- Testing time in Arkansas: Are you ready? January 17, 2014
- Information about Common Core December 18, 2013
- Free Big History Curriculum from History Channel October 31, 2013
- Free access to Discovery Education for 30 days September 20, 2013
- Homeschool freebie: Make it Real by Math Mammoth September 14, 2013
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I should have written this sooner, as the deadline to file your Notice of Intent and Waiver forms in Arkansas is coming up on August 15. According to state law, you must have your form postmarked by midnight, August 15, in order to be in compliance with the law. Parents can hand deliver the forms to their local Superintendents office. Families new to homeschooling in Arkansas must hand deliver the forms. This year, parents can file the form online—I strongly advise against this.
I am not against the concept of electronic filing. Actually, it is a good idea. When this option first appeared, I was all for it. Finally, I thought, Arkansas is entering the 21st Century.
The parent instruction manual (32 pages) for the online filing option and the emails that are sent from the Arkansas Department of Education contain wording that gives the ADE the legal ability to approve or deny a homeschool application. Nothing in the homeschool law gives the ADE this power. The law specifically states that only the local Superintendent of Schools can deny a homeschool application if one of the following conditions are met:
1) The homeschool student must be transferring from public school to a homeschool AND one of the following:
- The student is currently under disciplinary action and that action has not been completed or the student has been expelled.
- Or, The student has chronic attendance and discipline problems and the Superintendent of Schools believes the parents are attempting to circumvent truancy laws.
- Or, there is a person living in the household who is required to register with the National Sex Offender Database. This does not apply if the person being homeschooled is the offender.
If a parent is not transferring from a public school to homeschool during the year, then the above situations do not apply (except for the sex offender criteria.) As long as a parent files by August 15 for the first semester, December 15 for the second semester or files within 30 days of moving into the state, then there is no waiting period or approval period.
Second, the law states that all new homeschoolers must hand deliver their forms to their local Superintendent of Schools. Online filing is not hand delivering. This is a change in the law and it must go through proper channels to have this changed.
Do not file online this year. Doing so gives the ADE the ability to change the law by default. Make the ADE go through proper legislative channels to change the homeschool law. Too many of us have had to fight too hard for too long to see our right to homeschool be taken from us without a legal fight. Keep the ADE within its legal guidelines. Until the wording in all communications from the ADE is changed or until they post a public notice or press release on their website stating that they are not approving homeschools and this is indeed an error in wording, I strongly advise homeschool parents to file by mail or in person. Do not file your forms electronically this year.
Reminder to all homeschool parents in Arkansas. You must file a Notice of Intent and a Waiver form with your local superintendent’s office no later than Monday, August 15th if you want to be in compliance with the homeschool law. There is a link to the forms on the right-hand side of the screen.
For first-time homeschoolers – the law states that you must hand deliver the forms to your local superintendent on or before August 15th. You do not have to discuss what is on the form with any employee at the office, but the form must be hand delivered.
Student Drivers – if your child is at least 14 years old and you plan on allowing them to drive, make a copy of your Notice of Intent and Waiver forms. There is a section at the bottom that must be filled out and notarized. Leave that bottom section blank until you are ready to take the permit test or road test. Before heading over to DMV, fill out the bottom of the form and get it notarized. Do not send a notarized copy to the school superintendent’s office, it is not necessary.
Other considerations – if you have moved into Arkansas from another state during the month of August, or if you have moved and your local school district has changed during the month of August, you have 30 days to notify the local school district’s superintendent office of your intent to homeschool. The law states as follows:
"Within thirty (30) calendar days of establishing residency within the district, parents or guardians moving into the school district during the school year must give written notice to the superintendent of their local school district of their intent to provide a home school for their children and sign a waiver acknowledging that the State of Arkansas is not liable for the education of their children during the time that the parents choose to home school."
Hope you found this helpful.
The Arkansas Department of Education has posted the new Notice of Intent and Waiver forms on their website. You can download them by clicking on the link located on the right hand side of this page.
These forms must be filled out every year and returned to your local superintendent’s office no later than August 15, 2011. The law states that if this is your first year homeschooling in Arkansas, you must hand deliver the forms instead of mailing them in. For homeschooled teens that are planning to get a license or permit, the forms must be notarized. Make a copy of the form and keep it with you. Your teen will need to show the form when they apply for a license or learner’s permit.
SB774 passed the Arkansas State Senate today. It was read and sent to the House Education Committee. As soon as I have the bill number for the house, I will post it here.
SB774 also known as the “Tim Tebow Bill” is set for a third reading by the Senate Education Committee with a recommendation that it passes committee and goes to the Senate.
SB774 if passed, will allow homeschool students to participate in extra-curricular sports and interscholastic activities. When the bill first went to committee, I was hopeful for reasonable legislation. Amendment 2 changed that. There are three amendments to the bill. Amendment 1 was retracted and replaced by amendment 2. This changed the wording of the bill to require homeschoolers wanting to participate to take norm-referenced standardized tests every semester. Although yearly testing is required for all students in grades 3 through 9, public school students do not have to take the benchmarks. Currently, homeschool parents have the option of taking the yearly mandated tests provided by the state of Arkansas.
Requiring testing twice a year for homeshool students wanting to participate in band, choir, dance and sports is excessive. High school students in grades 10 through 12 that homeschool would have to pay for their kids to test. For other students, testing that was done in the spring will not be valid for fall and winter sports. The new version of the “Tim Tebow” law would require testing in the fall prior to trying out for football, soccer, or other sports.
Another drawback to this law is that it opens the door to more rigourous homeschool legislation. I feel that Arkansas needs to allow homeschoolers to participate in public school activities, but only if the homeschool kids are subject to the requirements as public school kids.
I have been following SB774 also known as the “Tim Tebow” bill. This bill, if passed, will allow Arkansas homeschoolers to participate in public school sports and activities. Right now, homeschoolers cannot participate in public school sports or any activity governed by the Arkansas Athletic Association.
Amendment number 1 was withdrawn on March 16, 2011. Amendment number 2 was adopted, read and reported as correctly engrossed and sent back to the Education Committee.
I have an issue with amendment number 2. It changed the wording on page 2, line 36 to the following:
“Demonstrate educational progress by scoring at grade-level or above on a norm-referenced standardized test in mathematics, English, science and social studies, each semester that the student participates in an interscholastic activity;”
The above wording could mean that homeschoolers who want to participate in sports on a public school team will be subject to standardized testing every semester that they want to participate in sports. Additionally, the bill requires testing in subjects other than math and English, something that public school kids are not subjected to.
I think that this is putting way too much regulation on homeschoolers. Currently homeschoolers in grades 3 through 9 take standardized tests in math and English. The state of Arkansas pays for this testing. If homeschoolers are supposed to test every semester if their kids want to participate in interscholastic activities then the state should pay for the additional testing and public school students should have to be subjected to the same requirements.
Let me know what you think
Testing packets have been mailed to all registered homeschool families who have students in grades 3 through 9. The packets were mailed out on February 8th and you should have them by now. If you have not yet received your packet contact the testing office.
As always there are several options that will meet mandatory testing.
1) Register to have your child take the test at one of the many test centers. This option is free, the state of Arkansas provides the testing materials.
2) Test with an approved local homeschool group. There is no fee for this option.
3) Test through one of the three approved outside agencies: Seton Home Study School; Bob Jone University; or Brewer Testing Services.
4) Qualify for an exemption. This is usually reserved for students with learning disabilities.
This year you can register for testing online. You will need the information off of the green sheet in the testing packet that was sent to you in the mail. If you are using an outside agency for testing, the white form must be filled out an emailed or snail mailed in with the proper paperwork. For families claiming an exemption, documentation supporting the reason for the exemption must be mailed in to the office. The last day to register for testing is March 7, 2011. Testing sites will not have extra materials and will not admit students who did not register.
Arkansas State Senator Gilbert Baker (R), will bring what is known as the “Tim Tebow Law” to the State Senate when they resume sessions in January 2011. The bill SB 842 , if passed, will allow home schooled students in Arkansas to play and compete on public school teams. This includes sports, band, choir, debate and other types of competitive and intramural clubs. The basis behind the bill is that home-schoolers pay taxes to the local school district and their children should be allowed access to the school’s activities. Another reason for the bill is that Arkansas schools may be losing out on talented individuals who are currently banned from participation solely due to their home-school status.
Home schooled students who choose to participate in public school activities covered by SB 842 will be required to adhere to the same academic and behavioral standards as public school kids. Norm-referenced test scores for tests taken within the prior 9 months are required to prove academic standing. Parents must pay any participation fees if the same fees are required of public school participants. Homeschool students may participate in activities at their base school, the school assigned to their residents.
For more information, see Senator Gilbert explain the “Tim Tebow Law” in this video clip:
I think that this is a great opportunity for all homeschoolers. Read the bill by clicking on the link above. This bill gives homeschoolers a chance to participate in public school activities without adding undo burdens on homeschools that do not wish to participate. Let me know what you think. Discussions are welcome.
Arkansas homeschoolers have until close of business on Friday, August 14, 2010 to submit their completed Notice of Intent and Wavier forms to their local Superintendent of Schools Office. First time homeschoolers must hand deliver the forms. Returning homeschoolers may mail the form but it must reach the office by August 14th.
Homeschoolers who are of driving age and plan to get their driver’s permit or licence must provide DMV a notarized copy of the Notice of Intent form. The local Superintendent’s Office does not need the notarized copy. Most homeschoolers make a copy of the form and have it notarized when the need arises.
Moved into the state or changed school districts recently?
You have 15 days from the time you moved or until August 14 to file the forms, use the later of the two dates.
Thinking about homeschooling but have not yet made a decision?
You can start your child in a traditional school (public or private) and if you decide later on to homeschool you can do so without any questions at the end of the 1st semester (about December 15) or you can send in your forms and wait 14 days before starting actual homeschool.
Families planning to homeschool for the 2010-2011 school year are required to file a Notice of Intent and Waiver Form with the local Superintendent of School’s Office no later than midnight on August 15, 2010. According to Arkansas Homeschool Law, first time homeschoolers must hand deliver the forms to the office. Returning homeschoolers must mail the form or drop it off at the office.
Homeschooled students in grades 3 through 9 must take mandatory standardized tests every spring. Testing is free, the dates are as follows:
April 4 through 8, 2011.
April 11 through 15, 2011.
Testing packets will be sent out in February 2011. For more information see the Arkansas Testing Website.