Homeschooling at Age 6

WHPA recommends only filing the PI-1206 Homeschool Report for children who have turned 6 years old by September 1 of the current year, even if you are filing the form for other children in your family who are homeschooling. Filing the PI-1206 any earlier exceeds the minimum requirements of the law. WHPA encourages you not to file the form earlier than statutorily required because waiting serves to protect our reasonable homeschooling laws for all Wisconsin families. 

Often in law, doing more than the minimum required by law creates both the belief that doing more than the minimum is required and the belief that doing more than the minimum is expected. For example, imagine your town has a law that requires you to bring two forms of ID in order to start a basketball team at the rec center. If you bring two forms of ID and a fruit basket, and you tell all your friends to bring two forms of ID and fruit basket, pretty soon the fruit basket is both expected and believed to be required in order to start a basketball team. This kind of erosion of rights through doing more than the law requires can happen quickly and easily, especially when the law in question applies to a small minority, and is poorly understood by laypeople. Wisconsin’s homeschooling laws have remained reasonable and, for the most part unchanged, since 1984, due in great part to the insistence of homeschooling families who came before you, who refused to do more than the law requires.

It is also the mission of WHPA to encourage parents to act in a way that both meets the minimum requirements of Wisconsin law, and protects our reasonable homeschooling law for all Wisconsin families, now and in the future.

See also Wisconsin Law and 1st Grade Enrollment if you are planning to send your child to 1st grade after keeping them home for kindergarten.

Continue Reading To Learn More About Wisconsin Law:

Under Wisconsin law, children are not required to attend school until age 6.

Except as provided under pars. (b) to (d) and (g) and sub. (4), unless the child is excused under sub. (3) or has graduated from high school, any person having under control a child who is between the ages of 6 and 18 years shall cause the child to attend school regularly during the full period and hours, religious holidays excepted, that the public, private, or tribal school in which the child should be enrolled is in session until the end of the school term, quarter or semester of the school year in which the child becomes 18 years of  age. Wis Stat 118.15(1)(a)

Between the ages of 6 and 18, receiving instruction in a homeschool is substitute for school attendance.

Instruction in a home-based private educational program that meets all of the criteria under s. 118.165 (1) may be substituted for attendance at a public or private school. Wis Stat 118.15(4)

Homeschoolers are required to file the PI-1206 Homeschool Report, which includes a report of enrollment for all children in grades 1-12. There is no provision under the law for homeschooling before first grade.

On or before each October 15, each administrator of a public or private school system or a home-based private educational program shall submit, on forms provided by the department, a statement of the enrollment on the 3rd Friday in September in the elementary and high school grades under his or her jurisdiction to the department which shall prepare such reports as will enable the public and private schools and home-based private educational programs to make projections regarding school buildings, teacher supply and funds required. The administrator of each private school system and home-based private educational program shall indicate in his or her report whether the system or program meets all of the criteria under s. 118.165 (1). (WI stat 115.30(3))

Wisconsin law clarifies when a child may enter first grade as the year he or she is 6 years old on or before September 1. This statute provides the date of September 1 as the dividing line between a child of compulsory age and a child who is not of compulsory age until the following September. Nothing in Wisconsin law requires homeschooling parents to assign a specific grade level based on the age of the child. The PI-1206 Homeschool Enrollment form allows parents to assign a grade level for their children without regard to age, or to choose “ungraded.”

118.14  Age of pupils; phase in of 4-year-old kindergarten.

(1)  Except as provided in s. 120.12 (25):

(a) No child may be admitted to a 4-year-old kindergarten unless he or she is 4 years old on or before September 1 in the year that he or she proposes to enter school.

(b) No child may be admitted to a 5-year-old kindergarten unless he or she is 5 years old on or before September 1 in the year he or she proposes to enter school.

(c) No child may be admitted to the 1st grade unless he or she is 6 years old, on or before September 1 in the year he or she proposes to enter school.

 (2) A resident over 20 years of age may be admitted to school when in the judgment of the school board the resident will not interfere with the pupils of school age.

(3) 

(a) Except as provided in par. (b), if a school board establishes a 4-year-old kindergarten program, the program shall be available to all pupils eligible for the program under sub. (1)(a) or s. 120.12 (25).

(b) A school board that was operating a 4-year-old kindergarten program in the 2007-08 school year that did not comply with par. (a) shall make a 4-year-old kindergarten program available to all pupils eligible for the program under sub. (1)(a) or s. 120.12(25) by the beginning of the 2013-14 school year.

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