When the deadline to file homeschool forms in Arkansas fell on a weekend, the Arkansas Department of Education (ADE) moved the last day to file homeschool forms to the following Monday. That is no longer the case. Electronic filing changed the rules and everyone must have their forms submitted or postmarked by the deadlines—no exceptions.
Electronic forms differ from the mail in forms. Leaving a section blank will prevent you from submitting your form online. The system will not allow that. Online forms have a check box for children taking the GED. Do not check this box. It is none of the state’s business and it is not legally required for you to check the box. This box is not on the mail in forms.
How should you fill out the forms? Fill them out honestly. List the subjects you plan on covering instead of listing your exact curriculum. Changes to curriculum are common. To answer the time you will spend on homeschool, be reasonable. A good guideline is 180 days, which is what most school systems use. If you are having difficulty filling out the online form, the ADE has a tutorial available.
Make a copy of the completed Notice of Intent form. Students who are at least 14 years of age will need a notarized copy of the form if they wish to drive. It is a good idea to have a physical copy of the form on file. Parents who file online will receive an email receipt stating that the form was submitted. Online forms will have a “waiting for ADE approval” until the form is completely processed. Legally the ADE does not have the authority to approve or deny any homeschool. That is up to the local superintendent of schools.
Families who have moved into Arkansas during August or after the deadline have 30 days to file a Notice of Intent and Waiver forms. If you miss the deadlines, file as soon as possible. Filing late may result in your forms being subject to review.
Another change in the law is testing. Homeschooled students are no longer required to take yearly standardized tests. The 2015-2016 school year is the first year without standardized tests. If your child will be participating in public school activities; the local school district may administer a standardized test as a way to prove grade level. One important item to note: the Family Council and The Education Alliance are not official government homeschool liaisons. They are not part of the ADE and they are not endorsed by ADE. If you have other questions about homeschooling in Arkansas, check the homeschool law or call your local superintendents office.