You may already know that there was a recent change in the Georgia homeschool law. Where homeschoolers previously had to send an Intent to Homeschool Form to our local school board each year, plus a monthly attendance sheet, now both the Intent to Homeschool Form and the attendance sheet are submitted anually. In addition, GA HB 39 requires that we no longer report to the local school board, but to the state.
This certainly makes things easier. I have long been complaining about the need to send in a monthly attendance sheet when there is no doubt as to whether or not the children are present in their HOMEschool. They are, after all, home. I can't tell you how many times I have let sending in my montly form slip my mind and have had to scramble to catch up. That is no longer a problem. This is good news. The HSLDA agrees that his is good news.
Now for the bad news:
Until now, anytime I needed a form from the homeschool office, it was just a phone call and 10 minute car drive away. The local homeschool support office has provided me with the necessary forms for the Department of Motor Vehicles, working papers, and homeschool verification form for college admissions at a moments notice. I have no faith that this can happen on a state level. I don't like losing my local homeschool support person.
In addition to that, additional language has been added to the standardized testing requirements. Previously, "Children must take a national standardized achievement test every three years beginning at the end of the third grade." Now, "students must take a nationally recognized standardized test administered in consultation with a person trained in the administration and interpretation of norm reference tests every 3 years beginning at the end of third grade." See the words in bold for the changes. This may mean that parents can no longer administer standardized tests at home. I know in my case, I have previously used Family Learning Organization to test my young homeschoolers. They mail you the test, give you a deadline to return it, and then send you the report. Technically, this is still in consultation with a person trained in the administration of norm reference tests, but we haveyet to see how this rule will be interpreted.
Besides fixing the inconvenience of the montly attendance reporting, I don't see the value in changing homeschool reporting from a local to state level. I feel like more changes are coming and that the state wanted more control over homeschoolers that we are yet to realize. This change is causing a huge problem for high school age homeschoolers who used to be able to get forms for Motor Vehicles so they can get learners permits and drivers liscences as they became of age. Now there will need to be some interim reporting and maneuvering in order to be able to drive. I imagine similar drama when it is time to get working papers. I got working papers for my son this past winter, and it was already a difficult process.