A History of Homeschooling in North Dakota

After a contentious decade, North Dakota’s homeschool law (HSLDA Court Report, v. 5 n. 2) was passed in 1989 (HSLDA Court Report, v. 5 n. 3). Before this year, homeschool parents had been required to have teaching certifications. The 1989 law allowed parents without teaching certifications to homeschool under the supervision of a certified teacher, or to pass the state teachers’ examination. However, some parents continued homeschooling under the complex private school law (HSLDA Court Report, v. 8 n. 3) that many parents had sought to use before the passage of an actual homeschool statute, and in 1992 the North Dakota Supreme Court ruled in  Birst v. Sanstead  (HSLDA Court Report, v. 9 n. 1)that parents could choose whether they wanted to homeschool under the homeschool law or under the private school law.

The legislature made changes in 1995 (HSLDA Court Report, v. 11 n. 3), after which parents with bachelor’s degrees could homeschool without additional monitoring, monitoring of parents without a teacher certificate or bachelor’s degree was limited to the first two years of homeschooling, and testing changed from annual to grades 4, 6, 8, and 10.

In 1997, the state legislature again amended the state’s homeschooling law (HSLDA Court Report, v. 13 n. 4), allowing parents to homeschool developmentally disabled students (which was not previously permitted). The new legislation also took the authority to create rules for determining whether a student was making reasonable academic progress out of the hands of the superintendent of public instruction and replaced it with a remediation process for homeschooled students scoring under the 30th percentile. Finally, the law changed the process for obtaining an official high school diploma, moving it from the state level to the local level.

In the years since, the legislature has  changed the law so that only parents without a high school diploma or GED receive additional monitoring during their first two years of homeschooling and has added a provision allowing homeschooled students to participate in public school extracurriculars.

For more state histories, see Histories of Homeschooling.

Click here for more on homeschooling in North Dakota.

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