Homeschooling is not regulated by federal law. Every state has its own regulations. Parents who homeschool must be aware of their particular state’s laws regarding homeschooling. Many states require that notification be sent to local school districts. Others may require mandatory testing. The purpose of this series of articles is to give parents who are either homeschooling or who are thinking about homeschooling the resources they need to make an informed decision.
This is a series of articles. It is set up as follows:
Part 1: Alabama through California
Part 2: Colorado through Georgia
Part 3: Hawaii through Iowa
Part 4: Kansas through Maryland
Part 5: Massachusetts through Missouri
Part 6: Montana through New Jersey
Part 7: New Mexico through Ohio
Part 8: Oklahoma through South Carolina
Part 9: South Dakota through Vermont
Part 10: Virginia through Wyoming
The state of Colorado requires all homeschooled children in grades 3, 5, 7, 9, and 11 to take mandatory standardized tests. Students must score above the 13th percentile or they may be required to enroll in a traditional public or private school.
Mandatory attendance in school is required of all homeschooled children aged 7 to 17. School must be held for 172 days per year with an average of 4 hours per day. There is required coursework. Check with the Department of Education for the most up to date requirements. Qualifications for homeschool teachers depend on which type of homeschool is chosen.
There are three options for homeschooling. The first is to provide at home education for the children. Under this option the homeschool is not considered a private or nonprofit school. 14 days notice is required before starting a homeschool. A second choice is to enroll children in an independent school but instead of in the classroom, the courses are taught at home. An independent school consists of at least two different families. The third option is when a parent or other educator holds a valid teaching certificate. In this case all testing requirements are waived
Colorado laws pertaining to homeschooling are as follows:
Colorado. Rev. Stat. § 22-33-104.5 (homeschooling).
§ 22-33-104(2)(i) (compulsory attendance exemption and private tutor).
Colorado Department of Education Homeschooling Information
Connecticut requires all children between the ages of 5 and 18 to attend school unless they are a high school graduate. Homeschoolers fall under Connecticut General Statute § 10-184 which states a parent may homeschool if the parent “… is able to show that the child is elsewhere receiving equivalent instruction in the studies taught in the public schools…”
Parents are required to provide 180 days of instruction. Required subjects include reading, writing, grammar, English language, math, geography, U.S. history, citizenship, and studies in local, state and federal government.
The state of Connecticut has adopted suggested guidelines for homeschooling. These guidelines are not the law and they are not mandatory. However, failure to follow these guidelines can cause difficulties with the local school superintendent’s office.
The optional guidelines state that parents have a right to homeschool. Within 10 days of deciding to homeschool, a parent must file a notice of intent with the local school superintendent. Parents filing a notice of intent acknowledge that they accept full responsibility for the education of their children. Finally, the guidelines state: “Any continued refusal by the parent to comply with the reasonable request of the school district for completion and filing of the notice of intent, or to participate in an annual portfolio review may cause the child to be considered truant.”
Connecticut laws pertaining to homeschool are as follows:
Connecticut General Statute § 10-184 (compulsory attendance)
Delaware has mandatory attendance laws. All children who reach the age of 5 years by September 1, and the age of 16 must attend school. Five year olds may be exempt if it is determined that such a beginning is not in the best interest of the child.
No specific homeschooling curriculum is mandated by the state of Delaware, unless the homeschool is operating in conjunction with the local school district. Parents are required to file an annual attendance report with the local school district. There are no specific qualifications for homeschool parents.
There are three options for homeschooling in Delaware. The first is a single family homeschool in which instruction is given in the home by a parent or guardian. The second type of homeschool is a multi-family homeschool where the education of children in one or more unrelated families is provided by the parents of the children. A liason from the homeschool must report attendance to the local school district. The third form of homeschool is a single family homeschool that is providing education under the supervision of the local school.
Delaware laws pertaining to homeschooling are as follows:
Del. Code Ann. tit. 14 § 2703 (compulsory attendance exemptions)
14 § 2703A (homeschooling definition)
District of Columbia (Washington D.C.)
The District of Columbia has very specific laws pertaining to homeschool. Mandatory attendance is required of all children between the ages of 5 as of September 30, and 18.
Homeschools are required to operate during the same schedule as public schools. Required subjects are math, social studies, language arts, physical education, music, art, and health. Parents are required to maintain a portfolio showing that the children are actively learning and making progress.
Parents providing instruction to their children must hold a high school diploma or its equivalent. A copy of the high school diploma or GED must be sent to the school district.
Homeschool students are eligible to participate in school sponsored testing at no charge.
District of Columbia laws pertaining to homeschooling are as follows:
D.C. Code Ann. § 38-202 (compulsory attendance)
D.C. Mun. Regs. § 5200 (homeschooling)
District of Columbia Department of Education Homeschool Page
Florida has mandatory attendance laws. All children who are 6 years of age by February 1, and who are not yet 16 years of age are required to attend school. 180 days of instruction are required for most types of homeschooling. There are three options for homeschooling in Florida.
The first option is a homeschool operating under the homeschool law Fla. Stat. Ann. § 1002.41. Under this law a parent must file a written intent to homeschool within 30 days of establishing the homeschool. The names, addresses and dates of birth of all homeschooled children must be sent into the local superintendent’s office. A portfolio of the students work and a log of daily educational activity should be kept.
The second option is for a group of homeschoolers to act as a private school. Under this option the mandatory attendance requirement is waived. Finally, the third option is for a parent or other person who is a certified teacher licensed in the state of Florida to give instruction to the children.
Florida laws pertaining to homeschool are as follows:
Fla. Stat. Ann. § 1002.41 (homeschooling)
§ 1002.43 (certified private tutor)
§ 1003.01(13) (compulsory attendance)
Georgia has compulsory attendance laws. All children must attend school between the ages of 6 and 16. The required number of days of instruction is 180 days. Subjects that are required are math, reading, language arts, social studies, and science.
A notice of intent to homeschool must be filed with the local superintendent’s office within 30 days of starting a homeschool. Every year a notice of intent must be filed no later than September 1.
Parents are required to hold a high school diploma or GED. In lieu of this qualification a tutor holding the proper qualifications may be employed by the parents. Instruction must be given for 4 ½ hours per day. Parents must keep attendance records. All children are subject to mandatory testing starting in the third, sixth, ninth, and twelveth grades.
Georgia laws pertaining to homeschool are as follows:
Ga. Code Ann. § 20-2-690(c) (homeschooling)
Georgia Department of Education Homeschool Page
Home School Legal Defense Association, Summary of Homeschool Laws in the Fifty States
Education Commission of the States, State Policies on Homeschooling by Mary Fulton, October 2009.
The National Center for Education Statistics: December 2008 Issue Brief