One of the main things you’ll need to work out when you’re learning how to start homeschooling is what homeschool requirements and laws apply to you. In some ways, they will impact your homeschool efforts. There may be requirements about how to withdraw from public school, what records you may need to keep, any testing you have to do, mandatory subjects, etc.
6 Things You Need to Know About Homeschool Requirements and Laws
If you’re just getting started homeschooling, know your homeschool laws. Even if you a veteran, be sure you know them well so you can accurately advise the new families who look to you for guidance.
Here’s what you need to know about homeschool laws:
1 – Every state has different homeschool requirements.
Homeschool laws can vary significantly from state to state. What applies to your friend in California may not necessarily apply to you if you’re in Oregon. It is essential that you are familiar with the laws in YOUR state.
2 – Following homeschool laws is important.
In many states, ignoring the homeschool requirements specified by your state laws can make you truant, the consequences of which also vary by state. Although there are some differences of opinion on this point, and this article is obviously not legal advice, I believe that we should follow any reasonable homeschool laws for two reasons:
A) The biblical principle of obeying governing authorities.
B) Not complying with state homeschool laws can lead to increased regulation and requirements, becoming even more burdensome to the homeschool community.
3 – There is a lot of misinformation out there.
When you’re searching online to figure out what the homeschooling requirements are in your state, you’re likely to run into a lot of wrong information. Curriculum companies, blogs, and other sites will publish information about homeschool laws and may get it wrong or become outdated. It’s even more of a problem on social media.
4 – Find reliable sources of information and stick to them.
With all the misinformation out there, there are definitely some good places to go to look for homeschool requirements. Here are the two places I recommend :
A) HSLDA – Among other helpful services to homeschoolers, the Home School Legal Defense Association keeps an up-to-date summary of homeschool laws in every state. You can find yours here. If you see someone online asking questions about requirements that are likely state-specific, be sure to point them to this resource.
B) Your state homeschool organization – Not every state has a state homeschool organization, but those who do provide invaluable service to the homeschoolers in their state. Many of them not only keep detailed information about state homeschool laws, but often work to monitor the legislature to go to bat for homeschool freedom when bad bills are introduced.
Some organizations also host annual state homeschool conferences, online resources and tools, regional events, and more. Click here for a list of several Christian state homeschool organizations. If you don’t find one there, search for “<your state> homeschool organization” online.
5 – Protect your homeschool freedom.
It is legal to homeschool in every state in the U.S. Although some states have heavy homeschool requirements and others have few, we can never take those freedoms for granted. HSLDA and state organizations work hard to make sure that we continue to be able to homeschool with as little government interference as possible… and the attempts to limit those freedoms happen every year.
Even if you are in a low-regulation state, consider getting involved with your state organizations and getting to know your legislators. Although I am happy to see so many people considering homeschooling during this challenging time in our nation, that influx and the variety of ways groups are handling may very well lead to a surge in proposed homeschool regulations. We need to be alert!
6 – Enjoy the flexibility of homeschooling!
Although it’s important to follow the homeschool requirements in your state, don’t let that keep you from enjoying the freedom and flexibility of homeschooling! You don’t have to replicate public school at home, sign up for government-funded online schooling options, or even do what some other homeschool mom is doing. Stretch your legs and design your homeschool around your family’s needs and unique personality.
Have a great homeschool year and enjoy the journey! ~ Tauna