Is Homeschooling Legal?
Without a doubt, homeschooling is legal in all the 50 States of the U.S.A. That is just about where the similarity ends. Laws and regulations regarding homeschooling vary from state to state. Interpretations of these laws can vary from school district to school district. Additionally, these laws may change every year.
The Home School Legal Defense Association (HSLDA) is a wonderful resource when it comes to the legalities of homeschooling. It has a listing of the actual state laws for each state in the U.S.A. Reading the laws that pertain to your state is perhaps the best way to get accurate information. You may need interpretation by a qualified attorney.
State Homeschooling Laws
State homeschooling laws vary in their treatment of the following homeschool requirements:
- The minimum number of hours or days a student must receive instruction. Because homeschool schedules are so efficient, homeschoolers can find creative ways to meet these requirements. At home, a child is learning whenever he or she is awake.
- The subjects a student must be taught. Some states require home schools to teach the same subjects that are taught in public schools. Some states require specific subjects such as hygiene and the effects of alcohol. Some states have no requirement.
- Information that must be kept regarding your home school. Some states require parents to keep attendance records, which I find odd as homeschoolers are typically at home everyday. Some states require submission of a portfolio or quarterly report.
- The criteria that must be met by a parent, tutor or homeschooling program. Some states require parents to have a high school diploma or GED. Others require a college degree, certificate or evaluation by a certified teacher. Some have no criteria.
- Tests that must be taken periodically to assess a child's progress. Some states simply require students be tested, some require testing and results reporting, and yet others require testing, reporting, and developing an action plan if a failed score.
- Compulsory School Age
- The ages between which a child must receive formal instruction. Some states require instruction as young as age five, and some allow delayed instruction under certain conditions.
- Information that must be provided to notify the state of your decision to home educate. Some states do not require notice. Others require one time notice or annual notification.
Consider why you want to opt for homeschooling. Your motives and your reasons are important pillars on which the whole edifice of your child's lessons depends. Also, consult with your children. Ask them what they feel about homeschooling.
Though homeschooling requirements vary from state to state, studies have shown that there is no correspondence between the level of government regulation of homeschoolers and children's academic performance.
You can also get valuable information from the support group at your locality. Additionally, many state education departments have on-line resources that will help you in interpreting the state requirements for homeschooling. The Internet is also a good source of information.
It is a good idea to check out your state laws regarding homeschooling before you start educating your child at home. This will prevent any nasty surprises on the way. If you have to move, you will need to be aware of any tests or exams that your child may need to take.
If you are interested in reading more on this topic, please read: Homeschooling Hours.