If you’re reading this article, you’ve likely made a recent decision to homeschool your child. First off, congratulations! You’re beginning an incredibly exciting and rewarding journey that we know you’re going to enjoy with your child. Now, you might be wondering where to start. You’ve probably Googled anything and everything about homeschooling since it’s such an important decision, but in most cases, the first step to take (depending on the state in which you reside) is to write a letter to your local school district informing them of your intent to homeschool your child.
Sounds easy enough, right? The only problem is…it’s not. Because practically every state has its own specific set of homeschool laws and rules, and hardly any two are the same. That’s why something that sounds as simple as stating your intention to homeschool your child, which probably should be easy enough to accomplish in a form letter, is not that easy. So, at this point you’re likely asking yourself, what’s included in this letter? When do I send it? Where do I send it? Don’t worry–we’ve got you covered. Read on to learn about writing a letter of intent to homeschool your child in your state.
Check your state’s homeschool laws. We can’t stress this enough. As we mentioned, every state treats homeschooling differently. Some are very loose in their guidelines, others are quite strict. Conveniently enough, our website offers information specific to each state, so you can easily see what’s required to homeschool in your state. Below are the states that do require notification from a family before beginning homeschooling. To make matters more confusing, many of them use different names for the letter of intent–affidavit, notification, notice of intent, etc. You can click on each state name for more information about homeschooling there. And if your state is not listed below–lucky you! That means no letter of intent is required to homeschool in your area.
You can also use the Home School Legal Defense Association (HSLDA) website to find helpful information concerning homeschool laws and much more, which is where we frequently turn to regarding homeschooling legal matters such as these.
Alaska: You must file an annual private school enrollment reporting form with the local superintendent by the first day of public school, using the Enrollment Reporting Form for School Districts provided by the Department of Education on its website.
Arizona: The affidavit of intent must include the child’s name, the child’s date of birth, the address of the school the child is currently attending (if any), as well as the names, telephone numbers, and addresses of the persons who currently have custody of the child. You can find these affidavits of intent on your county’s website.
Arkansas: Notification consists of annually filing a written notice of intent, which must be filed by August 15. You can use the form on the Arkansas Department of Education’s website–just click here. The notice must include: name, date of birth, gender, and grade level of the children; name and address of the school each child last attended, if any; mailing address and phone number of the homeschool; statement that the parents agree that they are responsible for the child’s education while the homeschool program is continuing; statement of plans to participate in public school interscholastic activities (optional); statement of plans to seek a GED (optional); name and signature of the person providing the homeschool program. The notice may be submitted electronically, or by email, or by U.S. mail, or in person.
California: File an annual private school affidavit with the California Superintendent of Public Instruction between October 1 and October 15 of each school year. The private school affidavit may be accessed on the California Department of Education’s website.
Colorado: Their homeschool statute requires parents to provide 14 days’ notice before starting a home-based education program and annually thereafter. You may file this notice of intent with any school district in the state, and the notice must include the names, ages, residence, and hours of attendance of the children to be taught. Here is a letter you can use for the state of Colorado–simply customize it for your family and child.
Connecticut: File a notice of intent to homeschool with your local school superintendent within 10 days of starting your homeschool program. You can find the form here.
Delaware: Every year, on or before October 5, your homeschool must submit a statement of pupil enrollment as of the last school day in September. The report must be submitted to the Department of Education on a form prescribed by the department. You can find more information here.
District of Columbia: Parents who wish to homeschool must use an official form provided by the D.C. Office of the State Superintendent of Education. The form should be filed 15 days before you officially begin homeschooling, and every year thereafter by August 15.
Florida: Within 30 days of beginning your homeschool program, you must file a notice of intent to establish a home education program with the county superintendent. This notice must include the full legal names, addresses, and birthdates of your homeschool students. Florida Homeschooling’s website offers a convenient form, which you can find here.
Georgia: Within 30 days after you begin homeschooling, and every year thereafter by September 1, you must submit a “declaration of intent to utilize a home study program” to the Georgia Department of Education. You can access online and printable versions of the declaration of intent on the department’s website. Your declaration must include the names and ages of your students, the location of your home study program, the local school system in which your home study program is located, and the 12-month period that you consider to be your home study program’s school year.
Hawaii: Submit a notice of intent before you begin homeschooling. The notice of intent should be given to the principal of the public school your child would attend if he or she were enrolled in public school. You may submit this notice either on Form 4140 or in a letter that includes the name, address, telephone number, birthdate, and grade level of the child and the parent’s signature. You must also annually send a private school notice of attendance to your local board of education within the first two weeks of the start of the school year.
Iowa: You must file a Form A by September 1 of each year with the following information: name and age of the child, child’s birthdate, number of days of instruction that will be provided (must be at least 148), textbooks used, and an “outline of course of study” (meaning subjects covered, lesson plans, and time spent on the areas of study—there is no mandated minimum).
Louisiana: Under some options, you must provide a written notification of enrollment to the public school your student attended within 10 days of enrollment in the home-based private school. The notice must include your child’s legal name, date of birth, gender, and race. Homeschooling in Louisiana’s website provides forms and sample letters you can use.
Maine: You must send a one-time written notice of intent to your local school superintendent within 10 days of you starting to homeschool your student. Maine’s Department of Education also provides a notice of intent form, which can be found here. This must include name, address, and signature of the parent or guardian; student’s name and age; date that home instruction began (or will begin); statement that you will provide instruction to your student for at least 175 days a year; statement that you will cover the required subject; and statement that you will submit a year-end assessment for your student.
Maryland: File a Notice of Consent form with your local superintendent 15 days before starting a home instruction program. Maryland offers homeschool liaisons for each county, and they can provide you with the forms you need to begin homeschooling. You can find each county’s homeschool liaison here.
Massachusetts: Submit an annual notice of intent to the school district with the proposed curriculum and number of hours of instruction; the competency of the parents; textbooks, workbooks, and other instructional aids to be used; and the method of assessment used. Here is a sample education plan that should cover your bases.
Minnesota: After your child reaches the age of 7, you must submit notification to the superintendent of the district in which your child resides by October 1 of each school year, or within 15 days of withdrawing the child from public school. The first notification you submit should include name, date of birth, and address of each child being taught; annual tests you intend to use (if required); name of each instructor; and evidence of compliance with teacher qualifications (if applicable). You can find that form here. In each subsequent year until your child turns 16, you must provide a letter of intent to continue homeschooling, listing any changes in the required information. Click here to access that letter.
Mississippi: Every year, on or before September 15, you must submit a certificate of enrollment that includes your and your child’s names, address, and telephone number; your child’s date of birth; and a “simple description” of the type of education your child is receiving. Submit the completed certificate of enrollment to the attendance officer after first saving a copy for your records.
Montana: During every “school fiscal year” (July 1–June 30), you must notify the superintendent of schools of the county where your homeschool is located that your child is being homeschooled. You can find a list of county superintendents here.
Nebraska: Both parents must sign and file a notarized Parent or Guardian Form that requires you to state under oath that requirements for state approval and accreditation of your school either “interfere with my decisions in directing my child(ren)’s education” or “violate my sincerely held religious beliefs.” This form must be filed upon beginning homeschooling in Nebraska and by July 15 each year after. The first year that you homeschool, you must send a certified copy of your child’s birth certificate (or other reliable proof of your child’s identity and age accompanied by an affidavit explaining the inability to produce a copy of the birth certificate) to the Nebraska Department of Education. You must also file the Parent Representative Form to affirm your acceptance of certain responsibilities, as well as an annual Information Summary with a calendar for the school year (July 1–June 30) indicating a minimum instruction of 1,080 hours in secondary schools and 1,032 hours in elementary schools; a list of all “instructional monitors” in the homeschool (typically the parents), including their names, ages, and highest levels of education completed; and scope and sequence for each grade level being taught. All forms can be found on the Nebraska DOE’s Exempt School (Homeschool) webpage.
Nevada: File a one-time notice of intent to homeschool with the superintendent of your local school district. You must file the notice before you start your homeschool program, or not later than 10 days after your child has been formally withdrawn from public school or not later than 30 days after establishing state residency.
New Hampshire: Parents are required to file an initial notice with a “participating agency” within five days of commencing a homeschool program or upon moving into a new school district and changing participating agencies. The notice must include the names, addresses, and birth dates of the children being homeschooled.
New Mexico: Notify the state superintendent of your intent to homeschool within 30 days of starting your homeschool and annually by August 1 thereafter. The August 1 notice must identify the school district in which you are homeschooling. You can find enrollment information and forms here.
New York: You must submit a letter of intent to homeschool to the district superintendent by July 1 annually, or within 14 days of establishing your new homeschool program during the school year. For families living in New York City (within Brooklyn, Bronx, Manhattan, Queens, or Staten Island), this notice, and all homeschooling correspondence, should instead be submitted to the New York City Department of Education’s Office of Home Schooling via email to [email protected] (for submission of letters of intent to homeschool only). All other paperwork may be emailed to [email protected].
North Carolina: You must submit a notice of intent to operate a homeschool to the North Carolina Division of Non-Public Education (DNPE). Your notice must contain the name and address of your homeschool and the name of your homeschool’s owner and chief administrator. You may submit your notice of intent to operate a homeschool via the DNPE’s website.
North Dakota: At least 14 days before you start homeschooling, or within 14 days of moving into a North Dakota school district, and once every year thereafter, you must file a statement of intent to homeschool with the superintendent of the public school district where your child lives. If there is no district superintendent, you must file with the county superintendent. Your statement of intent must include name and address of your child; child’s date of birth; child’s grade level; name and address of the parent who will supervise the home education; qualifications of the parent who will supervise the home education; any public school courses in which your child intends to participate; any extracurricular activities in which your child intends to participate and the school district or approved non-public school offering the activities; a copy of your child’s immunization record (you may use the North Dakota Department of Health’s certificate of immunization form if you wish); and proof of your child’s identity (“proof of identity” means a certified copy of a birth certificate, a certified transcript, or similar student records from your child’s previous school).
Ohio: Submit an annual notification form to the school district in order for your child to be excused from compulsory attendance. In order to receive an excuse, parents or guardians must submit annual notification to the resident school district superintendent either no later than the first week of the start of the public school building the child would attend in the school district of residence, within one week of the date on which the child begins to reside in the district, or within one week from the child’s withdrawal from a school. The notification must provide the school year for which notification is made; name and address of the parent, and full name and birthdate of child; name and address of person(s) who will be teaching the child, if other than the parent; assurance that the homeschool will include the required subjects; brief outline of intended curriculum; list of textbooks or other basic teaching materials; and assurance of hours and qualifications.
Oregon: You must send a one-time notice of intent to homeschool to your local ESD in writing within 10 days of starting your homeschool program, or within 10 days of withdrawing your child from public school to be taught at home. The notice must include your name and the names, addresses, and birthdates of the children being homeschooled. It must also include the name of the school your children are presently attending or last attended, or, if your children have not been attending school, the name of the public school district where your children reside. You can find notice of intent information here.
Pennsylvania: A notarized affidavit must be filed with the local superintendent before you start your homeschool program and by August 1 of each year after that. The affidavit must include name of the parent/supervisor, name and age of child, address, and telephone number; assurance that subjects are taught in English; outline of proposed education objectives by subject area; evidence of immunization; evidence of health and medical services required by law; certification that the supervisor, all adults living within the home, and persons having legal custody of the children have not been convicted of certain criminal offenses within the past five years. You can find a sample affidavit here.
Rhode Island: You must submit a notice of intent to the local school committee in the school district where your child resides. The notice (or letter) of intent must include information assuring that you will teach the same number of days as the public school, teach the subjects listed below, and maintain an attendance register. ENRICHri, a helpful Rhode Island homeschool support site, provides samples of all the letters and forms you’ll need to homeschool. You can find them here.
South Dakota: 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 must include your child’s name, birthdate, 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. You must also notify the state or your local school district of a transition.
Tennessee: Before the start of the school year, you must submit a notice of intent to the superintendent of your local school district. Your notice must include the names, number, ages, and grade levels of the children you are homeschooling, the location of your school, the curriculum to be offered (no particular subjects are required), the proposed hours of instruction, and your educational qualifications. A notice of intent form is available on the Tennessee Department of Education’s website.
Utah: You must file a signed and notarized affidavit with your local school board for each of your children when you start homeschooling. The affidavit must contain a statement that your child will be attending a homeschool and that the parents assume sole responsibility for the education of the student, except for the portion of time the child is dual-enrolled in a public school. The Utah State Board of Education provides a sample affidavit here.
Vermont: You must annually send a written enrollment notice to the secretary of education for each child. The notice must include name and age, by year and month, of each child; names, mailing addresses, towns of legal residence, and phone numbers of the parents or guardians; assessment of progress for each child enrolled in homeschooling the previous year; “independent professional evidence on whether the child has a disability” for each child not previously enrolled in a Vermont public school or Vermont home study program; names, addresses, telephone numbers, and signatures of all persons providing ongoing instruction in any required subject other than physical education, health, and fine arts; and signatures of all custodial parents or guardians who are legally authorized to make educational decisions for the students.
Virginia: You need to file a notice of intent to homeschool with your school district superintendent every year by August 15 that you intend to provide home instruction to your child and indicate your home instructor qualification. With the notice, you need to provide a curriculum description (a list of subjects) for each child.
Washington: You must annually file a signed declaration of intent to homeschool by September 15 or within two weeks of the beginning of any public school quarter, trimester, or semester with the local superintendent or with the superintendent of a nonresident district that accepts the homeschool student as a transfer student. The declaration must include the name and age of your child, specify whether a certificated person will be supervising the instruction, and be written in a format prescribed by the superintendent of public instruction.
West Virginia: You may choose to homeschool by submitting a notice that meets certain requirements to the school board or superintendent. To homeschool under this option, you must ensure that the person providing the instruction has the required qualifications; file a notice of intent with the school board or superintendent; assess your student annually; and submit certain assessments.
Wisconsin: Every year on or before October 15, you must file a statement of enrollment (PI-1206 form) with the Department of Public Instruction (DPI). This can be done online via the DPI’s website. Your statement must include how many students in the elementary and high school grades were enrolled in your homeschool as of the third Friday in September. It must also certify that your homeschool’s main purpose is to provide private or religious-based education (and not to circumvent the compulsory school attendance laws); your homeschool is privately controlled; your homeschool will provide at least 875 hours of instruction during the school year; and your homeschool will provide a sequentially progressive curriculum in reading, language arts, mathematics, social studies, science and health.
Yes, filling out paperwork or online forms can be a chore–but when it comes to your child’s education, a few extra minutes is a drop in the bucket. After all, this is your child’s future, and you want what’s best for them. And you made a great decision to educate your student at home–now you just need to make it a reality, and we hope we made the job a little bit easier for you.
To learn more about homeschooling and how Bridgeway Academy can offer the homeschooling flexibility you’re seeking, call us at 1-800-863-1474 to speak with a homeschool expert.