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Ask The Times: Do local school systems monitor home schooling?
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If you’ve been wondering about something in your community, Ask The Times is your place to get answers. The following question was submitted by a reader and answered through the efforts of our news staff.

Do the Gainesville City or Hall County school systems monitor or check on home schooled students? How is the quality of their schooling evaluated?

As of July 1, 2013, parents who home-school their children are no longer required to submit attendance reports to the Georgia Department of Education or any local school district.

The Georgia DOE is only responsible for maintaining records of each Declaration of Intent, a form that must be submitted by Sept. 1 of each school year by parents wishing to home-school their children or within 30 days of a program’s establishment.

The state, according to the Georgia DOE website, “does not supply the curriculum, materials or resources for home school.” But state law requires these five content areas: mathematics, English language arts, science, social studies and reading.

Georgia requires home-schoolers to have at least 180 instructional days of at least four and a half hours per day unless the child is physically unable to satisfy this requirement.

“Parents or guardians may teach only their own children in the home study program provided the teaching parent or guardian possesses at least a high school diploma or a general equivalency diploma (GED),” according to the state. “Parents or guardians may also employ a tutor who holds at least a high school diploma or a GED to teach such children.”

The state says once a child is officially registered as a home-school student, “the parent is considered the superintendent, principal, teacher, and you can create and sign any document that relates to the educational needs of your child/children.”

Georgia requires home-schoolers to take nationally standardized tests at least every three years beginning at the end of third grade and for those records to be retained.

At the end of each school year, a home-school instructor is required to write an annual progress assessment report in each required subject. The report does not have to be submitted to the state but is required to be retained for at least three years.

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