this is also noted in the Department of Health Services publication, “Wisconsin School Immunization Requirements.”

PLEASE NOTE: If homeschoolers choose to take classes at public or private schools or participate in sports or extracurricular activities, these students may be subject to the requirements of the institution.

WHPA will not assist homeschoolers in complying with regulations demanded by public school districts when a homeschool student wishes to participate in a public or private school program.

Does my local school district receive money for my child even though he/she is homeschooled?

No. In Wisconsin, public schools receive most of their funding from state aid and property taxes. State equalization aid is distributed to school districts based, in part, on the number of students enrolled in the public schools on certain dates during the school year. Since a homeschooled student is not enrolled in a public school, the child’s resident school district is not allowed to count that child in its enrollment count for the purposes of claiming state aid. As a homeschooler, there are no state funds allocated to your school district on behalf of your child.

Will I need any of my homeschool records when I enter the workforce?

The short answer is: probably.

Similar to homeschoolers getting into college, homeschoolers entering the workforce may find they have a few extra hoops to jump through when seeking employment and demonstrating that they graduated from a home-based private education program. Similar to getting into college, applying for a job as a homeschool graduate may take some additional advocacy on your part. As with entering college, you may find you will need to sell yourself and your experiences as a homeschooler. Your unique educational choices and experiences can be a real asset to a workforce filled with other employees who may have followed a more traditional path.

What home-based private education records might an employer require? Make sure you keep the following records in a safe place:

  • Your diploma issued by the administrator of your home-based private education program.
  • Your PI-1206 forms covering your high school years. (Remember that this is your proof of enrollment in a home-based private education program. The DPI only retains copies of the PI-1206 forms for seven years.)
  • Your final high school transcript.

All of these records provide documentation that you have graduated from a home-based private educational program in the state of Wisconsin and that your diploma is legitimate.

To the administrator of a home-based educational program: As the administrator of your home-based private educational program, it is your responsibility to retain these records and any other records that you deem appropriate. Consider making sure each of your students has copies of these records as well.

WHPA Response to Reports of Child Abuse and Calls for Increased Regulation

Child abuse and neglect are devastating public health and welfare problems in our state and in our nation. Tragically, the United States is consistently among the developed countries worldwide with the highest rates of child abuse and total child mortality. In Wisconsin, the state is empowered to intervene in any situation where they believe a child is being harmed, no matter where the child is being educated.

Because the vast majority of children in the U. S. attend traditional schools, the vast majority of criminal abuse and neglect that happens to school age children happens to children who attend traditional schools. On the rare occasion that a homeschooling family is charged with crimes of abuse or neglect, some parties may attempt to frame the abuse as a homeschooling issue. WHPA believes child abuse and neglect are not homeschooling issues.

Here are some important points to consider:

First, in criminal cases of child abuse and neglect, reporting often fails to verify the legal homeschooling status of the family.

In Wisconsin, a home-based private educational program (also referred to as “homeschooling”) is a legal designation that includes only parents or guardians who have properly filed the PI-1206 Homeschool Report with the Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction. Proper filing of the PI-1206 Homeschool Report includes a legal affirmation that the parent or guardian will meet all the requirements of Wisconsin law.

Unfortunately, reporting around cases of child abuse and neglect often fails to distinguish between claims of homeschooling and actual truancy or school avoidance. For instance, early reports may include a phrase like, “the parent claimed to be homeschooling their children,” without establishing whether or not the parent was actually in compliance with their state’s homeschool law. The public can be left with the misconception that the family is homeschooling, when in fact they are not meeting the legal definition of a homeschool and are, therefore, truant.

In some cases, the true legal schooling status of the family is unknown unless and until there is a criminal trial. In many cases, the issue is not addressed at trial or there is no trial at all due to a plea agreement, and as a result the actual legal schooling status is never publicly disclosed. Reports link the family to homeschooling and fail to correct this misconception, when in actuality, the parents were in violation of compulsory attendance statutes. In other words, the family was not homeschooling at all, but were truant.

Second, laws and agencies like Child Protective Services (CPS) already exist to respond to allegations of child abuse and neglect, regardless of where a child is being educated. Many professionals and community members who regularly interact with children outside of schools are mandatory reporters of suspected abuse and neglect.

Third, when a case of criminal abuse or neglect is connected to homeschooling – legitimately or not – reports are often followed by calls for increased regulation on homeschoolers. These calls for increased regulation ignore the facts that most abuse and neglect happens to traditionally-schooled children; most reported cases involve truancy and not legal homeschooling; most cases involve families who were already under increased scrutiny from government services.

Further, calls for increased regulation routinely fail to cite any evidence that increased regulation would decrease child abuse and neglect. Calls for increased regulation rarely address how or by whom such increased regulation would be carried out. Whether or how such increased regulation comports with Constitutionally-protected parental rights is almost never addressed.

Most tellingly, calls for increased homeschool regulation rarely address the fact that the overwhelming majority of child abuse and neglect of school-age children happens to children who are already regularly in direct contact with the exact types of services being suggested as a solution to alleged abuse by homeschoolers.

Families who homeschool legally should not face additional scrutiny as a result of their valid educational choice.

In conclusion, the key points to keep in mind are:

  1. Child abuse and neglect are serious public health and welfare problems.
  2. Laws and agencies, like Child Protective Services, already exist to respond to allegations of child abuse and neglect, regardless of where a child is being educated.
  3. There is no evidence that children who are homeschooled are at greater risk of criminal abuse or neglect.
  4. There is no evidence to suggest that increased regulation of homeschooling results in lower rates of child abuse.
  5. Reporting about criminal child abuse and neglect cases frequently confuses legal homeschooling and truancy.
  6. It is not logical to assume that abusive parents who aren’t following the laws that are already in place would follow additional laws, such as increased regulations for homeschooling.

Wisconsin Homeschooling Parents Association cares deeply for the well-being of children. WHPA supports all Wisconsin homeschooling parents who choose to take responsibility for the education of their children and homeschool legally, according to their own principles and beliefs.

It is up to all of us to be informed about these issues and to stand together and use our voices to let people know that these horrific situations do not reflect homeschooling or the homeschooling community.

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Last Updated on 07/18/23

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