For Immediate Release: Both record keeping requirements and subject requirements provide critical support to homeschooled children
Canton, Ma., 04/10/2019—The Coalition for Responsible Home Education (CRHE), a national nonprofit founded by homeschool alumni to advocate for homeschooled children, is urging Missouri lawmakers to amend a provision in House Bill 1139 that would allow homeschooling parents in the state to choose to either keep records of their children’s education or provide instruction in a list of required subjects.
“HB 1139 would be detrimental to the education of children homeschooled in Missouri,” said Dr. Rachel Coleman, executive director of CRHE.
Parents who homeschool their children in Missouri are required to maintain records such as a plan book, samples of the child’s work, or evaluations of the child’s progress; and are required to provide at least a thousand hours of instruction, six hundred of which must be in “reading, language arts, mathematics, social studies and science.”
HB 1139 would change the “and” between these two requirements to an “or,” allowing parents to either keep records or meet the state’s subject requirements. If HB 1139 becomes law as written, a parent could choose not to teach a child mathematics, or science, or reading, and still be in compliance with state law.
“These requirements should absolutely not be either/or,” said Coleman. “Homeschool statutes need both record keeping requirements and subject requirements.” When a homeschooling parent fails to keep good records of a child’s education, Coleman explained, it can be extremely difficult for that parent to create a high school transcript. “Good record keeping is paramount,” said Coleman. “When a homeschooling parent does not keep records of their child’s education, no one does.”
Coleman also pointed out that state law requires parents to show their records if there is any question about whether they are homeschooling in accordance with the law.
“If parents can opt out of the record keeping requirement, what happens if questions arise about their homeschool?” Coleman asked. “Requiring homeschooling parents to both keep records and provide instruction in core subjects only makes sense.”
Coleman did not express concern about other provisions in the HB 1139, which would clarify that any individually identifiable information about homeschoolers held by the school district is confidential and make a voluntary process for parents notifying their local school districts of their intent to homeschool more straightforward.
The Coalition for Responsible Home Education is a national organization founded by homeschool alumni and dedicated to raising awareness of the need for homeschooling reform, providing public policy guidance, and advocating for responsible home education practices.