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Homeschool Laws by State

Instructor: Shelby Golden
Learn how homeschooling is regulated in different states and get an overview of the basic notification, curriculum and assessment requirements. You can also learn how to find specific laws for your state and explore some of the curriculum resources available to you.

Homeschooling Laws Across the Nation

The legislation governing homeschooling can vary significantly from state to state, but no matter where you live, it's very important that you follow local rules and regulations. Failing to comply with state guidelines can result in repercussions for yourself and your children, so make sure you research the requirements before you begin a homeschooling program.

You can usually find the exact regulations related to homeschooling in your area through your state department of education website. You might also find a breakdown of state guidelines through local homeschool associations.

While the laws may differ from one state to the next, most homeschool regulations cover the same general areas:

Beginning Homeschooling

Many states have educational requirements for parents who want to homeschool their children. Generally, you are required to possess a high school diploma. There are states that don't require this, such as Texas, where you can teach your children with very little oversight.

It's likely that you will need to submit some form of notification to your local school district once you decide to homeschool your child. These notices are usually due prior to or shortly after beginning your child's homeschool program and could require you to include such information as your child's name and age, your contact info and any vaccination records. Some states require you to submit a form every year, while others offer homeschooling options that require a one-time-only form. States like Oklahoma, on the other hand, won't ask you to provide any notification at all.

Finally, properly withdrawing your student from public school is generally recommended by homeschool organizations, even if you don't have to inform the state that you're going to be homeschooling them.

Your Curriculum

Depending on the state where you live, you may be required to submit varying amounts of information about what you plan to teach your children. Some states require a list of courses or even a complete curriculum outline to ensure you're teaching the required subjects. In many states, these include basics like math, English language arts, science and social studies. If you live in a state with more strict curriculum requirements, you might also need to provide instruction in subjects ranging from physical education and health to art and music.

Once you have your homeschool set up and have complied with the laws in your area, you can check out these Homeschool Courses offered by Study.com. These resources offer students of all ages an easy, interesting way to hone their math skills, explore different branches of science, study language arts, tackle social studies topics and more. These courses allow students to take self-assessment quizzes and tests that can help you track their progress. They're also supported by expert instructors who are available to answer any questions they have.

Progress Reporting

You may find that your state needs you to submit annual reports to verify your child's satisfactory academic progress. Required materials could include a list of reading materials, examples of student work or report cards.

While you may live in a state without these requirements, it can be good to hold onto this documentation anyway, especially if you're asked to verify your child's participation in a homeschool program or if he or she is interested in attending college in the future.

Standardized Testing

There are states that require students to undergo some form of standardized testing every year or after the completion of specific grade levels. Acceptable tests can include the SAT or PSAT, as well as exams like the Iowa Test of Basic Skills and the Stanford Achievement Test.

If you're looking for study guides that can help older children prepare for standardized tests, check out the short video lessons and quizzes covering exam content for the following:

As with the rest of these requirements, some states, like Idaho, have no testing laws at all. In others, you can elect to have a certified teacher submit a report of your student's progress in lieu of standardized test scores.

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