Is homeschooling legal?
UPDATED: February 20, 2013
It’s all about you. We want to help you make the right legal decisions.
We strive to help you make confident law decisions. Finding trusted and reliable legal advice should be easy. This doesn't influence our content. Our opinions are our own.
As long as certain homeschooling requirements are met, homeschooling a child is a legal. Homeschooling is a useful option for both parents and children. In situations where the traditional school environment or program is not reasonable, whether due to schedule, lifestyle, health concerns, or any other reason, homeschooling is a way for the child to receive the education required by law, and successfully complete the equivalent of a high school education. Provided the homeschooling is handled properly, there's no reason it can't be as successful and effective of an education as any school could provide.
Regulations for Homeschooling
There are a few homeschooling requirements that a homeschooling parent (and child) must follow in order to abide by the law. Each state has its own particular set of guidelines for homeschooling, so it's important to know what the requirements are in your area before you begin any homeschooling program. While the details will vary, the general requirements typically involve things such as the hours of schooling required and the tests and progress markers that are needed. The list below is just a partial example of what some states require in order for homeschooling to remain legal.
- In Missouri, the student must receive 1,000 hours of instruction during the official school year (July through June), with at least 600 of those hours falling within the basic subjects of reading, language arts, mathematics, social studies, and science.
- In Rhode Island, registers must be kept by the homeschooling parent or guardian, and returned to the school committee, superintendent, truant officer, and local department of education; these registers need to keep track of what hours are spent homeschooling and the student's attendance, and are the same as attendance registers kept by public schools.
- In Georgia, parents must submit a “declaration of intent to home study” to the superintendent of schools in the area. This must be done 30 days after the homeschool program begins, and by the first of September every following year. It should list information about each student being homeschooled, including names and ages, location where the schooling is taking place, and the specific dates the school will be considered “in session.”
- In Minnesota, a homeschooled child must be given an annual assessment with a nationally standardized achievement test to ensure that he or she is meeting all requirements. The test to be used, and how it will be administered, will be decided by the homeschooling parent or guardian in conjunction with the superintendent of the school district.
If you have concerns about the homeschooling requirements in your state, it is a good idea to consult with an attorney for help.