This article is intended to provide resources for parents directly from the state and federal government, to provide a few resources to help support learning, and connect parents with local homeschool groups. Click on the state name to be directed to your state’s department of education homeschooling information.
National Level Home School Resources:
- Click here for everything you need to know about Homeschooling from The Homeschool Mom website. This website also features lesson and unit plans, print-ables, and homeschooling techniques. As far as practical material for actually teaching, this is where you want to look.
- HSLDA is a national organization that supports homeschoolers. It can help find you advocates and navigate the laws in your state. It also updates on parents on issues unique to your state. Looks like it worth looking into.
- Coalition for Responsible Home Education. This is a website that advocates for homeschooling education that uses good teaching techniques and follows processes that check students educational growth. The facts here are just straight forward and talk about the good and the bad.
- Here are links to resources I used in my classroom all the time. These could be a fantastic reference you to obtain schooling materials: Common Core Worksheets, (provides math worksheets which are very well made), RAZ Kids an affordable online leveled reading resource, Read Works is a website that helps teachers and parents with reading comprehension, Newsela puts current news into the hands of students, Khan Academy is great support for math (do not use this as your math curriculum, it is meant to be like a tutor), Scholastic Action, Moby Max is a great way to monitor you child’s growth and information learned in all subject areas, Class Dojo is a digital way to track attendance and reward positive behavior, and Ten Marks is an awesome company that can give you lots of math lessons.
State Level Home School Resources/Sign up Documents:
The link posted above also is a site advocating for homeschooling. You can also find news articles related to homeschooling in the state. This is a national level blog but is the best resource for Alabama.
Alaska does not have many regulations on homeschooling at all. I want to direct you to a website that brings up what is missing and why it could be a problem. This of course is not to keep you from home schooling, merely to bring awareness.
Here is a list of laws that protect you and your student while homeschooling. This link is for a website for the Arizona Families for Home Education. Their website is chuck full of great information and resources.
In addition to this form, this is a pdf of everything you need to know from the state. As of 2015, Arkansas does not require students who are homeschooled to take state assessments. However, since home schools are not accredited from the state and do not give high school diplomas to students who are homeschooled. Students can get a diploma but it is awarded from your assigned curriculum coordinator.
California’s department of education website does not make it very easy to visit and see what is required of families in homeschool. There are forms that need to be filled out both by private school choice and homeschoolers. As far as I can tell, these are the same forms. The website California Homeschool Network has much more information. Try out them first. You may try this other national homeschool network.
Colorado has this very user friendly website called School Choice For Kids, and it really breaks down the laws and requirements for homeschooling there. Make sure to check it out! Not to mention their department of education website is also very informative (can you tell I am impressed?). Interesting to note, that parents can opt to take the yearly state test, but that test does not qualify as a nationally standardized test. (As a side note, if the Northwest Education Assessment counts, take that one. It’s a fantastic test and really scores student knowledge and growth.) Colorado also has these resources to help parents.
Connecticut is a little more intensive than other states. The state wants to make sure that the education at home is at least equivalent to public education (which by the way is such a small state it has lots of money per student). They suggest that local school boards have homeschool parents provide a portfolio of work showing learning by the student. However, you’ll need to check in you individual area to know for certain what your area wants. Check here for what the state suggests. Check out this website for a homeschool support network.
Delaware has a ton of links and information on their page. It’s good, but a little hard to navigate. Here is where you need to go for the first time homeschooling family. As far as I am aware, you are only required to log attendance and enrollment to the state. The Homeschool association in Delaware works through Google +, so look them up there. Here is a link to their page.
Students in Florida will be expected to maintain a portfolio and some type of professional evaluation that must be submitted to the district superintendent each year. Families are expected to keep the portfolio for at least two years to show growth. Florida also has availability to take course from a college institution while being home schooled. Here are some support guides.
Georgia is interesting. Once you declare your child as a homeschool student, they make the parent the teacher, principal, and superintendent. The state does still require that students are tested at 3rd grade and then every 3 years after that, however you do not need submit attendance.
Hawaii is basically the same as other state homeschooling laws, however, they require some additional testing. Fortunately, this testing can take place in a public school building. They have a soft website for help, but I would start with national websites for resources.
Idaho is very “loose-y goose-y.” They do not have any sign up procedures, they do not monitor your education, and they do not necessarily award your student a high school graduation diploma. So… I guess they feel like you can do whatever you want there! (this is easy for families, but this policy actually concerns me as an educator) If you want general help check out this website, but more practical help can be found on the national level.
Illinois does not require their families to sign up with their school districts, but parents can choose to let their school districts know. There is also no testing requirements for the state of Illinois. Additionally, as long as there’s room at school, students can attend public school part time. Here are more specific details. Here are some more resources.
Iowa does require students to take a baseline assessment and final assessment to show growth. Here are the acceptable tests for students to take. Here is a website with support groups and outside resources.
Kansas also provides a specific fact sheet with general information about home schooling. Like most states, your high school diploma is not recognized by the state and it’s up to a University if they accept your credits or not. This is a website with specific support and resources for the state of Kansas. A special note for Kansas: If your child has been diagnosed with as having, special needs, special education requirements, or disabilities that would require special education in the public schools, you are responsible for tracking how you are meeting those special needs at home. This topic could honestly be an additional article, but typically I would very cautious about pulling a student with special needs from a traditional brick and mortar school setting (private, public, charter, etc.). Feel free to contact me with more information if you are in this situation.
Kentucky is one of the states that requires kindergarten so keep this mind as you start looking at homeschooling (my opinion is that kindergarten is an essential stepping stone). If you chose to re-enter your child into public schools, the school may not place your child with their same age peers. Their process is to have your student take an entrance exam, and then have to maintain a C average for 12 weeks. After this trial period, the district can move your child to a grade they find more appropriate for your child. As an educator I can see how this makes a lot of sense for the school system, however, this may not be ideal for homeschooling families. This next website is helpful, but also seems to be mostly written by people who are bitter towards the public school system. I would be careful about overly biased information there.
This link is specifically to the information page on homeschooling. It provides forms, deadlines, and requirements. Something very different from other states is that Louisiana allows parents to “check out” a state approved textbook to use at home. You may need to put a deposit down, but you have access to the book. You will have the option to either disclose your yearly curriculum to the state or opt your child into standardized testing. Overall, this state is really organized and has step by step procedures to complete. This website has lots of resources and practical guides for homeschooling.
Maine’s laws are pretty typical for homeschooling students, and does not require anything out of the ordinary. Slightly different from other states, a local newspaper wrote an informative article about the negatives of homeschooling. I think it’s important to be versed in both the good and bad before making a decision. Make sure to read this well written article. Here is a local website with information on homeschooling.
Maryland has a unique requirement that the parent is the personal responsible for the homeschooling. Families are not allowed to have another parent teach their children for a majority of the instruction, or hire a teacher to teach their children. I honestly am not sure why that is a specific statute. Additionally, students are not allowed to join into any extracurricular activity provided by Maryland’s public schools. (I get the impression that they don’t really like homeschooling as an option haha) There are not as may local resources for Maryland, but I did find this basic website. It can help you find other resources.
The state’s website is not easy to navigate or understand what is required of parents. You’ll need to search here to ensure you have the most updated information, but you can use this website and this website to help you.
This only thing different for Michigan is that it requires the parent teaching to have at least a Bachelor’s degree from a university. Additionally, students with special needs have to have tracked educational data on their progress. This is fluffy article about homeschooling.
Students in Minnesota must take a state accredited standardized test every year. Your local homeschooling organization is here. This website will link you to local resources. And here you will find a document written by the state of Minnesota for homeschooling parents.
Mississippi basically allows parents to do whatever they want. No high school diploma. No testing. No yearly check-ins. Here is a local support organization.
Missouri is also fairly easy going, but requires specific time requirements. Instead of a set number of days, they require at least 1,000 hours of instruction, and 600 in the areas of basic reading, writing, and math. Those areas must occur in the home. This is a state that is very supportive of students with disabilities to receive services from the district and continue to be home schooled.
Montana is pretty run of the mill for their home school laws. Nothing too fancy here folks. Here is a local support group for ya’ll up in Montana.
The only thing different here is when you write your state to let them know you are choosing a private setting, you must include a copy of a birth certificate. Here is a lengthy list of rules. Here is a local resource for all you “Nebraskans” out there looking for some support.
Nevada’s department of education website is not easily accessible, but it has all the legal information you need. Try looking up an easier guide here. Nevada has a lot of specific support for the school district you live in. Try here for northern Nevada, and try here for the Las Vegas area.
New Hampshire has an interesting clause that states that if a student is not showing appropriate academic success on their evaluation (either a portfolio or standardized test), then they cannot participate in public school activities (i.e. sports). Something to keep in mind as you are deciding whether homeschooling is right for you. Here are some local resources.
Depending on the school district you currently live, you may be able to borrow text books from the school board. The state just mentions that you “may” be able to do this. The state also advises local districts to allow students at home to apply to vocational schools in the district. This link is for a local support group specifically for christian families. And here is a page for a homeschool Facebook group.
New Mexico is one of the states that requires students to start school at 5, not 7 (or first grade). They also require all children to be immunized whether they attend public, private, homeschool, or a religious school. The state requires verification that students there have been given the appropriate vaccines. New Mexico also requires that only the legal guardian of the child may teach them at homeschool. You cannot teach another person’s child. Here is a local support group that can keep you update with the laws.
New York requires families to create a homeschool plan, provide quarterly progress reports, and take an annual assessment. This is more specific than most other states. Their Questions and Answers page is a little more user friendly and provides more information. New York also only lets students participate in club activities when they are educated outside of public school. Public school sports are not accessible to home schooled students. Here is a local resource for homeschooling in the state of New York.
The initial resource takes you to the North Carolina Administration portal. It allows you to access all of the required documents and provides an attendance template. North Carolina laws allow students to wait until 7 before starting home school (however, I personally recommend against this). You will be required to take state assessments and teach for 9 months annually.
For some reason I could not find any website for the state department of education. However, there are several national links that could help you learn more about North Dakota home schooling. They are: Home School Facts, HSLDA of North Dakota,
Ohio has a lot of school choice laws that allow parents to choose which school is best for their family. Too many laws to write in this little blurb. School Choice Ohio is another outlet that offers options and resources for helping parents find the right fit. Ohio especially has options for students with disabilities through the Autism and John Peterson Scholarships.
Oklahoma requires notice to the public school if you are leaving it, but does require any other information. No tests are required by if you re-enter public schools you will be required to take one. Their state website gives resources to teach all required subjects.
Students are expected to take the state test every 3 years, and register with their assigned public school.
Pennsylvania is short and to the point, but does have everything you need to be successful right on their website. Something interesting about Pennsylvania is that you can register to be a home tutor and teach students other than your own within the home setting. I found this link for resources in Pennslyvania… however, it seems very biased and I would be careful about the information you obtain from this site. For a slightly better option, check out this website, Pennsylvania Homeschoolers.
Some of the school districts throughout Rhode Island offer text book loans, so make sure the check out that resource. Like many other states you expected to keep track of attendance and progress through the year. It is possible to be denied to homeschool in Rhode Island, but there is a process to try to repeal the ruling. Here is your Guild of Home teachers!
South Carolina is a very interesting state. It requires parents to be associated with a group in some way. This can either be through the public school, the homeschooling association of South Carolina, or they can choose a private contact on this list. Students who are not working directly with the school district are not required to take the state assessment. Students are allowed to participate in sports in this state.
One parent can teach multiple students in this state; up to 22 total. Testing is required for grades 4, 8 and 11, and the state will need to see some form of academic progress. Here is a link for some local resources in that state.
Tennesse is another state that still requires vaccination history from students, even if they are staying at home. All students must take the state end of year test in grades 5, 7, and 9. If you student scores one grade levels below their peers for two year in a row, the state may require you to send your student to public or private school for two years. Students with disabilities are waived from this. Here is a local support group to look into.
Wow, for this state the local support website came up first! Don’t worry the state’s education website came up about 6 or 7 down the list… haha. And wow! My research just keeps getting juicier! Texas had a court ruling that has made compulsory attendance illegal for homeschoolers. So no attendance records in this state.
Utah, like a few other states, does not require families to keep a log of attendance or instructional hours delivered by home instruction. The state even encourages school districts to be accommodating to allow students to attend school events and even holiday parties. Parents have the right to allow their student to attend public school part-time. Sounds like Utah is very accommodating for homeschooling families, but also very lax on their requirements to ensure an appropriate education for students in the state. Here is is a local website that can get you started. This is another website that speaks towards actual homeschooling methodology.
Vermont’s website doesn’t contain a lot of information but all the forms you could possibly need. From what I gathered, it seems that you just need to file with the school and then provide, sign a one time document acknowledging your legal rights, a document outlining the course of study, and an end of year teaching assessment. This just goes over what topics you covered for the year. The other documents are for students with suspected disabilities, if someone other than the parents are instructing your child, and three different types of the same enrollment form. Homeschool Base has a lot of practical materials for parents to reference.
Virginia is not difficult to home school, but it requires explicit information on the parent that they actually provide an adequate education. Virginia also still requires your child be vaccinated, and they have the option to have students enroll in public school part time. Virginia also requires documentation of any virtual, private schools or comprehensive curriculum. I don’t find this overbearing because these programs could be poorly written. It’s good for professionals to review the program before you put your student’s education in their hands. (Although if you want this type of education, why not just do cyber public school??) There are lots of local support website in Virginia. Try this site out first.
Parents here also can relax on tracking attendance in this state, as students who are homeschooled are exempt from attendance laws. They also require parents to have a certified person come to the home and help progress monitor the instruction, show proof that the parent has had enough instruction in education, or the parent has been deemed competent by the superintendent. Children will also be required to take the state assessments with their peers. This is a resource for getting in contact with other homeschooling families.
Most of the homeschooling laws for West Virginia are actually based on the individual school districts. They have basic enrollment requirements, and does not provide opportunities for homeschooled students to participate in extra curricular activities. The West Virginia Homeschoolers association is a great place to get more help.
Wisconsin does not provide dual enrollment or part time public education, but they do allow homeschooled students to participate in sports teams. Wisconsin has interpreted special education laws and decided that students who are homeschooled will receive no special education services. Check out the Parents Association.
As far as I can tell, you only need to submit a curriculum to the state. Their website also has lots of helpful resources and links. Check out this website to get helpful resources.
Here are a few quick tips from a Special Education teacher:
- Set some year long goals and break them into pieces. Some curriculums do this for you, but if you’re homeschooling, you should be involved in this decision. Use the state standards if you are expected to be tested on the state tests. You can always add information or explain things differently for your children if you want to.
- Assess your students frequently. Check what your students knows at least weekly. If they fail the test, teach the subject again or research “interventions” to help your child. Many interventions are located here on my blog. If you don’t test them, you won’t know what they are missing.
- If you do not have any experience teaching, read up on how to structure a lesson, how to follow behavior techniques, and how to re-teach a struggling student.
- Also don’t be tricked by these new online curriculums that claim to be a “school.” If you are choosing a private institution, that is taking place in your home, you probably still need to write your state and tell them you a choosing a different option.
- If a school is tuition free, it is some form of public school (even if it’s online!).
- Special Education services are typically still given to students who are educated at home. “In accordance with the federal special education law, Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (P.L. 108-446 §612), “all children with disabilities residing in the State, including children with disabilities attending private schools, regardless of the severity of the disability, and who are in need of special education and related services, are identified, located and evaluated…” Don’t let your children with special needs miss out on appropriate development just to stay out of public schools!