The homeschooling movement is growing stronger, and more families are educating their children at home than ever before. Before you get started, it’s important to know the laws and requirements that pertain to home education. Here is a list of 10 requirements that may apply to your homeschooling endeavors:
1. Inform Local District
Homeschool parents are required to file with their local school districts to inform them that their child will be homeschooled. In Washington, homeschool students must be registered by age 8. In Kentucky, the compulsory age of enrollment for school is 6. Each state is responsible for regulations concerning the age children must be registered, so it will be important to verify with your local school district.
2. Withdraw from Public School
If your student is currently enrolled in the public school system, you are required to officially withdraw them, in writing, before the new school year begins. Most school districts will have a standardized form for this process.
3. Get Qualified
As a home educator, you need to meet certain qualifications to homeschool. In most cases, the qualified educator should have obtained at least 45 college credits.
4. Get Monitored
If you do not meet the requirements to be a home educator, families must work with the public or private school system to monitor the process. Many school districts offer easy access to these programs and require homeschool students to attend a one-hour session with a certified educator once a week.
Some school districts may also offer a homeschool qualification course if you do not meet the minimum standards.Some areas may require a monitored session at a school at scheduled times even if the home educator meets qualifications.
5. Proper Curriculum
Your homeschool curriculum must maintain the minimum required school subjects for your student’s grade level. Elementary school subjects include mathematics, language arts, science, social studies, health, occupational education, art, and music. Junior high and high school level students will need to meet practical application requirements for sciences and elective courses.
It is required that your homeschool student is assessed periodically. This may not necessarily be standard examinations and tests, but you are required to evaluate your student’s progress and understanding of the curriculum.
7. Record Keeping
Records must be thoroughly kept. You will be required to track your homeschool student’s progress and test scores during the course of their education. These records will be required if your student re-enters the school system, and you may be asked to submit them to your local school district for their records.
8. Testing Procedures
Homeschool students must take state-wide standardized tests yearly, beginning in the third grade. These tests may be taken in a school setting or a designated testing facility.
9. Regulations and Guidelines
Homeschooling is regulated by the states, so regulations will vary depending on where you live. Certain states such as Alaska, Connecticut, New Jersey, Idaho, Indiana, and Michigan have very few regulations and freely allow parents to control how their homeschool is run.
In North Dakota, Vermont, Rhode Island, Massachusetts, New York and Pennsylvania there are very strict guidelines and homeschooling is highly regulated by the state. In these states, it is especially important that you research the mandatory requirements for homeschooling in order to avoid penalties and possible legal consequences.