Homeschool Laws by StatePosted In Homeschool Assistance | Posted By Kristy Robins
For the past 25 years, homeschooling has been legal in all 50 states, but each state has its own rules and requirements for homeschool families. If you are considering homeschooling, the first step is to research your state’s unique set of mandates. Some states grant parents a great deal of leeway while others impose stringent regulations regarding homeschooling. Educate yourself about your state’s homeschool laws before you start homeschooling so that you will be in compliance with the law.
Homeschool Requirements by State
Homeschooling rules can be broken down into 6 major areas of regulation.
Notification of Intent to Homeschool
Most states require homeschool parents to notify either the local or the state board of education of their intention to homeschool their children. This can usually be done by mailing written notification addressed to the proper authorities or by filling out an online form. Other states require no notification at all.
While no state requires homeschooling parents to hold a college degree, some states do stipulate that a parent must have a high school diploma or a GED. Other states specify that homeschool parents must be “competent” or “capable” without defining what that means. Arkansas law prohibits homeschooling in households that include a sex offender. In Pennsylvania, homeschooling is not allowed if an adult with felony convictions less than five years old resides in the house or shares custody of the child.
States have widely varying requirements regarding attendance for homeschoolers. Some states require students to begin their education at age 5 while others don’t require it until age 7. Most states require students to continue their homeschool education until they reach their 16th birthday, although many stipulate that students be educated until they are 18. Most states require about 180 days of instruction. Some states require students to be engaged in homeschool for a certain number of hours rather than measuring it in days.
The majority of states mandate that parents teach certain subjects in their homeschools, but only a small portion have the means to enforce this. This leaves homeschool parents a lot of leeway in determining what they actually teach.
While public school students are subject to frequent standardized testing throughout, homeschoolers in many states are able to avoid it. State laws determine whether or not homeschool students are required to take state assessments. Some states do not require standardized testing at all, and others require that homeschooled students take standardized tests periodically.
Most states do not require homeschooled students to be vaccinated. In the few states that do call for students to be vaccinated, only a handful actually require that documentation of vaccination be submitted to the state.
Homeschool Laws FAQs
Is homeschool legal in all 50 states?
Yes, homeschool has been legal in all 50 states since 1993. State homeschool laws vary dramatically. It is vital that parents know the homeschooling rules of the state so that they will be in compliance with the law and avoid being audited.
Which states have the most lenient homeschool laws?
Texas, Oklahoma, Idaho, Indiana, and Illinois are among the states that grant the most leeway to homeschoolers. In these states, parents are not required to notify any officials of their intent to homeschool their children. Aside from a few state-mandated required areas of study, these states largely leave the details of homeschooling up to the parent and stipulate very few homeschooling requirements.
Which states have the strictest homeschool laws?
Massachusetts, New York, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, and Vermont are some of the states with the highest level of regulation. These states require that parents submit notification of intent to homeschool to a local or state authority. Most of these states also require homeschool students to participate in standardized testing. Some even require that homeschool parents have their curriculum approved for their homeschool to be considered valid.
Which state laws do road schoolers have to follow?
Luckily, parents who homeschool on the road do not have to adjust their rules of homeschooling every time they cross state lines. Instead, they just follow the homeschool laws of their state of residency.