Oregon law exempts children from compulsory attendance if they are “being educated in the children’s home by a parent or legal guardian.” Homeschools are prohibited from operating as private schools, and private school students must be “in attendance,” thus prohibiting homeschools from operating under umbrella private or church schools. See Or. Rev. Stat. § 339.030(1)(e).
|Notification:||Parents must register their children with their local Education Service District (ESD), providing the child’s and parents names and addresses, the child’s birth date, and the name of the school the child last attended or the school district within which the child resides. Registration is not annual; it is required only when a child reaches the age of compulsory attendance, is withdrawn from public school, or moves to a new ESD, and must be done within ten days of any of these. Parents are guardians are not legally required to notify the ESD when they cease to homeschool. The ESD notifies school districts annually of which children in the district are being homeschooled.|
|Days or hours:||None.|
|Bookkeeping:||None. However, parents or guardians must submit the results of the required testing for each child should this information be requested by the ESD. Therefore, the parent should maintain records of this testing.|
|Assessment:||Testing is required at the end of grades 3, 5, 8, and 10 (by no later than August 15). The first examination for children who are withdrawn from public school should take place at least 18 months after they are withdrawn. A “neutral person” selected by the parent or guardian from a state-maintained list of “qualified” individuals must administer the test, which must be chosen from a list of approved comprehensive examinations. The parent or guardian must pay for the testing. The person who administers the examination must score it and provide the results to the parent or guardian, who is required to report the composite score if requested by the ESD. Or. Rev. Stat. § 339.035|
|Intervention:||If a child’s comprehensive examination score is below the 15th percentile, the child must be tested again the following year. If the child’s score is lower than the previous year, the child will be tested again the following year and, in the meantime, the ESD superintendent may require the parent to homeschool under the supervision of a licensed teacher chosen and paid for by the parent. If the child’s score the third year is a lower percentile than the previous year, the ESD superintendent may: (1) allow the homeschool to continue operating under the supervision of a supervising teacher chosen and paid for by the parent and require a test the following year; (2) allow the parent or guardian to continue homeschooling as normal and require a test the following year; or (3) require the child to attend public school for no more than 12 consecutive months. If at any time during this process the child’s composite score is equal to or greater than his previous year’s score, the restrictions are removed and homeschooling may proceed as normal. See Or. Rev. Stat. § 339.035. If a parent begins homeschooling but does not notify the ESD, the child is considered truant. Failure to comply with the testing requirements results in a large fine.|
|Other:||The state’s homeschool law modifies the testing requirement to best serve the needs of special needs students. Homeschooled children with special needs follow the same testing schedule and intervention process as other homeschooled children, with several adjustments. Each homeschooled child with special needs should have either an IEP (individualized education plan), which may be obtained through having a child evaluated in a public school, or a PDP (privately developed plan), which a parent or guardian may develop in conjunction with one or more private service providers. Depending on the child’s IEP or PDP, the child may: take the same test with the same percentile requirements; take the same test with a different percentile requirement; take a different test with a different measure; or use an alternative method of assessment altogether. Rather than meeting a specific percentile, homeschooled children with special needs are expected to make “satisfactory educational progress,” which means “educational progress across academic and/or developmental areas appropriate to the child’s age and abilities.” A child’s IEP or PDP should create a standard for measuring the student’s progress and determining what is “satisfactory.” If the child has an IEP, the testing may take place at a public school. If the child has a PDP, the PDP team will complete the assessment and determine whether or not “satisfactory educational progress” has been made. See A.O.R. 581-021-0029|
Services Available to Homeschooled Students
|Part-time enrollment:||Yes, at the district’s discretion. School districts may allow homeschooled students to take one or more classes at a public school, but are not required to do so.|
|Extracurriculars:||Yes. School districts are required to allow homeschooled students to participate in interscholastic activities governed by the Oregon School Activities Association (OSAA). Homeschooled students who want to participate in interscholastic activities in their local school districts must be tested annually and score at or above the 23rd percentile (school districts can also adopt alternative means for determining academic eligibility). Certain restrictions apply to students who withdraw to be homeschooled midyear or students who were unable to maintain academic eligibility prior to being withdrawn to be homeschooled. Students with special needs who wish to participate in interscholastic activities need only submit assessments showing they are making “satisfactory educational progress.” See Or. Rev. Stat. § 339.040.|
|Special needs:||Yes. (1) While public schools must offer special needs evaluations to all students within their districts regardless of what school they attend or whether they are homeschooled, public schools in Oregon have no federal obligation to provide additional services to homeschooled students with special needs. (2) Oregon’s rules governing homeschooling state that should a child be tested and be found to have special needs, the district must offer an IEP meeting to consider what special education and related services may be provided in conjunction with homeschooling. Public schools receive state special education funding for services provided to homeschool students. (3) The rules governing homeschooling make adjustments to the assessment process for homeschooled students with special needs. See OAR 581-021-0029.|
Oregon has long had a statue that allowed students to be excepted from compulsory attendance laws if they were being taught by their parents at home, but parents wishing to homeschool were originally required to seek permission from their local school districts. In 1985 the law was changed, and immediately following the Department of Education wrote administrative rules.
This overview is for informational purposes only and does not constitute the giving of legal advice.