CT Cooperative of Home Educators East of the River
CT Homeschooling & The Law
Homeschooling is legal in all states. The laws governing homeschooling differ from state to state, however. In Connecticut there are two main things homeschoolers need to understand; the law, and the Guidelines. The two sometimes cause confusion for people. The Guidelines (C-4 or C-14) are part of the Suggested Procedure on Home Instruction in CT. The law, is Ct General Statute 10-184 that mandates parents having the care and instruction of their children unless they choose another venue for it.
IF YOUR CHILD HAS NEVER ATTENDED SCHOOL:
You don't have to "do" anything. Just homeschool. Unless you are contacted by a school district, at which time you can consider the information they are contacting you with, and about. Most families who have never enrolled their children in school, do not hear from a school district.
IF YOUR CHILD IS ALREADY IN SCHOOL:
Parents in CT withdraw their children from school in various ways, to begin homeschooling.
1) Some parents file a Letter of Withdrawal. A sample is shown below; just scroll down.
2) Some parents simply tell a school employee verbally, in person or on the phone, that they are beginning to homeschool their child(ren).
3) Some parents write their own note to the school, informing them that they are starting to homeschool.
4) Some parents are taking their children out of a private school, and inform them in various ways, of their choice to homeschool.
What is important to know is that there is no consistency in exactly how CT parents have removed their child(ren) from another school, to start homeschooling. All of these methods of "withdrawal" of their child(ren) have been accepted in various towns.
However, generally speaking, it is fair to say that some towns are more "homeschool friendly" than others. Most towns respectfully accept a parental notice to the school that they are beginning to homeschool - whether that notice is in writing, verbally in person or on the phone. They may ask a parent to file a Notice of Intent. Some parents do. Some do not want to, and if they decline, that is the end of the matter.
If you do file a Notice of Intent, the school district will probably want to set up an appointment with you at the end of the school year, to do a Portfolio Review. They will contact you for that brief meeting (approximately 15 minutes), where you are able to show that you were homeschooling during the previous year. This does not mean that anyone has the right to evaluate how you homeschool; it's only to show that you did. Some school districts do not contact parents for the Portfolio Review.
However, just be aware that a few school districts are less accomodating, and will pressure if not outright threaten a family with action if they do not file the Notice of Intent form. Some families have not complied with this sort of threat, and they have had DCF at their door. In the past, CT homeschool families have had some challenging experiences. For families that have their children enrolled in school, who deliver a Letter of Withdrawal, some of them are being threatened into filing. If they do not file, after demands from their school district, to do so, they are reported to DCF. This is not common, but it has happened.
Letter of Withdrawal - Here is a sample of what you may write:
"August 25, 2014,
Dear Mr./Mrs./Miss/Ms. Superintendent,
Effective immediately, I am withdrawing my child, Jane Doe, from the Your Town Public School District. I will be homeschooling my child in accordance with CT General Statute (C.G.S.) 10-184.
Your Spouses Name (optional)"
This letter should best be delivered in one of two ways. Either hand deliver it to the school superintendent's office, and have them sign and date it, giving you a photocopy, or mail it certified mail, return receipt requested. In doing this, both the school district and the new homeschoolers have documentation that the child is no longer enrolled in a public school system.
No additional information is required.
The sometimes frustrating part of homeschooling in CT, with regard to the law, is the difference of opinions and strategies that exist. Some groups will suggest that a family always file the Notice of Intent; others will do the opposite. No matter what, when it comes right down to making that choice, it is a personal choice, with various means working for each of us. The bottom line is that in Connecticut there is not agreement among homeschoolers, nor among legal professionals, about the *interpretation of the law*. So, we all take our chances and the vast majority of us homeschool, without incident. If you do find that you want or need legal counsel, here are two resources for you to consider.
The National Home Education Legal Defense www.NHELD.com organization has compiled a Fact Sheet about legal aspects of homeschooling in Connecticut. Click here to view the NHELD Fact Sheet.
Another national homeschool legal association is listed here for your information. These two organizations do not necessarily see the issue of homeschooling in CT, the same way. It is for YOU to decide between your options. http://www.hslda.org
CT-C.H.E.E.R. is offering this webpage for information purposes only. We are not offering legal advice. If you feel you need help in that area, we can refer you to others in CT, who are qualified. We are sharing the information available at this time.
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