If you weren’t already aware, each of America’s 50 states has its own laws and choices regarding homeschooling. While many states’ requirements and options are similar to one another, just about every state has its own opinions, quirks, and nuances within their homeschooling regulations. In this blog series, we’ll give you a quick overview of each state’s homeschooling options and some of their requirements in order to help you set up your homeschool program. But it’s important that you thoroughly read through your state’s homeschool laws before you decide to teach your child at home, because there is quite a bit of information to digest.
Maine offers two homeschooling options.
- Home instruction option. For this option, parents need to submit a one-time notice to the local superintendent and state commissioner of education containing information such as when home instruction will begin, the intention to teach for 175 days during the school year, a statement that you will teach the required subjects, and a statement that you will submit a year-end assessment. Following that, parents are required to send an annual letter with a year-end assessment and a notice of the intention to homeschool the following year. Next, parents/instructors are required to teach the following subjects: English/language arts, math, science, social studies, physical and health education, library skills, fine arts, Maine studies, and computer proficiency. Finally, a year-end assessment must be sent.
- As a private school student. State law allows homeschooling parents to join together. You’ll need to understand the requirements a private school must follow to be recognized in order to operate as a private school that the state recognizes as offering equivalent education.
The state of Maryland provides plenty of options for prospective homeschoolers.
- Homeschooling under the portfolio option. This route requires quite a few steps.
- File a Notice of Consent form.
- Teach these required courses: math, English, social studies, science, art, music, health, and physical education.
- Provide regular, thorough instruction of required subjects.
- Maintain a portfolio of your child’s work, from writings, workbooks, creative materials, and tests.
- Allow your local school’s superintendent to review the portfolio upon request.
- Homeschooling under church umbrella. This requires you to file a Notice of Consent form once you’ve selected and joined a church umbrella, which is a school or institution that offers an educational program operated by a bona fide church organization. The church umbrella will then supervise with conferences and lesson plan review. From there, you must report annually whether you’re continuing with this option, stopping homeschooling, or switching to another homeschool setup.
- Homeschooling under church-exempt school umbrella. This is similar to the church umbrella option. This type of school is operated by a church, but it is also exempt from state school approval requirements. You’ll also need to file a Notice of Consent and select a church-exempt school. The church will then supervise in the same manner as they do for church umbrella schools.
- Homeschooling under state-approved school umbrella. Under this option, the local school system will assign a school-based teacher to assist the home instructor and to grade tests, issue progress reports, and grade tests. Like the other homeschool options in Maryland, you’ll need to file the Notice of Consent form right away, and then regularly verify your involvement in this program.
Only one path of homeschooling exists in the state of Massachusetts. The first step is to file a Notice of Intent to your school district, to be approved by the superintendent or school committee. They’ll review the proposed curriculum and number of hours to be taught, the competency of the parents who are doing the teaching, textbooks to be used, and the type of assessment used. The next step is to teach required subjects, including:
- English language and grammar
- United States history and Constitution
- Duties of citizenship
- Health (including CPR)
- Physical education
While there are no actual requirements concerning record-keeping, it’s a good idea to maintain some sort of records of your child’s education. Finally, students should be tested or evaluated in a way agreed upon by both parents and the superintendent.
There are a couple of homeschool options to consider in the state of Michigan.
- Homeschooling under the state homeschool statute. To use this option, parents are required to use an organized educational program covering reading, spelling, mathematics, science, history, civics, literature, writing, and English grammar. Yet unlike many states, parents are not actually obligated to notify the state that they will be homeschooling their children, as parents are authorized to provide home instruction by the state.
- Homeschooling as a non-public school. To do this, the following requirements need to be satisfied. The instructor, parent or someone else, must have a teaching certificate, a teaching permit, or a bachelor’s degree. Next, homeschooling parents are required to notify the local superintendent of the intention to instruct at home. While the Michigan Department of Education is within their rights to ask you for qualifications, courses being studied, and other information, you do not have to provide this info unless specifically requested by the DOE. Finally, the following subjects must be taught for all grades:
- Social studies
- Health and physical education
- These subjects must be taught in high school:
- U.S. Constitution
- Michigan Constitution
- The history and present form of civil government in the U.S., Michigan, and Michigan’s political subdivisions and municipalities
Minnesota’s education code recognizes that a child’s parent is primarily responsible for ensuring that the child is taught the skills essential to effective citizenship. To homeschool legally in the Land of 10,000 Lakes, you as a parent are automatically qualified to teach your child. If you won’t be instructing, the instructor must meet certain requirements for teaching. Certain subjects are required learning in Minnesota:
- Fine arts
- Health and physical education
Detailed records are required, and you must test your student annually using a nationally norm-referenced standardized achievement test. Lastly, you must submit an annual notification of your intent to homeschool to your school district, starting at age 7 until age 16.
Aside from submitting a notice of enrollment each year, there are literally no requirements that need to be satisfied in order to homeschool. No required subjects. No minimum days of instruction. No teacher requirements.
While not as bare-bones as Mississippi’s requirements (or lack of), Missouri does not require a whole lot in order to homeschool. Instructors must teach the following subjects:
- Social studies
- Language arts
While not actually required, it’s a good idea to keep a log of hours so you know you’re hitting the required 1,000 total hours of instruction every term (600 of which must be in one or more of the following core subjects: reading, math, social studies, language arts, and science). Beyond that, records must be kept (though not submitted unless requested) for students under the age of 16.
There aren’t too many steps to take when it comes to homeschooling your child in the state of Montana. To start, you need to file a Notice of Intent to homeschool with the county’s superintendent during every “school fiscal year” (July 1 to June 30), keep attendance and immunization records, teach the required number of hours per school fiscal year (720 for grades 1 to 3, 1080 for grades 4-12), and follow health and safety regulations. The following subjects are required learning:
- English/language arts
- Social studies
- Career education
Teaching at home in the state of Nebraska only requires a few steps, most involving the annual filing of paperwork, including a notarized Parent or Guardian Form, a Parent Representative Form, and an Information Summary Form that includes a calendar for the school year (1032 hours of instruction for elementary students, 1080 hours for secondary schools), an overview of each grade being taught, and other information. Additionally, you must comply with vaccination requirements if homeschooling for non-religious purposes. Required subjects include language arts, math, social studies, science, and health.
Homeschooling in Nevada is a relatively straightforward process. The first step is filing a one-time notice to your local school district’s superintendent of your intent to homeschool. This will include an educational plan and overview, which requires approval by the superintendent (once you receive that approval, keep it in your records per Nevada law). Once approved, all you need to do is teach the required subjects:
- English (reading, writing, composition)
- Social studies (history, geography, economics, government)
There’s only one option for homeschooling in New Hampshire, though it does require a few steps to be taken. An initial notice must be filed with either the commissioner of education, a public school district superintendent, or a principal of a non-public/private school prior to homeschooling. Once that’s done, you must teach the following subjects:
- U.S. and New Hampshire Constitutions
- Exposure to art and music
You must keep a portfolio of materials and records each year and have your child evaluated annually by a certified teacher, a national student achievement test administered by an approved party, the state student assessment test used by your school district, or another valid evaluating tool approved by the school commissioner, superintendent, or principal. The final requirement is only necessary if your child graduates before the age of 18: a certificate or letter must be filed with the state’s department of education to notify them of the graduation.
To homeschool in the Garden State, you must provide an education “equivalent” to that which your student would receive in a traditional school. That essentially translates to the following subjects taught in New Jersey public schools:
- Language arts (four years)
- Math (three years)
- Science (three years)
- World history (one year)
- Civics and/or New Jersey history (two years)
- Health/safety/physical education (2.5 hours per week for four years)
- Finance/economics or business/entrepreneurial classes (one semester)
- Visual or performing arts (one year)
- Foreign language (one year, or show proficiency)
- Career/technical/vocational (one year)
- Technological literacy, civics, economics, geography, global content integrated throughout
The state of Mexico offers one path for homeschooling your child. If you have a high school diploma or GED, you’re qualified to teach your student. Once you’ve decided to homeschool, you must send a Letter of Intent to homeschool (by mail or online) to the Department of Education every year. Once you’re ready to start, you must commit to 180 days of teaching each school year; instruct in the subjects of reading, language arts, math, social studies, and science; and maintain immunization records.
The Empire State follows most of the same requirements as many other states on this list. First, a Letter of Intent needs to be filed. For New York City residents, that gets sent to the city’s Department of Education; outside the city, this should go to your school district’s superintendent. Next, an Individualized Home Instruction Plan (IHIP) should be submitted, with a list of subjects instructed. Day and hour requirements must be satisfied as well–180 days, and 900 hours for students in grades 1 through 6 and 990 hours for grades 7 through 12. There is quite a long list of subjects that require instruction…click here for the entire list. A quarterly report needs to be filed, and it must include the number of hours of instruction, the type of material covered for each subject, and a grade evaluation. Finally, an annual assessment is required via either standardized test or written evaluation, depending on grade level.
The Tar Heel State’s homeschooling requirements are relatively short and sweet, and similar to many other states. If you or someone else instructing has a high school diploma (or equivalent), you’re qualified to teach. A Letter of Intent to homeschool is the first step toward homeschooling. Aside from holidays and vacations, school must be taught on a regular schedule for nine months out of the year. Immunization records must also be provided, and a nationally standardized test needs to be administered annually to show achievement in English grammar, reading, spelling, and math.
The state of North Dakota offers two options for homeschoolers.
- Homeschooling under the home education law. Under this option, the following steps are required:
- Have a high school diploma or GED in order to instruct. If you don’t have either, you may still teach at home but under the monitoring of a certified teacher for two years.
- File a yearly Statement of Intent that includes any relevant class information, immunization records, and planned extracurricular activities.
- Provide required days and hours of instruction. North Dakota requires at least four hours of instruction per day, and 175 days each year.
- Teach the required subjects. There are quite a few, which can be found here.
- Maintain yearly school records, including academic progress assessments, courses taken, and standardized test scores.
- Have your student tested via standardized test from your local school district or a nationally normed standardized achievement test (in grades 4, 6, 8, and 10).
- Private school.
- Under this option, you or another instructor must be a North Dakota-certified teacher.
- You must teach the subjects being taught in public schools for 175 days.
- File a yearly Statement of Intent.