Homeschooling in America, A comprehensive State by State guide
15 October 2018
By Michael Cole

If you are reading this, then you have on some level, decided to homeschool your child. 

That was not an easy choice.

However, homeschooling your kid is not just the act of the act of one day waking up and deciding to teach your child. There are laws governing how you do it, the process that you do it in, and even record keeping and attendance factors to weigh in.

And all of that varies from state to state.

Wait, you say.

But, I just want to teach my kid at home. My friend in Utah just pulled their son out of school and started teaching.

Well, you see, you live in Texas, which has its own rules on homeschool.

All 50 states and the District of Columbia all have their own educational systems and laws.

In some states, it is very easy to homeschool your kids. In others, you practically need to have a teaching certificate to do it.

The United States Constitution is to blame for this.  200 years ago, when the Founding Fathers wrote the Constitution, they gave certain powers exclusively to the Federal government and certain powers exclusively to the states.

Education was a power delegated to the states. Meaning that there is not one national set of homeschool laws, every state is different.

Now before you toss away your apple and pack away your chalk board, let's break some of the state rules concerning homeschooling in your state.

Many states have different rules concerning notification, curriculum, and even record keeping. It is not as hard as your fear, but forwarned is better than caught by surprise.

This overview is for informational purposes only and does not constitute the giving of legal advice.

 
Alabama Hawaii  Massachusetts New Mexico  South Dakota  District of Columbia  
Alaska Idaho  Michigan  New York Tennessee 
Arizona  Illinois  Minnesota  North Carolina Texas    
Arkansas  Indiana  Mississippi North Dakota  Utah    
California Iowa  Missouri  Ohio Vermont   
Colorado Kansas  Montana Oklahoma   Virginia  
Connecticut  Kentucky  Nebraska  Oregon Washington   
Delaware  Louisiana  Nevada Pennsylvania  West Virginia   
Florida  Maine  New Hampshire Rhode Island   Wisconsin  
Georgia Maryland   New Jersey South Carolina  Wyoming   

 

 

 Homeschooling in your state of Alabama

Homeschool laws in Alabama

This overview is for informational purposes only and does not constitute the giving of legal advice.

When the modern homeschool movement began in Alabama, the state’s private tutor law, which required instruction to be provided by a certified teacher, was not an option for most homeschooling parents. Many parents turned instead to a 1982 “church school” statute, which allowed Christian schools to bypass the state’s requirement that private schools employ certified teachers. Some homeschooling parents enrolled their children in Christian schools with the understanding that they could teach their children at home; others created “church schools” for the sole purpose of enrolling homeschooled students and providing them legal cover.

In 2014, the Alabama legislature passed Senate Bill 38, which deregulated the state’s private school. Prior to this bill, private schools were required by law to obtain a certificate issued by the State Superintendent Education showing that they met certain requirements, such as employing certified teachers. SB 38 removed this mandate. Private schools were now defined as “schools that are established, conducted, and supported by a nongovernmental entity or agency offering educational instruction in grades K-12, or any combination thereof, including preschool, through on-site or home programs.”

SB 38 opened the door for children to be homeschooled through the state’s private school law, either by enrolling their children in a “home program” of a private school or by, as a “nongovernmental agency,” establishing their own private school. However, state law still has somewhat different reporting and enrollment requirements for private schools than for church schools, and there does not appear to be a mass exodus from using church schools as a legal cover to using private schools as a legal cover

Homeschooling in Alabama offers three options to parents

Alabama law allows parents to educate their children at home through enrollment in a church school or private school, or under the state’s private tutor law. Most parents choose the church school option. Many church schools exist solely for the purpose of enrolling homeschooled students. 

Now that puts homeschooling in Alabama as accessible for parents assuming that they have enrolled or work with some sort of "umbrella school" to satisfy Alabama's compulsory attendance statute.

Church school:  Parents may homeschool under the state’s church school law by enrolling their children in church schools and teaching them at home. Parents must provide a one-time notice to the local school district and maintain attendance records. There are no parent qualification, instruction time, subject, or assessment requirements.

Enrollment in a church school satisfies the requirements of the state’s compulsory attendance statute. According to state law, church schools are those that “offer instruction in grades K-12, or any combination thereof, including preschool, through on-site or home programs, and are operated as a ministry of a local church, group of churches, denomination, and/or association of churches which do not receive any state or federal funding.” See Ala. Code § 16-28-3 and § 16-28-1(2). It is possible to operate a homeschool as an individual church school, but to do this a family must be sponsored by a church or similar entity. In most cases, parents enroll their children in church schools set up for the purpose of providing legal cover for homeschooling families. 

Church schools must “offer instruction,” but what instruction is not stipulated. See § 16-28-1(2).

The principal teacher of a church school must keep attendance; however, there are no required days or hours of instruction and no reporting requirement. Unlike private schools or private tutors, church schools are not required to “make and furnish all reports that may be required by the State Superintendent of Education [or by county or city superintendents].” See § 16-28-8.


  • Private school: Enrollment in a private school satisfies the requirements of the state’s compulsory attendance statute. According to state law, private schools are those that “are established, conducted, and supported by a nongovernmental entity or agency offering educational instruction in grades K-12, or any combination thereof, including preschool, through on-site or home programs.” See Ala. Code § 16-28-3 and § 16-28-1(2).

Because “home programs” were only added to the statute in 2014, it is unclear how many private schools offer them. A parent may, as “a nongovernmental entity,” establish their own, individual private school, but must follow the requirements below. Most parents continue to use the church school statute, which comes with fewer requirements and is more established. 

Private schools must offer “educational instruction,” but what instruction is not stipulated. See § 16-28-1(2).

The principal teacher of a private school must keep attendance. Private schools must “make and furnish all reports that may be required by the State Superintendent of Education [or by county or city superintendents].” See § 16-28-8.

The principal teacher of a private school must keep attendance. Private schools must “make and furnish all reports that may be required by the State Superintendent of Education [or by county or city superintendents].” See § 16-28-8.

Upon enrollment in a private school, each student must present a certificate of immunization (church schools are exempted). See § 16-30-4.  Every private school must “carry out a system of physical education” that conforms “to the program or course outlined by the Department of Education.” See § 16-40-1

  • Private tutor: Parents may homeschool under the private tutor law, which requires one-time notice, a teaching certificate, 140 days of instruction “in the several branches of study required to be taught in the public schools of this state,” attendance records, and other reports, but has no assessment requirement. It is rare for homeschoolers in Alabama to choose this option. See Ala. Code § 16-28-3 and § 16-28-5.

The private tutor must have a state teaching certificate. See § 16-28-5.

Compulsory attendance applies to children “between the ages of six and 17 years.” A parent may postpone enrolling a child in school until he or she is seven by notifying the local school board in writing. See Alabama Code § 16-28-3

Resources:

The Alabama Department of Education does not offer any information or fact sheets on homeschooling in Alabama.

Ala. Code § 16-28

Alabama, International Center for Home Education Research

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 Homeschooling in your state of Alaska

Homeschool laws in Alaska

This overview is for informational purposes only and does not constitute the giving of legal advice.

Early Alaskan homeschoolers enrolled their children in correspondence schools or operated their homeschools as private schools. In 1997, Alaska passed one of the most minimal homeschool statutes in the country, removing any previous ambiguity. Nevertheless, Alaska’s correspondence schools tend to be popular among the state’s homeschoolers, likely because they offer access to public funds and various services.

Homeschooling in Alaska  offers four homeschool options:

  • Homeschool statute: Alaska has an extremely lax homeschool statute. There are no requirements—no notification, parent qualification, instruction time, subject, bookkeeping, or assessment requirements.

The state’s compulsory education law does not apply if a child “is being educated in the child’s home by a parent or legal guardian.” See Alaska Stat. § 14.30.010(b)(12).

  • Correspondence program: These programs, run by public or charter schools, require annual education plans, monthly teacher contact, quarterly progress reviews, and testing after grades 3 through 10. They offer education funding and official diplomas.

The state’s compulsory education law does not apply if a child is participating in “a full-time program of correspondence study approved by the department.” See Alaska Stat. § 14.30.010(b)(10)(B). There was a time when homeschool parents had to choose between this option or the private school option, but with the creation of option 1 in 1997, this changed. After this change, a wealth of new correspondence programs sprung up targeted toward the needs of homeschool families, and the majority of homeschool families today take advantage of this option. See Alaska Stat. § 14.30.010(b)(10)(B).

  • Private tutor: Parents must have a teaching certificate and instruction “comparable to that offered by the public schools in the area.” There is no notification, hours of instruction, bookkeeping, or assessment requirements.

The state’s compulsory education law does not apply if a child being tutored by a certified teacher. See Alaska Stat. § 14.30.010(b)(1)(B).

  • Private school: Operating a homeschool as a private school requires annual notice, 180 days of instruction “comparable to that offered by the public schools,” attendance, immunization, and academic records, and testing after grades 4, 6, and 8 (scores not submitted).

The state allows individual homeschools to function as exempt “religious or other private schools.” The state’s statute reads that compulsory education law does not apply if a child is in “attendance at an educational program operated . . . by religious or other private schools.” See Alaska Stat. § 14.30.010(b)(1)(C). There was a time when homeschool parents had to choose between this option or the correspondence school option, but with the creation of option 1 in 1997, it is unlikely that many homeschool parents continue to use this option today. For state law governing these schools, see Alaska Stat. § 14.45.100 through § 14.45.130.

The first two options, the homeschool statute, and the correspondence program are used by the majority of homeschoolers in Alaska. The remaining two options, the private tutor statute and operating as a private school, are not used by many homeschoolers in Alaska today. They were used by many early Alaska homeschoolers, though, and are still on the books.

Resources:

Alaska Stat. § 14.30.010

Alaska, International Center for Home Education Research

Alaska Statewide Correspondence Schools

Home School, Alaska School Activities Association

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 Homeschooling in your state Arizona

 

Homeschool laws in Arizona

This overview is for informational purposes only and does not constitute the giving of legal advice.

The Arizona legislature passed a homeschool statute in 1982, requiring parents to pass a proficiency exam and students to take annual standardized tests. In 1993, the legislature removed the proficiency exam requirement, instead required parents to have a high school diploma or GED (this requirement, too, was later removed). In 1995, the legislature removed the testing requirement from the state’s homeschool statute.

Homeschooling in Arizona has one homeschool option:

  • Homeschool statute: Parents must submit a one-time notification to the local school district and must provide instruction in reading, grammar, math, social studies, and science. There is no parent qualification, hours of instruction, bookkeeping, or assessment requirements.

Parents must file an affidavit of intent with the local superintendent within thirty days of beginning to homeschool and within thirty days of ceasing to homeschool (this affidavit is not annual). This affidavit must state that the child is being provided with instruction in a homeschool and must include (a) The child’s name; (b) The child’s date of birth; (c) The current address of the school the child is attending; and (d) The names, telephone numbers and addresses of the persons who currently have custody of the child. This affidavit must also include a copy of the child’s birth certificate or other proof of identity or age. See Ariz. Rev. Stat. § 15-802(B)(2)§ 15-802(C), and § 15-828.

Parents must teach grade-appropriate Reading, grammar, mathematics, social studies, and science. See Ariz. Rev. Stat. § 15-802(A).

Resources:

Home Schooling Information

Ariz. Rev. Stat. § 15-802

Home Schooling Information, Arizona Department of Education

Arizona, International Center for Home Education Research

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homeschooling in your state Homeschooling in your state of Arkansas

 

Homeschool laws in Arkansas

This overview is for informational purposes only and does not constitute the giving of legal advice.

Arkansas passed its homeschool statute in 1985. The U.S. Court of Appeals upheld the constitutionality of Arkansas’ standardized testing requirement in Murphy v. Arkansas (1988). In 1995, state legislators attempted without success to pass Senate Bill 583, which would have required homeschool high school students to pass a high school exit examination. In 1997, Governor Mike Huckabee signed into law House Bill 1157, which stripped the homeschool statute passed in 1985 of accountability.

In 2015, House Bill 1381 removed the homeschool statute’s remaining testing requirement, which had required annual testing for students grades 3 through 9 but did not require homeschooled students to achieve any minimum score. State law was revised again in 2017.

Arkansas has one homeschool option.

  • Homeschool statute: Parents must offer annual notice to the local school district. Homeschooling is prohibited if a sex offender lives in the household. There are no other parent qualifications and no hours of instruction, subjects of instruction, record keeping, or assessment requirements.

Parents must notify the local superintendent of their intent to homeschool by August 15th or “fourteen (14) days prior to withdrawing the children from the local school district,” and annually by August 15th thereafter. When moving to another school district, written notice must be given within 30 days of establishing residency. The notice must include the name, birth date, and grade levels of the children; the name and address of the last school they attended, if any; the mailing address and telephone number of the homeschool; the name of the legal guardian providing the homeschool; and a statement regarding interest in public school interscholastic activities, a high school equivalency diploma, or intent to seek a driver’s license. This notice may be provided electronically, by mail, or in person.

Resources:

The Arkansas Department of Education provides a Fact Sheet on Homeschooling in Arkansas and maintains a “Home Schools” webpage with information and forms. The Arkansas Department of Education also publishes annual reports on their “Home School Reports” webpage.

Ark. Code. Ann. § 6-15-501 to § 6-15-508 (not yet updated)

“Home School,” Arkansas Department of Education

Fact Sheet on Homeschooling in Arkansas

Participation of Home Schooled Students in Interscholastic Activities

“Home School Reports,” Arkansas Department of Education

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homeschooling in your state Homeschooling in your state of California

Homeschool laws in California

This overview is for informational purposes only and does not constitute the giving of legal advice.

California has never passed a homeschool statute. That does not mean, however, that homeschooling does not have a history—legal and otherwise—in that state. While early homeschoolers generally argued that they were operating individual private schools, or as satellite programs of private schools, some school officials objected and there were squabbles over interpretations of the law. In 1986, a municipal court ruled in People v. Darrah and Black, et al, that the state’s requirement of a “person capable of teaching” and “private full-time day school” were constitutionally vague and therefore unenforceable. In 2008 the California Supreme Court abruptly threw the legality of homeschooling into question with In re. Rachel L. In the face of severe criticism, the court agreed to rehear the case and settled the legality of homeschooling in In re. Jonathan L.

California has four homeschool options.

Parents may operate a homeschool as an individual private school. Parents must file an annual notice with the state’s Superintendent of Public Instruction, be “capable of teaching” (officials have no authority to determine whether or not a parent meets this requirement), provide instruction in “the several branches of study required in public schools,” and keep attendance and various other records. There are no hours of instruction or assessment requirements.

Between October 1 and October 15 of each year, parents must file an affidavit with the Superintendent of Public Instruction. This affidavit must include their names and address, their homeschool’s enrollment by grade, the number of teachers (i.e. individuals providing instruction), a statement that the required records are being maintained at the stated address, and an assurance that criminal record. See § 33190.

Students must be instructed “by persons capable of teaching.” See § 48222. Local and state education officials have no authority to determine who is or is not “capable of teaching.”

Instruction must be given in English and must cover “the several branches of study required in public schools.” See § 48222. See also § 51210 and § 51220.

A record of attendance must be kept in a register. See § 48222. Parents must maintain a record of the courses of study offered and the names, addresses, and educational qualifications of each instructor. See § 33190.

Parents may homeschool as a satellite of a supervising private school. The requirements are the same except that parents enroll their children in the supervising private school rather than filing with the state.

Parents must enroll their students in a private school satellite program.

Students must be instructed, “by persons capable of teaching.” See § 48222. Each supervising school determines what this means and sets its own requirements.

Instruction must be given in English and must cover “the several branches of study required in public schools.” See § 48222. See also § 51210 and § 51220.

A record of attendance must be kept in a register. See § 48222. The supervising private school must maintain a record of the courses of study offered and the names, addresses, and educational qualifications of each instructor. See § 33190.

  • Private tutor: Students may be “instructed in study and recitation” by a private tutor. (See Cal. Educ. Code § 48224.)

Parents may homeschool under the private tutor law, which requires a teaching certificate and 175 days of instruction in “the several branches of study required in public schools” but has no notification, bookkeeping, or assessment requirements.

“The tutor or other person shall hold a valid state credential for the grade taught.” See § 48224.

Students must be instructed “in the several branches of study required to be taught in the public schools of this state and in the English language.” See § 48224. See also § 51210 and § 51220.

  • Independent study program: Parents may educate their children at home through “independent study” programs operated by public or charter schools. These students are technically public school or charter school students. (See Cal. Educ. Code § 51745.)

Most homeschoolers have traditionally used the first two options, operating their homeschools as private schools or enrolling in an umbrella school. However, an increasing number of children are being homeschooled through independent study programs.

Parents must enroll their children in an independent study program operated by a public school district or charter school.

Resources:

Selected California Education Codes

Private Schools Frequently Asked Questions

Filing the Private School Affidavit, California Department of Education

Independent Study, California Department of Education

California, International Center for Home Education Research

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 Homeschooling in your state Colorado

Homeschool laws  in Colorado

This overview is for informational purposes only and does not constitute the giving of legal advice.

When the first Colorado families began homeschooling, state law allowed for education at home with the approval of the State Board of Education. However, many homeschooling parents found the requirements of the state board too intrusive, and some enrolled their children in private schools while educating them at home even as the Colorado Department of Education contested the legality of this practice. By the time the 1980s drew to a close, the legality of educating a child at home under the supervision of a private school had been settled and a homeschool statute passed in 1988 had replaced state board approval.

Colorado law offers three homeschool options:

  • Homeschool statute: Parents must provide annual notice, offer 172 days of instruction in reading, writing, and speaking, mathematics, history, civics, literature, science, and the U.S. Constitution, and have their children assessed at the end of grades 3, 5, 7, 9, and 11 (by testing  or portfolio evaluation). The results of these assessments must be reported to the school district, and students who do not make sufficient academic progress may be required to attend school.

Parents must file a written notification with a school district at least 14 days before beginning to homeschool, and each year following. This notification should include the name, age, place of residence, and number of hours of attendance of each child.

Parents must provide 172 days of instruction, averaging four instructional contact hours per day.

Parents must educate their children in the subjects of communication skills of reading, writing, and speaking, mathematics, history, civics, literature, science, and the U.S. Constitution.

Parents must maintain attendance data, test and evaluation results, and immunization records. These records must be produced to the school district should the superintendent have probable cause to believe that the homeschool is out of compliance with the law.

Homeschooled students must be either tested or evaluated at the end of grades 3, 5, 7, 9, and 11. If the testing option is chosen, the student must take a national standardized achievement test. If the evaluation option is chosen, the student must be evaluated by a “qualified person . . . selected by the parent.” This includes anyone who has a graduate degree in education or who is a state certified teacher, a teacher in a private school, or a licensed psychologists. The test or evaluation results must be submitted to the school district that received the notification or to a private school. If the results are submitted to a private school, the name of that school must be provided to the school district.

 

  • Independent school: Parents may enroll children in “an independent or parochial school which provides a basic academic education” and pursue a course of home-based study. The children must be enrolled for at least 172 days and the independent or parochial school must provide instruction in reading, writing, and speaking, mathematics, history, civics, literature, science, and the U.S. Constitution. There are no state notification, parent qualification, bookkeeping, or assessment requirements.

Parents must enroll their children in “an independent or parochial school which provides a basic academic education.”

Students must be enrolled for “a minimum of one hundred seventy-two days.”  See Colo. Rev. Stat. § 22-33-104(2)(b).

Students must study reading, writing, and speaking, mathematics, history, civics, literature, and science as part of a “sequential program of instruction provided by an independent or parochial school. See Colo. Rev. Stat. § 22-33-104(2)(b).

  • Private tutor: Parents who have a teaching certificate may homeschool under the private tutor law. There is no notification, hours of instruction, subject, bookkeeping, or assessment requirements.

Resources:

The Colorado Department of Education offers current and prospective homeschooling parents a guide to homeschooling in Colorado (Home School in Colorado) and an FAQ page (Frequently Asked Questions about Homeschooling).

Colo. Rev. Stat. § 22-33-104.5

Compulsory School Attendance Law

Frequently Asked Questions about Homeschooling

Home School in Colorado, Colorado Department of Education

Colorado, International Center for Home Education Research

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homeschooling in your state Homeschooling in your state of Connecticut

Homeschool laws in Connecticut

This overview is for informational purposes only and does not constitute the giving of legal advice.

Connecticut’s compulsory education statute includes an exemption when parents are “able to show that the children are elsewhere receiving equivalent instructions in the studies taught in the public schools.” Connecticut has never passed a homeschool statute; from the earliest years of homeschooling to the present, parents have homeschooled under this “equivalent instruction” exemption. In 1982 the State Education Commissioner issued guidelines for school districts to follow when administering this exemption. New guidelines were issued in 1990, but neither set of rules ever had the force of law behind them, making them in effect voluntary. A 2002 bill to make the guidelines law failed to pass, as did a 2008 proposal

There is only on option for homeschooling in Connecticut 

  • Alternative instruction provision: Connecticut law exempts children receiving instruction “elsewhere” from compulsory school attendance. Parents must offer “equivalent instruction in the studies taught in the public schools.” There are no notification, parent qualification, instruction time, bookkeeping, or assessment requirements.

Early on, the Connecticut Board of Education created guidelines for determining whether a homeschooled child is receiving equivalent instruction. While these guidelines include both annual notification and annual portfolio reviews, they are administrative suggestions rather than legal mandates and do not appear to be widely followed or enforced.

State law requires superintendents to report the name, age, and information about school attendance for each child of compulsory age, and levies a small fine on parents who refuse to provide this information. See Conn. Gen. Stat. §10-249 and §10-251. The guidelines suggest that parents be required to file a notice of intent form within ten days of beginning to homeschool, and annually thereafter, including the name of the teacher, the subjects taught, the days of instruction, the teacher’s method of assessment, and an assurance that equivalent instruction will be provided; the guidelines further suggest that should a parent fail to file a notice or file an incomplete notice, local school authorities should send the parent a certified letter giving ten days to comply.

Parents must offer “equivalent instruction in the studies taught in the public schools.” The guidelines suggest that parents be required to provide instruction in reading, writing, spelling, English grammar, geography, arithmetic, United States history, and citizenship, including a study of town, state, and federal governments.

Resources:

Since homeschooling tends to be handled on the local district level if at all, the Connecticut State Department of Education does not have information on its website for homeschoolers.

Homeschooling, Connecticut State Department of Education

Connecticut State Law Section 10-184

“Revised Procedures Concerning Requests from Parents to Educate Their Child at Home”

Connecticut, International Center for Home Education Research

CT Homeschool Network, Inc.

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homeschooling in your state Homeschooling in your state of Delaware

Homeschool laws in Delaware

This overview is for informational purposes only and does not constitute the giving of legal advice.

Early homeschoolers sought to operate under the state’s private school law. In 1990, a bill that would have barred homeschoolers from using the private school statute and created a homeschool statute with oversight requirements failed to pass. The legislature finally passed a homeschool statute in 1997, requiring parents to homeschool in affiliation with a homeschool association or under the auspices of the local school district. The state’s current homeschool statute, which classifies homeschools as nonpublic schools with the only minimal paperwork needed and dispenses with the requirement to homeschool through a homeschool association or the school district, was passed into law in 2003.

Failure to educate is included in the state’s definition of neglect, but exactly what that includes given the lack of subject requirements in the homeschool statute is unclear.

Delaware’s homeschool statute states that “a ‘homeschool’ shall be considered a non-public school” and offers three options for homeschooling:

  • Single-family homeschool: Delaware’s homeschool statute states that “a ‘homeschool’ shall be considered a non-public school” and offers three options for homeschooling. The second option, the “single-family homeschool,” is defined as “the education of one’s own child(ren) primarily by the parent(s) or legal guardian(s) mainly in their own residence.” See Del. Code Ann. tit. 14 § 2703A(2). For the entire homeschool statute, see Del. Code Ann. tit. 14 § 2703A and § 2704.

Parents must submit annual enrollment and attendance reports to the Delaware Department of Education. There are no parent qualification, instruction time, subject, bookkeeping, or assessment requirements.

Parents or guardians must  submit a statement of pupil enrollment as of the last day of September on or before October 31st of each year and  report end of the year attendance information on or before July 31 of each year. They are required use forms prescribed by the Department of Education, and they submit the information to the Department of Education rather than their local school districts. This process is now online and requires the name and address of the homeschool and parent and the name, address, date of birth, and grade of each child. See Del. Code Ann. tit. 14 § 2704.

  • Multi-family homeschool: Delaware’s homeschool statute states that “a ‘homeschool’ shall be considered a non-public school” and offers three options for homeschooling. The first option, the “multi-family homeschool,” is defined as “the education of children, primarily by the parents(s) or legal guardian(s) of such children mainly in one or several residences, or other facilities, when such children are not all related to each other as brother or sister.” See Del. Code Ann. tit. 14 § 2703A(1). For the entire homeschool statute, see Del. Code Ann. tit. 14 § 2703A and § 2704.

Parents must submit annual enrollment and attendance reports to the Delaware Department of Education. There are no parent qualification, instruction time, subject, bookkeeping, or assessment requirements. One parent must serve as the designated liaison.

  • Coordination with the local school district: This option is no longer available. It is only included here because it is still in the state’s homeschool statute. In that statute, a “single-family homeschool coordinated with the local school district” is defined as “the education of child(ren) primarily by the parent(s) or legal guardian(s) of such child(ren) mainly in their own residence using a curriculum approved by the local superintendent or the local superintendent’s designee.” See Del. Code Ann. tit. 14 § 2703A(3). For the entire homeschool statute, see Del. Code Ann. tit. 14 § 2703A and § 2704.

Resources:

Del. Code Ann. tit. 14 § 2703A and § 2704

Del. Code Ann. tit. 14: 200 Administration and Operations

Nonpublic Schools Overview

Homeschool DOE Overview

Opening a Delaware Homeschool

Delaware, International Center for Home Education Research

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 Homeschooling in your state of Florida

Homeschool laws in Florida

This overview is for informational purposes only and does not constitute the giving of legal advice.

Florida passed its homeschool statute in 1985. Before this, groups of homeschooling parents formed private “umbrella” schools to legally enroll homeschooled children while they were being educated at home. After the homeschool statute came into existence, creating a legal means of homeschooling with oversight from the local school districts, some parents continued to homeschool through the existing private “umbrella” schools, thus creating today’s dual system.

Florida defines a “home education program” as “sequentially progressive instruction of a student directed by his parent.” See Fla. Stat. § 1002.01(1). For Florida’s homeschool statute, see Fla. Stat. § 1002.41.

Florida law offers three homeschool options. Most Florida homeschool parents use one of the first two options.

  • Homeschool statute: Parents must provide a one-time notice to the local superintendent, maintain a portfolio of their children’s work, and have their children assessed annually (by standardized test or portfolio evaluation). There is no parent qualification, hours of instruction, or subject requirements. The assessments must be turned in to the local superintendent; if students are not making suitable educational progress parents will have a year to correct deficiencies.

Parents must notify the local superintendent in writing within 30 days of beginning to homeschool. This notice must include the names, addresses, and birth dates of each student being homeschooled, and must be signed by the parent. This notice is not annual. Parents must also file a written notice of termination with the local superintendent when ceasing to homeschool. See Fla. Stat. § 1002.41(a).

Parents must maintain a portfolio of records and materials, including (1) “A log of educational activities that is made contemporaneously with the instruction and that designates by title any reading materials used”; and (2) “Samples of any writings, worksheets, workbooks, or creative materials used or developed by the student.” This portfolio must be preserved for 2 years and must be made available for inspection by the local superintendent “upon 15 days’ written notice.” See Fla. Stat. § 1002.41(b).

Parents must provide for an annual educational evaluation documenting “the student’s demonstration of educational progress at a level commensurate with her or his ability.” Parents must file a copy of students’ annual educational evaluation with the local superintendent. There are several forms this evaluation may take:

  • (1) The parent may choose a state certified teacher to evaluate the student’s educational progress “upon review of the portfolio and discussion with the student”;
  • (2) The student may take a nationally normed student achievement test administered by a certified teacher;
  • (3) The student may take a state student assessment test used by the school district and be administered by a certified teacher, “at a location and under testing conditions approved by the school district”;
  • (4) The student may be evaluated by a psychologist or school psychologist, or
  • (5) the student may be evaluated by “any other valid measurement tool as mutually agreed upon” by the local superintendent and the parent. See Fla. Stat. § 1002.41(c)(1).

  • Umbrella school: Parents may enroll their children in a private school created to serve as a homeschool “umbrella” school. Parents must provide 180 days of instruction and maintain attendance and immunization records. There are no notification, parent qualification, subject, or assessment requirements.

Private schools must incorporate, register with the Department of Education, and file an annual database form.

 

  • Private tutor: Parents with teaching certificates may homeschool under the private tutor option. Parents must provide 180 days of instruction and maintain basic records, but there are no notification, subject, or assessment requirements.

Private tutors must make any reports required by the state or the local school board and hold a state teaching certificate “to teach the subjects or grades in which instruction is given.”

Resources:

Fla. Stat. § 1002.41 (Homeschool Statute)

Fla. Stat. § 1002.42 (Private School Statute)

Fla Stat. § 1002.43 (Private Tutor Statute)

Home Education, Florida Department of Education

Home Education Frequently Asked Questions

Private Schools: FAQs

Florida, International Center for Home Education Research

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homeschooling in your state Homeschooling in your state of Georgia

Homeschool laws In Georgia

This overview is for informational purposes only and does not constitute the giving of legal advice.

Early homeschoolers were required to go to the local school district and obtain permission to operate as a private school. Throughout the early 1980s, the state superintendent sought unsuccessfully to define “private school” so as to exclude homeschool. In 1985, the legislature passed the state’s homeschool statute, which was one of the least restrictive in the country. Over a decade later, in 1997, Georgia homeschoolers rebuffed a state lawmaker’s attempt to increase oversight of homeschooling. Finally, in 2013, the legislature made several small changes to the state’s homeschooling law, requiring parents to report to the state superintendent instead of the local board of education and decreasing the amount of reporting required.

Homeschool statute: Parents must have a high school diploma or GED, provide annual notice to the Georgia Department of Education, provide 180 days of instruction in a variety of required subjects, write annual progress reports for each child, and have each child tested every three years beginning in third grade. Neither the progress reports nor the standardized test scores are turned in to either state or local education officials.

Parents must submit an electronic notice of intent to the Department of Education within 30 days after establishing a home study program, and by September 1 of each year annually thereafter. The notice of intent must include the names and ages of the students enrolled, the address where the home study program is located, and a statement of what 12 month period is to be considered the school year. See Ga. Code Ann. § 20-2-690(c)(1, 2)

Home study programs must offer “a basic academic educational program” that includes, but is not limited to, reading, language arts, mathematics, social studies, and science. See Ga. Code Ann. § 20-2-690(c)(4).

Parents must compose annual progress assessment reports for each child. These reports should include an individualized assessment of the student’s academic progress in each required subject area. These progress reports must be retained by the parent in the home study program for at least three years. See Ga. Code Ann. § 20-2-690(c)(8).

Parents are not required to submit either annual progress assessments or the results of the required standardized testing. However, homeschooling parents who are not meeting the requirements of the homeschool statute may be reported to their local school districts, and failure to comply with the requirements of the homeschool statute is a misdemeanor. See Ga. Code Ann. § 20-2-690(d). Failure to educate is not included in the state’s definition of neglect, meaning that educational neglect cannot be reported to the state’s social services.

Resources:

Ga. Code Ann. § 20-2-690(c)

Home Schools, Georgia Department of Education

Georgia, International Center for Home Education Research

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homeschooling in your state Homeschooling in your state of Hawaii

Homeschool laws in Hawaii

This overview is for informational purposes only and does not constitute the giving of legal advice.

Hawaii’s compulsory attendance law has always included an exemption for children being taught by a private tutor at home. In 1980 the state legislature replaced its existing private tutor law with statutes outlining “alternative educational programs.” These programs required students to participate in the Statewide Testing Program in their local schools and required parents to have bachelor’s degrees or hire a qualified tutor. In 1989, the state legislature created a new, less restrictive “homeschool” option, which forms the basis of the state’s homeschool law today.

Hawaii law excuses a child from public or private school attendance when “notification of intent to homeschool has been submitted to the principal of the public school that the child would otherwise be required to attend in accordance with department rules adopted to achieve this result.” See Haw. Rev. Stat. § 302A-1132(a)(5). “‘Homeschooling’ means a viable educational option where a parent instructs the parent’s own child.” For department rules, see Haw. Admin. R. §§ 8-12-1 to 8-12-22.

  • Homeschool statute: Parents must submit a one-time notice with the local public school principal, provide sequential instruction in a variety of subjects, maintain a curriculum record for each child, have their children tested at the end of grades 3, 5, 8, and 10, and submit an annual assessment for each child (by standardized test, portfolio review, or written evaluation). There are no teacher qualification or hours of instruction requirements. If a child’s progress is not adequate, the parents must create a remediation plan and are given the opportunity to correct deficiencies.

Parents must submit a notice of intent to the local public school principle before beginning to homeschool, and when the child transfers to another school (i.e. between elementary and middle school, between middle school and high school, and when moving). This notice should consist of either Form 4140 (Exemptions to Compulsory Education) or a letter containing the child’s name, address, telephone number, date of birth, and grade level, as well as the parent’s signature. The notice of intent will be acknowledged by the principal and district superintendent, and should be maintained for record keeping purposes and for presenting as a defense against truancy charges. The parent must also notify the principal when ceasing to homeschool. See Haw. Admin. R. §§ 8-12-13 and 8-12-16.

The curriculum provided must be “structured and based on educational objectives as well as the needs of the child, be cumulative and sequential, provide a range of up-to-date knowledge and needed skills, and take into account the interests, needs, and abilities of the child.” At the elementary level, the curriculum “may include” language arts, mathematics, social studies, science, art, music, health and physical education to be offered at the appropriate developmental stage of the child. At the secondary level, the curriculum “may include” social studies, English, mathematics, science, health, physical education, and guidance. See Haw. Admin. R. § 8-12-15.

Parents must maintain “a record of the planned curriculum for each child.” “The record of the planned curriculum should include the following: (1) The commencement date and ending date of the program; (2) A record of the number of hours per week the child spends in instruction; (3) The subject areas to be covered in the planned curriculum; (4) The method used to determine mastery of materials and subjects in the curriculum; and (5) A list of textbooks or other instructional materials which will be used.” See Haw. Admin. R. § 8-12-15.

Resources:

Haw.Rev. Stat. § 302A-1132(a)(5)

Haw. Admin. R. §§ 8-12-1 to 8-12-22

Homeschooling, Hawaii State Department of Education

Homeschooling Guidelines

Form 4140 (Exceptions to Compulsory Education)

Hawaii, International Center for Home Education Research

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homeschooling in your state homeschooling in your state of Idaho

Homeschool laws in Idaho

This overview is for informational purposes only and does not constitute the giving of legal advice.

In 1963, the Idaho legislature passed a compulsory attendance statute that exempted children who were “otherwise comparably instructed, as may be determined by the board of trustees of the school district in which the child resides,” from compulsory school attendance. In Bayes v. State, decided in 1989, a homeschool father argued that the statute was overly vague. The court of appeals disagreed with him, pointing out that he had been given clear requirements to follow to demonstrate that the education he was providing his children was comparable. However, the statute continued to be disputed. In 1990, a local judge ruled in Welker v. Independent School District of Boise City No. 1 that homeschool parents have no obligation to provide information requested by the school district. That same year, Idaho’s Fourth District Court found in In the Interest of Patterson that the school district had the burden to prove that a homeschool was not in compliance with the law and that the burden did not shift to the homeschool parents to prove compliance.

On April 8, 1992, the state legislature passed House Bill 502, which was introduced by Fred Tilman, a homeschooling father, and state legislator. This bill revised the state’s compulsory attendance statute, exempting children who were “otherwise comparably instructed” and thus removing the board of trustees of the school district to determine whether this comparable instruction was taking place. On April 3, 2009, the governor signed Senate Bill 1017, revising the compulsory attendance statute to remove the word “comparable.” The statute now reads that a parent may meet the requirements of the compulsory attendance statute if they “cause the child to be privately instructed by, or at the direction of, his parent or guardian” and that this instruction must be provided “in subjects commonly and usually taught in the public schools of the state of Idaho.” 

Idaho is another state that has attempted to straddle the fence between compulsory education and homeschool. 

Their homeschool laws read...“The parent or guardian of any child . . . shall cause the child to be instructed in subjects commonly and usually taught in the public schools of the state of Idaho. To accomplish this, a parent or guardian shall either cause the child to be privately instructed by, or at the direction of, his parent or guardian; or enrolled in a public school . . . or private or parochial school.” See Idaho Code § 33-202.

  • Alternative instruction provision: Idaho law exempts students being “privately instructed” from compulsory school attendance. Parents must provide instruction in “subjects commonly and usually taught in the public schools of Idaho.” There are no notification, parent qualification, instruction time, bookkeeping, or assessment requirements.

Parents must “cause the child to be instructed in subjects commonly and usually taught in the public schools of Idaho.” These subjects include language arts and communication, mathematics, science, and social studies. Depending on the grade level, additional subjects such as fine arts, health, and physical education are also required.

Resources:

Idaho Code § 33-202

Home School, Idaho State Department of Education

School Choice Packet, Idaho State Department of Education

Idaho, International Center for Home Education Research

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Homeschooling in your state of Illinois

 

Homeschool laws in Illinois

This overview is for informational purposes only and does not constitute the giving of legal advice.

The legality of homeschooling today rests on People v. Levisen (1950). In that decision, the Supreme Court of Illinois stated that homeschools should be allowed to operate as private schools, provided they followed the state’s requirements for such schools. This case was later followed by Scoma v. Chicago Board of Education (1974) which ruled that homeschool parents must provide an education that is equivalent to the standards set by public schools and that homeschool parents must be able to show that they are providing the required plan of instruction. Over the years, Illinois legislatures and education officials have proposed laws to create more thorough oversight of homeschooling in the state, but none has passed.

In Illinois, Homeschools operate as private schools. (See 105 ILCS § 5/26-1 and 105 ILCS § 5/27-1.)

  • Private school: Parents may operate homeschools as private schools. Parents must provide instruction in “the branches of education taught to children of corresponding age and grade in the public schools.” There are no notification, parent qualification, instruction time, bookkeeping, or assessment requirements.

Notification is voluntary. Parents removing their children from public school to homeschool them are recommended to notify the school, but this is not mandatory. The Illinois State Board of Education has a one-page form on their website that parents can print off, fill in, and turn in to their regional superintendent or the State Board of Education, but this is voluntary.

Homeschooled children must be “taught the branches of education taught to children of corresponding age and grade in the public schools.” These subjects include language arts, mathematics, biological and physical sciences, social sciences, fine arts, and physical development and health. Instruction must be in English.

Resources:

105 ILCS § 5/26-1

105 ILCS § 5/27-1

Illinois Homeschooling, Illinois State Board of Education

Illinois, Center for Home Education Research

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Homeschooling in your State of Indiana

Homeschool laws in Indiana

This overview is for informational purposes only and does not constitute the giving of legal advice.

The legality of homeschooling in Indiana rests on State v. Peterman (1904). In that case, the Indiana Appellate Court defined a school as “a place where instruction is imparted to the young” and held that a school at home counts as a private school. In Mazanec v. North Judson-San Pierre School Corporation (1985), the Seventh Circuit of the United States Court of Appeals affirmed the legality of homeschooling and ended local school districts’ jurisdiction over homeschooling. The Indiana General Assembly has never legislated on homeschooling.

Homeschools operate as “non-accredited, nonpublic schools” (private schools). See Ind. Code § 20.33.2.

  • Private school: Parents may operate homeschools as private schools. Parents must provide 180 days of “instruction equivalent” to that provided in public schools and must keep attendance records. There are no notification, parent qualification, or assessment requirements.

If a child has never been enrolled in a public school, no notification is required. If a child is being withdrawn from a public school to be homeschooled, the parent must notify the child’s public school. The Indiana Department of Education asks homeschool parents to register their homeschools through an online form, but this is voluntary.

Parents must provide children with “instruction equivalent” to that in public schools. However, homeschools are exempt from the curriculum requirements laid out for public schools, and “equivalent instruction” has never been defined. Instruction must be provided in the English language.

Parents must keep attendance records and provide them to the state superintendent or the superintendent of the local school corporation if asked in order to verify that the child is indeed being homeschooled. The state superintendent may ask for the number and grade levels of children who are homeschooled, but this request must be made on an individual basis and may not be made to homeschoolers in general.

Resources:

Ind. Code § 20.33.2

Homeschool Information, Indiana Department of Education

Homeschool Help Sheet

Indiana, International Center for Home Education Research

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Homeschooling in your state of Iowa

Homeschool laws in Iowa

This overview is for informational purposes only and does not constitute the giving of legal advice.

The early years of homeschooling in Iowa were difficult ones, as private instruction was not permitted without a teaching certificate. In 1991, Iowa homeschoolers successfully lobbied for House File 455, which made homeschooling without a teaching certificate legal, subject to certain requirements. In 2013, Rep. Matt Windschitl, assistant majority leader in the Republican-controlled Iowa House of Representatives, added a deregulation amendment into House File 215, a bill to reform public education. The bill passed the legislature and was signed into law. As a result, homeschooling in Iowa was completely deregulated.

Iowa’s homeschool statute offers three homeschool options.

  • Independent Private Instruction: Parents must provide instruction in math, science, reading and language arts, and social studies, but there are no notification, parent qualification, instruction time, bookkeeping, or assessment requirements.

 

  • Competent Private Instruction (option 1): Parents must provide annual notice and homeschool under the supervision of a certified teacher who will record and monitor the child’s progress. There are no instruction time or subject requirements.

The parent must file a form with the local school district by September 1 of each school year. This form should be accompanied by a copy of each student’s immunization records.

Instruction must be provided for 148 days, to be broken down into at least 37 days each quarter.

The supervising teacher must monitor students’ progress.

  • Competent Private Instruction (option 2): Parents must provide 148 days of instruction and students must make adequate progress, but there are no parent qualification, subjects of instruction, or bookkeeping requirements, and notification and assessment are optional.

Parents must file a form with the local school district but are exempted from this requirement if they do not intend for their children to participate in dual enrollment, extracurricular activities, or special needs services. This is called the private instruction exemption.

Homeschool parents must have their children assessed by either standardized test or portfolio review and report the evaluations to their local school district, but are exempted from this requirement if they do not intend to have their children participate in dual enrollment, extracurricular activities, or special needs services.

Resources:

Iowa Code Section 299A

Private Instruction (Home Schooling), Iowa Department of Education

Private Instruction Comparison Chart, Iowa Department of Education

Private Instruction Handbook, Iowa Department of Education

Iowa, International Center for Home Education Research

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Homeschooling in your state of Kansas

Homeschool laws in Kansas

This overview is for informational purposes only and does not constitute the giving of legal advice.

In the early 1980s, the Sawyer family organized began to educate their children at home, registering their homeschool as a private school with the state.  In In re Sawyer, 672 P.2d 1093 (Kan. 1983), the court found that Sawyer’s homeschool did not qualify as a homeschool because the instruction was unplanned and unscheduled. In In re Jost, No. 84-JC-88 (Marion County Dist. Ct. 1985) the courts found that Kim and Constance Jost’s homeschool counted as a legitimate private school. In In re Willms, No. 87-JC-350 (Shawnee County Dist. Ct., Feb. 12, 1988) the courts found that the Willms family, which operated their homeschool as a “satellite” of an existing private school, was within the law. 

Parents may operate a homeschool as a non-accredited private school. See Kan. Stat. Ann. § 72-1111(a)(2).

  • Private school: Parents may operate a homeschool as a private school. Parents must register once with the state Board of Education, and must provide instruction for a period of time “substantially equivalent” to that of public schools. Parents must be “competent,” but state officials have no authority to determine a parent’s competency. There are no subject, bookkeeping or assessment requirements.

The teacher must be “competent.” However, the local school board has no authority to determine a parent’s competency. See Kan. Stat. Ann. § 72-1111(a)(2) and Kan. Attorney General Opinion 75-409.

Instruction must be planned and scheduled and periodic testing must occur. See In re Sawyer 672 P.2d 1093 (1983) and Kansas Attorney General Opinion No. 85-159 (1985).

  • Umbrella school: Parents may operate homeschools as a satellite of existing public schools by enrolling their children in a private school rather than registering with the state. Instruction must be provided for a period of time “substantially equivalent” to that of public schools, but all other requirements are set by the private school.

If enrolling in an unaccredited private school, there are no state requirements. However, accredited private schools are required to provide instruction in reading, writing, arithmetic, geography, spelling, English grammar and composition, civil government, U.S. and Kansas history, patriotism and duties of a citizen, health and hygiene, and (for high school only) U.S. government and the U.S. Constitution.

Resources:

Kan. Stat. Ann. § 72-1111(a)(2)

Kan. Stat. Ann. § 72-53,101

Non-Accredited Private Schools (Homeschooling), Kansas State Department of Education

Homeschooling in Kansas Fact Sheet, Kansas State Department of Education

PS 08005.019 Kansas, Social Security Administration

Kansas, International Center for Home Education Research

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Homeschooling in your state of Kentucky

 

Homeschool Laws in Kentucky

This overview is for informational purposes only and does not constitute the giving of legal advice.

In 1979, in Ky. State Bd. for Elementary & Secondary Educ. v. Rudasill, the Kentucky Supreme Court ruled that the Kentucky Department of Education could not require private schools to comply with state textbook approval, teacher certification, and school accreditation requirements. The court held that the legislature could monitor the work of private schools through a standardized achievement testing program, but the legislature has never created such a program. While this case involved Christian schools rather than homeschools, it undergirds the legality of homeschooling to this day.

Homeschools operate under the law for private, parochial, or church schools. See Ky. Rev. Stat. Ann. §159.030(1)(b), §159.040, and §159.080.

  • Private school: Parents may operate homeschools as private schools. Parents must provide an annual notice of enrollment to the local board of education, keep attendance, and provide 185 days of instruction in the same branches of study as are required in public schools. There are no parent qualification or assessment requirements.

Parents must notify the local board of education of the number of pupils by letter during the first two weeks of school annually.

Parents must provide instruction in English and must cover the same branches of study as required in public schools (reading, writing, spelling, grammar, history, mathematics, and civics).

Resources:

Ky. Rev. Stat. Ann. §159.030

Ky. Rev. Stat. Ann. §159.040

Ky. Rev. Stat. Ann. §159.080

Home School, Kentucky Department of Education

Kentucky Home School Information Packet, Kentucky Department of Education

Kentucky, International Center for Home Education Research

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Homeschooling in your state of Louisiana

Homeschool laws in Louisiana

This overview is for informational purposes only and does not constitute the giving of legal advice.

In 1980, Rep. Woody Jenkins saw a news article about a homeschooling family that was being prosecuted because their homeschool did not meet the state definition of “school.” Concerned, he proposed the Louisiana Private Education Deregulation Act, which was heavily supported by Christian school advocates and passed later that year. This act created the state’s home study law and revised the state’s private school law, removing the requirement that a private school must have fifty pupils. Ever since that date, homeschooling has been permitted under either statute.

Any child “who participates in a home study program approved by the State Board of Elementary and Secondary Education” is considered to be in attendance at a day school for the purposes of compulsory attendance laws. See La. Rev. Stat. Ann. § 17:236. For the law governing home study programs, see La. Rev. Stat. Ann. § 17:236.1.

  • Homeschool statute: Parents must submit an annual notice to the Louisiana Department of Education and must include either a packet of materials or an assessment (by standardized test or portfolio evaluation) with each subsequent year’s notice. Approval may be denied if a child is not making appropriate progress. Parents must offer 180 days of instruction and provide a “sustained curriculum of quality at least equal to that offered by public schools.” There are no parent qualifications or bookkeeping requirements.

Parents must submit an application to the Board of Education within 15 days of beginning to homeschool. This application includes basic student and contact information and “shall be approved if the parent certifies that the home study program will offer a sustained curriculum of quality at least equal to that offered by public schools at the same grade level.” This initial application must also include the child’s birth certificate. 

 Parents must submit an annual renewal application to the Board of Education; this renewal application must include an assessment for each child. A renewal application “shall be approved if the parent submits to the board satisfactory evidence that the program has in fact offered a sustained curriculum of quality at least equal to that offered by public schools at the same grade level.” Both initial and renewal applications may be submitted either online or through the mail. 

“The Board of Elementary and Secondary Education, upon receipt of such initial or renewal application, shall immediately notify the city or parish school superintendent within whose jurisdiction the home study is being conducted of such application and also shall notify said superintendent of subsequent actions taken by the board on the application.” See La. Rev. Stat. Ann. § 17:236.1(A, B, C, D).

Home study programs must “offer a sustained curriculum of quality at least equal to that offered by public schools at the same grade level.”

 

Each year’s renewal application must be accompanied by “satisfactory evidence that the program has in fact offered a sustained curriculum of quality at least equal to that offered by public schools at the same grade level.” This requirement may be satisfied in several ways.

  1.  Packet of Materials. Parents may submit a “packet of materials” that includes “such documents as: (a) A complete outline of each of the subjects taught during the previous year, (b) Lists of books and materials used, (c) Copies of the student’s work, (d) Copies of standardized tests, (e)  Statements by third parties who have observed the child’s progress, and (f) Any other evidence of the quality of the program being offered.”
  2.  Test Scores. Parents may submit verification that the student has taken a standardized test and scored at or above grade level, or made one grade level of progress from the previous year.
  3.  Statement from a Teacher. Parents may submit a statement from a certified teacher who has examined the family’s homeschool program and certifies that the child is “being taught in accordance with a sustained curriculum of quality at least equal to that offered by public schools at the same grade level or, in the case of children with mental or physical disabilities, at least equal to that offered by public schools to children with similar disabilities.” According to state statute, “Any such teacher evaluation provided for in this Subsection shall be subject to review and approval of the State Board of Education.”

See La. Rev. Stat. Ann. § 17:236.1(C, D).

  • Private school: Parents may operate homeschools as private schools. Parents must submit an annual enrollment report to the state Louisiana Department of Education and are required to provide 180 days of instruction. There are no parent qualification, subject, bookkeeping, or assessment requirements.

Parents must “report to the state Department of Education their total attendance as of the thirtieth day of their school term or session.” This can be done online or through the mail and must include the school’s name, the school year, contact information, and the total number of students enrolled. See La. Rev. Stat. Ann. § 17:232(C)

 If a child is withdrawn from public school to attend a homeschool operating as a private school, whether in the middle of or at the end of a school year, the homeschool parents (in the role of private school administrators) must provide written notice of the child’s enrollment in said homeschool operating as a private school to the child’s previous public school within ten days of enrollment. This notification must include the child’s name, date of birth, gender, and race. See La. Rev. Stat. Ann. § 17:221.3(B)(2).

Resources:

Home Study, Louisiana Department of Education

Home Study Guidelines

Registered Nonpublic Schools, Louisiana Department of Education

Registered Nonpublic Schools Guidelines

Louisiana, International Center for Home Education Research

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Homeschooling in your state of Maine[/caption]

Homeschool laws for Maine

This overview is for informational purposes only and does not constitute the giving of legal advice.

Early homeschoolers had to seek approval from their local school boards. In 1982, in Bangor Baptist Church v. Maine, the U.S. District Court for the District of Maine ruled that the state could not require private schools to seek state approval. After this ruling, the Department of Education developed a voluntary set of guidelines for non-approved public schools. Many homeschooling families banded together to form private schools following these guidelines. In 1985, the Maine Department of Education approved the “Chapter 130” homeschool rules, which still required school board approval. In 1988, in Blount v. Dept. of Educ. & Cultural Serv., the Supreme Court of Maine ruled that an individual homeschool could not function as a private school. However, multiple homeschool families could still come together to form non-approved public schools. In 1989, the state legislature passed a homeschool statute, transferring the authority to approve homeschools from the local school boards to the State Department of Education. In 2003, the state legislature passed LD 160, removing the Commissioner’s authority to develop state criteria for approving homeschools.

The statute calls homeschools “home instruction programs.” See Me. Rev. Stat. Ann. Tit. 20-A § 5001-A(3)(A)(4)

  • Homeschool statute: Parents must provide a one-time notice to both the local school district and the Maine Department of Education, offer 175 days of instruction in a variety of required subjects, and have their children assessed annually (by standardized test or by portfolio review performed either by a certified teacher or by a homeschool association). Parents must submit each child’s assessment with each subsequent year’s notice and must keep each assessment on file. While portfolio evaluations must include the evaluator’s “acceptance” of the student’s progress, there is no minimum score for those who choose the standardized test assessment option. There is no parent qualification requirement.

 

  • Private school/Umbrella school: Parents may also choose to operate a homeschool as a private school, providing annual notice with safety compliance and enrollment data and offering 175 days of instruction in a variety of required subjects. There is no assessment requirement, but to operate as a private school a homeschool must include at least two unrelated children. In some cases, homeschoolers have come together to create what become de facto umbrella schools, private schools enrolling multiple homeschool families.

Resources:

Me. Rev. Stat. Ann. Tit. 20-A § 5001-A

Me. Rev. Stat. Ann. Tit. 20-A § 5021

Home Instruction, Maine Department of Education

Maine, International Center for Home Education Research

 

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Homeschooling in your state of Maryland

Homeschool Laws for Maryland

This overview is for informational purposes only and does not constitute the giving of legal advice.

In 1984, the Maryland State Board of Education prohibited homeschooling without a teaching certificate. In 1987, after a controversial homeschooling bill was scrapped by the previous year, the Board created a new set of regulations for homeschooling, in consultation with Maryland homeschoolers. In 2011, House Bill 500, which would allow homeschooled children to participate in public school extracurriculars, was introduced to the legislature; it has not made any progress.

The state’s compulsory attendance law exempts any child who “is otherwise receiving regular, thorough instruction during the school year in the studies usually taught in the public schools to children of the same age.” See Md. Code Ann., Educ. § 7-301(a)(1). The Board of Education has developed regulations for homeschooling. See Md. Regs. Code tit. 13A §§ 10.01.01 to .03.

Maryland’s homeschool statute offers two options:

  • School district: Parents must provide annual notice of intent to homeschool to the local superintendent, provide “regular, thorough instruction in the studies usually taught in the public schools to children of the same age,” and maintain a portfolio of each student’s work and allow the local superintendent to review it up to three times a year. There are no parent qualification requirements. Should the superintendent determine that the required instruction is not being provided, the parent will be given the opportunity to correct deficiencies.

 

  • Umbrella school: Parents may homeschool under the supervision of a church school or an approved private school. In both cases, parents must provide annual notice to the local superintendent and supervising schools must provide “textbooks, lesson plans, and other instructional materials or equipment.” Church school officials must conduct annual site visits while approved private schools must assign each homeschool a supervising teacher. There is no assessment requirement for students homeschooled under a supervising school. Maryland requires approved private schools to go through an approval process and meet certain educational requirements but exempts church schools from all requirements.

Resources:

Md. Code Ann., Educ. § 7-301(a)

Md. Regs. Code tit. 13A §§ 10.01.01 to .05.

Home Schooling, Maryland State Department of Education

Home Instruction Fact Sheet

Maryland, International Center for Home Education Research

A Brief History of Homeschooling in Maryland

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homeschool Homeschooling in your state of Massachusetts

Homeschool laws for Massachusetts

This overview is for informational purposes only and does not constitute the giving of legal advice.

Guidelines for homeschooling were hammered out after the decision of the Supreme Judicial Court of Massachusetts in Care and Protection of Charles (1987). The following year, in 1988, Brunelle vs. Lynn Public Schools declared that home visits could not be required as a condition of approval. These two cases set the basis for homeschooling policy in Massachusetts.

  • Alternative instruction provision: Massachusetts law exempts children who are “otherwise instructed in a manner approved in advance by the superintendent or the school committee” from compulsory school attendance. Oversight of homeschooling thus falls to the local school districts, who are given some latitude in setting their own requirements. Parents must seek approval from their local school districts to homeschool. Districts may not require parents to have any qualifications, but they may require parents to provide 180 days of instruction “equivalent” to that provided in the public schools, they may require parents to keep records, and they may require annual assessments (generally by standardized test or portfolio review). Districts may deny parents approval to homeschool, but to do so they must be able to prove that the proposed program of instruction does not equal “in thoroughness and efficiency, and in the progress made therein, that in the public schools in the same town.”

Parents must seek approval to homeschool from their local school districts. District policies regarding the granting of this approval vary widely from district to district. Many districts require parents to submit a range of information regarding the proposed educational program; some districts ask the parent to meet directly with a district representative. There are a variety of things a district cannot ask for, however, including a rationale for homeschooling, information regarding the children’s socialization, parents’ employment schedule, a statement of the child’s willingness to be homeschooled, the names of all persons living in the household, and the qualifications of tutors. The information districts ask for should focus solely on whether the proposed home education program will provide instruction equivalent to that provided in the public schools.

Districts may ask for an educational plan and may request access to instructional materials, but may not require parents to choose texts from an approved list. Districts are asked to bear in mind that homeschools must offer a program of instruction equivalent to, not identical to, that provided in public school. Districts also cannot require parents to follow any specific pedagogy.

Resources:

Mass. Gen. Laws Ch. 76, § 1

Guide to Homeschooling in Massachusetts, Massachusetts Home Learning Association

Court Rulings on Home Education in Massachusetts: Overview, Massachusetts Home Learning Association

Care and Protection of Charles (1987)

Brunelle vs. Lynn Public Schools (1988)

Massachusetts, International Center for Home Education Research

Homeschooling in Cambridge Public Schools District

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Homeschooling in your state of Michigan

Homeschool Laws in Michigan

This overview is for informational purposes only and does not constitute the giving of legal advice.

A child is excused from compulsory public school attendance if “the child is being educated at the child’s home by his or her parent or legal guardian in an organized educational program in the subject areas of reading, spelling, mathematics, science, history, civics, literature, writing, and English grammar.” See MCLA § 380.1561(3)(f).

  • Homeschool statute: Parents must provide “an organized educational program in the subject areas of reading, spelling, mathematics, science, history, civics, literature, writing, and English grammar.” There are no notification, parent qualification, instruction time, bookkeeping, or assessment requirements.

Parents must offer “an organized educational program in the subject areas of reading, spelling, mathematics, science, history, civics, literature, writing, and English grammar.”

Failure to educate is not included in the state’s definition of neglect, meaning that Michigan Child Protective Services does not have the authority to investigate educational neglect. If there is ever a question regarding whether a homeschooled child is being provided the required instruction, the state has the burden of proving that education is not taking place.

  • Private school: Parents may operate homeschools as private schools, thus gaining access to a wider array of services. Parents must provide an annual notice, have at least a bachelor’s degree or a teaching certificate (this requirement is waived in the case of religious objections), provide instruction in subjects “comparable to those taught in the public schools to children of corresponding age and grade,” and keep basic records. There are no instruction time or assessment requirements.

At the beginning of each school year, parents must provide the local or intermediate superintendent with the name and age of each child enrolled, the name of the school district and city or township or county, the name and address of the parent, and the name and age of any child enrolled but not in regular attendance. See MCLA § 380.1578. The Michigan Department of Education requests parents to fill out a Nonpublic School Membership Report, but this is voluntary.

Each individual teaching in nonpublic schools must have a teaching certificate, teaching permit, or a bachelor’s degree. However, in People v. DeJonge (1993) the Michigan Supreme Court held that requiring teacher certification violated the first amendment. Therefore, families with religious objections are exempt from this requirement.

Subjects covered must be “comparable to those taught in the public schools to children of corresponding age and grade” and should include mathematics, reading, English, science, and social studies, and U.S. Constitution, Michigan Constitution, the history and present form of the civil government of the U.S., Michigan, and the political subdivisions and municipalities of Michigan in the high school grades.

 

Resources:

MCLA § 380.1561

MCLA § 380.1578

MCLA § 380.1296

Nonpublic & Home Schools Page, Michigan Department of Education

Home Schooling in Michigan PDF

Nonpublic and Home School Information PDF

Nonpublic School Membership Report

Michigan, International Center for Home Education Research

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Homeschooling in your state of Minnesota[/caption]

Homeschool Laws for Minnesota

This overview is for informational purposes only and does not constitute the giving of legal advice.

For the purpose of compulsory attendance, a “school” means a public school . . . or a nonpublic school, church or religious organization, or home school in which a child is provided with instruction in compliance with this section and section 120A.24.” See Minn. Stat. Ann. § 120A.22 Subd. 4. For the full law related to homeschooling, see Minn. Stat. Ann. § 120A.22 and § 120A.24.

  • Homeschool statute: Parents must provide annual notice of homeschooling to the local superintendent, offer instruction in reading, writing, literature, fine arts, math, science, history, geography, government, health, and physical education, maintain academic records, and have their children tested annually. Parents are not required to submit the test results, and there is no minimum score. Teacher qualifications apply only to instructors who are not children’s parents, and academic records need only be submitted when enrolling a previously homeschooled child in public school. There are no instruction time requirements.

A “full report” must be filed with the local superintendent by October 1 of the school year after the child reaches age seven, within 15 days of withdrawing a child from public school, or by October 1 after moving to a new school district (parents must notify their previous district within fifteen days of moving away). This report must include the child’s name, birth date, address, the name of each instructor and evidence that they meet the instructor qualification requirements, immunization records, and the annual test intended to be used. Parents must then file a “letter of intent to continue to provide instruction” by October 1 of each following school year, noting any changes to what was previously reported.

A homeschool instructor must meet one of the following requirements:

  • 1) hold a valid Minnesota teaching license in the field and for the grade grade taught;
  • 2) be directly supervised by a person holding a valid Minnesota teaching license;
  • 3) successfully complete a teacher competency examination (Minnesota does not currently have an examination that fulfills this requirement);
  • 4) provide instruction in a school that is accredited by an accrediting agency;
  • 5) hold a bachelor’s degree; or
  • 6) be the parent or legal guardian of the child.

Instruction must be provided in reading, writing, literature, fine arts, math, science, history, geography, government, health, and physical education. Instruction must be in English.

Homeschooled students must take an annual nationally norm-referenced standardized achievement examination agreed upon by the parent and superintendent. The results of this test do not need to be submitted to the school district. Unless a parent has a teaching license, has passed the teaching competency exam, or is homeschooling under the supervision of a certified teacher, the parent must asses the student in subject areas required by law but not covered by the test.

 

Resources:

Minn. Stat. Ann. § 120A.22

Minn. Stat. Ann. § 120A.24

Homeschool Frequently Asked Questions

Minnesota, International Center for Home Education Research

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Homeschooling in your state of Mississippi

Homeschool Laws in Mississippi

This overview is for informational purposes only and does not constitute the giving of legal advice.

Mississippi law states that a child may be educated in a “legitimate home instruction program.” A child may be homeschooled by a parent, guardian or custodian. For the full homeschool statute, see Mississippi Code Annotated § 37-13-91(3)(c).

  • Homeschool statute: Parents must file an annual notice of intent to homeschool with the local school district and provide 180 days of instruction. There are no teacher qualification, subject, bookkeeping, or assessment requirements.

Parents must submit a certificate of enrollment prepared by the Office of Compulsory School Attendance Enforcement of the State Department of Education to school attendance officer where the child resides by September 15th of each year. This certificate will ask parents to provide: (a) the name, address, telephone number, and date of birth of the child; (b) the name, address, and telephone number of the parent; (c) a simple description of the type of education the child is receiving; and (d) the signature of the parent. Should a parent enroll a child in public school at the beginning of the school year and then later withdraw the child and begin homeschooling, the parent may submit the certificate of enrollment at that later date

Resources:

Mississippi Code Annotated § 37-13-91

Home Schooling, Mississippi Department of Education

Mississippi, International Center for Home Education Research

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Homeschooling in your state of Missouri

Homeschool Laws in Missouri

This overview is for informational purposes only and does not constitute the giving of legal advice.

Missouri’s homeschool statute was passed after a 1985 federal court decision, Ellis v. O’Hara. That decision found that the former law, which required homeschools to provide instruction “at least substantially equivalent” to that in public schools, “yields an unacceptable amount of discretion to officials charged with enforcement.” The court held the statute “unconstitutionally vague.”

A parent, guardian or other person in this state having charge, control, or custody of a child between the ages of seven years of age and the compulsory attendance age for the district shall cause the child to attend regularly some public, private, parochial, parish, home school or a combination of such schools.” See Mo. Ann. Stat. § 167.031.1. “A ‘homeschool’ is a school . . . that has as its primary purpose the provision of private or religious-based instruction; enrolls pupils . . . of which no more than four are unrelated . . . and does not charge or receive consideration in the form of tuition.” See Mo. Ann. Stat. § 167.031.2. For the entire relevant statute, see Mo. Ann. Stat. § 167.031.1 through § 167.031.7.

  • Homeschool statute: Parents must provide the required hours of instruction in reading, math, social studies, language arts, and science, must maintain basic academic records. There are no notification, parent qualification, or assessment requirements, and students’ academic records may only be inspected in case of legal investigation.

Parents must provide at least 600 hours of instruction per year in reading, math, social studies, language arts, and science. See Mo. Ann. Stat. § 167.031.2(2)(b).

Resources:

Mo. Ann. Stat. § 167.031.2

Home Schooling, Missouri Department of Elementary & Secondary Education

Home Schooling Frequently Asked Questions

Missouri, International Center for Home Education Research

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Homeschooling in your state of Montana[/caption]

Homeschool laws in Montana

This overview is for informational purposes only and does not constitute the giving of legal advice.

“A homeschool is the instruction by a parent of his child, stepchild or ward in his residence.” See Mont. Code Ann. §§ 20-5-102(2)(e) and 20-5-109.

  • Homeschool statute: Parents must file an annual notice with the local superintendent, provide required hours of instruction in “the subjects required of public schools as a basic instructional program,” and maintain attendance and immunization records. There are no parent qualification or assessment requirements.

Parents must annually notify the county superintendent of their intent to homeschool.

Parents must provide “an organized course of study that includes instruction in the subjects required of public schools as a basic instructional program.”

Resources:

Mont. Code Ann. § 20-5-102

Mont. Code Ann. § 20-5-109

Montana Homeschool Information, Office of Public Instruction

Montana, International Center for Home Education Research

Montana, State Regulation, U.S. Department of Education

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homeschool nebraska Homeschooling in your state of Nebraska

Homeschool laws in Nebraska

This overview is for informational purposes only and does not constitute the giving of legal advice.

Nebraska has never passed a homeschool law; instead, homeschoolers in the state homeschool under the state’s private school law. Through the early 1980s, Nebraska required private, denominational, and parochial schools to have state accreditation and approval, which included a requirement that all teachers be certified. Ultimately, the State Department of Education allowed private schools to operate without state accreditation and approval, provided they follow certain testing and visitation requirements. In 1987, Attorney General Robert Spire ruled that the state’s testing and visitation requirements could not be arranged in the absence of parental consent. As a result, the State Board of Education does not currently require testing or home visits for homeschoolers.

In the absence of a homeschool statute, homeschools operate as private, denominational, or parochial schools. If they wish to avoid the state’s accreditation and approval requirements, homeschool parents must gain “exempt” status for their schools by arguing either that the requirements for school approval and accreditation “interfere with the decisions of the parents or legal guardians in directing their child’s education” or that they “violate the parents’ or legal guardians’ sincerely held religious beliefs.” State law authorizes the State Board of Education to establish procedures for collecting the information required by law. These procedures are laid out in Rule 13. See Neb. Rev. Stat. § 79-1601.

  • Private school: Parents may operate homeschools as private schools. Parents must file an annual notice and provide a required number of hours of instruction in language arts, mathematics, science, social studies, and health. There are no parent qualification, bookkeeping, or assessment requirements.

By July 15th before each year of homeschooling, parents must file Form A and Form B with the Commissioner of Education. Both documents can be found as appendices here. Parents moving to Nebraska or withdrawing a child from school in the middle of the school year must file these documents “promptly.” Parents also must submit an information sheet (at the same time as Form A or Form B or within 30 days the first year of homeschooling) that includes: (a) the school term start and end date; (b) the names, ages, and education levels of all instructors; and (c) a written summary demonstrating a “sequential program of instruction designed to lead to basic skills in the language arts, mathematics, science, social studies, and health.” See Chapter 13 Section 004. Finally, parents must submit a copy of each new student’s birth certificate. See Chapter 43 Section 2007.

After processing these forms, the Commissioner of Education provides each homeschooling parent with an Acknowledgement Letter and sends an official notification to each child’s local school district. Parents may discontinue the enrollment of a child who has reached age 16 but not age 18 by each filing Form C or report a child’s early graduation from high school by each filing Form D. Once a family’s Form C or Form D has been processed, the Commissioner of Education will acknowledge the receipt of the form and make a report to the local school district. See Rule 13.

Exempt schools must “maintain a sequential program of instruction designed to lead to basic skills in the language arts, mathematics, science, social studies, and health.” See Neb. Rev. Stat. § 79-1601(4).

The state’s private school statute gives the State Board of Education the authority to require testing and home visits. However, the state’s attorney general ruled that such requirements must be uniform across private schools and homeschooling and that they cannot be arranged in the absence of parental consent. Given these constraints, the State Board of Education does not require testing or home visits. See Neb. Rev. Stat. § 79-1601(2) and OAG Opinion, July 30, 1987.

Resources:

Neb. Rev. Stat. § 79-1601

Rule 13

Rules and Regulations, Nebraska Department of Education

Exempt (Home) School Program, Nebraska Department of Education

Exempt (Home) School Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Nebraska, International Center for Home Education Research

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homeschooling nevada Homeschooling in your state of Nevada

Homeschool laws in Nevada

This overview is for informational purposes only and does not constitute the giving of legal advice.

A homeschooled child is “a child who receives instruction at home and who is exempt from attendance.” See Nev. Rev. Stat. § 385.007(3). A child may be homeschooled by a parent, custodial parent, legal guardian, or another person who has control of the child and the legal right to direct the child’s education. See Nev. Rev. Stat. § 392.700(14). For the full homeschool statute, see Nev. Rev. Stat. § 392.700.

Parents must prepare an educational plan of instruction for each child covering “English, including reading, composition and writing, mathematics, science and social studies, including history, geography, economics and government” and “appropriate for the age and level of skill of the child as determined by the parent.” Not every subject must be taught each year. See Nev. Rev. Stat. § 392.700(12)

Before beginning to homeschool a child, or within 10 days after withdrawing a child from public school, or within 30 days of establishing residency in the state, the parent must file a notice of intent to homeschool with the local superintendent using a form developed by the Department of Education and made available by local school districts. This notice of intent must include (a) the name, age, and gender of the child; (b) the name and address of each parent filing the notice of intent to homeschool; (c) a statement signed and dated by each such parent declaring that the parent has full control or charge of the child and the legal right to direct the child’s education and assumes full responsibility of said education; and (d) an educational plan for each child. If the notice of intent is complete, the school district will provide a written acknowledgement that will serve as proof that the child is being legally homeschooled. If the name or address of the parent or child changes from that indicated on the notice of intent, the parent of a child must file a new notice of intent no later than 30 days after the change. See Nev. Rev. Stat. § 392.700(1-8).

Parents must prepare an educational plan of instruction for each child covering “English, including reading, composition and writing, mathematics, science and social studies, including history, geography, economics and government” and “appropriate for the age and level of skill of the child as determined by the parent.” Not every subject must be taught each year. See Nev. Rev. Stat. § 392.700(12)

 

Resources:

Nev. Rev. Stat. § 392.700

Nev. Rev. Stat. § 392.705

Nevada Homeschooling, Nevada Department of Education

Frequently Asked Questions about Homeschooling in Nevada, Nevada Homeschool Network

Nevada, International Center for Home Education Research

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Homeschool New Hampshire Homeschooling in your state of New Hampshire

Homeschool Laws in New Hampshire

This overview is for informational purposes only and does not constitute the giving of legal advice.

The earliest parents to homeschool in New Hampshire requested permission to homeschool from local school boards. In 1980 the Department of Education sought to resolve disagreements by forming a Home Study Committee, which stated that parents should be allowed to homeschool if they could show that homeschooling would be a benefit to the child. The New Hampshire Supreme Court upheld this requirement in Appeal of Pierce (1982). Growing tensions between homeschoolers and local school boards resulted in the passage of RSA193-A, the state’s current homeschool law, which required annual notice and evaluations. In 2012, the legislature made notification one-time rather than annual and removed the requirement that homeschool parents submit their students’ annual evaluations.

Homeschool parents must choose a participatory agency for their homeschool. There are three options: the commissioner of education, the local district superintendent, or the principle of a private school. See N.H. Rev. Stat. Ann. § 193-A.

Homeschool parents must file a notice of intent either before the school year begins or within five days of withdrawing a child to homeschool. The notice of intent should be filed with the participating agency, and must include the names, addresses, and birth dates for each child of compulsory education age. A new notice of intent need only be filed when adding an additional child to a homeschool program or changing participatory agency. A notice of termination must be filed when the homeschool ceases operation.

Parents must provide adequate education in science, mathematics, language, government, history, health, reading, writing, spelling, U.S. and New Hampshire constitutional history, and art and music.

Homeschool parents must have their children’s educational progress evaluated annually. There are several assessment options. 1. A written evaluation by a certified teacher or a current private school teacher. 2. A state or national standardized test administered by a qualified individual (the law states that “composite results at or above the fortieth percentile . . . shall be deemed reasonable academic proficiency,” but does not include a penalty or remediation process for those scoring below this threshold). 3. A measure of evaluation agreed upon between the parent and the participatory agency. It appears that most homeschool parents satisfy the evaluation requirement by having a teacher evaluate a portfolio of their students’ work. The results of the evaluation do not need to be submitted to the participatory agency, but should be kept on file by the homeschool parents.

Resources:

N.H. Rev. Stat. Ann. § 193-A

Home Education, New Hampshire Department of Education

Notification of change in the procedure for establishing a Home Education Program (2006)

Notification of change in the procedure for establishing a Home Education Program and evaluation procedures (2012)

New Hampshire, International Center for Home Education Research

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Homeschooling in your state of New Jersey

Homeschool Laws in New Jersey

This overview is for informational purposes only and does not constitute the giving of legal advice.

Early homeschoolers homeschooled under the state’s compulsory attendance statute exemption for those receiving “equivalent instruction elsewhere.” In 1997, the state’s Education Commissioner issued guidelines requiring parents to submit an outline of their curriculum to local school boards, but these guidelines were rescinded after a protest by the state’s homeschoolers. In 2004, after four adopted children were discovered in a state of intense malnutrition, the New Jersey legislature attempted to pass a bill requiring testing and medical examinations of homeschooled children but was unsuccessful.

State statute requires that students “attend the public schools of the district or a day school in which there is given instruction equivalent to that provided in the public schools for children of similar grades and attainments or to receive equivalent instruction elsewhere than at school.” See New Jersey Statutes Annotated § 18A:38-25.

Failure to educate is included in the state’s definition of neglect. Should a homeschool be reported for educational neglect, a state official may investigate to determine whether the equivalent instruction is being provided. Should a local board of education become concerned that a given homeschooled child is not receiving equivalent instruction, then they may request evidence of the child’s education from the parent. In either case, the parent must provide evidence that the child is receiving “equivalent instruction,” but the state then has the burden of proving beyond a reasonable doubt that a family’s curriculum is not academically equivalent to a public school education. See State v. Massa 95 N.J. Super 382 (1967).

  • Alternative education provision: New Jersey law exempts students who “receive equivalent instruction elsewhere than at school” from compulsory school attendance. Parents must provide “equivalent instruction,” but there are no notification, parent qualification, instruction time, bookkeeping, or assessment requirements.

Resources:

New Jersey Statutes Annotated § 18A:38-25

New Jersey Department of Education Homeschool FAQs

New Jersey, International Center for Home Education Research

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homeschool Homeschooling in your state of New Mexico

 

Homeschool laws in New Mexico

This overview is for informational purposes only and does not constitute the giving of legal advice.

“‘Homeschool’ means the operation by the parent of a school-age person of a home study program of instruction that provides a basic academic educational program, including reading, language arts, mathematics, social studies, and science.” See N.M. Stat. Ann. §§ 22-1-2(E) and 22-1-2.1.

  • Homeschool statute: Parents must provide annual notice to the Superintendent of Education, have a high school diploma or its equivalent and offer 180 days of instruction in reading, language arts, mathematics, social studies, and science. Parents must maintain immunization records, but there are no other bookkeeping requirements and there is no assessment requirement.

Parents must provide “a basic academic educational program,” including reading, language arts, mathematics, social studies, and science. See N.M. Stat. Ann. § 22-1-2(E).

Resources:

Database of New Mexico Statutes

Home Schooling, New Mexico Public Education Department

New Mexico, International Center for Home Education Research

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Homeschooling in your state of New York

Homeschool laws in New York

This overview is for informational purposes only and does not constitute the giving of legal advice.

  • Homeschool statute: Parents must file an annual notice with the local superintendent, compose and file annual individualized instruction plans, and turn in quarterly progress reports. Parents must provide the “substantial equivalent” of 180 days of instruction in a detailed list of required subjects that varies by grade. While individuals providing instruction must be “competent,” there are no teacher qualifications. Students must be assessed annually, some years by a standardized test and other years by a choice of a standardized test or portfolio evaluation. Assessments must be turned in to the local superintendent. Should a student not make adequate progress, the homeschool will be placed on probation and the parents must create a remediation plan.

Parents must submit annual written notice of intent to the local superintendent by July 1 of each school year, or, for those who begin homeschooling after the start of a school year, within 14 days of starting to homeschool. Within 10 business days of receiving the notice, the school district will send the parents an Individualized Home Instruction Program (IHIP) form for each student of compulsory attendance age who is to be homeschooled. Within four weeks of receiving the IHIP forms, parents must submit the completed forms to the school district. If the IHIP is deemed out of compliance, there is a process for correcting its deficiencies and ultimately a means of appeal. The IHIP form must contain the child’s name, age, and grade level; a list of syllabi, curriculum materials, and textbooks, or a plan of instruction to be used in each of the required subjects; dates for the submission of quarterly reports; the name of any persons providing instruction; and the name of any degree-granting program the child may be enrolled in full time. See N.Y. Comp. Codes R. & Regs. tit. 8, § 100.10.

Instruction must be provided by a “competent teacher.” However, the state’s regulatory code governing homeschooling does not require any qualifications for either parents or those providing instructions. See N.Y. Educ. Law § 3204(2).

Subject requirements are speciied by grade:

  • Grades 1 through 6: arithmetic, reading, spelling, writing, the English language, geography, United States history, science, health education, music, visual arts, physical education, bilingual education and/or English as a second language where the need is indicated.Grades 7 and 8: English (two units); history and geography (two units); science (two units); mathematics (two units); physical education (on a regular basis); health education (on a regular basis); art (one-half unit); music (one-half unit); practical arts (on a regular basis); and library skills (on a regular basis). 
  • Grades 9 through 12: English (four units); social studies (four units), which includes one unit of American history, one-half unit in participation in government, and one- half unit of economics; mathematics (two units); science (two units); art and/or music (one unit); health education (one-half unit); physical education (two units); and three units of electives. 
  • Miscellaneous: United States history, New York State history, and the Constitutions of the United States and New York State must be taught at least once during grades 1 to 8. Patriotism and citizenship; health education regarding alcohol, drug and tobacco misuse; highway safety and traffic regulations, including bicycle safety; and fire and arson prevention and safety must be covered during grades K to 12. A unit is defined as 6,480 minutes (or 108 hours) of instruction. See N.Y. Comp. Codes R. & Regs. tit. 8, § 100.10(e)(2).

Parents must file an annual assessment at the same time that they file their fourth quarterly report. This assessment must be either “the results of a commercially published norm referenced achievement test” or “an alternative form of evaluation.” See N.Y. Comp. Codes R. & Regs. tit. 8, § 100.10(h). Parents must choose from a list of approved norm-referenced achievement tests, which must be administered at a school by professional staff or at a parent’s home or other location by a state certified teacher or “another qualified person” with the superintendent’s consent.

 A student’s score on a norm-referenced standardized test shall be deemed adequate if it is above the 33rd percentile or reflects one academic year of growth compared to a previous test. See N.Y. Comp. Codes R. & Regs. tit. 8, § 100.10(h)(1). The alternative form of evaluation, which consists of a “written narrative,” may only be used for grades 1 through 3, and every other year during grades 4 through 8. “The person who prepares the written narrative shall be a New York State-certified teacher, a home instruction peer group review panel, or other person, who has interviewed the child and reviewed a portfolio of the child’s work. . . . Such person shall certify either that the child has made adequate academic progress or that the child has failed to make adequate academic progress. . . . The certified teacher, peer review panel or other person shall be chosen by the parent with the consent of the superintendent.” See N.Y. Comp. Codes R. & Regs. tit. 8, § 100.10(h)(2). If a dispute arises over the administration of the norm-referenced achievement tests or use of alternative evaluation methods, the parents may appeal to the local board of education, and then to the Commissioner of Education. See N.Y. Comp. Codes R. & Regs. tit. 8, § 100.10(h)(3).

Resources:

N.Y. Educ. Law § 3204

N.Y. Comp. Codes R. & Regs. tit. 8, § 100.10

Key Laws Relating to Home Instruction

Home Instruction, New York State Education Department

Questions and Answers, Home Instruction

New York, International Center for Home Education Research

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Homeschooling in your state of North Carolina

Homeschool laws in North Carolina

This overview is for informational purposes only and does not constitute the giving of legal advice.

Early homeschoolers attempted to homeschool under the state’s private school law. Homeschoolers faced opposition from the Department of Non-Public Education (DNPE) until the North Carolina Supreme Court ruled in Delconte v. State (1985) that they should be permitted to operate under the rules governing private schools. In 1987 the Department of Public Instruction (DPI) proposed legislation to bring homeschooling under the jurisdiction of local boards of education. The legislature passed the state’s current homeschool law in 1988, distinguishing homeschools from private schools but keeping them under the authority of the DNPE.

A homeschool is defined as “a nonpublic school consisting of the children of not more than two families or households, where the parents or legal guardians or members of either household determine the scope and sequence of academic instruction, provide academic instruction, and determine additional sources of academic instruction.” See Gen. Stat. § 115C-563(a). Homeschools follow the requirements for either religious schools or independent schools, with a few modifications, and are overseen by the Department of Non-Public Education (DNPE). The law described in this section is contained in Gen. Stat. § 115C-547 to § 115C-567.

  • Homeschool statute: Parents must file a one-time form with the Department of Non-Public Instruction, have their children tested annually, and keep attendance records, immunization records, and test scores on file. Parents providing instruction must have a high school diploma or its equivalent and operate their homeschools “on a regular schedule” for nine months each year. There are no subject requirements or minimum test scores, and while parents are required to make test scores available for inspection in their homes, they are not required to submit them and the Department of Non-Public Instruction does not currently inspect homeschool records.

There is no requirement that parents withdrawing their children from public school notify their child’s school of their intent to homeschool. However, parents or guardians wishing to establish a homeschool must file a one-time online form with the DNPE, providing only their school’s name and address and the name of the school’s owner and chief administrator. Parents or guardians must choose whether to operate as a “private church school or school of religious charter” or “qualified nonpublic school”; the requirements for each option are identical. Parents or guardians must notify the DNPE if any information has changed (for instance, if the family moves), or when the homeschool is terminated. See Gen. Stat. § 115C-552 and § 115C-560.

Each year, homeschooled students must take a nationally standardized achievement test that covers English grammar, reading, spelling, and mathematics. Completion of the science and social studies sections is not required. While the tests must be annual there is no requirement that they be given at a specific time of year, and there are no qualifications laid out for whom may administer them. For one year after testing, homeschool parents or guardians are required by law to make their children’s test scores available on site for inspection by the DNPE. See Gen. Stat. § 115C-549, § 115C-557, and § 115C-564.

Rather than conducting individual on-site visits, the DNPE randomly selects homeschools that are in their second, fourth, seventh, and tenth years of homeschooling and requests the homeschool administrator of each to attend a Record Review Meeting at a local public center. Attendance is not mandatory. If parents or guardians would like written confirmation that their homeschool is in compliance, they may mail a copy of their children’s latest nationally standardized achievement test scores, along with attendance and vaccination records, to the DNPE and request an Inspection Verification Certificate.

Resources:

Gen. Stat. § 115C-547 to § 115C-567

North Carolina Division of Non-Public Education

Home School Guide Book, North Carolina Division of Non-Public Education

Frequently Asked Home School Question Topics, North Carolina Division of Non-Public Education

North Carolina, International Center for Home Education Research

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homeschooling Homeschooling in your state of North Dakota

Homeschool laws in North Dakota

This overview is for informational purposes only and does not constitute the giving of legal advice.

After a contentious decade, the North Dakota Legislative Assembly passed the state’s homeschooling law in 1989. Before this year, homeschool parents had been required to have teaching certifications. The 1989 law allowed parents without teaching certifications to homeschool under the supervision of a certified teacher. This requirement was relaxed in 1995. In 1997, the legislature allowed for the homeschooling of developmentally disabled students and standardized the assessment process. Further legal changes have relaxed requirements further and have allowed homeschooled students to participate in public school extracurriculars.

North Dakota law defines “home education” as “a program of education supervised by a child’s parents.” See N.D. Cent. Code § 15.1-20-04. The state has a comprehensive homeschool statute. See N.D. Cent. Code § 15.1-23.

  • Homeschool statute: Parents must file an annual notice with the local superintendent, create annual reports, and provide instruction in the same subjects required in public schools. Parents must have a high school diploma or GED or be monitored by a certified teacher. Students must be tested during grades 4, 6, 8, and 10 unless their parents claim a moral, philosophical, or religious exemption and have at least a bachelor’s degree. Test results must be filed with the local superintendent, and there will be an intervention for students not making academic progress. Homeschooled students with disabilities must have service plans. North Dakota is the only state that offers homeschooled students the opportunity to earn an official high school diploma.

Parents must submit a statement of intent to the local superintendent at least 14 days before beginning to homeschool or within 14 days of moving into a school district, and annually thereafter. This statement must include the child’s name and address, date of birth, and grade level, as well as the name, address, and qualifications of the supervising parent and a list of any public school courses or extracurricular activities in which the child will be participating. The statement of intent must be accompanied by a copy of the child’s immunization record and the child’s birth certificate or other proof of identity. Parents homeschooling children with disabilities must also submit a copy of the child’s diagnosis and a services plan. For more, see “other” below. Each local superintendent must submit the number of statements of intent filed to the superintendent of public instruction. See N.D. Cent. Code §§ 15.1-23-02 and 15.1-23-14.

The supervising parent must

  • (1) hold a high school diploma or GED or
  • (2) be monitored by a certified teacher for the first two years of homeschooling. This individual may be either chosen and compensated by the local school district, or chosen and compensated by the parent, and must submit a report of the child’s progress to the local superintendent twice each year. If the child is tested and scores below the fiftieth percentile, this monitoring may be extended. See N.D. Cent. Code §§ 15.1-23-03, 15.1-23-06, and 15.1-23-07.

The law states that “a parent supervising home education shall include instruction in those subjects required by law to be taught to public school students.” See N.D. Cent. Code § 15.1-23-04. North Dakota law requires public elementary and middle schools to provide instruction in English language arts, including reading, composition, creative writing, English Grammar, and spelling; mathematics; social studies, including the United States Constitution, United States history, geography, government, and North Dakota studies; science, including agriculture; physical education; and health. See N.D. Cent. Code § 15.1-21-01. North Dakota law requires public high schools to make available four units of English language arts; 4 units of math; 4 units of science; 4 units of social studies; 2 units of fine arts; 2 units of the same foreign or native American language; 1 unit of advanced placement course or dual-credit course; 2 units of career and technical education; and 1/2 unit of North Dakota studies. See N.D. Cent. Code § 15.1-21-02.

Homeschooled students in grades 4, 6, 8, and 10 must take either a standardized achievement test used by the local school district or a nationally normed standardized achievement test. This test may be taken in the child’s learning environment or, at the parent’s request, in a public school. If the standardized test used by the local school district is chosen, the district will cover the cost if it is administered at the school or the parent will cover the cost if it is administered by an individual selected by the parent. If the parent chooses instead a nationally normed standardized achievement test, the parent will cover the cost of the test. If the parent chooses the test administrator, that individual must be a certified teacher and must notify the child’s local school district. The results of these standardized tests must be filed with the local superintendent. See N.D. Cent. Code §§ 15.1-23-08, 15.1-23-0915.1-23-10, and 15.1-23-11.

 If the parent notifies the local school district of a philosophical, moral, or religious objection to standardized testing, and the parent is licensed to teach, holds bachelor’s degree, or has made a passing score on a national teaching examination, this testing requirement is waived. Parents must notify the local school district of this objection when filing the statement of intent. See N.D. Cent. Code § 15.1-23-09(2)

If the child’s score is less than the thirtieth percentile nationally, the child must be assessed for learning problems by a multidisciplinary assessment team. If it is determined that the child does not have learning disabilities, the parent must create a remediation plan with the advice and consent of a certified teacher and file the plan with the local superintendent. If the parent does not file said remediation plan, the parent will be deemed to be no longer homeschooling. See N.D. Cent. Code § 15.1-23-11. The remediation plan provides a basis for determining reasonable academic progress and shall remain in effect until the child achieves a standardized achievement test score at or above the thirtieth percentile, or a score that, when compared to the previous year’s test score, shows one year of progress. The parent may amend the remediation plan with the advice and consent of a certified teacher. See N.D. Cent. Code § 15.1-23-12. 

If the multidisciplinary assessment team determines that the child is disabled and requires specially designed instruction due to the disability, the parent must file a services plan with the local superintendent. If the parent does not file said services plan, the parent will be deemed to be no longer homeschooling. If the multidisciplinary assessment team determines that the child has a developmental disability, the parent must submit a services plan, which the superintendent will use annually to determine whether the child is making reasonable progress, and may continue homeschooling the child under the section of the law for children with developmental disabilities. See “other” below. See N.D. Cent. Code § 15.1-23-13. 

 Should a child’s services plan team agree that the child is not benefiting from being homeschooled, they must notify the local superintendent and request that the child be evaluated by a multidisciplinary team appointed by the local superintendent. See N.D. Cent. Code § 15.1-23-15.

Resources:

N.D. Cent. Code § 15.1-23

N.D. Cent. Code § 15.1-21

Home Education, ND Department of Public Instruction

Home Education Frequently Asked Questions

International Center for Home Education Research Analysis

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homeschooling homeschool ohio Homeschooling in your state of Ohio

Homeschool Laws in Ohio

This overview is for informational purposes only and does not constitute the giving of legal advice.

Early homeschoolers made use of a provision allowing superintendents to excuse a child from compulsory attendance if such a child was “being instructed at home by a person qualified to teach the branches in which instruction is required.” Alternatively, some chose to homeschool through association with an existing Christian school and others qualified to operate as non-chartered, non-tax supported schools (also called 08 schools). In 1989, the Ohio State Board of Education adopted official regulations governing homeschooling. These rules remain in effect.

Ohio’s homeschooling statute defines home education as “education primarily directed and provided by the parent or guardian of a child.”

Ohio’s private school law allows individuals to found non-chartered, non-tax supported private schools dubbed “08 schools” that are subject to very little oversight. However, in order to form such a school, parents must have truly held religious objections to government oversight.

  • Homeschool statute: Parents must submit annual notification to the local superintendent, including an outline of the planned curricula, have a high school diploma or GED (or homeschool under someone with a bachelor’s degree), provide 900 hours of instruction in a variety of subjects, and have their children assessed annually (by standardized test or portfolio review). There is a remediation process for homeschooled students in need of academic intervention. There are no bookkeeping requirements.

Homeschool parents must submit a signed notification to the local superintendent including: the school year; name and address of parents; names and addresses of individuals who will teach required subjects if other than the parent; names and birth dates of the children being homeschooled; assurance that the required subjects will be taught; a brief outline of planned curriculum; a list of books, curricula, and other teaching materials to be used; assurance that the required 900 hours of instruction will be provided; and assurance that the parent has the proper qualifications or will homeschool under a qualified individual.

If the notification is complete, the superintendent may issue the child an excuse from school attendance for that school year; if it is not complete, the superintendent may ask the parent to supply the missing information. The superintendent must keep the notification on file, along with the excuse if one is granted. If, upon reviewing the parents’ notification, the superintendent “has substantial evidence that the minimum educational requirements . . . will not be met,” he or she may deny the excuse, pending a due process hearing and an appeal.

A homeschool parent or guardian must have a high school diploma or its equivalent. In absence of these, a parent or guardian may homeschool under the direction of an individual with a college degree either “until children’s test results demonstrate reasonable proficiency” or until the parent or guardian obtains a diploma or its equivalent.

Parents must provide instruction in language, reading, spelling, writing, geography, history of the United States and Ohio, national, state, and local government, math, science, health, physical education, fine arts, including music, first aid, safety, and fire prevention. Homeschool parents are exempt from teaching any content that conflicts with their religious beliefs.

Homeschool parents must complete an annual academic assessment report consisting of one of three options:

  1. the results of a nationally standardized achievement test administered by a qualified individual (any child at or above the twenty-fifth percentile is considered to be making reasonable proficiency);
  2.  a written portfolio evaluation by a licensed or certified teacher; or
  3.  an alternative assessment agreed upon by the parent and the superintendent. If the parent chooses the testing option, the test may be administered at no charge as part of the school’s regular testing program or by a private individual at parents’ expense. Each year’s academic assessment report must be submitted to the school superintendent as part of the next year’s notification.
  • Private school: A homeschool may operate as a “08 school” if there is a religious objection to government oversight and the parent providing instruction has a bachelor’s degree. Parents must provide annual notice to the Ohio Department of Education, keep attendance records, and provide 182 days of instruction in a variety of subjects. There is no assessment requirement.

Parents homeschooling as 08 schools must submit a Notice to Parents form to the Department of Education by September 30th of each year. This form certifies that the school meets the minimum requirements for non-chartered, non-tax supported schools. The Department of Education maintains a list of such schools, and this list may be obtained by request. Parents homeschooling under this option must also submit annual attendence records to the treasurer of the local board of education so that they are aware of how many students in the district attend 08 schools.

Parents must provide instruction in language, reading, spelling, writing, geography, history of the United States and Ohio, national, state, and local government, math, science, health, physical education, fine arts, including music, first aid, safety, and fire prevention

Resources:

Home Schooling, Ohio Department of Education

Ohio’s Homeschool Statute

Ohio’s 08 Schools Code

Ohio, International Center for Home Education Research

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homeschool, homeschooling, homeschooled Homeschooling in your state of Oklahoma

Homeschool laws in Oklahoma

This overview is for informational purposes only and does not constitute the giving of legal advice.

Oklahoma’s constitution is often interpreted as having a “constitutional provision” mandating the right to homeschool. The actual text says in article XIII, § 4, “Legislature shall provide for the compulsory attendance at some public or other school, unless other means of education are provided, of all children in the State who are sound in mind and body, between the ages of eight and sixteen years, for at least three months in each year.” That parents may find other means of education for their children, outside of public or private schooling, was upheld by a 1909 Oklahoma Supreme Court decision. (See School Bd. Dist. No. 18 v. Thompson, 103 P. 578 [Okla. 1909]).

A court case in 1957 placed the burden of proving that “no other means of education was provided” upon the state. See Sheppard v. Oklahoma, 306 P.2d 346 (Okla. Crim. App. 1957). An Attorney General opinion in 1973 clarified that parents could educate their children at home “so long as the private instruction is supplied in good faith and is equivalent in fact to that afforded by the state.” See Okla. Attorney Gen. Op. No. 73-129 (Feb. 13, 1973). This equivalence is not required by law and has never been asserted by a decision of the courts.

This preference toward a loose mandatory school attendance requirements and parental control is further buttressed in Oklahoma state law, where “No child who has been adjudicated deprived upon the basis of noncompliance with the mandatory school attendance law alone may be placed in a public or private institutional facility or be removed from the custody of the lawful parent, legal guardian or custodian of the child.”

“It shall be unlawful for a parent . . .  to neglect or refuse to cause or compel such child to attend and comply with the rules of some public, private or other school, unless other means of education are provided for the full term the schools of the district are in session or the child is excused as provided in this section.”See Okla. Stat. tit. 70, § 10-105(A).

  • Alternative instruction provision: Oklahoma law exempts students for whom “other means of education are provided” from compulsory school attendance. Parents must provide 180 days of instruction, but there are no notification, parent qualification, subject, bookkeeping, or assessment requirements.

Resources:

Oklahoma State Department of Education Home School Page

Okla. Stat. tit. 70, § 10-105(A)

Oklahoma, International Center for Home Education Research

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Homeschooling in your state of Oregon

Homeschool laws in Oregon

This overview is for informational purposes only and does not constitute the giving of legal advice.

Oregon has long had a statue that allowed students to be excepted from compulsory attendance laws if they were being taught by their parents at home, but parents wishing to homeschool were originally required to seek permission from their local school districts. In 1985 the law was changed, and immediately following the Department of Education wrote administrative rules.

Oregon law exempts children from compulsory attendance if they are “being educated in the children’s home by a parent or legal guardian.” Homeschools are prohibited from operating as private schools, and private school students must be “in attendance,” thus prohibiting homeschools from operating under umbrella private or church schools. See Or. Rev. Stat. § 339.030(1)(e).

  • Homeschool statute: Parents must provide a one-time notice to their local Education Service District and have their children tested at the end of grades 3, 5, 8, and 10. There is no parent qualification, hours of instruction, bookkeeping, or subject requirements. There is an intervention process for students who score below a certain threshold, but parents must submit their children’s test results only if requested by their local Education Service District. Students with disabilities are assessed according to a privately developed plan.

Parents must register their children with their local Education Service District (ESD), providing the child’s and parents names and addresses, the child’s birth date, and the name of the school the child last attended or the school district within which the child resides. Registration is not annual; it is required only when a child reaches the age of compulsory attendance, is withdrawn from public school, or moves to a new ESD, and must be done within ten days of any of these. Parents are guardians are not legally required to notify the ESD when they cease to homeschool. The ESD notifies school districts annually of which children in the district are being homeschooled.

Testing is required at the end of grades 3, 5, 8, and 10 (by no later than August 15). The first examination for children who are withdrawn from public school should take place at least 18 months after they are withdrawn. A “neutral person” selected by the parent or guardian from a state-maintained list of “qualified” individuals must administer the test, which must be chosen from a list of approved comprehensive examinations. The parent or guardian must pay for the testing. The person who administers the examination must score it and provide the results to the parent or guardian, who is required to report the composite score if requested by the ESD. Or. Rev. Stat. § 339.035

Resources:

Home Schooling—Rules & Statutes

Home Schooling, Oregon Department of Education

Oregon Guidelines for Home Schooling Questions and Answers

Home Schooling for Students with Disabilities: FAQ

Oregon, International Center for Home Education Research

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homeschool, homeschooling Homeschooling in your state of Pennsylvania

Homeschool laws in Pennsylvania

This overview is for informational purposes only and does not constitute the giving of legal advice.

The state’s homeschool law, SB 154, was passed in December 1988.

“‘Home education program’ shall mean a program conducted, in compliance with this section, by the parent or guardian or such person having legal custody of the child or children.” See 24 P.S. § 13-1327.1(a).

  • Homeschool statute: Parents must submit annual notice to the local superintendent, have a high school diploma or its equivalent, provide 180 days of instruction in a wide range of subjects that vary by grade, maintain a portfolio of academic records and test results, have their children tested in grades 3, 5, and 8, and have their children assessed annually by portfolio review. The evaluator’s certification that an appropriate education is taking place must be submitted to the local superintendent, who may ask for another evaluation at any time if there is reason to believe the children are not making appropriate academic progress. Homeschooling is not permitted if a parent, guardian, or adult in the household has been convicted of certain criminal offenses, and parents wishing to homeschool a special needs student must have written approval from a provider.

The parent/supervisor (the parent or in charge of the instruction) must submit yearly affidavits to the local superintendent by no later than August 1st of each school year. The first year of homeschooling, the affidavit need only be submitted prior to beginning to homeschool. The affidavit must contain the name of the parent/supervisor; the name and age of each child; the address and telephone number, assurance that subjects will be taught in English; an “outline of proposed objectives by subject area”; immunization records; medical records; assurance that the home education program will comply with the law; and a certification signed by the parent/supervisor that “all adults living in the home and persons having legal custody of a child or children in a home education program have not been convicted of the criminal offenses enumerated in subsection (e) of section 111 within five years immediately preceding the date of the affidavit.” See 24 P.S. § 13-1327.1(b).

The parent/supervisor must have a high school diploma or the equivalent. See 24 P.S. § 13-1327.1(a). The supervisor and other adults living in the home or having custody over the child must not have been convicted of “the criminal offenses enumerated in subsection (e) of section 111” in the past five years. See 24 P.S. § 13-1327.1(b).

What subjects must be covered depend on the student’s grade level. At the elementary level: English, to include spelling, reading, and writing; arithmetic, science, geography, history of the United States and Pennsylvania; civics; safety education, including regular and continues instruction in the dangers and prevention of fires; health and physiology; physical education; music; and art.

At the secondary level: English, to include language, literature, speech, and composition; science; geography; social studies, to include civics, world history, history of the United States and Pennsylvania; mathematics, to include general mathematics, algebra, and geometry; art; music; physical education; health; and safety education, including regular and continuous instruction in the dangers and prevention of fires.

At the discretion of the parent/supervisor, subjects at the secondary level may include economics; biology; chemistry; foreign languages; trigonometry; or other age-appropriate courses. See 24 P.S. § 13-1327.1(c). In order to graduate from a home education program, the following courses are the minimum requirements: Four years of English; Three years of mathematics; Three years of science; Three years of social studies; Two years of arts and humanities. See 24 P.S. § 13-1327.1(d).

The state of Pennsylvania mandates the following assesments:

  1. (1) In grades 3, 5, and 8, students must take a nationally normed standardized achievement test (chosen from a list maintained by the Pennsylvania Department of Education) in mathematics and reading/language arts (or the results of Statewide tests) administered by a party other than a parent or guardian. The results must be kept with the student’s portfolio. See 24 P.S. § 13-1327.1(e)(1). 
  2. (2) A “written evaluation of the student’s educational progress” must be created each year “based on an interview of the child and a review of the portfolio” and must “certify whether or not an appropriate education is occurring.” The evaluation must be conducted by (a) a licensed clinical or school psychologist or (b) a state certified teacher (c) a nonpublic school teacher or administrator with “at least two years of teaching experience in a Pennsylvania public or nonpublic school within the last ten years” or (d) a person with other qualifications at the request of the parent/supervisor and with prior consent by the superintendent. See 24 P.S. § 13-1327.1(e)(2). A teacher or administrator evaluating a portfolio at the elementary level must have at least two years of experience evaluating any of the core subjects required at that level; a teacher or administrator evaluating a portfolio at the secondary level must have at least two years of experience evaluating any of the subjects required or recommended at that level. See 24 P.S. § 13-1327.1(e)(1)(i-ii). 
  3.  By June 30th at the end of each school year, the evaluator’s certification that an appropriate education is occurring (but not the portfolio) must be provided to the local school district.
  • Private tutor: Parents may homeschool under the private tutor law if the parent providing instruction has a teaching certificate. The parent must file once with the local superintendent and provide 180 days of instruction. There are no subject, bookkeeping, or assessment requirements.

"The private tutor must file a copy of his Pennsylvania certification and the required criminal history record with the student’s district of residence superintendent.” The private tutor is not required to provide a list of students under their instruction

The private tutor must be “a person who is certified by the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania to teach in the public schools of Pennsylvania; who is teaching one or more children who are members of a single family; who provides the majority of the instruction to such child or children; and who is receiving a fee or other consideration for such instructional services.” “No person who would be disqualified from school employment by the provisions of subsection (e) of section 111 may be a private tutor, as provided for in this section.”

Resources:

Overview of Homeschooling, Pennsylvania Department of Education

PA Homeschool Diploma Template

State Regulations of Private Schools, U.S. Department of Education

Pennsylvania, International Center for Home Education Research

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Homeschooling in your state of Rhode Island

Homeschool laws in Rhode Island

This overview is for informational purposes only and does not constitute the giving of legal advice.

"A course of at-home instruction approved by the school committee of the town where the child resides” satisfies the state’s compulsory attendance law. Homeschools are required by statute to follow the same general requirements as private schools. See R.I. Gen. Laws §§ 16-19-1 and § 16-19-2.

  • Homeschool statute: Parents must apply for approval from the local school committee. Parents must provide “thorough and efficient” instruction in reading, writing, geography, arithmetic, history, and government, to operate for a term “substantially equal” to that of public schools, and to keep attendance records. There are no parent qualifications. The form of assessment required, along with the form of intervention in case of lack of progress, is determined by the local school committee, with the option of appeal.

"Parents must have the approval of the local school committee to homeschool. In order to gain this approval, parents must present their proposed homeschooling programs to the local school committee. See R.I. Gen. Laws §§ 16-19-1.

Resources:

R.I. Gen. Laws § 16-19-1

R.I. Gen. Laws § 16-19-2

Home Schooling, Rhode Island Department of Education

Rhode Island, International Center for Home Education Research

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Homeschooling in your state of South Carolina[/caption]

Homeschool laws in South Carolina

This overview is for informational purposes only and does not constitute the giving of legal advice.

In early 2013, the state legislature sought to tighten South Carolina’s homeschool regulations by requiring annual testing for children being homeschooled through the South Carolina Association of Independent Home Schools and by eliminating the South Carolina’s third option. The bill failed.

  • School district: Parents must apply to the district board of trustees for approval to homeschool, have a high school diploma or GED, provide 180 days of instruction in a variety of required subjects, maintain basic academic records for inspection, and have their children take the same annual Basic Skills Assessment Program as students attending public school. There is an intervention process for homeschooled children not making adequate academic progress.

“Parents or guardians may teach their children at home if the instruction is approved by the district board of trustees of the district in which the children reside.” The district board of trustees is required by law to approve any homeschool that meets the standards listed in the statute. See S.C. Code § 59-65-40.

  • South Carolina Association of Independent Home Schools: Parents must be members of the South Carolina Association of Independent Home Schools. Parents must have a high school diploma or GED and provide 180 days of instruction in a variety of required subjects. There are no bookkeeping or assessment requirements.

“Parents or guardians may teach their children at home if the instruction is conducted under the auspices of the South Carolina Association of Independent Home Schools. Bona fide membership and continuing compliance with the academic standards of the South Carolina Association of Independent Home Schools exempts the homeschool” from the requirements of the regular homeschool statute. See S.C. Code § 59-65-45.

  • Homeschool association with at least fifty members: Parents must be members of a homeschool association with at least fifty members. Parents must have a high school diploma or GED, provide 180 days of instruction in a variety of required subjects, and maintain basic academic records. There is no assessment requirement.

“Parents or guardians may teach their children at home if the instruction is conducted under the auspices of an association for home schools which has no fewer than fifty members and meets the requirements of this section. Bona fide membership and continuing compliance with the academic standards of the associations exempts the home school” from the requirements of the regular homeschool statute. See S.C. Code § 59-65-47

Resources:

South Carolina’s Homeschool Statutes

Home Schooling, South Carolina State Department of Education

South Carolina, International Center for Home Education Research

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homeschool, homeschooling Homeschooling in your state of South Dakota

Homeschool laws in South Dakota

This overview is for informational purposes only and does not constitute the giving of legal advice.

When the modern homeschool movement began in the 1970s and 1980s, South Dakota already had alternative education statutes on its books. Some homeschoolers, however, chafed against that statute’s home visit requirement. The state legislature removed this requirement when it passed H.B. 1260 in 1993. In 1996, the state legislature passed H.B. 1286, which allowed homeschool parents a greater degree of choice in selecting their children’s required nationally standardized achievement tests.

South Dakota law allows a child to be excused from school attendance if “the child is otherwise provided with alternative instruction.” See South Dakota Codified Laws § 13-27-3.

  • Alternative instruction provision: South Dakota law exempts students receiving “alternative instruction” from compulsory school attendance. Parents must file an annual exemption certificate with the local school district, provide instruction “for an equivalent period of time” as public schools, cover “the basic skills of language arts and mathematics,” and have their children tested after grades 2, 4, 8, and 11. There are no parent qualifications or bookkeeping requirements. Test scores must be kept on file by the local school district. If a student’s scores do not show “satisfactory academic progress” the school board may choose not to renew the certificate of excuse.

Students in grades 2, 4, 8, and 11 must take a nationally standardized achievement test of basic skills. This may be a test provided by the state and administered by the local school district or it may be another nationally standardized achievement test chosen by and at the expense of the parent. Students’ test scores must be kept on file in each student’s school district of residence. See § 13-27-3 and § 13-27-7.

Resources:

South Dakota Codified Laws § 13-27-3

South Dakota Codified Laws § 13-27-3.1

South Dakota Codified Laws § 13-27-3.2

South Dakota Codified Laws § 13-27-3.3

South Dakota Codified Laws § 13-27-3.4

South Dakota Codified Laws § 13-27-7

South Dakota Codified Laws § 13-27-8

South Dakota Codified Laws § 13-27-9

Home School, South Dakota Department of Education

South Dakota, International Center for Home Education Research

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homeschool, homeschooling Homeschooling in your state of Tennessee

Homeschool laws in Tennessee

This overview is for informational purposes only and does not constitute the giving of legal advice.

There are four legal options, two of which are nearly identical. First, parents may homeschool under Tennessee’s homeschool statute. Parents must provide annual notice to the director of schools, have a high school diploma or GED, provide 180 days of instruction, maintain attendance and vaccination records, and have their children tested after grades 5, 7, and 9. While there are no subject requirements, students’ test results must be turned in to the director of schools, and there is an intervention process for students who fall too far behind in reading, language arts, mathematics, or science.

  • General Homeschool Option  “A home school is a school conducted or directed by a parent or parents or legal guardian or guardians for their own children.” See Tennessee Code Annotated § 49-6-3050.

Parents must file an annual notice of intent with the director of schools, including basic data such as the names, ages, and grade levels of the children being homeschooled; the address of the school; the curriculum to be offered; the proposed hours of instruction; and the qualifications of the parent-teacher. This notice is for reporting purposes only.

Parents must maintain attendance records, which are to be made available for inspect and must be submitted to the director of schools at the end of each school year. Parents must maintain immunization records. Proof of vaccination must be turned in to the local director of schools.

At the end of grades 5, 7, and 9, students must take a standardized test administered by the commissioner of education, the commissioner’s designee, or an approved testing service. Tests administered by the commissioner or designee will be at no charge to the parent. The results of these tests must be reported to the parent, the director of schools, and the state board of education.

  • Umbrella school: Parents may homeschool in association with or as satellite campuses of church-related schools. Parents choosing these options must provide 180 days of instruction, and the church-related school must provide notice to the local director of schools. There are no state teacher qualification, subject, bookkeeping, or assessment requirements.

In Association with a Church-Related School. The homeschool statute offers parents the option of associating with and enrolling their children in a Category IV church-related school. See Tennessee Code Annotated § 49-6-3050(2, 3). Church-related schools must be accredited by a Christian school accrediting agency but are otherwise largely exempt from additional oversight. For the law governing church-related schools, see Tennessee Annotated Code § 49-50-801 and State Board of Education Rule 0520-7-2-.05.

Parents must enroll their children in a church-related school. The church-related school is required to report the name, age, and address of each student to the director of schools of the public school system in which the school is located. See Tennessee Annotated Code § 49-6-3007(c) and State Board of Education Rule 0520-7-2-.05.

  • Distance learning program: Parents may enroll a child in a distance learning program run by an accredited private school. These students are officially private school students, and all requirements are at the discretion of the school.

Parents may enroll a child in the distance learning program of a Category III accredited private school. These students count as private school students and are not governed by the homeschool code. Some homeschool correspondence programs, including Conlara, Seton, Calvert, ABeka, and AlphaOmega, operate as Category III accredited private schools in Tennessee and offer distance learning programs for homeschool students. Category III accredited private schools are schools accredited by any of a number of regional accrediting agencies. See Tennessee Annotated Code § 49-6-3001(c)(3)(A)(iii) and State Board of Education Rule 0520-7-2-.05.

Resources:

Tennessee Code Annotated § 49-6-3050

Tennessee Annotated Code § 49-50-801

State Board of Education Rule 0520-7-2-.05

Tennessee Code Annotated § 49-6-3004

Home Schooling in Tennessee, Department of Education

Tennessee, International Center for Home Education Research

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homesschool, homeschooling Homeschooling in your home state of Texas

Homeschool laws in Texas

Because the exemption to the compulsory attendance law mentions private and parochial schools but not homeschooling, the Texas Education Agency announced in 1985 that homeschooling was illegal. Homeschool parents filed a class action lawsuit, Leeper v. Arlington Indep. Sch. Dist., and in 1987 the court ruled in their favor, arguing that homeschools should be counted as private schools. The court also asserted that the Texas Constitution only authorizes the legislature to maintain public education, not private education.

  • Private school: Parents may operate a homeschool as a private school. Parents must provide instruction in good citizenship, math, reading, spelling, and grammar. There are no notification, parent qualification, instruction time, bookkeeping, or assessment requirements.

The state’s compulsory attendance law exempts any child who “attends a private or parochial school that includes in its course a study of good citizenship.” See Tex. Educ. Code Ann. § 25.086(a)(1).

Resources:

Tex. Educ. Code Ann. § 25.086(a)(1)

Home School Information, Texas Education Agency

Texas, International Center for Home Education Research

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homeschool, homeschooling Homeschooling in your state of Utah

Homeschool laws in Utah

This overview is for informational purposes only and does not constitute the giving of legal advice.

Before SB 39 was signed by the governor on April 1, 2014, state law required homeschooling parents to provide instruction in the same subjects required to be taught in the state’s public schools. This bill was ostensibly repealed to give parents more freedom to educate their children as they see fit, but in practice legalized educational neglect in the state.

  • Homeschool statute: Parents must file a one-time notice with their local school district. There are no parent qualification, bookkeeping, instruction subject, or assessment requirements.

“A local school board shall excuse a school-age minor from attendance, if the school-age minor’s parent files a signed and notarized affidavit with the school-age minor’s school district of residence.” See Utah Code Ann. § 53A-11-102(2).

Parents must submit “a signed and notarized affidavit” that includes the district of residence and states that “the school-age minor will attend a home school” and that “the parent assumes sole responsibility for the education of the school-age minor.” See Utah Code Ann. §§ 53A-11-102(2)(a). This affidavit remains in affect for the duration of homeschooling, and parents need only file a new affidavit if the student moves to another school district. See Utah Code Ann. §§ 53A-11-102(2)(a). Each year, the school district must issue “a certificate stating that the school-age minor is excused from attendance for the specified school year.” See Utah Code Ann. §§ 53A-11-102(2)(f).

 Parents were previously required to provide instruction in the same subjects required to be taught in the state’s public schools, but this requirement was repealed in 2014.

Resources:

Utah Code Ann. § 53A-11-102(2)

Home School, Utah State Office of Education

Frequently Asked Questions about School District Responsibilities and Home Schools, Utah State Office of Education

Utah, International Center for Home Education Research

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Homeschooling in your state o Vermont[/caption]

Homeschool laws in Vermont

“‘Home study program’ means an educational program offered through home study which provides a minimum course of study and which is offered to not more than: (A) children residing in that home; and (B) children not residing in that home who either are two or fewer in number or who are from one family.” See V.S.A. 16, §§ 11(a)(21)1121166b, and § 906.

  • Homeschool statute: Parents must submit an annual notice to the Vermont Department of Education, provide instruction in a comprehensive list of required subjects, and have their children assessed annually (via standardized test, portfolio review, or written report). There are no parent qualification, instruction time, or bookkeeping requirements. The assessment must be submitted with the following year’s notice, and there is a hearings process for children not receiving a minimum course of study. Parents are required to make adaptions to accommodate the needs of children with disabilities.

Parents may follow their own program and methods and adapt each area of study to the age and ability of each child, but must provide a “minimum course of study” in Basic communication skills, including reading, writing, and the use of numbers; Citizenship, history, and government in Vermont and the United States; Physical education and comprehensive health education including the effects of tobacco, alcoholic drinks, and drugs on the human system and on society; English, American and other literature; The natural sciences; and The fine arts. See 16 V.S.A. § 166b(j) and § 906.

Annual assessment in each area of study is required. Parents have three options: (1) a portfolio review by a state certified teacher; (2) a report prepared by the parents and accompanied by a portfolio of the student’s work; or (3) a standardized achievement test “approved by the commissioner” and “administered in a manner approved by the testing company.” See V.S.A. 16, § 166b(d). The child’s assessment must be submitted to the commissioner with the enrollment notice for the following school year.

Resources:

Definitions: V.S.A. 16, § 11(a)(21)

Homeschool statute: V.S.A. 16, § 166b

Compulsory Attendance: V.S.A. 16, § 1121

Course of study: 16 V.S.A. § 906

Home Study, Vermont Agency of Education

Vermont, International Center for Home Education Research

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Homeschooling in your state of Virginia

Homeschool laws in Virginia

This overview is for informational purposes only and does not constitute the giving of legal advice.

Virginia created a religious exemption from compulsory attendance in 1976, coinciding with the beginning of the homeschooling movement. However, most families sought to homeschool by operating under the state’s private school laws. The legality of homeschooling under these laws was in question, and in 1982 the Virginia Supreme Court ruled a family doing so. Virginia passed its homeschool statute in 1984. Some parents have continued homeschooling under the religious exemption to the present day, and in January 2014 a proposal to study the application of this exemption was defeated.

  • Homeschool statute: Parents must provide annual notice to the division superintendent, have a high school diploma or GED (or provide evidence of the parent’s ability to provide an adequate education), offer 180 days of instruction, maintain attendance records, and have their children assessed annually (by standardized test or portfolio review). While there are no subject requirements, assessments must be turned into the division superintendent who will begin a remediation process if a homeschooled student is not receiving an “adequate education.”

Virginia’s homeschool statute states that “instruction of children by their parents is an acceptable alternative form of education” and that parents “may elect to provide home instruction in lieu of school attendance.” See Va. Code Ann. § 22.1-254.1.

Students must achieve either the 23rd percentile on a nationally standardized achievement test or have an evaluation with a standardized teacher or other qualified individual showing “an adequate level of educational growth and progress.” See Va. Code Ann. § 22.1-254.1(C).

  • Religious exemption: Parents and children who have religious objections to school attendance may opt out of all education requirements by providing notice of their objections to the division superintendent. Various school districts enforce this provision differently.

Virginia law exempts from compulsory school attendance “Any pupil who, together with his parents, by reason of bona fide religious training or belief is conscientiously opposed to attendance at school.” The statute further clarifies that “For purposes of this subdivision, ‘bona fide religious training or belief’ does not include essentially political, sociological or philosophical views or a merely personal moral code.” See Va. Code Ann. § 22.1-254(B)(1) and § 22.1-254.1(D).

 

  • Private tutor: Parents with teaching certificates may homeschool under the private tutor law. The parent must file a copy of the teaching certificate with the district superintendent, provide 180 days of instruction, and maintain immunization records. There are no subject or assessment requirements.

Virginia exempts from public school attendance any child who is taught by “a tutor or teacher of qualifications prescribed by the Board of Education and approved by the division superintendent.” See Va. Code Ann. § 22.1-254(A)Parents are allowed to serve as tutors for their own children.

Resources:

Va. Code Ann. § 22.1-254

Va. Code Ann. § 22.1-254.1

Va. Code Ann. § 22.1-271.4

Compulsory Attendance and Home Instruction Related Statutes

Private Schools & Home Schooling, Virginia Department of Education

Home Instruction Handbook: Guidelines for Home Instruction in Virginia

Sample Notice of Intent to Provide Home Instruction

Statistics: Home Schooled Students & Religious Exemptions

Virginia, International Center for Home Education Research

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Homeschooling in your state of Washington

Homeschool laws in Washington State

This overview is for informational purposes only and does not constitute the giving of legal advice.

The legislature passed the state’s original homeschool statute in 1985.

  • Homeschool statute: Parents must provide annual notice to the local superintendent, meet one of four parent qualifications, provide 180 days of instruction in a variety of required subjects, and have their children assessed annually (by testing or portfolio review). Parents are not required to submit the assessments to the local superintendent but must maintain these documents in the home.

Washington has a homeschool statute, which refers to homeschooling as “home-based instruction.” See Wash. Rev. Code § 28A.225.010(4) and § 28A.200.

Instruction must consist of “planned and supervised instructional and related educational activities, including a curriculum and instruction in the basic skills of occupational education, science, mathematics, language, social studies, history, health, reading, writing, spelling, and the development of an appreciation of art and music.” See § 28A.200.010(4). However, these requirements must be “liberally construed.” See § 28A.200.010(5).

Students must be assessed annually. There are two options: (a) have the student take “a standardized achievement test approved by the state board of education” and administered “by a qualified individual;” (b) have an “assessment of the student’s academic progress written by a certified person who is currently working in the field of education.” While parents must keep the results as part of the child’s permanent record, they are not required to submit them to anyone. See § 28A.200.020(1)(c)

  • Umbrella school: Parents may operate homeschools as “extension programs” of approved private schools. Parents must provide 180 days of instruction in a variety of required subjects and be under the supervision of a certified individual employed by the school who will assist in planning instruction, maintaining student records, and evaluating student progress.

An approved private school may operate an extension program for parents, guardians, or persons having legal custody of a child to teach children in their custody.” State code specifies how this is to take place. See Wash. Rev. Code § 28A.225.010(1)(a) and § 28A.195.010(4).

“The planning by the certified person and the parent, guardian, or person having legal custody include objectives consistent with” instruction in “the basic skills of occupational education, science, mathematics, language, social studies, history, health, reading, writing, spelling, and the development of appreciation of art and music, all in sufficient units for meeting state board of education graduation requirements.” See § 28A.195.010(4)(b) and § 28A.195.010(7).

“Each student’s progress be evaluated by the certified person.” See § 28A.195.010(4)(d).

Resources:

Wash. Rev. Code § 28A.225.010

Wash. Rev. Code § 28A.200

Home-Based Instruction, Office of the Superintendent of Public Instruction

Washington’s Laws Regulating Home-Based Instruction

Washington, International Center for Home Education Research

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homeschool, homeschooling Homeschooling in your state of West Virginia

Homeschool laws in West Virginia

This overview is for informational purposes only and does not constitute the giving of legal advice.

West Virginia’s original homeschool law was passed in 1987. Then, in 1994, H.B. 4546 revised the original law and led to the two option system West Virginia has today. In 2016, H.B. 4175 altered the requirements for the notification option, reducing the number of years student assessments must be submitted, lowering the threshold for acceptable progress, and allowing parents to administer their children’s tests themselves.

West Virginia’s homeschool statute offers two options:

  • Approval: Parents must apply for the approval of the local school board, filing information and records as required. Parents must provide 180 days of instruction. The school board sets any teacher qualification, subject, and assessment requirements.

Parents must seek approval from their local school board. The process for seeking approval is at the discretion of the school board.

“The instruction shall be conducted by a person or persons who, in the judgment of the county superintendent and county board, are qualified to give instruction in subjects required to be taught in public elementary schools in the state.” See W. Va. Code § 18-8-1(c)(1).

  • Notice: Parents must provide one-time notice to the local superintendent. The parent providing instruction must have a high school diploma or equivalent and must have their children assessed annually (by standardized test or portfolio review) and submit this assessment after grades 3, 5, 8, and 11. There are no required hours of instruction, but parents are required to provide instruction in reading, language, mathematics, science, and social studies and must maintain copies of students’ assessment for three years. There is an intervention process for students not making acceptable progress.

West Virginia has a homeschool statute with two options. The second option centers on providing notice. “The instruction shall be in the home of the child or children or at some other place approved by the county board.” See W. Va. Code § 18-8-1(c)(2).

Parents must provide a one-time notice of intent to the county superintendent. If the child is enrolled in a public school, this notice shall be provided on or before the date homeschooling is to begin. The notice must include the name, address, age, and grade level of any child to be homeschooled; assurance that the child will be instructed and assessed annually; and evidence of a high school diploma or its equivalent. Upon moving to a new county, parents must provide a new one-time notice of intent. Parents must notify the county superintendent when homeschooling is terminated if a student is still of compulsory attendance age. See W. Va. Code § 18-8-1(c)(2)(A, B, C).

Parents must submit an academic assessment to the county superintendent by June 30 following grades 3, 5, 8, and 11. Students may be assessed through one of a number of different measures: 

  1.  By a nationally normed standardized achievement test in the subjects of reading, language, mathematics, science, and social studies. This test must be administered in accordance with the test’s published instructions and may be administered by the parent. A score at or above the 23rd percentile, or showing improvement from the previous year’s results, is considered acceptable progress.
  2.  By participating at a public school in the testing program currently in use in the state’s public schools. The child is considered to have made acceptable progress based on the guidelines of the state testing program. 
  3.  By a portfolio evaluation by a certified teacher. The certified teacher must review a portfolio of samples of the child’s work and prepare a written narrative that indicates whether the child has made progress in accordance with the child’s abilities. This narrative must include a statement about the child’s progress in reading, language, mathematics, science, and social studies, and must note any areas that show need for improvement or remediation. 
  4.  Via a mutually agreed upon alternative assessment that includes criteria for whether acceptable progress has been made.  See W. Va. Code § 18-8-1(c)(2)(D).

Resources:

W. Va. Code § 18-8-1(c)

West Virginia, International Center for Home Education Research

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Homeschooling in your state of Wisconsin

Homeschool laws in Wisconsin

This overview is for informational purposes only and does not constitute the giving of legal advice.

Early homeschooling families requested permission from the Department of Public Instruction or incorporated as private schools. The Department of Public Instruction was highly critical of homeschooling, but in 1983 the Wisconsin Supreme Court declared in State v. Popanz that the state’s compulsory education law “void for vagueness since it fails to define ‘private school.’” In response, the Wisconsin legislature passed a homeschooling law with minimal requirements the following year. This law remains in force today.

  • Homeschool statute: Parents must file annually with the Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction and provide  875 hours of instruction in “a sequentially progressive curriculum of fundamental instruction in reading, language arts, math, social studies, science and health.” There are no parent qualification, bookkeeping, or assessment requirements.

A “home-based private educational program” is limited to one family unit and is defined as “a program of educational instruction provided to a child by the child’s parent or guardian or by a person designated by the parent or guardian.” See Wisconsin Statue 115.01(3g). In general, home-based private educational programs are subject to the same requirements as private schools. See Wis. Stat. Ann. § 118.15(1a, 4), § 115.30(3), and §118.165(1)

By October 15th of each year, administrators of public schools, private schools, and homeschools are required to notify the Department of Public Instruction of the number of students enrolled in their instructional programs. Homeschool parents and guardians meet this requirement by electronically submitting form PI-1206, which requires them to affirm that the family’s educational program is in compliance with all requirements. Parents or guardians who begin homeschooling in the middle of the school year should submit this form before the date their child ceases attending public school. Authorized personnel at each school district have access to the names of parents or guardians who have filed PI-1206 forms within their district. If a homeschooling family moves to a different school district, or if the number of children enrolled in their homeschool program changes, the parents or guardians are requested to update their PI-1206 form online. See Wis. Stat. Ann. § 115.30(3).

Homeschools are required to provide “a sequentially progressive curriculum of fundamental instruction in reading, language arts, math, social studies, science and health.” See Wis. Stat. Ann. § 118.165(1d).

Resources:

Home-Based Private Instruction Program, Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction

Frequently Asked Questions Relating to Homeschooling, Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction

Wisconsin Law Relating to Home-Based Private Educational Programs (Homeschooling)

Wisconsin, International Center for Home Education Research

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homeschool, homeschooling Homeschooling in your state of Wyoming

Homeschool laws in Wyoming

This overview is for informational purposes only and does not constitute the giving of legal advice.

  • Homeschool statute: Parents must submit a curricular plan to the local board of trustees each year (no approval is necessary) and provide a “sequentially progressive curriculum” in required subjects. There are no parent qualification, days of instruction, bookkeeping, or assessment requirements.

“A home-based educational program means a program of educational instruction provided to a child by the child’s parent or legal guardian or by a person designated by the parent or legal guardian.” A homeschool must consist of only one family unit. See Wyo. Stat. §§ 21-4-101 and 21-4-102.

Parents must provide a “basic academic educational program,” which is defined as “one that provides a sequentially progressive curriculum of fundamental instruction in reading, writing, mathematics, civics, history, literature and science.” See Wyo. Stat. § 21-4-101(a)(vi).

“These curriculum requirements do not require any private school or home-based educational program to include in its curriculum any concept, topic or practice in conflict with its religious doctrines or to exclude from its curriculum any concept, topic or practice consistent with its religious
doctrines.” See Wyo. Stat. § 21-4-101(a)(vi).

Resources:

Wyo. Stat. §§ 21-4-101 and 21-4-102

Wyo. Stat. § 21-2-406

Home Schools, Wyoming Department of Education

Wyoming, International Center for Home Education Research

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homeschool, homeschooling Homeschooling in your state of the District of Columbia

 

Homeschool laws in the District of Columbia

This overview is for informational purposes only and does not constitute the giving of legal advice.

Until 1991, the District of Columbia required unannounced home visits and teacher certification. In 2008, after a horrific quadruple murder in a homeschooling family, the District of Columbia enacted Chapter 52, which created new oversight of homeschooling. This oversight falls under the authority of the Office of the State Superintendent (OSSE).

References to “private instruction” in the District of Columbia Official Code, under which homeschooling previously operated, were not repealed, leaving a dual set of requirements. District of Columbia Code Annotated § 38-202§ 38-203, and § 38-205. Some homeschool groups have suggested that homeschooling under the previous law is still permissible, but the OSSE does not share that view.

The District Code of Municipal Regulations governs homeschooling. Parents must provide annual notice to the Office of the State Superintendent (OSSE). Parents providing instruction must have a high school diploma or its equivalent (or obtain a waiver based on evidence of competency), provide “thorough, regular instruction of sufficient duration,” maintain a portfolio of their children’s work, and make that portfolio available should the OSSE request to review it. While there is a remediation process should the OSSE determine upon review of a student’s portfolio that “thorough, regular ina struction” is not being provided, the OSSE is not required to conduct regular reviews of all portfolios.

Chapter 52 of the District Code of Municipal Regulations governs homeschooling. This chapter was enacted “to establish procedures for home schooling” and “to ensure that children participating in a home schooling program receive thorough, regular education that will enable them to function as productive members of society in the 21st century” and defines homeschooling as “an education program conducted, in compliance with this chapter, by the parent or legal guardian.” See District Code of Municipal Regulations Chapter 52. References to “private instruction” in the District of Columbia Official Code, under which homeschooling previously operated, were not repealed, leaving a dual set of requirements. District of Columbia Code Annotated § 38-202, § 38-203, and § 38-205.

Parents must provide written notification to the OSSE 15 business days prior to beginning home instruction on a form developed by that office. For each subsequent year, parents must provide written notification by August 15. Parents must also provide written notice 15 business days before discontinuing homeschooling. See DCMR 5202 and 5203. The official code requires parents to report the name, sex, address, and date of birth of each child being withdrawn for private instruction. See D.C. Code Ann. § 38-205.

Each student’s homeschool program must “provide thorough, regular instruction of sufficient duration to implement the home school program” and “provide instruction that includes, but need not be limited to, language arts, mathematics, science, social studies, art, music, health, and physical education.”  Homeschooling parents need not use the programs or methods of the public schools or adhere to any specific curricular framework or any other program of instruction adopted by the public schools. See DCMR 5204.

Up to twice a year, the OSSE may request in writing to review a student’s portfolio “at a time and place mutually agreeable” to the the official representative and the parent. The purpose of the review is “to ensure that the child is receiving thorough, regular home schooling instruction, consistent with this chapter.” However, “a regular periodic review of all portfolios” is not required by law. See DCMR 5206.

Resources:

District Code of Municipal Regulations Chapter 52

District of Columbia Homeschooling Program, Office of the State Superintendent of Education

Frequently Asked Questions Regarding Home Schooling, Office of the State Superintendent of Education

Notification of Intent to Home School, District of Columbia Public Schools

District of Columbia, International Center for Home Education Research

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