Record Keeping


What if I forgot to file?

If you forgot to file the PI-1206 for any year, your child is/was truant for the time period in which you were not in compliance with compulsory attendance laws.

There is no way to file retroactively.  You are 100% responsible for compliance with the law.  If you did not file for any year, you do not have proof that you were in compliance with Wisconsin homeschooling law for that year.  There is nothing you or WPA can do to fix this.


I can’t find my PI-1206

If you correctly filed your PI-1206, you can go back into your DPI account and reprint any form from the past 7 years.  The Department of Public Instruction only keeps PI-1206 forms for 7 years.  As the administrator of your homeschool, you are responsible for keeping a copy of every form PI-1206 you file.  That is your proof of compliance with Wisconsin homeschooling law.

If you homeschool through the high school years it is very important that you have a copy of your PI-1206 for those years.  Colleges and employers often ask for a diploma and the 4 high school years of the PI-1206. The PI-1206 is proof of your compliance with Wisconsin state homeschooling laws.


Transcripts

A transcript is meant to be a summary of subjects studied, grades received, and credits earned. The purpose of a transcript is to demonstrate what a student has done as a homeschooler. Developing a transcript can be challenging. Ways of homeschooling are wide-ranging and varied, making it tricky to summarize the homeschooling experience with a quick grid or checklist.

Keep in mind, a transcript is really just a quick way to assure an employer, college admissions officer, or some other person that a student has worked on a number of general subjects. There are many ways to supplement a transcript such as a personal interview, resume, portfolio of work, etc.

A transcript can be developed in a variety of ways. It can be written based on the number of hours spent studying a subject, or what has been learned. Some homeschoolers use state guidelines to inform how they write their transcript. Many conventional schools award one semester credit for 90 hours of classwork plus homework. A transcript using this method might have 8 semesters of English, 8 semesters of science, 2 semesters of a foreign language etc.

There are many examples of transcripts online. Remember, tailor the transcript to the goal. Homeschoolers should be prepared to advocate for themselves and be ready to explain just how much work it is to be responsible for creating a personalized educational plan.

If plans include college, entry or re-entry to public school, look at the requirements or record keeping methods of the institution under consideration.  Making the transcript look similar will make it easier for institutions to translate the homeschooler’s experiences into their expectations.

Testing is not required by Wisconsin law. If  standardized tests are taken (PSAT, ACT, SAT, CLEP, SAT – subject tests, etc.), those scores can be listed on the transcript. Test scores do not have to be reported to the state or school district. Some colleges or universities may require standardized testing in lieu of a conventional transcript from an accredited institution.


How do I record instructional hours?

It is recommended that you keep an attendance record for your homeschool on which you record the number of hours spent in parentally administered instruction to the children of one family unit.  As the administrator of your homeschool you are responsible for being able to demonstrate, if asked, that you have fulfilled the minimum of 875 hours annually.


What counts towards the required 875 hours?

Wisconsin’s Home-based private education law states:

(3g) Home-based private educational program. “Home-based private educational program” means a program of educational instruction provided to a child by the child’s parent or guardian or by a person designated by the parent or guardian. An instructional program provided to more than one family unit does not constitute a home-based private educational program. (Wisconsin statute 115.001(3g))

Hours that are administered by a parent/guardian and provided to only the children from one family unit can be counted toward the minimum yearly total of 875 instructional hours.*

All other hours are considered enrichment activities.

Classes offered by an instructor to more than one family unit 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.

*Homeschool administrators set their own homeschool hours and schedule.  The minimum 875 hours can be completed over the course of 12 months.


What if my child returns to conventional school midyear?

If your child returns to conventional school (public or private) after you have filed the PI-1206 for the current school year, you must go back into your PI-1206 and change the number of students to zero (or the correct number minus the returning child).


Required Records vs. Personal Records

Wisconsin Homeschooling Law requires that you file the PI-1206 each year that you are homeschooling. Filing the PI-1206 is a report of enrollment as well as a legal affidavit that states that your program complies with the Wisconsin Homeschooling Law WI Act 512 (1983).  As the administrator of your homeschool you are responsible for keeping records that would demonstrate that your homeschool meets the requirements in WI Act 512 (1983).

Wisconsin Compulsory Attendance law states that all children ages 6-18 must be enrolled in an educational program. An attendance record from your home-based private educational program (homeschool), along with your PI-1206 (which verifies your child’s enrollment in your homeschool), demonstrates your compliance with this law.

Although there are very few requirements for record keeping to comply with Wisconsin law, there may be reasons that you would want to keep personal homeschooling records.

Some of these reasons are:

  • Keeping track of what has been learned in your homeschool
  • To highlight what has been done over time
  • To provide long-range perspective
  • To offer a written demonstration of learning
  • Useful in providing raw materials for applications, transcripts, and credentials

Records that you keep for your own purposes can take many forms and need not mimic the type of records kept in public schools – although the type of records you keep could be a consideration if your child attends public school in the future.


Graduation Requirements

In Wisconsin, homeschools are private schools and therefore can award diplomas the same way other private schools do.

There are no state mandated graduation requirements for private schools. Each private school creates its own set of requirements.

As the administrator of your home-based private educational program you set the graduation requirements for your student. You can then award a diploma to the child that has met those requirements.

WPA recommends that you have a written copy of the graduation requirements for your homeschool, just as any private school in Wisconsin does.

Print and save a copy of your PI-1206 form each year. This is proof that you have been legally homeschooling. Copies of forms filed during previous school years can be downloaded and printed from the DPI website. The Department of Public Instruction only keeps records for 7 years. Make sure you have a copy of your form for each year that you filed.

See also: Transcripts and Record Keeping


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.


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