Know Your Homeschooling Requirements 
to Homeschool Your Child Legally

Homeschooling requirements differ greatly depending on the country or state you reside in. Knowing your state's laws will help you begin, as well as continue, to homeschool your children successfully.

Knowing the homeschooling requirements will not only help you begin homeschooling successfully, you will gain confidence as a homeschooling parent.

Almost every parent wonders at some point - either at the start of homeschooling or when facing difficulties...

"Can I really home school my child?"

The answer is yes! :) You can home school your child! Help, home school support and guidance is available for you.

Many people, even family members, may try to discourage you from taking the most active role in your child's education, causing you to question whether you can home school your child legally.

Remember, homeschooling is legal in every state of the US (and many other countries around the world!)

 Photo courtesy of Stuart Miles/Freedigitalphotos.net

Typical Homeschooling Requirements

Below are some terms that you may come across as you begin your homeschooling journey and researching the specific laws for where you live.

Compulsory School Age

I am not a lawyer but here is some information regarding the term "compulsory school age"...

The parent of guardian of a child of "compulsory school age" has a duty to provide an education during that period.

Compulsory school age refers to the period of a child's life from the time the child enters school as a beginner which differs depending on where you live, until your state's specified age, or graduation from a high school, etc.

The starting and ending age that your state requires a child to receive an education.

Homeschooling Options

Home schooling laws differ from state to state; the way in which you will need to set-up your school is different for each state.

Some available options when setting-up your school legally in your state may be:

  • Establish and operate a home school independently
  • Establish and operate a home school as a private school
  • Establish and operate a home school in association with a church-related school
  • Operate as a satellite campus of a church-related school
  • Use a private tutor

Other options may be available to you or only one or two, visit your governments website to find out how you will need to set-up your home school legally.

Attendance

The required number of hours or days or months of instruction per year; many states (currently 30) require a 180 day school year. You will find the attendance requirements for each state on the following document - http://www.ecs.org/clearinghouse/78/24/7824.pdf

Required Subjects

Many states require you to teach certain subjects in your home school. Some states require the basic subjects like: reading, writing, and arithmetic.

Other states require a more detailed list with additional subjects like: Language, reading, spelling, writing, geography, history of the United States and your state, government, math, science, health, physical education, fine arts (including music), first aid, safety, and fire prevention.

Homeschooling requirements can be very involved and detailed!
Here is a sample of one state's required subject list:

Grades K-12: patriotism and citizenship, substance abuse, traffic safety, fire safety; Grades 1-6: arithmetic, reading, spelling, writing, English, geography, U.S. history, science, health, music, visual arts, and physical education; Grades 7-8: English, history and geography, science, mathematics, physical education, health, art, music, practical arts, and library skills; At least once in grades 1-8: U.S. and state history and constitutions; Grades 9-12: English, social studies--including American history, participation in government, and economics, math, science, art or music, health, physical education, and electives.

Qualifications

Depending on your state, province or country, you may need to have certain qualifications to home school your child independently.

Some qualifications to homeschool may be include:

  • A teaching certificate
  • A Baccalaureate degree
  • A high school diploma or GED
  • Proof of meeting or exceeding the cut-off score for the national teacher exam.

In some states, if you do not have the above certification, you may need to homeschool under the supervision of a certified teacher or other qualified individual.

Although studies show a parent's level of education has no direct effect on homeschooling success, some states still require you to hold certain qualifications to teach your own child.

Notices

To home school legally, you will want to find out if you need to submit any required notices, forms, or affidavits.

Sometimes one notice at the beginning of the school year is all that is needed. Other states require submission each year.

Notices may need to be submitted either on a local or state level. Laws may require you to submit forms within a certain time frame from the start of your home education program.

Form filing may be optional as it is in my state (Michigan), and therefore you can choose to submit the form/s, or not.

Some form names you may come across are: Notice of Intent, Individualized Home Instruction Plan, etc.

Record Keeping

Your state's homeschooling requirements may include keeping attendance or detailed records of your home education instruction.

You may need to maintain and submit a portfolio of your child's work and progress, indicating that instruction in the required courses has been given, to local school officials. Depending on your homeschool laws, portfolio requirements may be minimal or more detailed.

Records may need to be submitted monthly, quarterly or yearly, or just kept in your care, and made available upon request.

Some items found in a portfolio are: Number of hours of instruction, materials used, work completed, description of material covered in each subject, your child's grade or written evaluation in each subject and standardized test results (if applicable), and a sampling of your child's work from throughout the year.

Testing

Your state's homeschooling requirements may include standardized testing or assessments performed by you or a certified individual, depending on your laws.

Standardized tests may need to be administered in certain grade levels and results submitted to local officials or other governing authorities.

You will want to find out if your state requires testing and the process for submitting required test scores, evaluation or assessment. 

Please Note: The information on this website is not intended to be legal advice or counsel. I highly recommend you visit your state or country's government website to find out detailed information regarding the homeschooling requirements and laws, before beginning to homeschool your child. 

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