- Homeschool statute: Parents must file one-time notice with a participatory agency (either the commissioner of education, the local district superintendent, or the principal of a private school), provide instruction in required subjects, maintain a portfolio of their children’s work, and have their children assessed annually (by standardized test or portfolio review). There are no parent qualifications or required instruction time. The annual assessments are not submitted to the participatory agencies and cannot be used as a reason for terminating a homeschool program.
Homeschool parents must choose a participatory agency for their homeschool. There are three options: the commissioner of education, the local district superintendent, or the principle of a private school. See N.H. Rev. Stat. Ann. § 193-A.
|Notification:||Homeschool parents must file a notice of intent either before the school year begins or within five days of withdrawing a child to homeschool. The notice of intent should be filed with the participating agency, and must include the names, addresses, and birth dates for each child of compulsory education age. A new notice of intent need only be filed when adding an additional child to a homeschool program or changing participatory agency. A notice of termination must be filed when the homeschool ceases operation.|
|Days or hours:||None.|
|Subjects:||Science, mathematics, language, government, history, health, reading, writing, spelling, U.S. and New Hampshire constitutional history, and art and music.|
|Bookkeeping:||A portfolio of the student’s work must be maintained, including a log of reading materials and evidence of the child’s work such as writing samples, worksheets, workbooks, and creative materials. These records must be maintained for two years, but the law does not require it to be presented for inspection by any educational agency.|
|Assessment:||Homeschool parents must have their children’s educational progress evaluated annually. There are several assessment options. 1. A written evaluation by a certified teacher or a current private school teacher. 2. A state or national standardized test administered by a qualified individual (the law states that “composite results at or above the fortieth percentile . . . shall be deemed reasonable academic proficiency,” but does not include a penalty or remediation process for those scoring below this threshold). 3. A measure of evaluation agreed upon between the parent and the participatory agency. It appears that most homeschool parents satisfy the evaluation requirement by having a teacher evaluate a portfolio of their students’ work. The results of the evaluation do not need to be submitted to the participatory agency, but should be kept on file by the homeschool parents.|
|Intervention:||While the results of the annual evaluation “may be used to demonstrate a child’s academic proficiency” in order to participate in public school courses and extracurricular activities, they “shall not be used as a basis for termination of a home education program.” Further, school superintendents are prohibited from engaging in any oversight or monitoring of homeschooling that goes beyond what is included in the state’s homeschooling law. However, because New Hampshire law includes failure to educate a child under its definition of neglect, homeschooled parents who are not providing the education required by law can be reported to child protective services.|
Services Available to Homeschooled Students
|Part-time enrollment:||Yes. Under New Hampshire’s dual enrollment statute, homeschoolers may participate in curricular and co-curricular public school activities. Co-curricular programs include any activity “designed to supplement and enrich regular academic programs of study, provide opportunities for social development, and encourage participation in clubs, athletics, performing groups, and service to school and community.” Public schools must not be more restrictive of homeschooled students’ involvement than of public school students’ involvement.|
|Extracurriculars:||Yes. The New Hampshire Interscholastic Athletic Association bylaws exempt homeschooled students from the requirement that student athletes who represent a school must be residents in that school district and fulltime students at that school. For more, see above.|
|Disabilities:||Yes. Homeschooled students with disabilities are granted the same access to federal funding as are students enrolled in private schools. Homeschooled students with disabilities who make use of New Hampshire’s dual enrollment statute to may gain access to additional services.|
|Other:||Homeschool parents are eligible for a $750 tax credit/voucher scholarship.|
The earliest parents to homeschool in New Hampshire requested permission to homeschool from local school boards. In 1980 the Department of Education sought to resolve disagreements by forming a Home Study Committee, which stated that parents should be allowed to homeschool if they could show that homeschooling would be a benefit to the child. The New Hampshire Supreme Court upheld this requirement in Appeal of Pierce (1982). Growing tensions between homeschoolers and local school boards resulted in the passage of RSA193-A, the state’s current homeschool law, which required annual notice and evaluations. In 2012, the legislature made notification one-time rather than annual and removed the requirement that homeschool parents submit their students’ annual evaluations. In March of 2018, House bill 1263 would have required that homeschool students have their annual assessments reviewed by either state officials or nonpublic school principals. Currently, parents of homeschool students don’t have to share the results of the assessments with anybody. It was voted down by the House. In May of 2018, a Senate Bill 193, was pushed into interim study by the House. SB 193 would allow low-income parents who withdraw their child from a public school to use state adequacy funds to go toward private or parochial education. But for some, the cost fears were insurmountable and the bill was voted down.
For more, see A History of Homeschooling in New Hampshire.
This overview is for informational purposes only and does not constitute the giving of legal advice.