More cities and towns in Massachusetts are turning towards online google forms to streamline the homeschool process. You can totally write a letter to your school district, but we find the form allows for a smoother process. Below is how we complete ours...
Section 1: Student Information
This section requests personal information that the department will include in your homeschool approval/acknowledgement letter. We complete all fields, and enter "n/a" (not applicable) for the following...
Name of current school
Section 2: Curriculum
This section has a table of core subjects with time suggestions for you to review. For example, 250 minutes of math per week for 1st graders. The rest we complete as follows...
Instructors: mom and dad
Section 3: Assessment
There are 5 options for your year-end report. We choose dated work samples, because our children are always working on something. We've taken pictures of their works, sent in screenshots, or videos they've created.
□Independent evaluation by a commercial homeschool program
✔Portfolio with dated work samples
Section 4: Signature
Since our city recently upgraded to a google form, all you have to do is type your name for your signature.
Are There Any Other Changes?
The city doesn't offer a space for you to write "other" subjects. Below is the old form.
How Do You Choose Which Form To Complete?
There are different forms per level (elementary, middle school, high school). The only difference between the forms are the curriculum suggestions. As the child ages, the city recommends more hours of math, health, history, etc. If you don't use grade levels, you can choose the form that's closest to their corresponding age. For example, a 12 year old can use the middle school form.
Do You Have To Complete Their Form?
No. You can also email an education plan to email@example.com . AHEM and MHLA both have examples. If you don't have email, you can also mail the letter to the department. If you choose this route, just make sure you send it certified, so that you have proof they received it.
Why Do You Need To Contact Boston Public Schools If Homeschooling Is A Form Of Private Education?
We honestly have no idea. According to Massachusetts law, homeschooling in Boston is supposed to be overseen by Boston's School Committee. We do not understand how they can legally (or financially) put it back into the hands of Boston Public Schools who may not understand alternative forms of education. If you want, you can totally reach out to DESE or Boston's Superintendent's office for a better answer.
When Do You Notify The City?
We submit ours early August.
You'll start informing the city if your child is 6 (at the start of September). Here is the law for your reference. If your child attends traditional school and you decide to homeschool mid-year, you can submit it then.
For families that plan to homeschool every year, you can submit the form with your year-end report (around June).
When Do You Get A Response?
The city promises to respond within 3-5 business days. Sometimes they honor this and sometimes they do not. When they do respond, you should receive an approval letter that looks like this.
You'll be able to use this letter to get educator discounts at:
What Happens If The City Asks For More Information?
Sometimes staff will ask for more. Here is an example below...
I reviewed your application. What grade is your child going into? You wrote n/a. Children that are K0-K2 do not need an application. The application process is starting at grade 1.
Please let me know if you have any more questions."
in which I responded...
"Thanks [staff] we do not do grades. So I wrote "n/a."
The next email from their department was the approval letter you see above. New homeschooling families tend to be super nervous about interacting with the homeschool department. Please know you are doing something totally legal (and super amazing) for your family. I hope this sample conversation eases any fears you may have.
If you ever need to talk to someone who's currently homeschooling. We are here. Curious what a homeschooling family like ours does? We wrote about a day in our lives here and here. We also keep a calendar of local events and list books we love. If you're looking for curriculums to try -- Khan Academy and ABCya are free.
Finally, if you're curious how much homeschooling may cost your family, we built an online calculator here. And if you're still on the fence, this quiz can help you figure out if homeschooling is right for you.
We hope this gets you off to a great homeschooling start!!
Until next time...
Love the Journey,