Free Online Legal Resources
Home schooling is legal in all 50 states. The reasons why parents chose to home school their children vary widely. Some parents decide to home school for religious reasons and other parents chose to home school because they are not satisfied with the public and private school options in their area. No matter what the reason, parents are able to home school their children as long as they comply with applicable state laws.
Each state has its own legal requirements for parents who home school their children.
Approximately 10 states require no notification or other documentation from parents to school districts regarding their decision to home school. The parents simply make the decision to home school and begin doing so without any school district regulation, requirements or involvement. About 14 other states require that home schooling parents notify the local school district of their intent to home school. Nothing else is required.
While half of the states require no notification or notification only, these states still have mandatory school attendance laws that require students of certain ages (typically ages 6 -16, although that can vary) to be in school. Therefore, it is important for parents to keep records of their home schooling efforts in case anyone makes an allegation that their children are truant or that the parents are neglectful. If state child protection services start to question your child's education then you want to have the documentation of your home schooling efforts ready to show them.
The other half of the states vary in the level of regulation that they impose on home schooling parents. Some require that parents send notification, student test scores or another professional and objective measurement of student progress annually or more frequently. Other states require all of the above and proof of the parent's teacher qualifications, a curriculum plan approved by the school district and home visits by the school district.
Parents of children with special education needs may decide to home school the children. While there are not additional requirements imposed on these families, it is advisable to take steps to document your child's progress. In order to prevent future inquires and problems regarding your home school arrangement, it is important to have your child evaluated regularly. It is also important to seek the assistance of specialists whether it be education consultants or specific therapists in order to meet the needs of your child.
Since the laws and requirements for home schooling do vary from state to state, it is important to find out what you are required to do in your state. The first step is to contact your local school district's superintendent's office and ask what is required of you should you decide to home school your children. After that you can seek the advice of a local home schooling group about how to comply with those requirements. Each state's specific laws are also found online either on a home schooling resource website, the state Department of Education's website or the state's judicial system's website where the state's general laws are published. If you feel that the law is not being followed or that it is being applied discriminatorily then you should seek the advice of a local education attorney.
This article is intended to be helpful and informative. But even common legal matters can become complex and stressful. A qualified education lawyer can address your particular legal needs, explain the law, and represent you in court. Take the first step now and contact a local education attorney to discuss your specific legal situation.