Homeschooling Programs – Who Do You Need to Inform That Your Children Are Being Homeschooled?

I’m a parent of a 5th grader and we are looking into homeschooling as an option for our family. Along with looking at the different homeschooling programs, I also wanted to know what are the requirements for homeschooling. If we choose this path, who do we need to inform?

As it turns out, while homeschooling is legal in all 50 states, each state has its own laws and requirements regarding homeschooling. Some don’t require you to inform anyone. Others have more strict rules. A friend pointed me to the Home School Legal Defense Association website as a resource. They have summaries of each state’s laws regarding homeschooling. It’s a great place to start.

After reviewing the summary for Oregon, I went to my state’s legislature site to read the laws for myself. The HSLDA’s summaries gather all the statutes and administrative rules pertinent to homeschooling in one place, which makes it convenient. But I also wanted to make sure I understood the laws in context. It took some digging, but I did find the references listed in HSLDA’s summary. In Oregon, for example, parents need to notify their education service district (ESD) that they are homeschooling their children. Homeschooling families also must have their children tested in grades 3, 5, 8, and 10 through a state-approved comprehensive exam. If a child falls below the 15th percentile on these tests, the state requires additional testing and possibly further measures. These additional measures are administered by the ESD superintendent and may include further testing, bringing in a certified teacher and, if the child continues to decline, enrollment in school for 12 months. Once the child’s test scores start to improve, the parents are again allowed to teach their child at home.

For a summary of the homeschooling laws in your state, visit the Home School Legal Defense Association.

I’ve found some conflicting information about homeschooling for traveling families. In some places, I read that if you are traveling away from your home state for less than 3 months, you need to follow the laws in your home state. Other sources indicate that you need to follow the laws of the state in which you are currently residing, no matter how long you are there. I’m still trying to track down a definitive answer on this one. I’m also trying to track down what are the homeschooling requirements for families traveling overseas for an extended time.