Homeschooling Laws in Rhode Island

Instructor: Christopher Muscato

Chris has a master's degree in history and teaches at the University of Northern Colorado.

Homeschooling can be an appealing, but also daunting, prospect. Let's review some of the homeschooling laws of Rhode Island and look at your rights and obligations as a parent.

Homeschooling in Rhode Island

The state of Rhode Island attempts to make homeschooling a viable and practical option for parents, so the laws regulating homeschooling are relatively straightforward. Please note that every school district may have its own interpretations of the laws, so it is essential to contact your local school. Below are the specific laws for Rhode Island, but the most important requirements for you are to submit at Letter of Intent, teach the required subjects for 180 days per school year, and maintain an attendance register. We'll go through each of those requirements.

Rhode Island Homeschooling Laws:

  • 16-19-1. Attendance: According to this law, children from ages six through eighteen must receive a full education equal to the number of days mandated by the state. Throughout Rhode Island, this equals 180 days of instruction per year.
  • 16-19-2. Homeschool approval: This law stipulates that homeschool instruction will only be approved if a student gets the same amount of instruction as students in a public school, a register of attendance is kept, and students are instructed in required subjects (math, language arts, geography, etc.) in the English language.
  • 16-22-2. Civics instruction: Students in grades K-12 must receive an education in civics that includes government and the history of Rhode Island.
  • 16-22-4. Health and physical education instruction: Students in grades K-12 must receive health and physical education as part of their instruction.
  • 16-23-2. Textbook loans: Your local public school is required to let you, as the parent of a homeschooled child, borrow textbooks and workbooks. This law applies to all required disciplines.

The Letter of Intent

Your first requirement as a parent is to submit a Letter of Intent (LOI) to your school district, which clearly indicates your intent to homeschool your child/children for the upcoming school year. Here are the general guidelines:

  • Provide your name, your child/children's name, address, and contact information.
  • Provide a statement that you intend to homeschool your child/children.
  • Demonstrate awareness of the courses you will be teaching over the following school year, as well as state attendance requirements.
  • Promise to send a progress report and attendance register at the end of the school year.

According to Rhode Island state laws, you can start homeschooling as soon as you submit the LOI. You don't have to wait for approval (which generally takes 1-6 weeks). Also, you can start teaching your child/children at any point, since homeschools are not bound by the dates of the public school calendar. That being said, while you can submit your LOI at any time, it is most courteous to do so between June and September, in respect to the public school calendar. Submit your LOI to the school district superintendent's office, not your local public school and principal.

Required Subjects and Contact Hours

To fulfill the homeschool requirements, you must provide 180 days of instruction in the home classroom. That's the same number of hours that students receive in the public school year.

As far as required courses go, you will need to teach your child/children math, reading, writing, geometry, health, and physical education. Science is not a required annual subject for homeschools in Rhode Island, and both US and Rhode Island history only have to be taught as frequently as they are in public schools (talk to your local district to determine how it defines that requirement).

Attendance Register

Finally, you must maintain and submit an attendance register every academic school year. This register will record the hours of instruction per day, as well as per subject. Remember that your student must receive 180 days of instruction and that instruction must meet the content and subject requirements for your school district.

In general, it is always best to keep the most detailed records that you can. Record the textbooks and workbooks used, keep all student work and grades, and provide detailed accounts of daily instruction.

Additional Resources

For additional information, please consider using these resources available through Study.com:

You can also take advantage of resources designed to help you create a Personalized Homeschool Curriculum. These self-paced courses are available in topics ranging from math and science to English language arts and social studies. You'll also find a wide selection of electives and AP courses, all of which feature self-assessment quizzes and practice tests you can use to track your child's progress.

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