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FAQs

Q:

 Is homeschooling legal?

A:

Yes, it is legal in all 50 states, but the laws regulating it differ in each state. The state of Wisconsin requires parents to submit a statement of enrollment to the Department of Public Instruction, indicating whether the homeschool meets all the requirements under Wisconsin Statute Ann. 118.165. Click on the following link to access information about Wisconsin's homeschool law.

 

Q:

How do I get started Homeschooling?

A:

Click on the " Considering Homeschooling?"  link for more information about where to start.

Q:

How much time will it take to teach my child?

A:

The state requires that 875 hours of instruction in six mandated subject areas - reading, language arts, mathematics, social studies, science, and health - be taught.  Any number of additional content areas may be added at a parent's discretion.  The requirement is for children ages 6 (as of September 1) through 18 (or until a child graduates, whichever comes first).  Instruction prior to age 6 is optional and no requirement is set forth.

Q:

What will homeschooling cost?

A:

Because homeschooling decisions are entirely up to the parents providing the education, there is no set cost involved in homeschooling. Depending upon the age of the child and the style of schooling, there are many options. Some families use library books and resources available in the home, while others choose from a variety of curriculum available from resource catalogues (The Homeschool Roadmap has a comprehensive list of curricula if you want to know what is Common Core aligned and what is independent, and what falls in between). We’ve listed some respected Christian homeschool curriculum providers on the Links page. Also, GBACH holds a curriculum fair each spring and a used book sale at the end of each school year. These are great opportunities to check out curricula and shop for great deals on gently used homeschool materials!

Q:

My child does not "fit"  the normal grading structure.  How do I know which level to teach?

A:

Every child is unique and that is one of the wonderful benefits of homeschooling. You can meet your child where he is instead of having him conform to the set standards. The homeschool law provides an ungraded option for parents who do not wish to identify their children by standard grading parameters. Many parents inherently know at what level their children are learning, and there are resources available, both online and for specific curricula, to assist parents with grade placement.

Q:

How do you teach with babies, toddlers and preschoolers wanting your time?

A:

Every family is different and each has different dynamics so only you will know what is right for your family.  However, you can include all of your children in the homeschool day.  When you have young ones at home, teach older children in short segments around nap schedules.  Involve preschoolers in alternate activities, such as coloring or letter books of their own.  You will be surprised at how much preschoolers learn!  See them as little people needing age-appropriate instruction just as much as the older ones.

Q:

What about socialization?

A:

Socialization skills are at the heart of homeschooling.  Public and private schools keep children in classes with same-aged peers even though interacting socially with people in all age groups is expected in most settings.  One of the great advantages of homeschooling is the diversity of age associations that occur and, thus, prepare our children for real life situations.  Homeschoolers tend to relate comfortably with all age groups in a variety of environments.  Homeschooling also provides opportunities for socialization in which many school children are unable to participate.  GBACH membership provides for many opportunities for you and your children to meet other homeschoolers through organized activities.

Q:

Can homeschooled children go to college?

A:

Absolutely!  The proliferation and success of homeschooling has made college entrance for homeschooling students relatively simple.  Most colleges have specific procedures geared for the homeschooling applicant.  Some colleges even offer special programs to recruit homeschoolers, believing them to be better prepared for the self-disciplined lifestyle of college.

 

Q:

Who can join GBACH?

A:

Persons eligible for GBACH membership include only: 

  1. the parents of homeschooled child(ren);
  2. the child(ren) for whom a PI-1206 is filed; and
  3. parents and any children younger than six years of age as of September 1 who are not enrolled in any public school or virtual charter school, and who intend to homeschool in the future. 

Additionally, parents of children who have graduated while members of GBACH may join GBACH as alumni members.  Students enrolled in any brick-and-mortar school (public or private) or virtual charter school are NOT eligible for GBACH membership.  See the link "Charter school info" for more information.

Q:

How do I become a GBACH member?

A:

To become a GBACH member, eligible persons must complete and submit the GBACH registration form and the volunteer opportunity form, pay the annual dues, and submit a copy of their PI-1206 to GBACH.  Persons who were not members of GBACH in the previous year must also request website access by clicking on the "Request Website Access" link on the homepage.

Q:

How much are GBACH membership dues?

A:

GBACH membership dues are $20 per year.  The membership year runs from August 1 - July 31.

Q:

What do my GBACH membership dues pay for?

A:

GBACH dues help to pay for website costs, the fall kick-off meeting, support meetings, facility fees (or donations) for GBACH events, thank-you gifts, supplies for events, administrative supplies, etc... 

 

Q:

How many families are in the Green Bay Area Christian Homeschool group?

A:

There are approximately 200 families in GBACH. Members live throughout Northeastern Wisconsin, including Shawano, Oconto, Sturgeon Bay and other locations in Door Co., Algoma, Kewaunee, and Manitowoc.

Q:

Can I join GBACH for the first time or renew my GBACH membership before I submit my PI-1206 to the DPI?

A:

Yes.  Your GBACH membership registration should be completed online on the GBACH website in August, and your PI-1206 can be submitted to the DPI up until the October 15 deadline (Wisconsin Parents Association recommends filing sometime between after the third Friday in September and October 15).  The result of this deadline discrepancy is that YOU MAY END UP SENDING ITEMS TO GBACH ON TWO OCCASIONS: 

  1. Please complete your membership registration online to GBACH in August (or as soon as possible)
  2. Submit a copy of your PI-1206 to GBACH after you submit your PI-1206 to the DPI.

Q:

When should I file my Wisconsin Form PI-1206 Homeschool Report with the Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction?

A:

WI statutes require that private homeshoolers file form PI-1206 with the WI Department of Public Instruction (or DPI) every year.  It is illegal to homeschool without filing the form.  Form PI-1206 must be submitted online by October 15 of each academic year.  The form reports your homeschool’s status as of the third Friday of September, so it is not advisable that you file your form before that date.  If you begin homeschooling in the middle of the year, it is best to file the form before you pull your child out of school so that your child is not considered truant.

Form PI-1206 may be found and submitted online at https://apps4.dpi.wi.gov/HomeSchoolParent/

Q:

Why must I submit a copy of my PI-1206 to GBACH?

A:

This requirement is in keeping with the advice of the Wisconsin Parents Association (WPA) and the Home School Legal Defense Association (HSLDA). The policy is meant to protect private homeschoolers from possible government intrusion that may occur if taxpayer funds are used for private homeschool activities.

Q:

When is a copy of my PI-1206 due to GBACH?

A:

A copy of your PI-1206 is due no later than November 1st. If your copy is not received by November 1st your membership will be suspended, website access will be rescinded, and dues will be forfeited.

Q:

How do I submit a copy of my PI-1206 to GBACH?

A:

There are two ways you may submit a copy of your PI-1206 to GBACH:

  1. You may mail a paper copy of your PI-1206 to: GBACH, P.O. Box 995, Green Bay, WI 54305-0995; OR
  2. You may email an electronic copy of your PI-1206 to registration@gbach.org

Q:

I heard that if my family begins homeschooling after the third Friday in September or after October 15, we don’t need to file our PI-1206 at all for that school year.   Is this correct?

A:

No, this is not correct.  There are two issues to consider: enrollment and truancy.  In Wisconsin, your school-aged children (age 6 after September 1) need to be enrolled in a school during any time of the school year, whether that is a public, private, charter, virtual or a homeschool.  For the last one, the PI-1206 form is the proof of enrollment in your homeschool.  (Wisconsin statute §118.15(1), §118.15(4) and §118.165)

The other issue is truancy – if you are unable to demonstrate that your child is enrolled in a homeschool (or any other Wisconsin school), then your child will be considered truant.

Because of this, we recommend that you file the PI-1206 form by the October 15 deadline, or if you withdraw your child(ren) from another school and begin homeschooling them during the school year, before you officially withdraw in order to show proof of enrollment, and to avoid truancy.

Q:

Someone told me that we shouldn’t be filing our PI-1206 online because the DPI is required by statute to provide a paper form.  Should I be filing a paper form?

 

A:

No, paper forms are no longer accepted by the Department of Public Instruction (DPI).  The statute which addresses the PI-1206, §115.30(3), states:

On or before each October 15, each administrator of a public or private school system or a home-based private educational program shall submit, on forms provided by the department, a statement of the enrollment on the 3rd Friday of September in the elementary and high school grades under his or her jurisdiction to the department which shall prepare such reports as will enable the public and private schools and home-based private educational programs to make projections regarding school buildings, teacher supply and funds required. The administrator of each private school system and home-based private educational program shall indicate in his or her report whether the system or program meets all of the criteria under s. 118.165 (1).  [Emphasis added.]

Since 2010, the form provided by the DPI has been the online form.  To avoid having your form rejected and running the risk of your children being considered truant, file the PI-1206 online.

 

Q:

If I am already a member of GBACH do I need to submit a copy of my PI-1206?

A:

Yes, both new and renewing members must submit a copy of their PI-1206 for the current school year.

Q:

Is the requirement of submitting a copy of the PI-1206 to GBACH a judgment of families who teach their children in other ways?

A:

This requirement is in no way meant to be a judgment of families who utilize brick-and-mortar (whether public or private) or virtual charter public schools for some or all of their children. GBACH respects the right of the parents in each family unit to choose whatever they deem to be an appropriate educational program for each child.

Q:

None of my children are school-aged; therefore, I will not be completing a PI-1206. What do I submit to GBACH in lieu of a PI-1206?

 

A:

In lieu of a PI-1206, please submit a statement to GBACH explaining your situation, and when completing your profile, check the "no, this child is younger than 6" for their PI-1206 status.

Q:

Will I be considered a GBACH member during the period of time between submitting my GBACH membership form and submitting a copy of my PI-1206 to GBACH?

A:

Yes.  One of the requirements of GBACH membership is that you submit of a copy of your PI-1206 to GBACH by November 1.  If you renew your GBACH membership in August or September before you submit your PI-1206 to the DPI, you WILL be considered a GBACH member during the period of time between submitting your GBACH membership form and submitting a copy of your PI-1206 to GBACH.  The deadline for submitting a copy of your PI-1206 to GBACH is November 1.

Q:

Can I be a GBACH member if I am only homeschooling one (or some) of my children?

A:

Yes.  You, your spouse, and your privately homeschooled child(ren) can be members of GBACH.  Your child(ren) who are not being privately homescholed cannot be members of GBACH.

Q:

How old do you have to be to participate in the teen group?

A:

As soon as the student turns 14, he/she is able to participate in Teen Group events.

Q:

Can I sign up for GBACH membership at a GBACH event I or my children want to attend?
 

A:

No.  You must take the necessary steps for obtaining membership at least three weeks prior to an event.

Q:

I recently learned that the co-op(s) my child(ren) attends cannot be counted toward our 875 hours.  Why?

 

A:

Excerpts from pages 208-209 of At Home With Learning (Seventh Edition, 2013), by the Wisconsin Parents Association:

Wisconsin’s homeschooling statute states that “’Home-based private educational program’ means a program of educational instruction provided to a child by that child’s parent or guardian or by a person designated by the parent or guardian.  An instructional program provided to more than one family unit does not constitute a home-based private educational program.” (§115.01[1r])  If a family wants to include children from other families in their homeschool, they need to organize a private school that is not a homeschool.  (Remember that homeschools are private schools.) …

[T]he statute does not prevent homeschooling families from getting together to share resources or a homeschooling parent from organizing an activity such as a math club for kids from different families. …

So-called “homeschool cooperatives” (in which children from more than one family unit are provided with a significant portion of the required 875 hours of instruction by some of the parents or guardians or by people they hire) are not legally considered to be homeschools in Wisconsin … At the same time, “co-ops” that provide only a small number of hours of primarily extracurricular activities would not seem in violation of the statute.

 

Q:

“Due to life circumstances, we’ve had to place our children into a traditional school.”  OR “We’ve decided to enroll our child(ren) in more than two classes at the local school.”   Is there anything we need to do with our PI-1206 or GBACH?

 

A:

Yes.  The child(ren) who has/have been enrolled in a different school, OR if they are taking more than two classes per semester at a public or private school (since state law allows for up to two classes per semester for homeschoolers) are no longer considered to be legally homeschooled, and two things need to be changed: (1) your PI-1206 itself (at the DPI website); and (2) your child’s PI-1206 form status with GBACH (on GBACH’s website).  On the GBACH site, under the Profile section near the top right, you must change the affected child’s status from “Yes, this child is listed on the PI-1206” to “no, this child is not homeschooled.”  Please note that a failure to honestly disclose a status change may result in a loss of GBACH membership and forfeiture of dues.

From the Wisconsin Parents’ Association:

Technically, if a parent has filed the PI-1206 and then decides to enroll the child in school (public, private or virtual), they should go to their PI-1206 form and change the number of children being homeschooled to 0.  If they decide to start homeschooling again the same year they need to change it again or file again if it is a new school year.  The PI-1206 should also be updated if people move.  Every time the form is filed or changed, it is saved with a time/date stamp that legally marks what the situation is at that particular time.

It is critical that people understand how important it is to print out a copy of your PI-1206 every time you file or change information.  The DPI only keeps records for 7 years.  If you need proof of homeschooling from more than 7 years ago, your copy is the only thing available.  I recently took a phone call regarding this situation which is why it is on my mind.   I think a lot of people assume since it is filed online it is always going to be there somewhere, but that is not the case.  

WPA always states that full compliance with the minimum standards set by law is the way we protect what we have.  Accurate maintenance of one's PI-1206 is what we are supposed to do. 

Why does it matter that we all "do it right?"  Because each time a homeschooler tries to bend the rules, school officials are absolutely within their rights to say "You're not following the rules, and I think we should put some regulations in place for ALL homeschoolers to make sure everything is fair."  Then we have an issue.

Homeschooling is not easy.  It requires a great deal of personal responsibility and perseverance.  In Wisconsin we are incredibly fortunate to have very reasonable laws – we preserve those laws by never asking to be a special interest group (by receiving extra funds of favors) and by demonstrating that we ARE responsible for the education of our children.