Public Schools


My child has an IEP. How will homeschooling affect services?

If your child leaves the public school, your child will no longer have an IEP.


How do I obtain special services from the school district?

Homeschoolers have the same access to shared services (i.e. speech therapy) as other private school students.  If you have a specific need, check with your public school district as to how private school students receive shared services.  You can ask to see their written policy outlining the access of private school students in the district to shared/special services.

Please note that public schools are NOT obligated to provide these services to private school students, although individual districts may choose to do so.


I got a letter asking me to complete a census/bring my child in for a screening/provide the names and birthdates of my children.

You do not have to provide any information in answer to requests about “services for homeschoolers,” programs the district wants to provide, screening, “registering” your child, or information for a school census. You never have to give the names, birth dates or other personal information about your children.

The information on the PI-1206 form is a report of enrollment. Use of information from PI-1206 forms for purposes other than record keeping is a violation of the federal Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act.

School Census requests:  It is a state law that school districts keep records.  The law does not require schools to send out census requests nor does it require anyone to respond to such requests.  Each school district receives the information from the PI-1206 forms filed for their district. That information is all that is needed by the district.

If you receive requests like these, please do two things:

1) Forward the information to WPA so we know where this is happening.

2) Please take the time to write a letter to your school district politely reminding them that the PI-1206 is the only information a district is authorized to have from a homeschool.

Click here for a flowchart to help you make a decision about when to to respond to school district contact.


Can my child attend classes at public school?

According to Wisconsin statute 118.53  school boards “shall allow” homeschoolers to take up to two courses each semester provided they meet the general standards for admission and there is sufficient space in the classroom.

School classes do not fall under the criteria of a home-based, private, educational program (the classes are provided to more than one family unit) and therefore should not be considered as a part of the 875 hours per year homeschoolers are required to provide.

WPA maintains that classes offered by an instructor to multiple family units may not hold up as instructional hours in a home-based private educational program, if these hours were challenged in court or through the legal system. Homeschool administrators must be able to provide evidence of compliance with the law.

WPA will not dictate to homeschool administrators what they can or cannot put on their transcripts or how they document 875 hours. The administrator should carefully consider what is included and that it is an accurate reflection of the home-based private educational program.

Be aware that when you participate in an educational program that is designed and administered by someone outside your family unit you lose the ability to dictate the direction of your educational program.  You may also set a precedent against which other homeschoolers will be judged.

WPA recommends full compliance with the minimum standards set by law because such actions offer the greatest latitude to Wisconsin homeschooling families to create an educational program for their families that is consistent with their own principles and beliefs.

Because these activities fall outside the definition of homeschooling, WPA will not provide informational or other support to families.

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

Click here for all Wisconsin statutes pertaining to home-based private educational programs.


What about online virtual school?

Online virtual public charter schools are public schools. Participating in one of these schools is NOT homeschooling.

WPA uses homeschooling to mean a home-based private educational program as defined by 1983 WI Act 512.

If you did not file a PI-1206 for current school year (if your child has reached at least 6 years of age on or before September first of the current year), your educational program does not meet the definition of a home-based private educational program (homeschooling).

For a more detailed look at some of the differences between homeschooling and other types of programs, click here.  Many people confuse online virtual schooling with homeschooling.  This chart can help you understand the differences.

Click here for all Wisconsin statutes pertaining to home-based private educational programs.


Can my child play sports on a public school sports team?

Legislation passed in the summer of 2015 (Wisconsin Statute 118.133) states, “a school board shall permit a pupil who resides in the school district and is enrolled in a home-based private educational program to participate in interscholastic athletics in the school district on the same basis and to the same extent that it permits pupils enrolled in the school district to participate.”

Each school has its own set of eligibility requirements that must be met by its student athletes.  If homeschooled students choose to play on these teams, they are agreeing to the rules and regulations set by the school and the Wisconsin Interscholastic Athletic Association (WIAA).

In addition, the law states that, “Upon request, the home-based educational program in which the student is enrolled shall provide the School Board with a written statement that the student meets the School Board’s requirements for participation in interscholastic athletics based on age and academic and disciplinary records.” 

Parents may also be asked to provide additional information such as the results of a sports physical, permission for medical care in an emergency, and other health related information in addition to academic and disciplinary information.

Turning over homeschooling records to their local school district, including disciplinary, academic, and health records, is not something that has been asked of Wisconsin homeschoolers since before 1984.

WPA strongly opposed this legislation because this sets a precedent of homeschoolers reporting to their local school districts and the possibility that this oversight, initially applied only to homeschoolers wishing to be involved with their public schools, could be applied to all homeschoolers.

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

Click here for all Wisconsin statutes pertaining to home-based private educational programs.


Attending class/playing sports at a private school

Individual arrangements can be made with private schools on a case-by-case basis.  Any hours spent in a classroom setting cannot be counted as homeschooling hours.

WPA maintains that classes offered by an instructor to multiple family units may not hold up as instructional hours in a home-based private educational program, if these hours were challenged in court or through the legal system. Homeschool administrators must be able to provide evidence of compliance with the law.

WPA will not dictate to homeschool administrators what they can or cannot put on their transcripts or how they document 875 hours. The administrator should carefully consider what is included and that it is an accurate reflection of the home-based private educational program.

Be aware that when you participate in an educational program that is designed and administered by someone outside your family unit you lose the ability to dictate the direction of your educational program.  You may also set a precedent against which other homeschoolers will be judged.

Click here for all Wisconsin statutes pertaining to home-based private educational programs.


Truancy

Wisconsin statute 118.15 requires compulsory attendance between the ages of 6-18. Wisconsin does not have a law that requires compulsory education, only attendance.

Home-based Private Educational programs (homeschools) that meet the criteria outlined in this statute, can be substituted for attendance at a public or private school.

Important information:

  • Your child is truant if you have not filed the PI-1206 at the correct time and received electronic confirmation that it has been processed.
  • 118.15(5) outlines the penalty for truancy, which includes monetary fines and imprisonment.
  • If you consider yourself to be homeschooling a child between the ages of 6-18, but have not filed the PI-1206 form, your child is truant.
  • Filing a PI-1206 form cannot be done retroactively.  The Department of Public Instruction only keeps forms for 7 years.  You must keep a copy of every PI-1206 you file.


Still have questions?

Get in touch with our Regional Contact volunteers.

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