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Topsy
11-30-2013, 08:42 AM
Florida Law A Gray Area Between Homeschool And Private 'Umbrellas' | WFSU (http://news.wfsu.org/post/florida-law-gray-area-between-homeschool-and-private-umbrellas)

I just wonder how many people use Umbrella schooling as an option and how open your particular state is to it?

dbmamaz
11-30-2013, 09:23 AM
Ok, i'm confused, at the end of the article they mention a law suit - but only in passing as if they already discussed it. Usually law suits like that, there is a lot more to the story.

In VA there is no way to use umbrella schools, tho last I heard, HSLDA said there was.

Kimberlapoderosa
11-30-2013, 09:27 AM
This is good reading on the subject.

The Life and Opinions of Kathryn Elizabeth, Person ? The Curious Case of the Spell Family, or, The Entirely Invented (Non)Threat to Homeschooling in Florida (http://kathrynbrightbill.com/post/62790068541/the-curious-case-of-the-spell-family-or-the-entirely)

dbmamaz
11-30-2013, 09:33 AM
Found the link at the bottom of the page to an article about the Spells, which sounds pretty suspicious. Parents Arrested For Not Teaching Their Home-schooled Children Say They're Innocent | WFSU (http://news.wfsu.org/post/parents-arrested-not-teaching-their-home-schooled-children-say-theyre-innocent)

I'll read Kim's post too

murphs_mom
11-30-2013, 09:50 AM
I can't speak for other states, or even my entire state (HSing requirements can vary slightly from county to county), but umbrellas are quite popular in our area. I think our definition of 'umbrella', though, is quite different than what the Duggars are doing in FL.

In this area, they would just be considered to be members of a co-op unless that co-op was certified through the state. Most umbrellas in my area (within a 2hr radius) are church-based, certified, and really expensive ($400+ per child annually). The only function of the umbrella here is to provide supervision of instruction and to take responsibility for making sure that members are fulfilling the state's educational requirements. Under that umbrella, there may be many co-ops and many single HS families. I found one secular umbrella near here when doing my research a few years ago...they wanted $700-ish. For my $, I could claim that my child was in their umbrella (thus avoiding a review with the local Board of Ed), I had to attend a minimum of one of their events each year (I think they met 2x a month), and the head of the umbrella was supposed to review a portfolio of our materials at least 1x a year. If I wanted to take our materials to the event, the umbrella leader would check things then and sign off. If, however, I needed her to come here for some reason, I had to pay her a fee plus her expenses.

We went the Board of Ed route. It costs us nothing. We sign a paper stating that we will choose to be reviewed by them 2x during a school year, and that we will follow the educational requirements as stated at the state's education site. In a nutshell, we're only required to provide evidence of "regular and thorough instruction" here. That's our gray area. Some families meet with reviewer A and that reviewer may expect to see every. piece. of. work. Some families meet with reviewer B and that reviewer just wants to see a few samples from each discipline. Or, as we experienced last year, reviewer C glances at the box of crap that was hauled into the meeting and then she spent 90% of the time chatting about the various services (voice lessons, instrument lessons, theater, etc.) her friends were offering. It's pretty loosey-goosey. Each county gets to determine their own HS requirements, and how they'll handle the supervision.

In this area, there have been more than a few people spreading horror stories about their interactions with the BoE. And then they sing the praises of the umbrella groups. I think (and this is just my personal theory) that there are far too many of these umbrellas using the horror stories to coerce people into joining their umbrella. It's a big money maker for them (usually a church). I've been talking HSers out of joining umbrellas until they've done at least one review with the BoE. I tell them the truth: the BoE does the review for free, isn't that difficult, and their tax dollars are already paying for it. I haven't met anyone here, yet, that regrets going the BoE route. I have, however, met several that have had regrets over using the umbrellas.

dbmamaz
11-30-2013, 06:46 PM
It really looks like this is more about radical unschooling / unparenting to me, reading all the articles. Esp Kimberly's was very interesting

quabbin
11-30-2013, 08:24 PM
It's not an option in my state.

I'd be interested to know more about the Spells case... On one hand, the state doesn't shut down public or private schools when their students are poor readers. On the other hand, what were the parents actually doing?

murphs_mom
11-30-2013, 09:08 PM
On the other hand, what were the parents actually doing?

I don't know what the Spells' story is, but we had a HS parent in a neighboring county last year who was pulled into truancy court because the mom was doing her 16yo daughter's schoolwork for her. A co-worker of the mom saw her doing workbooks and questioned what she was doing. The mom explained that her 16yo was refusing to do work, they were scheduled for a review, and the mom was afraid that it would look like they weren't teaching (which they weren't). So she chose to do the work herself with plans to go over it w/her daughter later. The co-worker phoned the BoE and reported the mom. When the HS liaison confronted mom, she confessed. I don't know the outcome of the truancy court appearance...I got the story from a HS friend in that county who got it from the liaison.

All it takes is one incident like this to spread negative HS sentiment in the rest of the community. Crazy.

dbmamaz
11-30-2013, 09:21 PM
One of the articles said (i think the grandmother?) was concerned because some of the kids couldnt read - not that they couldnt read well, but that they couldnt read at all. There was also a mention of the mom saying the state was expecting her to teach her kids to their standards, but the state countered that no, they just wanted SOME teaching going on, and there was none. The article Kimberly posted was by a grown homeschooler whose mother started homeschooling before it was legal and ran several umbrella schools, and she said that homeschoolers are NEVER hassled in FL, indicating there is really a lot more going on - and the parents have other things on their records.

but like that mother who thought doing her daughters work was the right choice, some people seem to be unaware how badly they are actually failing their kids imo. Here in VA, a few years ago, a few radical unschoolers admitted that they sat next to their kids while doing the end-of-year exams and told them the answers, possibly with a little explanation of why. "Because the government has no right to tell me how I should educate my kids" - its just to ignore an unjust law.

annoys the crap out of me. Tho admittedly, one of them had previously homeschooled in texas where, like a few other states, there is really no oversight at all.

farrarwilliams
11-30-2013, 10:29 PM
That was indeed interesting...

I found the blog link to be pretty absurd and a little inflammatory though. I mean, HSLDA does not speak for all homeschoolers. They have a bias against unschooling. The blogger clearly did as well. The case is about the boundaries of homeschool rights in the state. And trying to make out that writing bad checks a decade ago means that they're clearly bad parents isn't damning to the parents in the case as all the supportive commenters seemed to believe. It's just an indication of the level of judgement from the blogger.

I think Cara is right that the case is about radical unschooling and whether it's permissible. I think the mother in the case is right that they took this attendance law and have warped it to try and prosecute them and make them follow the state's idea of what's education.

That doesn't mean that I necessarily agree with them though... I mean, it's possible that they're still guilty of educational neglect. But trying to act like the whole thing isn't about homeschooling is just silly. It is about homeschooling and what responsibilities homeschool parents have, if any, when the curriculum and the timetable isn't set.

We don't have umbrellas here but they have them in MD and several people I know are part of various ones because it allows you to review with the umbrella instead of the country. They're not a legal gray area though. They're very clearly defined there. I wouldn't ever join one, I don't think. I find some of the motives that parents have in paying a huge chunk of money for them pretty odd, to be honest. But I think to each their own. I'm glad that everyone can find different options that work for them.

Ashley Paige Smith
11-30-2013, 11:11 PM
I live in FL and use an umbrella school, but it is completely free. I haven't read the article yet. I like the umbrella school because all I have to do is report my attendance once every 3 months. We don't have to submit to any standardized testing nor are we monitored by the state. The umbrella school that we use is Hillcrest Academy Free School (http://hillcrestacademyfreeschool.org/).

Starkspack
12-01-2013, 06:12 AM
I also like Cara's comment about people being unaware about how badly they are failing their children. While I can sort of see the point of not wanting to be "told by government" how to educate your children, where do you reasonably draw the line? Even if you don't agree with some of the things "society" has deemed part of an education today, aren't you really just hurting your kids by a) teaching them it is ok to cheat the system (regardless of whether you don't agree with it) b) not at least keeping up with some standard of education so your kids can be reasonably employed in the future and c) endorsing the idea that if they don't want to do something, they don't have to, and furthermore, that you'll just do it for them?

I shutter to think how those children will turn out. Entitled egotistical anarchists, anyone?

dragonfly
12-01-2013, 03:56 PM
It sounds like the Spells' case is not nearly as simple as it is being reported. However, assume it's true that one or more of their older kids (or any hs-er's for that matter) cannot read. Absent some sort of learning disability, this would seem like educational neglect, and it would probably be appropriate for someone to step in.

My question is, who is charging public schools and public school teachers with neglect when one or more of their students graduates, and is functionally illiterate? Has this ever happened, does anyone know?

dbmamaz
12-01-2013, 04:22 PM
That was kind of along the lines of one of the arguments in the first article, no? That florida requires attendance, not mastery. Kids are passed from one grade to the next in public schools, so why should the homeschoolers be required to do more - but if the mom wasnt keeping (legally required) attendance records, then she wasnt adhering to either standard.

murphs_mom
12-01-2013, 04:38 PM
My question is, who is charging public schools and public school teachers with neglect when one or more of their students graduates, and is functionally illiterate? Has this ever happened, does anyone know?

Unless a child had the same instructor for their entire PS experience, I find it tough to see a suit happening against a teacher or school. I could, however, see someone suing the school district if the child was in that one district the whole k-12 stretch. Gah, maybe I should sue MY old district for many, many things. :confused:

farrarwilliams
12-01-2013, 08:29 PM
It sounds like the Spells' case is not nearly as simple as it is being reported. However, assume it's true that one or more of their older kids (or any hs-er's for that matter) cannot read. Absent some sort of learning disability, this would seem like educational neglect, and it would probably be appropriate for someone to step in.

My question is, who is charging public schools and public school teachers with neglect when one or more of their students graduates, and is functionally illiterate? Has this ever happened, does anyone know?

Yes, parents charge public schools with educational neglect and, if they have good lawyers, can win those cases and receive monetary or other compensation (such as paid for private schooling or free tutoring). That used to be a HUGE problem here in DC because they were charged with so many such cases and lost them. I taught one kid whose family was in such a suit. His private schooling was paid for by the city in the meantime - and the story of what had happened in his elementary years was just astoundingly bizarre (he spent, for example, an entire year in a class with no teacher, only very short term subs). Of course, it takes having an involved enough, savvy enough family with enough resources (monetary or convincing others to help monetarily) to bring such a suit and the kids who are most likely to be victims of such ps neglect are also the kids most likely not to have that type of family. These cases have become more rare here. And, in general, I think they are pretty rare nationwide. Most kids do have a shot at a decent education in public schools, even if it's not always perfect, it's not usually criminal.

As for the Spells... I don't know. It's all very difficult to answer. It's a case where it feels like the law is asking for all the wrong things.

Like, they didn't fill out any attendance sheets. But if they had, then everything would have been kosher? Um, if we assume they have a double-digit aged child who really couldn't read at all then that seems wrong. I mean, as I've said many, many times, if I lived in a state where I had to keep attendance, I would just pull that nonsense from my rear end. Attendance in a homeschool context is complete carp. So if they had played the state's game, they wouldn't have been in trouble? That just highlights how idiotic homeschool attendance laws really are.

On the other hand, it seems like the homeschool laws don't require them to do any real instructing. So in that sense, they weren't breaking the substance of the law.

I think they probably should have been charged with educational neglect. And if there isn't an educational neglect law in Florida, then there really ought to be, because charging people with not printing out a calendar and checking off boxes as a way to get at this issue is really problematic. I mean, I get that they got Capone on tax evasion, but that's why they then went on to create racketeering laws.

dragonfly
12-01-2013, 09:19 PM
Okay, so...if the public school system fails to educate the child, then it is up to the parents to make an issue of it with the school--either by suing, or just getting on their case about it. But if a homeschooled child isn't being educated, it is the state's (BoE) responsibility to charge the parents with non-compliance or neglect? I'm getting dizzy thinking about it. If I saw a child who couldn't read (like a relative of the Spells apparently did), and that child is in public school, could I complain to the BoE, who would then investigate and charge the public school district, teachers, or whomever might be responsible, with neglect?

Has it ever been the case that a state BoE has charged a school district, or employees thereof, with educational neglect for failing to properly educate their students?

dbmamaz
12-01-2013, 10:24 PM
I've gotten to the point where I have no faith in regulations - the industries (including education) fall prey to those who are greedy and unscrupulous, and then the regulatory agencies fall prey to the same forces. There is no elite force of smart and uncorruptable people who can play cop to all our endeavors. I mean, I guess that doesnt mean we shoudl give in to full scale corruption, but I've lost a lot of faith.

farrarwilliams
12-01-2013, 11:29 PM
I feel like the government is imperfect but that it's better than nothing.

farrarwilliams
12-01-2013, 11:42 PM
Okay, so...if the public school system fails to educate the child, then it is up to the parents to make an issue of it with the school--either by suing, or just getting on their case about it. But if a homeschooled child isn't being educated, it is the state's (BoE) responsibility to charge the parents with non-compliance or neglect? I'm getting dizzy thinking about it. If I saw a child who couldn't read (like a relative of the Spells apparently did), and that child is in public school, could I complain to the BoE, who would then investigate and charge the public school district, teachers, or whomever might be responsible, with neglect?

Has it ever been the case that a state BoE has charged a school district, or employees thereof, with educational neglect for failing to properly educate their students?

I don't think you, as an outside observer, could make much headway. And I doubt that a district has ever sued its own employees - I assume they just fire them. Or don't, in the worst cases.

There *are* checks and balances on a number of levels. Testing is one. Administration is another. At the grassroots level, PTA's help too. Elected BoE's are another. State oversight agencies and state BoE's are another level. As are things like federal legislation in some cases. And while we do all bemoan the state of the schools, we do have a 99% literacy rate in the US - we wish we were doing better in a lot of measures, especially for the money spent, but American schools do still rank in the top 20 or 30 for most measures of education. There's a difference between complete educational neglect and a teen who can't read or do basic math at all and a teen who doesn't chose to read for fun and is struggling with basic algebra but can add and subtract and read a menu. The former is clearly a crime to me. The latter is a sad disappointment but may not be a crime.

Topsy
12-02-2013, 08:52 AM
It really looks like this is more about radical unschooling / unparenting to me, reading all the articles. Esp Kimberly's was very interesting

Cara,
Do you mean you think the state's argument is more about HOW they are schooling than whether they are doing it under an umbrella?

dbmamaz
12-02-2013, 09:46 AM
Cara,
Do you mean you think the state's argument is more about HOW they are schooling than whether they are doing it under an umbrella?
Ok, a lot of this is assumptions - but it sounds like the government is saying, there is no instruction happening and no record keeping happening, so you cant say you are educating them, and the parents skipped the country and accuse the gov't of expecting them to follow their state standards, and in the 2 years its been going on have still refused to keep attendance records. I think it sounds like the parents are willfully violating laws they think are unjust, but in my experience, only radical (very radical) unschoolers think that any sort of educational oversight at all is unjust. Most people think that either keeping attendance or doing a portfolio or testing is reasonable oversight.

farrarwilliams
12-02-2013, 03:31 PM
I'm not sure what I think is reasonable oversight exactly - attendance records strikes me as really, really pointless. But I agree with Cara - and with the blog post that I otherwise didn't like - that it's definitely about how they are schooling, not about umbrellas.

I also wonder what sort of point they're trying to make or what the whole story is. It sounds like they were complying and then they stopped. But it does seem like they're radical unschoolers and like the state doesn't like it (possibly for good reasons if they have a teen who can't read a menu) but can't figure out quite what to do about it (thus the attendance laws being the focus of things).

dbmamaz
12-02-2013, 03:55 PM
Yeah, not that attendance records as homeschooling oversight makes sense, but its hard to call it intrusive or unreasonably difficult to comply with. I mean, unless its the laws that want you to count hours instead of days, those seem dumb.

farrarwilliams
12-02-2013, 04:06 PM
Yeah, I agree. This is part of the problem with nearly all homeschool legislation on some level - it's nearly all nonsense. Even with the testing there's no safeguards.

I have heard about people being totally off the grid about it though and I can't quite comprehend that. I mean, is it really worth the risk - look at this case, for example - in order to avoid what is usually some paperwork?

ejsmom
12-02-2013, 09:49 PM
I live in PA, which is one of the most regulated states. We have to do more than most to show our kids are progressing. Yet to be honest, I do not find it to be any sort of an issue. What is the big deal? I personally feel that it is sort of crazy that my kid is, in a way, more tightly scrutinized than those in public school, and he (like most homeschooled kids) is WAY more educated, especially I history, science, and art, than most public school kids. No one has ever given me any kind of hassle (and having a special needs kid means I have to be even more accountable by law, than a 'regular' homeschooler in PA).

Tracking attendance is just one of many things I legally have to do, and it is so not a big deal. Once a year, I print out a sheet with each month down one side, and little boxes with 1 - 31 across the top. I can legally count days or hours, so of course, we go with days. I just put a check mark on any day we do curriculum, co-op, extracurriculars, field trips, etc. I count any day we do anything semi-educational. Naturally, that is most days. Some days my son does just read for pleasure, and messes about on his scooter, computer, and watches TV. If I feel he has honestly not learned anything that day, I don't count it. Most years, he has had well over 180 days. He usually has more like 240 or so. I buy curriculum, and have a plan over 12 months to work through it (unless it is something I intend to use for 2 years, which has happened more than once).

Why not just fill out the stinking paperwork, and do what you want? Why create an issue? Unless they really are NOT educating their kids. And is that some sort of "statement" in and of itself?

dbmamaz
12-02-2013, 11:06 PM
But they own the school they are using, right? or am I getting confused

farrarwilliams
12-02-2013, 11:21 PM
If they do, I missed that in the articles, though in the end, it really doesn't matter much. I think it's not about umbrellas or not, it's about the state not liking the way they're not educating their kids.

dbmamaz
12-03-2013, 09:54 AM
No, looks like i made that up in my head, sorry

farrarwilliams
12-03-2013, 03:33 PM
Hehe. Maybe because the blogger wrote about her family running two umbrellas?

dbmamaz
12-03-2013, 05:05 PM
yes, that . . .

crunchynerd
12-04-2013, 12:16 AM
Well, I switched to an umbrella school for the first time, this year, after doing direct homeschool reviews previously, and so far, I think it's a very good deal, but the umbrella we use charges so little, that they are actually cheaper than the price of the certified teacher reviews annually, once you have more than one child who would be eligible for either the umbrella, or the reviewer. I don't see any coercion whatsoever on the part of the umbrella school, though there has been a little overstepping here and there on dept. of ed, asking for more info than they are entitled to, for instance. I'm very happy with the choice to go umbrella. But things may be different in MD where you are.

crunchynerd
12-06-2013, 02:17 PM
Children are subsets of their families until they are autonomous units of society (which means, an adult). Children do not vote, do not have the same rights and responsibilities and degree of self-determinism as adults (nor should they!), and that is why they need parents. In egregious cases of abuse, parental rights are suspended by the State and the children become wards of the State. It is not necessary to curtail parental rights across the board, in order to protect the few children whose parents are already answerable to the laws designed to protect against the extreme cases. Arguing that the state MUST insert itself into family rights on the ticket of Children's Rights, and therefore has the automatic right to supersede any and all parental decisions, in order to prevent a few extreme fringe cases, threatens the rights of ALL parents to make any or all decisions regarding their own children.

I personally would rather put up with other people doing things I disagree with than live with the potential consequences on us all, of having the State take full power over any and all decisions regarding all our kids, under the aegis of Rights of The Child (and the STATE gets to decide whatever the Child has a right to...so my kids might have a RIGHT to something I have strong objections to, and then I could not object or resist, under fear of having them taken away!)

People sometimes shrug and insist that can't possibly be an outcome, because well, it just sounds too bad, and nothing really bad can happen in our society because we're a democracy. I'd laugh if it were even remotely funny.

crunchynerd
12-06-2013, 02:25 PM
And for the record, I think the requirement to take attendance is about as asinine as things can get, when you're talking about being home. It displays either remarkable ignorance about how homeschooling actually works, or else willfully ignorant attempts to recast homeschooling into something it is not, and was not ever intended to be, which is a miniature public institution, complete with roll call, impersonal forms, little desks in rows, and an hourly bell signalling the change of classes. And yes, because my state wants assurance that people are actually doing that (and no one actually does something as ridiculous as call out their kid's name, and have them answer "Here!" to make sure they are "in attendance", at least, not a single one of any of the homeschooling families I have ever met), we go along with it.

But it really ought to be challenged, because it IS ridiculous, unnecessary, and doesn't prove a single thing except the extent to which we are willing to let the state impose its definitions of what we do, on us.

Starkspack
12-08-2013, 09:56 AM
I know that this isn't what the original thread was about, but I have to agree with Crunchy on the attendance thing. I pulled up the NC site so I could get a refresher on requirements (I'm not required to do ANYTHING before age 7) and one requirement is attendance sheet. I thought WTF? I just check off boxes on a sheet that shows we were "doing school" on enough days? And what proof is required? Apparently none. So what stops me from randomly checking off days? Seems like a silly requirement to me. I have gotten myself in the habit of keeping track via a journal what we do. It is mostly for me, but in the back of my mind I think it is also "just in case" I ever need to prove the work we've done.

I also agree with the idea that I prefer some people getting away with doing too little than swinging to the other side where we are so over-regulated that it infringes on our rights. I have zero problem with the idea that we might have to be accountable to prove that we've done work for the school year. NC requires the use of standardized tests, which I do have a problem with philosophically. We'll comply, but I think they are nonsense.

farrarwilliams
12-08-2013, 11:47 AM
The attendance thing is completely crazy. But the flip side, you might say, is that it's just as dumb to not check boxes when that's all you have to do. But I think they thought they were making a bigger point. Or something. Who knows. The whole case is odd.

crunchynerd
12-09-2013, 12:18 AM
It stinks to realize that the reason any of us can even homeschool at all, now, is because a few decades ago, enough people were willing to risk going to jail or worse, to secure those liberties. And now they are being chipped away at steadily, and each new encroachment has us all stepping back a bit, surrendering a bit to what seems like a string of small irritations, none of which amounts, on its own, to any genuine threat, all the while hoping that if we just keep our heads down and don't make waves, those who are chipping away at our rights, will be satisfied, and stop.

It never works that way, unfortunately.

dbmamaz
12-09-2013, 09:23 AM
I'm not sure why you say they are being chipped away. In my state, homeschooling laws have been made easier to deal with over the past decade - clearer and less restrictive. Though I hear sometimes HSLDA tries to do the opposite.

crunchynerd
04-08-2016, 08:01 AM
One example is the repeated attempts to lower the age of mandatory schooling from 7 to 5, essentially requiring formal academics in early childhood, when play, not formal academics, is vital to building strong well-developed minds and bodies. The idea that children need formal academics at 5, in order to avoid being "behind" something or someone else, is ridiculous. Finland does just fine not teaching a thing until age 7, and just letting little children play. But there is money in data, and you can't extract data from free play, nor can you easily extract data from uninstitutionalized populations.

Riceball_Mommy
04-10-2016, 10:40 AM
I think it varies from state to state. There have a been a few attempts at changing the laws in this state, but they get such fierce push back. Even where it's not clear that the law will be more restrictive, in fact on the surface it looks like a simple change. There is always this fear that circulates that if we let them change one thing, it will lead to more oversight. Personally our laws in this state are not bad at all, you just basically have to prove your teaching something, either to the BOE or to your state certified Umbrella. You don't have to prove on grade level, that there's been improvement. Regular and thorough instruction just means you need to be teaching on a regular basis in the required subjects.
The only issue I've ever had with this state's laws is how certain counties try to enforce it. I would be fine if the standard for every reviewer was, one piece of paper per subject per week dated. I personally wouldn't like that very much because I mentioned on another thread what about the lighter paper work subjects. But it would still give a clear standard to meet or fight against.
If your only goal post is attendance I can't see the reason to actively rebel against that, but that fine if that's something you are against. Maybe though it's best to just check the boxes and work with a larger campaign against it if you disagree. If you get into a legal battle over keeping your kids you're not going to have a lot of energy left to fight the law you feel is unjust.

TFZ
04-10-2016, 02:42 PM
Following along.

So interesting for me because I will be registering my own umbrella in FL. You can join one here or own your own (I think all you need is a background check and a set of fingerprints on file with the state - and certified teachers don't need anything but to register online, yay me). Umbrellas here are considered private schools. As far as I know it's either umbrella or register through your local school district as a homeschooler.

It seems regulations in FL haven't gotten any tighter. 180 days attendance recorded is all we need under an umbrella. If you report to a separate umbrella you report attendance and send in vax or vax waivers. Homeschooling through the school district requires an annual portfolio review or standardized test with your district. There are benefits - ot, speech, pt through the schools, access to extracurricular activities like sports or drama, and you don't have to take attendance, lol of all things. Our mandatory age is 6 by Feb 1 - 1st grade. Since we have free prek now most people start their kids at 4.