FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions)
- What are some of the best things about homeschooling?
- Where do I get the books? How do I choose a curriculum?
- How much does homeschooling cost?
- Do I need to send the DPI a PI-1206 form for my 5 year old? For my 17 year old?
- How soon can I start homeschooling? Can I begin homeschooling in the middle of the school year?
- If homeschooling doesn’t work for our family, can my children go back to school?
- Why don’t homeschoolers have to take tests? How do parents know if their children are learning?
- I just got a letter telling me to bring my preschooler in for screening. Should I do this?
- Can homeschoolers get into college?
- How do homeschoolers get high school diplomas?
What are some of the best things about homeschooling?
Homeschooling families often mention that having time and opportunities to learn and play together strengthens their families, improves communication and cooperation, forges bonds within the family, and helps children learn to get along well with people of all ages. Children and teens who have had difficulty learning in a conventional school setting (because of competition, fixed schedules, one-size-fits-all curriculums, distractions, and other factors) often find they enjoy learning at home where they can go at their own pace and spend extra time on what interests them. Parents appreciate the opportunity to raise their children according to their principles and beliefs rather than those of the government, learn themselves, and gain confidence and experience in taking responsibility for their families’ lives in ways that go beyond education.
Where do I get the books? How do I choose a curriculum?
How much does homeschooling cost?
There are no fees for homeschooling itself. It is possible to homeschool very successfully very inexpensively. With the WPA handbook and a public library card, you can learn everything you need to know. Of course, expensive learning resources and purchased curriculums (some costing as much as $1,500 per student per year) are available, but most families spend much, much less than that.
Do I need to send the DPI a PI-1206 form for my 5 year old? For my 17 year old?
Homeschoolers are covered by the compulsory school attendance law. Therefore, you do not need to send a form to the DPI until October 15th of the school year during which your child turns 6 on or before September 1. You need to send a form until the end of the semester or quarter during which your young person turns 18.
How soon can I start homeschooling? Can I begin homeschooling in the middle of the school year?
In Wisconsin, you can begin homeschooling at any time. However, if your children are currently enrolled in a public school or a conventional private school, you cannot legally begin homeschooling until the DPI has received your completed Form PI-1206.
If homeschooling doesn’t work for our family, can my children go back to school?
Yes. However, experienced homeschoolers recommend taking time (perhaps a few months or more) to give your family a chance to adjust to homeschooling. When families withdraw their children from a conventional school to begin homeschooling, they find it’s a good idea to take a break from academics and take time to sleep, relax, go for walks, bake, watch videos and DVDs, and just unwind. Also, allow time to figure out how you want to homeschool; there are many choices.
Why don’t homeschoolers have to take tests? How do parents know if their children are learning?
Homeschools are private schools, and like conventional private schools, students are not required to take state-mandated tests. Most homeschoolers do NOT want their children to take state-mandated tests because they do not want to be forced to prepare their children for tests based on the values, principles, and beliefs of the state. Homeschooling parents want to educate their children according to their own principles and beliefs.
Because homeschooling parents spend so much time with their children, they have many opportunities to observe what they are saying and doing and can easily observe their learning. Many parents find that keeping informal records also helps; they can review what their children were doing a few months ago (or longer) and compare it with what they are doing now. Homeschooling parents are frequently surprised at how much their children know, including things no one has officially “taught” them.
See the WPA handbook for more information on record keeping and ways of evaluating learning.
I just got a letter telling me to bring my preschooler in for screening. Should I do this?
WPA recommends that parents not take their children for preschool screening. For more information, see the WPA handbook.
Can homeschoolers get into college?
Yes. In fact, many colleges and universities are recruiting homeschoolers because they are responsible, self-motivated learners and well socialized.
How do homeschoolers get high school diplomas?
Because homeschools are private schools, they can award diplomas the same way other private schools do. Families decide what requirements must be met for graduation and award a diploma to young people who meet them. A young person with a homeschool diploma can check “Yes” on an employment application that asks, “Do you have a high school diploma?” Colleges do not expect homeschooled applicants to have conventional public high school diplomas. For more details, see the WPA handbook.