Homeschooling – Legal Requirements

    Published: 06-16-2009
    Views: 14,855
    Homeschool expert Leslie Nathaniel discusses the legal requirements for homeschooling in the USA.

    Celeste Land: Hi! I am Celeste Land with the Organization of Virginia Homeschoolers and I am showing you how to begin homeschooling your child. Right now I am going to take a look at the legal requirements for homeschooling in the USA.

    Yes, it's legal in all 50 States to homeschool your child. Each State has its own laws regarding homeschooling, and the legal requirements very enormously across the country. Some States have moderate or heavy regulation of homeschooling or other States have few or no regulations at all.

    In some States, parents simply withdraw their children from school and begin educating them at home. In other States, parents are required to do such things as report regularly, show proof of progress or keep certain kinds of records like attendance records, lists of subjects being taught, parental qualifications, and so forth.

    Then, there are the Private School States where homeschooling is considered to be a type of private school and parents who educate their children at home comply of the same regulations as private schools. With many States, there are multiple ways to homeschool legally and different laws for each approach. It can be very confusing and bewildering for beginners.

    Here in Virginia, there are many different legal filing options for homeschooling families. Most families are required to report annually to the School Division at the beginning of the School year, and to submit some form of testing or evaluation at the end of the school year.

    Here in Virginia, we also have two other filing options, the approved tutor provision and the religious exemption. You can go to our website at www.


    org for more information on these specific filling options.

    Because each States laws are so different, it's very important to find out the requirements that govern your home State. Legal requirements change often and internet webpages, and school division offices often have inaccurate or out of date information about Homeschooling Laws.

    Your State Homeschool Organization is usually the best resource for the most accurate up-to-date information about the laws in your State. Now, if you don't have a State Homeschool Organization, consult your local Homeschool Support Group for information on your State's Laws.

    Many States and Local School Divisions are now allowing homeschool students to enroll in classes on a part-time basis, participate in school extracurricular activities like clubs or marching band, or even play on interscholastic sports teams if they so choose. However, laws, policies, and regulations on school access vary greatly from State to State and sometimes, even from one community to another.

    For instance, here in Virginia, some school divisions allow homeschool students to take classes part-time at the Local High School while others, do not. Access to special education services and programs varies greatly from State to State as well.

    Contact your State Homeschool Organization or Local Support Group for the latest information on State Laws, and Local Policies on this subject. Some States offer regular and online classes, services, programs or special funding to homeschooling families through the public schools. These opportunities maybe regulated at the state level or by local school divisions. Thus, these programs can offer helpful alternatives to families at low or no cost.

    However, some of these programs may come with streams attached. For instance, some states and school divisions are encouraging parents to enroll their children in public school homeschooling programs, where the child works from home using an online-based public school curriculum.

    These programs are a good option for some families, but they are Public School Programs, not Homeschooling Programs. Families who participate in these programs may not have the same rights or privileges under State Law as homeschooling families, and they may not have the flexibility to tailor these programs to meet the needs of their children and family.

    Before enrolling your homeschool child in any Public School based program, you may wish to research the pros and cons of this program by talking with your State Homeschool Organization or with other families in your community.

    Some homeschool students choose to transfer to public or private school for some or all of the high school years. Each State has different laws and regulations governing the transfer of credit from homeschool to high school. What works in one state may not work so well in another. Some of your homeschool coursework may transfer more easily than others depending on where you live and what curriculum you are using.

    You may need to take some sort of test or evaluation to receive credit for certain courses. Your State Homeschool Organization, Local Support Group, and The Counselor at your local high school may have more information for you.

    Finally, some families have asked us whether homeschool legal insurance is necessary for families who educate their children at home? Most homeschooling families feel no need for any sort of special insurance. Homeschooling is legal across the nation, and families that comply with the laws of their State are extremely unlikely to encounter legal difficulties with the school system during their homeschooling years.

    The most common legal problems for homeschooling families these days involve divorce and custody issues which unfortunately are not covered by many Homeschool Legal Insurance Programs. Before purchasing any homeschool insurance, be sure to investigate thoroughly before committing to a contract, or sending any money. So that's a brief introduction to homeschooling laws and regulations across the USA. Now, Leslie is going to help you to take a look at how to create your homeschooling environment.