An unsubstantiated complaint, likely by a relative unhappy with a Kentucky mother’s decision to homeschool, has triggered a home visit by a public school official.
And he stunningly told the mother that “taking her kids to see a rare solar eclipse wasn’t educational” and the time spent observing the heavenly phenomenon couldn’t be counted as school time, according to the Home School Legal Defense Association.
The report is from T.J. Schmidt, the organization’s contact attorney for homeschoolers in Kentucky.
He said the official was an assistant director of pupil personnel in Jefferson County.
The mother is identified only by her first name, Hope, in the HSLDA report.
Schmidt said it was an anonymous report that brought the school official to her home.
“In the nearly hour-long home visit, the assistant director told Hope that the trip that her family took to observe the solar eclipse wouldn’t be counted as school time. The school official also belittled her ability to educate her children, stating that even as a professional educator he wasn’t qualified to teach his own children at home,” the report said.
The visit ended with the official demanding samples of schoolwork from both of her children, as well as attendance and scholarship records.
But Hope remained committed to her decision, at least partly because of “the trauma her daughter had endured at the local public school.”
Word came to HSLDA of the visit after Hope contacted a group linked to the Christian Home Educators of Kentucky.
She soon was talking with Schmidt, explaining: “He not only questioned my qualifications to teach my children, but also my dedication as a parent. Nobody should go through that alone.”
Schmidt said he then spoke with school officials and learned a “report” had been made against Hope, triggering the visit. The school official admitted, however, “there was something suspicious about the report and that it didn’t seem quite right. He admitted that the person who made the report probably didn’t know who else to contact.”
After Schmidt explained Kentucky’s homeschooling law, he said, including that it did not require her to provide work samples, the school worked out a timetable to access attendance and other records.
“Within two days I provided the school district with the required scholarship and attendance records for both children. I requested that the assistant director promptly confirm receipt of this information and acknowledge that Hope’s homeschool program was in compliance with Kentucky law. We received the director’s confirmation the next day,” he reported.