Here’s the good news… home schooling your child is legal in all 50 states.
Here’s the catch… most states and most municipalities have home schooling requirements that you must follow in order for your child to receive an education at home. In most instances, these requirements are not prohibitive, however. They are designed to provide your child with the best possible education and the proper preparation if he or she eventually decides to attend college.
Every state has its own home schooling requirements, but here are some of the most common:
1. Give Notice
In most states, you must notify either or both the District School System and the State Education Department of your intent to home school your child. Notification must be in advance, anywhere from 14 to 30 days. The notice must include your child’s name, age, residence, and the hours your child will be attending classes.
2. Maintain Records
You must keep records of your child’s home school experience. These can include attendance, test results, daily documentation of the subject matter, sample materials, and in some cases even immunization records. It’s best to keep these records organized and in chronological order. Rarely will you be required to supply lesson plans in advance.
3. Teacher Qualifications
Generally, there are no teacher qualifications. If you bring in a tutor for your child, the tutor will generally be required to be certified.
For most states home school requirements include taking a national standardized achievement test. As long as your home schooled child scores above a certain percentage on the test (for example, the 30th percentile), your child can continue to be home schooled. If he or she falls below this percentage, the local school district may require your child to attend a public school until the next testing period.
Most states also require that a home schooled child receive an annual evaluation of his or her academic progress. The evaluation must usually be conducted by a qualified person, such as a certified teacher or someone with a graduate degree in education and submitted to the local school district’s office.
6. Notification of Termination
And just as it was necessary to notify the state authorities of your intent to home school, it’s necessary to notify them if you decide to no longer educate your child at home.
Remember, your state may differ from these. So it’s essential that you contact your local and state education offices for the home schooling requirements where you live.