Everything You Need To Know About Homeschooling Laws
Before you start homeschooling, be sure to familiarize yourself with homeschooling laws. Learning the homeschool laws in your particular state is critical in helping you maintain your right to teach your child at home. Also, by meeting your state's particular standards, you'll be ensuring your child's ability to pursue a postsecondary education in the future, should he or she decide to do so. A great resource for homeschooling families is the home school legal defense, which provides information on homeschooling laws and regulations.
Homeschooling laws are the result of truancy laws requiring that children go to school and are meant to delineate homeschooled children from those that are simply not attending school. Typically, a state will require a "notice of intent" to home school your children, to be submitted before the beginning of the academic year. After that, your state will provide you with the necessary paperwork to complete.
Next, familiarize yourself with other facets of your state's laws and enforcement that govern compulsory attendance, private education, and of course, homeschooling. You'll want to see if you'll need to provide things like registration, regular evaluation, or even advance approval to homeschool.
To keep the legalities of homeschooling off your mind so that you can comfortably provide the best home education you can for your child, here are some helpful rules to follow:
- Don't believe everything you read or hear. Homeschooling laws are very complex so play it safe and get whatever you learn about homeschooling laws confirmed and explained in full detail by your state's home school association.
- Join a home school association or home school group in your state that can keep you up to date on current homeschooling laws.
- Find out what the potential pitfalls are for home schooling in your particular state as well as how other homeschoolers handled these pitfalls, so that you can better avoid them rather than fall victim to them later. Again, a home school group or home school support group would be a great place to hear other family’s stories.
At times you may find yourself talking to officials who try to discourage homeschooling. To better handle these situations, be sure you know your rights. For example, in New York you don't need to meet with school officials, however, they may request that you meet with them to discuss home education. Should you refuse to do so, the state cannot remove your right to homeschool your children.
In order for your state to officially designate the appropriate grade level to your child, they require your child to take standard tests. Although the laws are different from state to state, you do have a bit of flexibility when it comes to non-standardized tests. New York, for example, permits non-standardized tests to be taken alternate years between 4th and 8th grades. Homeschool testing is important because it helps you as the teacher determine what information your child has mastered and still needs to learn more about.
Although homeschooling can seem like an overwhelming legal challenge in the beginning, it’s not that difficult. Simply be sure to follow each step of the required procedures, carefully fill out all the necessary paper work, and make sure you do everything well before any deadlines.
A few more helpful tips on dealing with homeschooling legalities:
- Don't let legal worries interfere with you homeschooling activities. If you've started to reformat your entire homeschooling program on account of state laws, you’re most likely overly concerned about the law.
- Let people see that you're a homeschooling family to help increase awareness for homeschoolers everywhere. As you help familiarize people with homeschooling, it will help them to accept and support our growing numbers and even help non-homeschoolers embrace homeschooling as a truly exciting and academically effective, alternative education option.