“‘Home study program’ means an educational program offered through home study which provides a minimum course of study and which is offered to not more than: (A) children residing in that home; and (B) children not residing in that home who either are two or fewer in number or who are from one family.” See V.S.A. 16, §§ 11(a)(21), 1121, 166b, and § 906.
|Notification:||(1) “A home study program shall send a written enrollment notice to the commissioner whenever it intends to enroll a child” or “re-enroll a child for the following school year.” This notice must include the name and age of the child; the names, addresses, and phone numbers of the parents; an assessment of progress (if a child was homeschooled the previous year); evidence on whether the child has a disability (if the child was not previously enrolled in public school and is new to homeschooling); names, addresses, and phone numbers of all persons providing ongoing instruction in certain subjects; signatures of the parents; and “a detailed outline or narrative which describes the content to be provided in each subject area of the minimum course of study,” including a description of accommodations for students with disabilities. See V.S.A. 16, § 166b(a). (2) Within 14 business days, the commissioner or designee will send the parents a written acknowledgement either determining that the enrollment notice is complete or requesting information that is missing. The commissioner may order that a hearing be held, the child may not be homeschooled until after the hearing. See V.S.A. 16, § 166b(b). (3) Parents must notify the commissioner within seven days of ceasing to homeschool a child, after which time the commissioner shall notify the local superintendent. See V.S.A. 16, § 166b(c).|
|Days or hours:||None.|
|Subjects:||Parents may follow their own program and methods and adapt each area of study to the age and ability of each child, but must provide a “minimum course of study” in: Basic communication skills, including reading, writing, and the use of numbers; Citizenship, history, and government in Vermont and the United States; Physical education and comprehensive health education including the effects of tobacco, alcoholic drinks, and drugs on the human system and on society; English, American and other literature; The natural sciences; and The fine arts. See 16 V.S.A. § 166b(j) and § 906.|
|Assessment:||Annual assessment in each area of study is required. Parents have three options: (1) a portfolio review by a state certified teacher; (2) a report prepared by the parents and accompanied by a portfolio of the student’s work; or (3) a standardized achievement test “approved by the commissioner” and “administered in a manner approved by the testing company.” See V.S.A. 16, § 166b(d). The child’s assessment must be submitted to the commissioner with the enrollment notice for the following school year.|
|Intervention:||(1) The commissioner may call a hearing before enrollment if he or she “has information that creates a significant doubt about whether a home study program can or will provide a minimum course of study.” “At the hearing the home study program shall establish that it has complied with this section and will provide the student with a minimum course of study.” See V.S.A. 16, § 166b(e).(2) The commissioner may call a hearing after enrollment if he or she “has information that could be expected to justify an order of termination under this section.” “At the hearing the commissioner shall establish one or more of the following:(1) the home study program has substantially failed to comply with the requirements of this section; (2) the home study program has substantially failed to provide a student with the minimum course of study; (3) the home study program will not provide a student with the minimum course of study.” See V.S.A. 16, § 166b(f). (3) Notice and procedure for the hearing are outlined in V.S.A. 16, § 166b(g, h).|
|Other:||(1) “After the filing of the enrollment notice or at a hearing, if the home study program is unable to comply with any specific requirements due to deep religious conviction shared by an organized group, the commissioner may waive such requirements if he or she determines that the educational purposes of this section are being or will be substantially met.” See V.S.A. 16, § 166b(j). (2) A homeschool “which has successfully completed the last two consecutive school years of home study with any enrolled child . . . shall not thereafter be required to submit an annual detailed outline or narrative describing the content of the minimum course of study.” However, this does not apply to any child who is 12 years or older when the enrollment notice is submitted and regardless of a child’s age the remaining requirements, including submitting a description of adaptions to accommodate a disability, remain in effect. See V.S.A. 16, § 166b(k, l).|
Services Available to Homeschooled Students
Definitions: V.S.A. 16, § 11(a)(21)
Homeschool statute: V.S.A. 16, § 166b
Compulsory Attendance: V.S.A. 16, § 1121
Course of study: 16 V.S.A. § 906
This overview is for informational purposes only and does not constitute the giving of legal advice.