April 9, 2007

Home School Hassles

We are in week two of homeschooling T and everyone is having a good time so far. I teach him for an hour first thing in the morning before leaving for work and then Tomomi takes over for a couple hours. He's usually done by lunchtime.

We've had an interesting series of correspondence with the public school board and the principal of the school he "should" be attending. The principal told us he thought homeschooling sounded good for our situation but that he had no authority to release T from school (compulsory education) so we should contact the school board.

The school board, acting in typical bureaucratic fashion sent us a form to fill out as to why our child wouldn't be attending public school. Here are the choices:
  • child is too handicapped even to attend a school for the blind, the mute or the disabled.
  • child is in jail (juvenile hall).
  • child is missing or not living at home.
  • child is a returnee from abroad and needs tutoring in Japanese before being able to attend school.
  • child has dual citizenship and is attending an approved international school.
Obviously none of these apply to T. When we called and brought up that fact the person at the school board said if he didn't fit any of those criteria, he would have to enroll in public school.

We called the principal again today and explained the current situation. He said that T is in fact enrolled in first grade class #3. He has a desk and a set of textbooks waiting for him. By law the principal can't "officially" release T from school, but he wished us luck and implicitly gave his blessing. He said T is welcome any time and we can drop by to pick up his books if we want to use them at home.

We are expecting a pesky postcard when T misses seven days in a row but hopefully it will end there. The board should be satisfied that he is indeed enrolled in school, and the principal can't say anything but he has given us a nod a wink to indicate that he is on our side. I'll post more if anything else occurs.


  1. Hi guys... we found that the school boards in this area have generally resigned to the fact of homeschooled, free-schooled or church-schooled kids. They generally ask if you can come "as much as possible" and then leave it at that. Compared to a few years ago, they really are very understanding. And compared to the USA or NZ where the father of the family could be arrested for not towing the line, Japan has it pretty darn sweet at the moment! (In NZ the local Dept of Ed will come to your home and check to see if you are doing it properly... if not, you're in trouble!)

  2. Thanks for the comment, Jef. America actually isn't bad these days from what I here. You just have to dot the i's and cross the t's. New Zealand sounds like a nightmare! I'm keeping good records of what we're doing each day just in case we're ever required to show what we're up to (and for our own review of course).

  3. Hello Jeremy,

    I don't know much, but you sound like a pioneer. We will be praying for you and your family. Also, Izumi and Emma say "Hi".

  4. Thanks, EJ. I need to write another post about what a great time we're having homeschooling. The red-tape hassle is nothing compared to how fun and rewarding this endeavor is to all of us.

    Hi to Izumi and Emma! They're coming home tomorrow, right?

  5. Hi, Jeremy:

    I saw a link to your blog on your e-mail and thought I would come and take a look!

    Congratulations for homeschooling your kids! I don't seem to have the nerve to do it, especially as I think my husband would be one of the biggest hurdles. How is it going these days? Your son must be in his third year of homeschooling by now. Any changes?

    Will have to go and take a look at the Charlotte Mason page when I have a bit more time, too.

    Nice to learn a bit more about you and your family. :-)

    Alison Miyake
    P.S. I haven't updated my blog in months, but am thinking I should start posting more about my teaching experiences, like a teaching journal. I have really enjoyed reading some of your posts and it may just be the inspiration I needed to find time in the day for it!