Ten states—Georgia, New Mexico, North Carolina, North Dakota, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Tennessee, Virginia, Washington, and West Virginia—require parents to have some form of educational qualification in order to homeschool (or in the case of Tennessee, to homeschool high school students). The required qualification is generally a high school diploma or GED, but Washington state goes further, requiring either college credits or the completion of a course in home-based study. The remaining forty states allow any parent to homeschool regardless of their educational background.
Five states—North Dakota, Tennessee, Virginia, Washington, and West Virginia—allow parents without a high school diploma or GED can bypass these educational qualifications as follows.
The remaining five states—Georgia, New Mexico, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, and South Carolina—require all homeschooling parents without exception to meet their educational qualifications.
In addition to the ten states already mentioned, three states—California, Kansas, and New York—require parents to be “competent,” “qualified,” or “capable of teaching.” However, these states do not mandate any specific requirements or give local or state officials the authority to determine who meets these standards, leaving that up to the parents. This means that, in practice, these states do not require parents to meet any educational qualifications. The remaining forty states have no requirements whatsoever, allowing any parent to homeschool regardless of educational background.
We recommend that the parent providing primary instruction be required to have at least a high school diploma or GED. In cases where a parent does not have this qualification, homeschooling may be permitted under the supervision of a certified teacher or other similarly qualified individual indefinitely or until a GED is obtained. States like Washington and North Dakota currently have similar parent qualification requirements. We also recommend barring from homeschooling parents who have been convicted of child abuse, sexual offenses, or other crimes that would disqualify them from employment as a school teacher. This provision is currently in place in Pennsylvania.
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Homeschool parents may teach students of any grade level and cannot be expected to be capable of teaching at a grade level above that which they themselves have completed. Completing a secondary education also ensures that the parents values education in their own lives.
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