So, this became a 2 part blog post! Here is part 2! You can find Part 1 HERE.
This question comes up every year, it seems and I apologize for not addressing this bit in my original post....I just thought the post would be overly long and y'all would not read it to the end if it was too long. Someone asked me about if it was a problem with them filing early - if that was a problem. In the short run of things, no, it is not a problem. You did not break a law by filing early.
However. There are good and valid reasons why WPA recommends waiting (for those without extenuating circumstance).
The law state "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."
So, we are to file our DPI-1206 on or before October 15. Filing right now is obviouly before October 15. However. the information that they are requesting is based on information that is supposed to be gathered on the third Friday of September. Granted, I realize that as a general rule, we home educating parents know which of our children are or are not going to be enrolled in our Home Based Private Education Program.
For what it is worth, HSLDA also says to wait until the 3rd Friday in September (click on File An Annual Report) - that waiting bit isn't just a WPA thing. "Every year—not sooner than September’s third Friday and not later than October 15—you must file a statement of enrollment with the Department of Public Instruction (DPI). You must use the form that DPI has developed for this purpose—it is known as the PI-1206."
And from a different spot on the HSLDA site regarding when WI should be filing their form: "Do not fill out or file this form before the third Friday in September, as you must use it to report your school’s enrollment as of that date"
I know there are many members who are not familiar with Wisconsin Parents Association - WI's original grassroots homeschooling organization. They were officially established in 1984 and have been working to protect our homeschooling freedoms in WI ever since. However, WPA explains why we should wait and that is one of the reasons I linked to their site
However, I thought I would share my own thoughts as well. Over the last 14 years (the time period when I started learning about homeschooling and then doing so), there have been some interesting things that school districts have tried to do with regards to pushing the envelope. While not always our state (though it has happened), Illinois had some VERY problematic districts during the early 2000's. I remember this being a big deal and heard lots about it from both HSLDA and from homeschoolers from IL on some homeschooling Yahoo groups I was on at the time. The districts there were trying to require things above and beyond the law, including interviewing parents, extra forms, permissions, etc. If I remember correctly, the counties were around the Quad Cities area and some were closer to the WI state line. It only takes one school district to create havoc for many parents. Imagine if Waukesha's school district decided to try to require extra information, permissions....or because a large percentage of homeschooling families routinely filed early, the district decided that it wants ALL homeschoolers within their jurisdiction to file earlier than the law requires. There are enough new homeschoolers and/or under-informed homeschoolers out there right now that would comply without even making a phone call to HSLDA or WPA and that would create many problems for everyone involved....including those of us who always wait. That is the perspective that I suspect WPA is coming from when they make the recommendation to wait. Give the government only the minimum amount of information required and not until it is required. As homeschoolers, we often already feel like we have to prove to others that yes, we are educating our children well, that they are getting "socialized", etc., so it is easy to over give information, file things early, etc.
Part of this is knowing laws and our rights as homeschoolers, part is precaution and not giving an inch because a mile will be taken.