Homeschooling in Wisconsin
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Growing up on a small dairy farm in Wisconsin, I had never heard of homeschooling. Until recently, I thought this was because of the small community in which I was raised or, perhaps, the complexity of farm life. After all, most of my childhood consisted of working in the crop fields, caring for animals, milking cows, cooking, cleaning, tending to our garden, or attending school. After studying the history of homeschooling, however, I realized that most families throughout the 1970's likely didn't know homeschooling was an option. Compared to the 11.1% of children being homeschooled across the United States in 2020, only .03% of children were homeschooled at that time.

As time progressed and I had children of my own, I started to hear about homeschooled families. In time, we, too, became a homeschooling family. For over a dozen years now, we have navigated through the challenges, the joys, and the responsibilities that homeschooling brings. 

 

Understanding the homeschool laws where you reside, having support, and obtaining a solid, biblically-based education are all important facets of homeschool success. The valuable information and resources provided below will help you feel confident as you homeschool in Wisconsin.

 

How to Legally Homeschool in Wisconsin

Homeschooling in Wisconsin is fairly straightforward, and there are just a few things you should know. Starting at age six, a child must attend school regularly until the end of the school term, quarter, or semester of the school year in which the child becomes eighteen years of age. Homeschooling may be substituted for attendance at a public or private school. 

 

Key Points

  • Home-based education can be provided to a child by a parent or guardian or a person designated by the parent or guardian. 
  • Home-based educators do not need specific educational prerequisites, college degrees, teaching certificates, or licenses.
  • Home-based education only applies to single-family units.
  • A Home-based education cannot be established to avoid the compulsory school attendance requirement.

 

Homeschool Enrollment Report (PI-1206)

  • You must file a homeschool enrollment report (PI-1206) every year the child is homeschooled.
  • File on or before October 15 for children who reach age six on or before September 1 until the child becomes 18 years of age. 
  • You can submit the PI-1206 for a new school year starting July 1.
  • If you withdraw your child from a public or private school after October 15, submit or update your PI-1205 report on or before the date your child ceases to attend the school. 
  • Your child will be officially enrolled in the home-based program on the date you complete and electronically "submit" the online PI-1206.
  • The PI-1206 can be filed electronically >>> here.

What else is required?

  • Provide at least 875 hours of instruction each school year.
  • Provide sequentially progressive instruction in reading, language arts, mathematics, social studies, science, and health.

 

What is NOT required?

  • Specific curriculum (choose your own)
  • State-mandated tests
  • Submission of progress reports or test results
  • Home-based educators do not need to include any concept, topic, or practice that conflicts with their religious doctrines. 

 

Kindergarten Prerequisite    

A child must complete 5-year-old kindergarten or have an exemption before enrolling in a Wisconsin public school for first grade. If you choose not to enroll your child in a public or private school for kindergarten and would like to enroll him/her in a public school for first grade, you will need to request an exemption form from the school district in which you would like to enroll your child. Additional information is available on the Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction's website >>> here

 

Interscholastic and Extracurricular activities

God often works through our service and talents to draw others closer to him. With each opportunity we have to serve, we can spread the gospel message of love, faith, and forgiveness through Jesus' sacrifice on the cross and fulfill the biblical mandate to love others.

 

Homeschooling allows us greater flexibility to explore each child's unique interests and sharpen their talents. You may want to explore areas of interest like baking, flying, construction, acting, sports, and more. As you discover your child's interests, ask your family, friends, members of your church, and members of your local homeschool group if they know of any businesses, programs, community-based opportunities, or other ideas that might help you sharpen your child's gifts and talents. You may be surprised to find what opportunities await!

 

Homeschool students also have options available through Wisconsin's public schools:

 

  1. Homeschool students can attend up to two courses per semester in one school district or one course per semester in up to two school districts (not to exceed more than two publicly funded courses total per semester). 

 

  • if the school board determines that there is sufficient space in the classroom
  • if the student meets the minimum standards for admission to a course (Minimum standards are determined by each district's school board.)

 

  1. Homeschool students may participate in interscholastic athletics or extracurricular activities in their resident school district.

 

  • Participation fees, uniform fees, equipment fees, and musical instruments fees may be assessed (equivalent to the amount required for students enrolled in the school).

 

Recordkeeping 

Wisconsin school districts do not monitor home-based private educational programs. They do not verify hours of instruction provided or review the curriculum. However, if you decide to enroll your child into a school after homeschooling him, the prospective school can determine what grade level to place your child, and the school also has discretion on the number of credits to grant your child for his completed homeschool courses. Therefore, good recordkeeping can prove helpful if you decide to re-enroll your child in public or private school. 

 

Records may also be requested by prospective employers, the military, and any post-high school institutions to which your child may apply in the future. 

 

Homeschool parents may want to maintain records suggested below: 

 

  • A copy of the Homeschool Enrollment Report (PI-1206)
  • A school calendar verifying a minimum of 875 hours of instruction per year
  • Course Summary (This "Scope and Sequence" summarizes the BJU Press Homeschool courses)
  • Tests and sample assignments 
  • Annual nationally standardized test scores or yearly assessment report
  • Correspondence with school officials 
  • SAT or ACT (college entrance exam) test scores
  • Immunization records
  • Transcript
  • Resumé

 

Preparing Your Teenager for Homeschool Graduation in Wisconsin

Many colleges and universities accept home-issued diplomas for admission and financial aid. However, many post-secondary institutions also use alternative admissions processes for homeschooled students, requesting additional documents such as SAT or ACT scores, course outlines, essays, letters of recommendation, personal interview, and/or a high school transcript (or a GED). Some post-secondary institutions require detailed coursework, requesting proof that hands-on high school level laboratory experiments were conducted with the applicant's high school science courses.

 

To best equip your child for post-secondary education, research high school graduation requirements for Wisconsin's public schools and contact any of your teenager's prospective college admissions offices to inquire about their specific entrance requirements. Reference this information as you set high school graduation requirements and develop a four-year plan for your teenager's high school courses. When your teenager has completed the graduation requirements you have selected, issue your teenager's homeschool diploma and complete your teenage graduate's transcripts.

 

Resources for Wisconsin Homeschool Families

With the growing number of home educators throughout Wisconsin, homeschoolers are finding it easier than ever to connect with other like-minded homeschool families. You can connect with homeschool families and gain support through local homeschool groups, local homeschool co-ops, social media, local programs, and your statewide homeschool organization.

 

Homeschool Groups and Co-ops

Local Homeschool groups provide opportunities to socialize, learn, and connect with other homeschool families by offering activities such as field trips, mom meetups, monthly parent meetings, science fairs, and more. 

 

A Homeschool Co-op is a group of homeschoolers coming together in cooperation to provide educational and/or social activities for their children. If you choose to register your child in a co-op class, inquire about recordkeeping for credits, attendance, and grades.

 

  • Co-ops can have a wide range of operation styles, goals, and worldviews.
  • Co-ops may consist of a few families or larger groups of families who have developed programs that offer classes to any homeschoolers who wish to participate. 
  • Larger groups typically require registration and charge fees to cover administration costs.
  • Homeschool co-ops may encourage or require parental participation or volunteering.

 

Locate homeschool groups or local co-ops in your area through your network of homeschool families, through a local HomeWorks by Precept Consultant, or through social media.

 

Social Media

Social media can be a valuable support tool where you can connect with other homeschool parents and inquire about local support groups, co-ops, sports options, and more. Many local groups have websites and often use social media platforms as their primary means of communication. You can find homeschool groups on Facebook by typing in the name of your area and the word "homeschool." For your convenience, here are a few Facebook groups that you may find helpful:

 

 

Your Local Library

Enquire with your local library about books related to your child's interests. Also, inquire about reading program options or an occasional class of interest.

 

State Homeschool Organizations

State homeschool organizations protect homeschool freedoms and often serve homeschoolers through supportive websites and programs.

 

Wisconsin Homeschooling Parents Association (WHPA)

Since 1984, the Wisconsin Homeschooling Parents Association has been dedicated to protecting Wisconsin parents' right to educate their children. They actively monitor state and national legislation to provide current and accurate information on legislation that impacts homeschooling.

 

Annual Events 

Annual Conference and Resource Fair

 

Additional Support and Resources

 

Homeschool Legal Defense Association (HSLDA)

HSLDA offers supportive information and resources, legislative advocacy, and legal representation benefits. Click >>> here <<< for more information on HSLDA. 

 

BJU Press Homeschool Testing and Evaluation Services

BJU Press Testing & Evaluation offers the Iowa Assessments™ Form E achievement test online for grades K–12. Since an approved test administrator is provided by the Testing & Evaluation service, you can choose an adult to proctor the test in the comfort of your own home, and no qualifications are needed.

 

You can also order printed test materials for Iowa Assessments™, CogAT®, Stanford, and OLSAT for your student and select a local administrator to test your child. 

 

Ask a HomeWorks by Precept Consultant for more details on these testing options.

 

AHE (Academy of Homeschool Education) 

A grading and record service provided by BJU Press Homeschool

 

  • Keeps track of student grades 
  • Sends quarterly report cards 
  • Includes annual standardized testing
  • Prepares official transcripts that detail the student's academic record, including results of standardized tests
  • Holds an annual graduation ceremony 
  • Incorporates a Cash4College program which allows you to earn tuition dollars toward enrollment at Bob Jones University with every curriculum purchase
  • Offers dual credit options: Earn dual credit by taking residential or online Bob Jones University courses and have them count toward high school graduation requirements and college credits

 

Learn more about AHE >>> here

 

In Conclusion

I have enjoyed the time homeschooling has allowed me to spend with my children. I am also grateful that I have been able to help my children develop a solid foundation in Jesus Christ through the biblical integration that BJU Press Homeschool so expertly intertwines throughout every subject. Along with an educational tool that is woven with God's word and a solid foundation of academics that fulfills the requirements of your state's homeschool laws, my prayer is that the valuable information and resources shared above will help you feel confident as you homeschool in Wisconsin.

 

I cannot emphasize enough how helpful the support, advice, and encouragement from those who understand and have lived out the challenges and enjoyments of homeschooling have been to me. Consequently, I am thankful for each of the HomeWorks by Precept Consultants who passionately serve the homeschooling community by encouraging, praying with, and helping others who homeschool. And since each consultant has used the BJU Press Homeschool curriculum for many years, they can pull from their experiences to help with any questions that arise throughout the year. 

 

Click >>> here <<< to watch a short video about how HomeWorks by Precept Consultants can help you. 

 

*The list of resources and links is provided as a courtesy and does not imply endorsement by HomeWorks by Precept. We encourage you to research the philosophy and practices of programs and places before deciding on participation.

 

References

  1. Wisconsin Department of Home Instruction. Home-Based Private Education Program (Homeschooling). Retrieved December 1, 2021, from https://dpi.wi.gov/parental-education-options/home-based
  2. Ray, Brian D. A Brief History of Homeschooling in the United States. Retrieved December 1, 2021, from https://homeschoolfreedom.com/history-of-homeschooling
  3. Eggleston, Casey, and Fields, Jason (2021, March 22). Census Bureau's Household Pulse Survey Shows Significant Increase in Homeschooling Rates in Fall 2020. Retrieved December 1, 2021, from https://www.census.gov/library/stories/2021/03/homeschooling-on-the-rise-during-covid-19-pandemic.html


Meet the Author


Yvonne Strachan - HomeWorks by Precept Consultant
www.homeworksbyprecept.com/Yvonne-Strachan
Author of Inspirational Homeschooling: www.inspirationalhomeschooling.com


 

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