Homeschool education became legal in the United States during the early ‘90s. Before that, Michigan, North Dakota, and Iowa viewed homeschooling as a crime. Ironically, those three states now have the least restrictive homeschool laws today! Although homeschool is legal in all 50 U.S. states, every state has specific homeschooling laws and guidelines. Some have higher regulations and standards while other states’ guidelines are less strict. Nonetheless, parents planning to homeschool children must review their state’s homeschooling laws to ensure their child has a smooth transition when moving from a traditional learning environment to full-time homeschool education.
According to the Homeschool Legal Defense Association, homeschool learning was illegal in most states during the early ‘80s until the ratification by the 50 states in 1993. Only about 10,000 students were homeschooled in the ‘80s compared to the 2 million students who are homeschooled today.
Parents, who usually take on the role of the teacher, have the right to choose how they raise and teach their children (i.e., homeschool). States must inform parents that traditional school is not the only way for children to get an education. School districts must inform parents that they have the option to homeschool their children. States must also respect the parents’ decision by not interfering with how parents educate their children at home.
Homeschooling your child is legal in all 50 U.S. states, but each state has unique guidelines and restrictions. Homeschooling is heavily regulated in New York, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Vermont, and Massachusetts, with specific steps are required before transitioning students to a homeschool-learning environment. To enroll in homeschool in most states, the child must be between ages 5 and 7 and can only be homeschooled up to the age of 18.
Many states also require homeschooling families to submit a notice of intent to the public-school district superintendent before the school year starts. This notice varies by state, but typically includes the homeschool student’s name, age, address, and a parent signature. The annual hours of instruction also vary per state. Ohio, for example, requires 900 hours of instructions per year while states like Georgia only require 4.5 hours per day for 180 days. Each homeschool student must meet state requirements, such that the homeschool teacher should teach the same curriculum or meet the same standards as a traditional public or private school. Most states also urge homeschool students to take standardized tests that meet each state’s requirements.
Other countries, like the United Kingdom, grant parents the legal right to homeschool their children. But if a parent does not adhere to the U.K.’s homeschooling guidelines, they may face legal actions including a court appearance. The student must be registered as a homeschool student to move forward with the process.
Whether enrolled in a homeschool, private school, or public school, all students deserve a quality education. Some families are a part of religions that require them to homeschool. Traditional education should never be forced, which is why many families transition to homeschooling.
To learn more about the resources available to your child, try connecting with other homeschool families in the area. By working with other like-minded families, you can organize intramural sports teams, plan exciting field trips, and extend your support network. You can also visit homeschool organizations in your state affiliated with the Home School Legal Defense Association.