Keeping in mind Homeschooling State Regulations

Homeschooling is indeed legal all throughout America and even in other parts of the world. This is good for parents who prefer to be hands-on when it comes to the education of their children. Still, parents do not have free rein all throughout because there are state regulations surrounding homeschooling – and these can differ from one state to another. Thus, if you are considering homeschooling your child, it would be wise to educate yourself about these state regulations.

Homeschooling has long been treated as a legal alternative in all states in America. At present, 2/3 of this population of states has implemented specific laws and regulations when it comes to the authorization and regularization of homeschooling.

There are similar laws and regulations to some extent. However, there are certain differences that should be noted because these would have a great impact on how you would go about your particular homeschooling program for your child. Here are some of those regulations that you need to keep in mind.

No Notice

For this state regulation, this would indicate that the state does not require you, as parents, to contact the state for regular reports and updates of your child’s homeschooling progress. This means that the state is somewhat lenient when it comes to monitoring the progress of homeschooled children. Each of these No Notice states still has its own set of specific regulations though. Texas, in particular and being a No Notice state, requires the homeschooling family to treat their homeschool as a private school. Your homeschool operations then would be carried out quite like the way a private school’s operations would be carried out. More importantly, homeschooling in Texas would require parents to teach the following subjects: math, good citizenship, grammar, spelling, and reading.

Low Regulation

Homeschooling parents in low regulation states are required to notify the states of just of the status of their children’s homeschooling education. That is all they need to notify about – the status. Each state will still have its own regulations, depending on the preferences of the states themselves.

To give an overview, California, being one of the low regulation states, actually offers four homeschooling options that are considered legal, namely using a private tutor, qualifying as a private school, enrolling in an independent study program that is offered by a public school, or enrolling in a satellite program that is offered by a private school.

Teacher certification is mandated only if parents opt to do the teaching on their own as private tutors. However, if you decide to hire a private tutor instead, then you do not really need to conform to a specified number of hours or days in attendance. Case in point, the homeschooled child is only required to log 175 days for each school year, with roughly 3 hours’ worth of instruction and school activities for each day.

If you choose to declare your homeschooling program as your very own private school, then you need to send official notice to your state still. Case in point, you need to file yearly affidavits and present these to the Superintendent of Public Instruction. However, if you choose to enroll in an independent study program offered by your local public school, then there is no need to present official notice anymore because your enrolment itself would already be your notice.

Moderate Regulation

In moderate regulation states, homeschooling parents must notify the states of their children’s progress, providing test scores and even professional evaluation. Similarly, moderation regular states will still have specific regulations. To give an overview of these regulations, here are the legal options offered to homeschooling parents in Florida, namely establishing and operating a homeschool and qualifying and operating as a part or subsidiary of a private school corporation.

By definition, a private school corporation is comprised of an incorporated group of homeschooling families based within a particular state. Homeschooling parents are required to fine a notice of intent to the local superintendent. This, however, is not required yearly and there are no attendance requirements for the homeschooled children. All that you need for attendance is a total of 180 school days per year and it is up to you how you spread these days out, as well as the number of hours you dedicate to homeschooling for each day.

No subject requirements or teaching qualifications are mandated; just the maintenance of a portfolio of school records and teaching materials. This portfolio should also be matched with just one of the following options:

- A certified teacher should administer a standardized test

- A certified teacher evaluates the student in terms of progress ”

- A licensed psychologist evaluates the student in terms of IQ and EQ”

- The student is evaluated by the state itself using other means approved beforehand

High Regulation

In high regulation states, homeschooling parents are mandated to send notifications, including achievement test scores, professional evaluation, teacher qualification, state approved curriculum, and the like. As needed, home visits might be conducted to assess the academic environment at home for evaluation. There are still specific regulations per state but in New York, which is one of the prominent high regulation states, only one legal homeschooling option is offered. This is the establishment and the operation of a home school.

As parents, you then need to file annual notices of your intentions with your local school superintendent. Apart from that, you also need to submit your IHIP or Individualized Home Instruction Plan. As for attendance, a log of 180 school days must be established; or, this figure could be spread out over 900 school hours for grade 1 through grade 6. But for grades 7 and onwards, a total of 990 school hours is required.

Homeschooling parents do not really need to provide teacher certification here. However, attendance records should be maintained and annual assessment tests and quarterly reports should be filed with the local superintendent. More importantly, the student must reach a percentile rank of at least 33, to maintain the operations of the homeschool program. Otherwise, the program itself may be placed under probation.