Even though we unschooled Aly, we support the local school district when we can. Mostly, we do this because we owe them a debt of gratitude for everything they did to support Aly’s “independent” education. In August, we had an opportunity to support them, and may have helped significantly.
This is the conclusion of a 3-part series, that begins with an explanation of why we urge all homeschoolers to support their local schools, and includes an explanation of what we did to assist the local school district.
A day or so after we emailed information to the school district, we learned that our effort had been successful. The Superintendent told us that the Alaska Department of Education (AKDOE) decided that in view of our diligence and Aly’s success, they could not, in good conscience, penalize Haines Borough School District for Aly’s withdrawal. As a result, the Superintendent said, AKDOE “. . . agreed that Aly should not count against us and our Home School program will make AYP.” I didn’t want to pester him with questions, but it sounds like Aly’s status may have made or broken HBSD as a “failed” school under No Child Left Behind! The district’s small enough that one single student could easily make the difference.
This was good news, not just for the school, but for us. Under state law, people have the right to educate their children as they see fit. However, that allowance does not mean that every homeschooler receives an adequate education. We relied on the law to allow us to pursue Aly’s unschooling. We saw plenty of evidence of her success, but this evaluation and implicit praise for a job well done from the governing body makes us feel good about all we, as a family, have accomplished.
If you withdraw your children from public school to homeschool them, I urge you to retain a copy of the withdrawal, whether that be email or district forms. Also, when your child graduates, send copies of the withdrawal, final transcripts, and other documentation to your local school, along with a cover letter that specifically states that the enclosed is for their records for average yearly progress (AYP) reporting for No Child Left Behind. This small effort on your part will help further your community’s educational efforts, which, whether you agree with or approve of them, need and deserve everyone’s support.