Inside Homeschool Policy
Every state regulates homeschooling differently. Some states require parents to submit instruction plans and have their children’s academic progress assessed each year; other states require little or nothing. Go inside homeschool policy to compare states’ requirements and read our analysis.
█ No Notice: No required contact with state or local officials.
█ Notice Only: Notice of intent to homeschool only.
█ Assessment w/ Exceptions: Assessments with various exceptions.
█ Moderate Assessment: Assessments with low thresholds for intervention.
█ Thorough Assessment: Assessments combined with other provisions.
The legal form homeschooling takes varies from state to state. In some states, parents homeschool under a homeschool statute while in other states they homeschool under the private laws. Depending on the state, parents may also homeschool through umbrella schools or through private tutor statutes. Some states have multiple legal options for homeschooling, each with varying requirements. Read full brief.
█ States with homeschool statutes or alternative instruction clauses.
█ States where homeschooling takes place under the private school law.
█ States with multiple different legal options for homeschooling.
Not all states require homeschooling parents to notify education officials of their decision to homeschool, and in those states that do require some form of notice, the specific requirements vary. Complicating the matter, some states have multiple legal options for homeschooling with varying notification requirements. Read full brief.
█ States that require annual notice of homeschooling.
█ States that require one-time notice of homeschooling.
█ States that require no notice of homeschooling.
A few states require homeschool parents to meet basic educational qualifications such as having a high school diploma or GED, but the vast majority of states have no educational qualifications for homeschool parents. Read full brief.
█ States with homeschool parent qualification requirements.
█ States with no homeschool parent qualification requirements.
Some states require homeschool parents to provide a certain number of days or hours of instruction. Other states have a list of required subjects homeschool parents must teach. Some states have both. A few states, however, do not have either hours of instruction or subject requirements. Further, some states’ lists of subject requirements leave out critical subjects such as science. Read full brief.
█ States with academic assessments to provide accountability.
█ States that have required subjects but no accountability.
█ States that allow parents to homeschool without subject requirements or assessments.
While most states do not require parents to keep any sort of permanent record of their children’s academic progress, a few require parents to maintain test scores or portfolios of students’ work. Further, in most states homeschool parents are exempted from submitting their children’s birth certificates or immunization records. Read full brief.
Twenty-four states have some form of assessment requirement to ensure that homeschooled students are making academic progress. However, most states with assessment requirements offer other homeschool options that allow parents to bypass the requirements, do not require parents to submit students’ scores or evaluations, or do not require any form of passing score. Further, many states have lax enforcement or low thresholds for intervention. Read full brief.
█ States that provide accountability by requiring assessments of students’ academic progress.
█ States that exempt some students, don’t require results to be submitted, or have no minimum score.
█ States with no assessment requirements.
Very few states have any protections in place for at-risk children who are homeschooled, such as children whose parents have child abuse or neglect convictions in their past or troubling histories of social services involvement. Read full brief.
In some states, homeschooled students participate in public school athletics alongside other students. In other states, they are banned from participatingIn other states, homeschooled students are barred from participation in public school athletics. The trend in recent years has been towards allowing participation, and the states are today split fairly evenly down the middle on the issue. Read full brief.
The Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) requires public schools to provide every student with special needs a free appropriate public education. This means that children with special needs have the right to receive educational services appropriate to their needs at public expense. Parents who choose to homeschool are waving this right for their children, but may still be eligible for certain special needs services through their local public schools. Read full brief.
Our Policy Recommendations
Homeschooled children deserve more effective homeschool policy. Read full brief.