If you weren’t already aware, each of America’s 50 states has its own laws and choices regarding homeschooling. While many states’ requirements and options are similar to one another, just about every state has its own opinions, quirks, and nuances within their homeschooling regulations. In this blog series, we’ll give you a quick overview of each state’s homeschooling options and some of their requirements in order to help you set up your homeschool program. But it’s important that you thoroughly read through your state’s homeschool laws before you decide to teach your child at home, because there is quite a bit of information to digest.
The Buckeye State provides two paths for homeschoolers.
- Homeschooling under the state’s homeschool statute. The first step is to file an annual notification with the school district, which should include assurance that the required subjects will be taught, a list of textbooks and other materials, an outline of curriculum, and assurance of qualifications and hours (among other information). Parents or instructors are required to have a high school diploma, GED, or other equivalent; if not, the instructor must be supervised by an individual with a bachelor’s degree. The following subjects must be taught:
- U.S. and Ohio history
- Health and physical education
- Fine arts (including music)
- First aid
- Safety and fire prevention
Each school year requires at least 900 hours of instruction and an annual student assessment. This can be accomplished via any nationally normed standardized achievement test administered by a pre-approved party, by a written narrative indicating your child’s portfolio and work have been reviewed by a qualified individual, or with an alternative form of assessment that has been agreed upon by the local school district’s superintendent.
- Homeschooling as a non-chartered, non-tax-supported school. Also known as an “-08 school” because of its Ohio Administrative Code number 3301-05 08, this allows Ohio residents to establish a school that is not chartered by the state’s Board of Education due to truly held religious beliefs.
The state of Oklahoma keeps things fairly simple and straightforward when it comes to homeschooling. All that’s required is that you teach for 180 days during the school year. There are no reporting or testing requirements, no required subjects, and no record-keeping requirements (although it’s always a good idea to track attendance, grades, and curriculum in the event that they’re required for college enrollment, military enlistment, or other post-graduate endeavors).
To homeschool in Oregon, there are only a few steps you need to take. First is to file a one-time Notice of Intent to your school district. Next, your child must be tested in grades 3, 5, 8, and 10 using tests approved by the state’s Board of Education and administered by a neutral qualified party. Additional testing and actions may be required if test scores are below a certain threshold and/or if scores decline.
Pennsylvania, one of the states with more rigorous requirements, offers four choices for homeschooling your child.
- Homeschooling under the state homeschool statute. To homeschool under this statute, you must have a high school diploma or equivalent. A notarized affidavit must be filed to the school superintendent each year, including information regarding immunization records, an outline of proposed subjects being taught, evidence of health and medical services required by law, and other information.
School must be taught for 180 days/900 hours at the elementary level and 180 days/990 hours at the secondary level. The following subjects are required learning:
K through 6:
- English (reading, writing, spelling)
- Social Studies
- U.S. and Pennsylvania history
- Health and physiology
- Physical education
- Safety education
7 through 12:
- English (language, literature, speech, composition)
- Math (general math, algebra, geometry)
- Social Studies (U.S. and Pennsylvania history, civics, world history)
- Physical education
- Safety education
A portfolio must be maintained and include a log of textbooks used, student work samples, and state Department of Education-approved standardized testing (there are 11 approved tests from which to choose). Then, your child must be evaluated by a qualified evaluator (a licensed psychologist, a state-certified teacher, or a non-public school teacher or administrator).
- Private tutor. Along with submitting a copy of his/her certification with the local school district, a private tutor must meet the following requirements:
Be certified to teach public school in Pennsylvania.
Teach one or more children from a single family.
Provide the majority of instruction.
Receive a fee or other considerations for teaching.
- Enroll in satellite of a religious day school. To qualify as a day school, you need to provide all of the requirements that you would under the homeschool statute, file an affidavit listing required subjects being taught and demonstrating that the school is compliant with the law, and report the names and addresses of any/all students enrolled.
- Enroll in satellite of an accredited day school or boarding school. You may teach your children at home if they are enrolled in an extension or satellite of a qualifying day or boarding school that is accredited by an association approved by the state’s Board of Education.
For the state of Rhode Island, you must submit a Notice of Intent and receive approval from your local school committee. You are required to instruct for 180 days during a school year and teach the following subjects:
- Physical education
- U.S. and Rhode Island history
- Principles of American government
Additionally, an attendance register must be kept and made available to the school committee at the end of the school year.
There are currently three homeschooling options from which to choose if you live in South Carolina.
- Homeschooling under the homeschool statute. The first step is to obtain approval from your school district’s Board of Trustees. Once you have that, create a schedule that involves at least 4.5 hours of school per day (not including lunch or recess) for 180 days. You’ll need to maintain records of the subjects taught, activities participated in, a portfolio of work samples, and a record of your child’s progress assessments. The next step is to submit a semiannual progress report to the school district detailing attendance records and progress assessments for each subject. Finally, your student will be tested annually through the statewide testing program and Basic Skills Assessment Program, administered by a certified school district employee.
- Homeschooling with the South Carolina Association of Independent Home Schools (SCAIHS). You may homeschool by enrolling in SCAIHS and following the rules and policies for homeschooling that SCAIHS requires. Click here for more information.
- Homeschooling with a Homeschool Association. This requires enrolling into a homeschool association that includes at least 50 other families. The following conditions must also be met:
- The instructor must have a high school diploma or a GED.
- Instruction must occur for 180 days per school year.
- The curriculum must include:
- Social studies
- Composition and literature (grades 7 through 12 only)
- Academic records must be kept and include samples of work and activities, plus a semiannual progress assessment with attendance records.
There is only one option if you’d like to homeschool your child in South Dakota. These are the regulations to follow:
- Within thirty (30) days of beginning homeschooling you must file a standard notification form with either the Department of Education (DOE) or your local school district. The form (provided by the DOE) must include your child’s name, birth date, resident district, and open enrolled district (if applicable). It must be signed by the child’s parent, guardian, or other person having control of the child.
- Teach the required subjects, which consist of math and language arts.
- Teach for an equivalent time as the local public schools.
- Keep your homeschool to 22 children or fewer.
- Submit standardized test results to your school district in grades 4, 8, and 11; you may use either the standardized tests that your school district uses, or choose any other nationally standardized test.
- Maintain your child’s records should the state request to see them.