Q&A Friday: How “homeschool friendly” are the laws where you live?

Written by Jamie Martin, editor of Simple Homeschool and Steady Mom

It amazes me that within one country like the United States, homeschooling laws can vary from extremely lenient or nonexistent to highly regulated and legislated.

And of course in other parts of the world, there are countries where it is illegal to choose this educational lifestyle.

Recently I received this question from a reader:

“I’d love to know where various readers reside in the country and how “homeschooling friendly” their area is. For example, maybe you could ask readers to share which state they live in and what their state requires in terms of reporting and/or how friendly (or hostile) the homeschooling reporting process is for them.

I’m just curious to know what it’s like elsewhere and if my experience is similar to others’. Just something I’ve been curious about, as our family is contemplating a major move.”

So that’s our question for the day:

What country (or state if based in the US) do you live in? What are you required to do when it comes to reporting to authorities? Would you consider moving in order to be in a place that was friendlier to homeschoolers?

About Jamie Martin

Jamie is a mama to three cute kids born on three different continents. She is the co-founder and editor of Simple Homeschool, where she writes about mindful parenting, intentional education, and the joy found in a pile of books. Jamie is also the author of a handful of titles, including her newest release, Give Your Child the World.


  1. I’m in MO, here’s our laws:

    According to Section 167.031 of the Revised Statutes of Missouri, a parent or guardian of a child, between the ages of seven (7) and seventeen (17) years of age, shall cause the child to attend regularly some public, private, parochial, parish, home school or a combination of such schools. Any parent may educate a child at home. The parent does not need a teaching certificate or need to meet any education requirements in order to provide home instruction.

    If a parent decides to home school, he or she must offer 1,000 hours of instruction during the school year, with at least 600 hours in the basics, which will be in reading, language arts, mathematics, social studies, and science. At least 400 of the 600 hours shall occur in the home location.

    A completed credit towards high school graduation is defined as 100 hours or more of instruction in a course. Home school education enforcement and records pursuant to this section, and sections 210.167 and 211.031, RSMo, shall be subject to review only by the local prosecuting attorney.

    A parent who is home schooling a child must maintain the following records:

    A plan book, diary, daily log, or other written record indicating the subjects taught and the activities engaged in with the student;
    A portfolio containing samples of the student’s academic work;
    A record of evaluation of the student’s academic progress; or
    Other written, or credible evidence equivalent to a, b, and c.

    I am happy with our laws and yes, I would move if I needed to in order to homeschool. I’m glad I don’t have to worry about that.
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  2. Michelle says:

    We live in Arizona. All we have to do is file an affidavit of intent to homeschool with the county superintendent of schools. You do it once when you start homeschooling, and that’s it. No testing, no reporting required. I’m so thankful to live in a state like this.

  3. We live in South Carolina and have three different options for homeschool:
    1. Through the school district
    2. Through South Carolina Independent Homeschool Association
    3. Through a homeschool group/association with at least 50 members

    I homeschool under option 3 listed above and have to meet the following requirements:

    1. Hold at least a high school diploma or GED;
    2. An instructional year of at least 180 days;
    3. The curriculum includes the required subjects listed above; and
    4. Educational records maintained by the parent include:
    a. A plan book or other record of subjects taught and activities;
    b. A portfolio of the child’s work; and
    c. A semiannual progress report.

    Under option 3 standardized testing is not required, however, I do give standardized tests to my children beginning at grade 3 to have them used to testing because I feel it is inevitable, and better to have them prepared for the realities of it that will come eventually.

    Yes, our family would strongly consider moving and hopefully be able to move if our homeschool laws changed in South Carolina. I am so thankful that we have the freedom to homeschool! What a blessing.
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  4. I live in Idaho and its a great state for homeschooling! No requirements, no record keeping, no testing! Just let the district know you plan to homeschool. Our state laws (or lack thereof) are one of the reasons I chose to homeschool. I dont see how families can have the freedom of homeschooling when their schooling must look just like public school. Im very thankful to live here!

    • desilou says:

      Idaho also! We appreciate the freedom to educate our children here as well 🙂 We keep good records of our schooling but aren’t obligated to teach to tests as we aren’t obligated to take those tests.

  5. In China homeschooling for their citizens isn’t really an option, but for American citizens living here, that doesn’t effect us. From what I understand we are only required to do what our permanent residency state, which is Illinois requires. Thankfully the laws there are still pretty relaxed. We’ll definitely be keeping good records as our boys move into official school age.
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  6. Like Idaho and Arizona in the comments above we here in Nevada only have to send a notice of intent to homeschool and we are good to go! No required testing, log books, etc. It is SO nice!
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  7. We are in WA. We have to meet one for 4 parent requirements to homeschool. After that for children age 8 and above we file a declaration of intent, do annual testing (standardized or non test assessment), and keep records. Our test scores do not need to be turned in and our records only need to contain our test scores, immunization records, and any records of homeschool activities/materials that the parent decides to keep in the records.
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  8. I am in the UK . We have to provide an education suitable to the child’s age and need in school or otherwise. We fit in the otherwise section of that! If you Home ed from the start then you can stay under the radar but most people are known by the local LEA (local education authority) and once a year you have to provide proof that you are providing a suitable education. We do this by the LEA lady coming over and seeing what we have been up to and she writes the report and then we check it. Others choose to not have visits and send in a report explaining what they have been up to.
    The government are trying to regulate and change things but there is quite a fight going on to keep the huge freedom that we have.

  9. Kirsten @ homeschooldiscoveries.com says:

    We live in Minnesota. A letter or form of intent must be filed with our school district each year for children between the ages of 7-16 (age by Oct. 1st). Students also must take a nationally normed standardized test each year. The test is chosen by the parent (oral tests administered by a tester, such as the Peabody exam, are an option, as are traditional tests like the CAT or ITBS), and the results are for your info only, not submitted to state or district.

    Under the law you are also required to seek further testing or evaluation if your child scores below the 30th percentile on the annual test. But you are “on your honor” to do this since scores are not submitted and you as a parent decide what type of further testing or evaluation is appropriate. I think this requirement is just there to encourage parents to make sure any true learning issues or disabilities are identified and dealt with appropriately.

    While not as lightly regulated as some states, MN’s process is fairly easy and most school districts are friendly to work with. We also have the opportunity to apply to have $80 worth of individual instructional materials per student reimbursed by the school district. Not all families choose to do this and some districts make it easier than others to do this, but it is a nice option to have, even if $80 is just a small portion of what you may spend in a year on homeschooling. The $80 reimbursement can also be applied to the cost of annual testing.

    Good luck in deciding where to move!
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  10. I also live in Arizona which is a super easy state in which to homeschool. Any time our family looks to move, my husband and I head over to the HSLDA’s website to view the state laws. The site breaks down the US into red, yellow, orange and green states based on legislation.
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  11. Here in NJ all we have to do is notify the school district. No testing, nor reporting.

  12. We used to live in Maine – very homeschool friendly.

    You submit a form letter (without any details) to the school board the beginning of each school year stating you intend to homeschool.

    At the end of the school year (before Sept the next year) you mail your evaluation with the next year’s letter of intent.

    For evaluation you can choose testing or portfolio review. We did the portfolio review, done by a homeschooler who was also a certified teacher who kept her certification current. She appreciated and understood our relaxed methods.

    The only thing the evaluation had to show was “progress” in state mandated areas. Well, it was always very easy to make “progress” in those areas.

    I was spoiled in Maine. I now live in Quebec, Canada where things are trickier. Homeschooling is totally legal here and quite unregulated but the local school board has a lot of control and can hassle parents if they choose. We’re choosing to fly under the radar here for as long as possible.

    And would we move to protect our homeschooling freedoms. In a heartbeat. Home education and freedom of education is one our family’s core values and we go to quite the lengths to live those core values.

    We would also consider moving to homeschooling friendlier places but are happy where we are, for now (smile).
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  13. We are Americans living in the UK, so for a while we expect to enjoy the freedoms mentioned in the comment a few above mine. I know we will move to Maryland when our oldest is between six and nine, so I’m looking into the laws for MD. It seems for Maryland there are three options: a portfolio review, church umbrella supervision, and a nonpublic institution umbrella supervision. Just to be sure (and for our own keepsake/memento purposes!) I’ll be keeping portfolio records in the UK as if I were going to be checked by a Maryland reviewer.

  14. I’m in NY. I just completed my letter of intent to homeschool my 7 year old son for next year, my 4th quarter assessment for his 1st grade homeschool work (assessment due each quarter), and my end of year assessment for him. My Individualied Home Instruction Plan for his 2nd grade is due by mid-August. I believe he’s required to take assessment tests once he hits 4th grade and I will need to start reporting for my daughter and younger son once they turn 6. The requirements for what they are required to be learning are listed in a booklet we receive from our district per NY State requirements but we are free to cover them using whatever materials we choose. 180 days and 900 hours of instructional time are required for his age.

  15. Here in North Carolina you file a notice of intent once. A parent must have a high school diploma. You need to keep attendance records and your school must operate for 180 days per year. Annual nationally normed achievement tests are required. Once per year you send in copies of your attendance record and test results. That’s it. I find NC to be fairly homeschool friendly and am happy we live here!
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  16. We live in NC, which I consider a homeschool-friendly state. Parents must submit, at the beginning of the academic year when the child will turn 7 (or before pulling an older child out of school) a notice of intent and a copy of the parent’s high school diploma.
    Parents are required to maintain an immunization record and an attendance record for each child, to test each child annually with a nationally normed standardized test, and to provide instruction during typical school months. A parent must be the provider of instruction for the main subjects, and only two households may combine their homeschools (so co-ops can be only supplemental/enrichment stuff).
    The state’s page is here: http://www.ncdnpe.org/hhh103.aspx for those interested.

  17. We are in Georgia. I am very pleased with the homeschool regulations, although they vary by county. We are going to go statewide next year, but from what I can tell, nothing much will change.
    We test every 3 years, submit attendance logs (mark an X on the days you did school), and submit NO work. What some of the readers listed as “easy” states, I consider very intrusive. I would not be happy submitting work to a bureaucracy. We are busy enough already. This is an interesting comparison! If you are considering GA, read up further, but I have been happy.

    • I live in Georgia and have been homeschooling for 4 years. I am unaware of any county variations.

      Our nearby Florida friends are much more regulated than we are and I’m thankful to live in a friendly state.

    • We live in Georgia too, and I often find it weird that there are requirements for standardized testing every three years and progress reports at the end of the year, but they never have to be submitted to anyone at all 🙂 The state, in effect, only truly requires the attendance log. Glad that they’re not any more intrusive!
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      • Paula @Motherhood Outloud says:

        I also live in GA and consider this to be a pretty easy state in which to homeschool. One thing I found out last year (when my oldest was starting kindergarten) is that children do not legally have to attend school in GA until September after their 6th birthday. This means that you don’t HAVE to report you are homeschooling until 1st grade. The letter of intent has to be submitted by September 1 of each year and now we will only have to submit attendance reports once at the end of the year. I submit mine online through homeschoolcompliance.com and love it.

    • Samantha says:

      In Georgia as well, now we no longer have to submit attendance logs or anything else. All we are required to do is submit a letter of intent to the school boards. We have to keep our own records and do testing at the end of each year, but they dont have to be reported to anyone, they are for our records and for high school/middle school portfolios. We are a very homeschool friendy state, I have heard of different districts hassling homeschool parents some, but not very often at all.

  18. We are Americans living in Nova Scotia, Canada. They are very homeschool friendly here. We simply send in a one page form with our information and a short description of each subject to be covered. In June we send in a recap of what we actually covered and submit our form/curriculum for the next year. You can really add as much or as little detail as you want to your report. No portfolio, no testing, no issues. It is the same process for everyone, Canadian or American.
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  19. When we were in Idaho there were no reporting laws or anything. We now live in Germany (thank you Air Force. And we try to stay somewhat under the radar out of respect. It is illegal to homeschool in Germany, but since we are military we are still able to do it.) and we do not have to report anything to the DoDDs schools. My children are able to take part in the yearly testing and in other activities as well if we want them to.

    We do still keep records in case our next duty station is in a state/country that requires us to show that we are learning something each day and what that is.
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  20. I live in Alabama. They just changed the age where you have to declare your intent to age 6. You have to be under a cover school, but after that, the only thing required is attendance reports. My cover school turns in all the paperwork required by the state. Not too bad! I don’t know if I would move BECAUSE of homeschool regulations, maybe, but I know if a state had more rigorous demands, it would definitely DETER us from moving there.
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  21. Greetings from the Capitol. I live in DC – a homeschooler’s paradise. Not just because of the plethora of free museums and world class libraries, including the Library of Congress, but also because of the homeschooling laws. There is no oversight. We only have to report each year on August 15th our intent to homeschool. We are expected to teach according to the DC standards and keep attendance. That gives me great freedom and I take full advantage of it making sure that my sons education is culturally affirming and stimulating. Great question and thanks for asking!
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  22. I live in Arkansas. We have to turn in a notice of intent to homeschool every year. Grades 3-9 are required to take a standardized test that the state provides. For the last several years it has been Math computation and Reading comprehension only, because that is all they can afford. Plus the parents are the only ones to get the test results besides an overall score that the state can see. Pretty silly in my opinion, but it is more of a check in for the homeschoolers. The law also stated that you have to be a legal guardian of the child you are homeschooling. But it has recently changed to state you can use other people to assist in some classes. For the most part the laws are fairly easy to comply with her in Arkansas. Texas and Oklahoma have fewer laws than we do.

  23. Leah Adamowicz says:

    Lucky here in Texas. I did file a letter of intent with the elementary school my daughter attended for a few months, but they didn’t even care that I did that. No testing, No reporting.

    • Sounds like Oklahoma! I’m friends with the local elementary principal, and when I asked what I needed to do since I was homeschooling, he replied, “You don’t even have to tell me what you are doing.”
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    • Kathleen K says:

      LOVE homeschooling in TX! Ages 6-18 (or until graduated, whichever first), study: math, reading, spelling, grammar, good citizenship. No minimum days attendance, record keeping, testing, portfolios, reporting, or letter of intent. True freedom. We moved here from Indiana which has similar requirements. And yes, we’d move to freely homeschool. In considering a move for work reasons, there were states we eliminated because of the lack of homeschooling freedom.

  24. We’re Canadian (in Ontario) and it’s very easy here. There are basically no rules…no testing, no record keeping..we don’t even HAVE to send in a letter of intent unless either you want to, or if someone starts to cause problems thinking your kids are being truant.
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  25. We aren’t at school age yet but Wisconsin has a compulsory age of 6-18, 875 hours/year and several required subjects (Reading, language arts, math, social studies, science and health. Wis. Stat. Ann. § 118.165(d).)

    You have to send a letter on intent by Oct 15 each year.

    No standardized tests or teacher requirements, which I like (I am a credentialed teacher/ former public school teacher though)
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  26. I live in Texas which is a very friendly homeschooling state. We are considered private schools here in Texas. Homeschools do not have to initiate contact with a school district, submit to home visits, have curriculum approved or have any specific teacher certification. Homeschools need only have a written curriculum, conduct it in a bona fide manner and teach math, reading, spelling, grammar, and good citizenship. There is also no required standardized testing. I think I covered most everything. If anyone else out there is from Texas and I missed something, feel free to jump in! I feel very fortunate to live in a state where we are pretty much free to do what’s best for our kids and family. As far as moving, I don’t know…maybe. More stringent restrictions light keep me from moving to a state, however.

  27. It’s easy here in Indiana. You just have to keep track of 180 days of instructions, but no reporting is required unless you are asked by the local or state superintendent to see your attendance record. (Apparently this almost never happens.) No teacher requirements for parents, no testing required.

  28. We live in Utah and it is a very pro-homeschooling state. You file a waiver each August that requires children’s name, age, and grade level. That’s it. Our local school district offers testing, curriculum and sports if you want. You can take college classes at the high school via technology for a one time $30 fee and receive college credits through any Utah state university. I love it. 3 kids homeschooled to college, 2 kids still homeschooled at home.

  29. We homeschool in Oklahoma, and as I stated above, we are not required to submit anything. It is very easy to homeschool here. I do keep good records, however, in case we move or the laws change.
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  30. We’re in California and have the option to file a private school affidavit. No dealing with the district at all. Filing out a form online takes five minutes. We started doing this at age 6 and we never looked back.

  31. I live and homeschool in Arkansas. It is pretty easy here. We file an intent to homeschool by August 15 for the school year and then students in grades 3-9 take a standardized test each year. The intent form has a place to list what curriculum you will be using, but that’s basically it.
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  32. Brianne says:

    We live in Saskatchewan, Canada and we have to submit notification forms and an education plan at the beginning of the year. We are required to keep a periodic log and write up a yearly summary for each child. At the end of the year we have the choice of testing or submitting a portfolio for each child with samples, the log, and the summary. The school division may request meetings at the beginning and end of the year but they can’t enter our home or request to meet our children. This year our home education contact at our local school division tried bullying us by refusing to register our plan unless we agreed to include information in our plan not required by the laws, so we are currently (with help from hslda) continuing as though registered (just sent in our portfolios) and waiting for a response from the school division.
    If we could afford to move somewhere more homeschooling friendly we would!

    • Are there not other boards you could register with instead of the one that is causing you trouble?

      • No, we can’t register with just any board in the province, we have to register with the board for the division within which we reside. We would have to move to a town or city within a different division to register with a different board.

  33. Hi Jamie,
    I just got your email/saw this post. Thanks so much for sharing my question; it’s been SO helpful and enlightening to read the responses! (Thanks to everyone who has taken the time to share their info!) Have a great weekend, everyone!

  34. I live in Pennsylvania. Here, we have to have a high school diploma to homeschool, and submit a letter of intent by August. We need to homeschool 180 days (or there’s hours in high school – we’re still elementary aged), submit a portfolio that represents the child’s work throughout the year, get a national test the years the No Child Left Behind tests are, and have the child be evaluated by a professional at the end of the year. A bit of work – we’ll see what the school district has to say when I submit the portfolio (this is our first year).

    • Rhonda S says:

      PA here too. We find it quite burdensome to home educate in this state. The law is written rather ambiguously in several places. In addition to having our children interviewed as well as their portfolio reviewed by an evaluator, we must then take that portfolio of work samples to the local school district superintendent for his or her approval. They are both looking to make sure an “appropriate education has taken place”, but there is no definition for what is “appropriate”.

      While I am sure unschooling could be done in PA, it would be incredibly hard. There are just too many hoops to jump through and too many interesting interpretations of the law by interfering school districts.

  35. I live in Utah which seems to be very pro homeschooling. Once your child is ready for first grade you have to file an affidavit with your school district stating you are homeschooling, including child’s name bithsaye and grade level. They do not do any testing and are not allowed to inspect your home or your curriculum.
    If your child wants to take part in arts or sports they can do that thru their local school you just have to speak with the pricipal and register them at said school

  36. Jennifer C. says:

    We’re in VA and have three options
    1 – religious exemption – letter of intent with references (our pastors can do this) and nothing else
    2 – non-religious – send a letter every year showing what you’re teaching (and this year you don’t have to send the names of the curricula, just the subjects) and then test yearly by a certain age (we’re not there yet – maybe 3rd grade)
    3 – certified teacher – if you are certified you have basically the same freedom as religious exemption.

  37. My family home schools (and I blog from) the over regulated state of PA. (Long considered one of the worst states in which to homeschool in the USA) The red tape can be daunting, but it is NOT impossible. Just don’t let the school districts intimidate you (and they DO try!). I consider an HSLDA membership part of our basic homeschooling expenses. As a PA homeschooler, you will likely need them at some point.
    The big problem arises after our portfolios are evaluated by a certified teacher (who conducts a student interview, and ensures that everything legally required to be in the portfolio is there) THEN go on to the school district (who are generally not thrilled that you are homeschooling in the first place). I have known districts to try to add their OWN requirements on to state law…they will reject portfolios for things like stickers on the outside of the 3 ring binder… Or their own internal record keeping issues (we don’t have that student in that grade level…when homeschooled students aren’t required to DECLARE a grade in the first place…and even then it is clearly written into the law that it is at the discretion of the home ed supervisor, not the district!) I have even had them fuss over my choice of attendance forms and PRIVATELY FUNDED CHRISTIAN CURRICULUM, crossing the church/state line!
    Currently HB2317 has just come out of the education committee. It would remove the school district from portfolio review, AND give parent generated homeschool program diplomas the same weight as school district issue. Prayer for the passage of this bill would GREATLY be appreciated! PA homeschoolers are tired of being at the mercy of school districts looking to increase their enrollment (and federal funding) by using portfolio review to force homeschoolers to enroll….
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  38. I live in Illinois. There are really no requirements.

    Homeschools are considered private schools. Children are required to attend school between the ages of 7 to 17. Children must receive instructions in English in the same branches of education that children of corresponding age and grade receive in public school. The branches of education are: language arts, math, social science, biological/physical science, fine arts, and phys.ed/health.

    There are no registering or reporting requirements. As long as you are covering those topics, and teach in english you are following the law. I suppose they could force you to prove that if someone reports you as truant. Homeschooling is extremely popular in my area and I have never heard of that happening.

  39. I live in Michigan, which is very friendly to homeschooling. No reporting. I think the best website to find out what different states require is the HSLDA website (Home School Legal Defense Association, I think). hslda.org.

    • I’m in Michigan also, and very happy that we do not have to jump through a lot of hoops to educate our children at home.

      No reporting or testing, but I do keep a notebook of what we have learned.

  40. I think the laws here in OHIO are pretty resonable. I registered with the School Board as a homeschooler (sent in a letter of intent). Every July they send me a letter and a form that I have to return if we are choosing to Homeschool againg the next year along with either a copy of standardized test scores or the State portfolio form that has been signed by a certified teacher. I have a homeschool friend who was a teacher but keeps her liscense current so she can do portfolios over the summer!! Our school district has over 75 families choosing to homeschool and I have heard that they are a little overwhelmed. We are supposed to submit a “Scope and Sequence” but I just write “Various Curriculum” and have never had any issues.

  41. Michelle in Christchurch, New Zealand says:

    I’m in Christchurch, New Zealand. In NZ homeschooling is legal – we apply to the Ministry of Education for an Exemption from Regular School once to cover the years of compulsory schooling (6-16 years). In this application we set out a plan (which we are not held to) to show we understand the requirements of a full education. The legal terms are that children need to be “taught as regularly and as well” as they would in public school – there are no curriculum requirements.

  42. Hi from Tennessee. We currently are enrolled in an umbrella program in order to homeschool more freely, but registering with the state isn’t too bad.

    We need to either register with the state or a religiously affiliated umbrella program.

    To register with the state you must submit a notice of intent to the local superintendent. Maintain attendance records. And 180 days at 4 hours of instruction per day must be given.

    proof of vaccination must be provided or a statement as to a conflict with the parent’s or guardian’s religious tenets and practices.

    Standardized test are required for grades 5, 7, and 9. Consultation with a state certified teacher is required for any student that falls 6 to 9 months behind his appropriate grade level.

    Would we move in order to continue homeschooling? Yes.
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  43. We homeschool in Kentucky, and our laws are good for homeschooling. Homeschools are considered private schools in Kentucky and fall under similar regulations.

    After our kids turn 6, we send a letter to the school board notifying of our intent to homeschool. We list all our children’s names, ages, and address.

    The letter, in effect, “registers” us as a private school. We have to send a new letter at the beginning of every school year. Then, we are left alone.

    Technically, the only thing the school board could ask to see is grades and attendance, but they have to give notice ahead of time. In the seven years I have been homeschooling, not once has anyone from the school board ever contacted me. I am very happy that my children do not have to participate in standardized testing or submit any work. We homeschool specifically because we want to teach different subjects than what is normally taught in the public school (and for other reasons, too!).

  44. In Oklahoma, our state constitution requires parents to send their children to public schools or provide “other means of education”. It does not mention homeschooling, which is good since they may try to define and regulate that term. Basically, as long as we are providing those “other means”, we are within the law. There are no curriculum requirements or regulations on what those means have to look like.

    I don’t let that lead me in to complacency, however. We jot everything we do down in a notebook including reading lists, purchases, field trips, lessons, activities, etc. If anyone were to question if we are providing these “other means”, we could easily verify it. Luckily, we live in an area with a large homeshool community and support network, so it’s rare for anyone to bat an eye when kids say they are homeschooled. It’s no big deal in our community.

    Yes, we are spoiled and I’m so grateful!

  45. As far as I can tell, I’m the first to post about Colorado. I thought we were pretty homeschool friendly, but it sounds like we have more regulations than many of you. We are required to file each year with the school district that we plan to homeschool with each child’s name and age. We have to do 172 days with an average of 4 hours a day (basically 688 hours) and keep immunization, attendance, and a record of what we are learning, though there are no specific requirements on what that actually looks like. There is a list of things we are required to teach, but they are pretty vague (math, science, civics, etc) and again it’s up to the parent to decide what that means. Oh, and you do have to be the parent or adult relative of the child. We do have a lot of support here, at least in our school district. There are many homeschool groups, both through the district and not and we can choose to join the local schools for extracurriculars if desired. There are groups organized through the school district that will even pay for your curriculum!

    • we’re in colorado as well and, as my son is only a toddler, i’ve really only begun to start thinking about schooling, but we’re leaning toward homeschooling at this point. it’s interesting to know that they require a record of immunizations….i didn’t realize that was necessary. otherwise, though, it does sound like it’s not too bad. thanks for posting about colorado! 🙂

  46. Anyone in Massachusetts? Anyone? Please let us know what I’m getting into 😉 We’re starting in about 2 years officially.
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  47. We had to give our local school district in Portugal a letter from our employer in America stating we were schooling our children according to American standards and with accountability to our employer (which does have an education consultant for overseas workers). This was done to free them from requiring our children to take national exams in Portuguese in the 4th grade and again in high school. Our home state is Texas so we follow their simple guidelines also.
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  48. I’m in Western Australia. We have to inform the education department of our choice by the time our child reaches compulsory education age (6 1/2). Then we have a moderator visit us (can be in our house or another location we choose nearby) to kick things off, then again at 6 weeks after that, and then annually from then on. We need to show we’re covering the key learning areas and that our child is “making progress.” A lot depends on what type of personality your moderator has, so I’m hoping for a friendly one when we begin this process next year.

    More information here: http://www.aussieeducator.org.au/education/specificareas/homeschooling.html
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  49. Susan E says:

    I live in the lovely liberal homeschooling state of NJ. I saw that someone previously stated that one needs to file a letter of intent with the school district but no one I know has ever notified the school district (that’s not to say that the law is not on the books). Since we unschool we would definitely consider moving should things change.

  50. I live in Texas. Homeschools are considered private schools. We are supposed to teach reading, math, language arts and good citizenship. We don’t have to report anything.

    I do keep records for our personal use as they may be needed if we ever move or want to enroll our kids in another school. We school year round, but I loosely follow the 180 days of school idea.
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  51. Carol F says:

    We live in New Mexico. Homeschooling here is very easy. We must send a Notice of Establishment of a Homeschool when we start, at least one teacher must have obtained at least a GED or high school diploma, we have to keep immunization records, and we have to teach 180 days. We must submit another NOE before April 1st every year that we continue to homeschool. There are no regulations or tests, and no oversight. It is recommended we keep a file with pertinent information in it, but I don’t know why it would ever actually be needed.

  52. We live in Alabama and they are really lenient, no reporting as long as registered in church homeschool. We are from Michigan and its basically the same there to. I keep records though for transcripts and future purposes. You can find the laws for Alabama through my sons site.
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  53. Here in Massachusetts I feel it’s moderately easy. We must submit a letter of intent each year, and agree to some kind of evaluation (can be standardized test of your choice, a portfolio of work, or a progress report). That is pretty much it in a nutshell. No required meetings with the school district, no immunization or attendance records.

  54. I scrolled through and didn’t see anyone else from Maryland. Here in Maryland it’s fairly simple to homeschool. This is our first year, and I had to contact the county school board letting them know of my intent to homeschool and fill out their application. Then I have to go in twice per school year to have a review of what I’ve been teaching. They give their feedback on how they think you’re doing and where you can improve, which I’ve heard is fairly subjective depending on who you get as your reviewer. They don’t really have the power to enforce anything, but they can give you a bit of a hard time if they choose. That’s about it. No testing is forced or required, though you can opt in for testing if you want.
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  55. We live in Michigan and have no reporting or notification required. Period.

  56. Desiree Casperson says:

    We live in Idaho and our homeschool laws are very relaxed here. Children are required to be taught between the ages of 7 and 16, so they can start later and be done earlier, which is really nice. No notification is required, though we notified the school district when we took our kids out; the ones who started in public school. Attendance, standardized tests, hours per day, and record-keeping are all not required, but we generally keep records in case of a problem. The only real ‘requirement’ is that the kids be taught in the same subjects as the public schools.

    Dual enrollment is an option here, though sometimes the practice of it is difficult. I think that varies depending on the school district. The kids do have to take the required standardized tests if they are going to dual enroll for any subject or music or sport.

    We have not run into any problems personally with our choice to homeschool. We have done a little off and on with it, but there are other people just in our neighborhood area who also homeschool, so the support is there. Idaho in general is quite a relaxed state for the most part, and life is generally low-key here. In fact, I know a homeschool mom who moved here with her family because of the freedom we have here for homeschooling. I would definitely recommend it to anyone who is having troubles in other states, if it is possible for your family!

    – Desiree Casperson

  57. Another Marylander here: form to fill out stating intent to homeschool, then semi-annual “interviews” to verify that the student is performing about on average with his/her peers. My only complaint is that our county doesn’t allow homeschoolers to participate in extra-curriculars (I believe that other counties _do_ allow this, so it’s not a state thing). Hubs and I were big into marching band in high school and college and would like to share that experience with our kids if we could….but our oldest is just going to start kindergarten this year, so I guess we have a “little” time to change the system!

    All in all, it doesn’t scare me as much as it maybe should.
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  58. PA, and I dislike it. Strongly. Yes, it is workable, but it is ridiculous. Even a person who is pro-oversight has to realize the step of taking the port to the evaluator, getting a letter from the evaluator, and then having to submit both a port and an evaluator letter to the district is pretty ridiculous. I moved to an “easy” district, and then there was a personnel change. Now they are trying to dictate the size and formatting of the portfolio (none of which is in the law), trying to obligate HSers to use their district-generated evaluator letter that asks for things beyond what is in the scope of the law, etc.

  59. We are in New Jersey and the laws are very relaxed here. No need to report anything. As far as I am aware we do not even have to send a letter of intent to homeschool unless withdrawing from a public school. We also do not have to take any state exams or other assessments. If someone were to accuse you of educational neglect, then it is up to you to prove that you are educating your children to the same level as a public school. Keeping a portfolio of subjects covered, field trips taken, and samples of work completed though would make that pretty easy to prove. If we were to move I would definitely choose an area based on homeschooling laws.

  60. West Virginia is fairly simple. A simple intent to homeschool letter (with outline of what you will do for the year), fill out their application, then at the end of the year either portfolio or testing.

  61. Wisconsin is quite reasonable, in my opinion. We file a simple, one-page annual notification form online. It contains parent names and address but we are not required to identify children by name, or in another way. We don’t even need to put grade level; instead, we can simply tally “1-8 Ungraded” or “9-12 Ungraded.” The law requires us to teach 875 hours a year in what pretty much everyone would consider core subjects (reading, math, language arts, science, social studies, and health), but it doesn’t dictate how, when, or where that be accomplished. We needed test or keep other records, and we have no requirement to meet with any bureaucrats about our curriculum or anything else.

    I WOULD DEFINITELY move if I lived in a high-reg state and have told my husband I will never move to such a state (such as PA, NY, and ND). I am radical about my parental rights, and will not give any of that over to the government.
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  62. I live in Kansas. Home-based schools fall under non-accredited private schools, I we have to fill out a form (one time) to register our school with the state. The public schools are not required to allow homeschoolers to participate in extra-curriculars.
    I have found, however, that in my area of the state there is a firmly established culture of fear among homeschoolers. I tried to start a homeschool group, only to be reprimanded by one of the local moms for calling it the “Blank County Homeschool Assocation.” The theory is, if you put “homeschool” in the name, SRS is going to find out who the homeschoolers are and harass them. I found out there WAS actually already a homeschool group, but it was called “Blank Christian Fellowship” so it wasn’t apparent it was for homeschoolers. The group has a Facebook page that is completely private- it doesn’t even come up in a search unless you’re already a member of the group. I run a used bookstore and hosted a homeschool history workshop at the store, which I publicized as much as I could. I recieved a phone call from a mom who was interested in attending with her children, but expressed concern that the local police might show up and give us a hard time!

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