Each state has its own general requirements for homeschoooling students. There are four categories of legal options for homeschooling. The four categories are: states requiring no notice, states with low regulation, moderate regulation and high regulation.
Many of the regulations include parental notification, test scores, professional evaluation of student progress and curriculum approval. Families shouldn't be scared off by the general requirements for homeschooling. There may be some initial paperwork to handle but as long as the teaching parent can keep good records there shouldn't be andy fear of the state stepping in and ordering your child back to public school.
The states that have no requirements for homeschooling do not require the parents to initiate any contact. These states include Idaho, Texas, Oklahoma, Missouri, Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Connecticut, New Jersey and the territories of Guam and Puerto Rico. Parents are not obligated to contact the school districts to notify them that they will be homeschooling their children.
States that have low general requirements for homeschooling require the parents to notify the school district that they are homeschooling their children and nothing else. These states include California, Nevada, Montana, Wyoming, Arizona, New Mexico, Nebraska, Kansas, Wisconsin, Kentucky, Mississippi, Alabama, Delaware, Washington D. C. and the territory of the Virgin Islands.
Moderately regulated states require parents to send notification, test scores and provide a professional evaluation of the student's progress. The states in this category include Oregon, Colorado, South Dakota, Iowa, Arkansas, Louisiana, Tennessee, Ohio, Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia, Florida, Maryland and the territories of American Samoa and Northern Mariana Islands.
States with the highest regulations may be the most troublesome to parents contemplating homeschooling. These states general requirements for homeschooling stipulate parents have to send notification or achievement test scores, provide professional evaluations of student progress as well as provide a written curriculum that needs to be approved by the state, teacher qualification of the parents and on some occasions visits by state officials to check the student's progress. These states include Washington, Utah, North Dakota, Minnesota, West Virginia, Pennsylvania, New York, Vermont, Maine, Rhode Island and Massachusetts. These states have few requirements for the Kindergarten level but the regulations become stricter at each subsequent grade level.
A parent is considered competent to operate a homeschool if they follow the individual state's regulations; they do not need to have teacher certification. The parents need to file a notice at their local school that they intend to homeschool in the low to highly regulated states. Those that fall within the medium to highly regulated states will also need to keep attendance records, file quarterly reports and a grade narrative for each of the subjects taught. Highly regulated states may require an annual assessment at the end of the school year.
The general requirements for homeschool vary greatly from state to state. The parents should be well versed in the legal aspects of homeschooling before they decide to attempt it. Most parents will find that the red tape at the beginning is well worth it.
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Dr. J. Elisha Burke
Editor, Homeschool Success Newsletter
Copyright 2005 Burke Publications All Rights Reserved
Dr. J. E. Burke, Editor of Homeschool Success News, a minister and college instructor, has been involved in various educational and business enterprises via Burke Publications for 11 years. Dr. Burke is an educator, writer and motivational speaker on a variety of topics. Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org