Home schooling offers many benefits over traditional schooling such as individual attention, more family time and personalized courses of study. If this educational option seems like an attractive choice for your family, then you need to find out what legal requirements you will need to satisfy.
Each state makes its own laws concerning home schooling requirements. The Home School Legal Defense Association groups each state into one of four categories: states with no requirements, states with low regulation, states with moderate regulation and states with high regulation. To find out which group your state belongs to, follow the link in the Resources section below. Once you begin homeschooling, it is important to keep abreast of current policies and legislation that may affect your ability to home school legally.
The states qualified as "no requirement" states offer parents a great deal of freedom and latitude in designing and carrying out their child's education. These states do not require parents to register, administer tests, or meet any specific qualifications to teach; however, some require a certain number of school days or recommend that particular subjects be taught. Some of the larger states in this group are Texas, Oklahoma, Illinois and Indiana.
Low regulation states are those whose sole requirements are that parents notify the state that they are home schooling. Parents may need to provide information such as home address and telephone number, and names, grades, birth certificates, and ages of home schooled students. There are 14 states in this group, including Kentucky, Alabama, Utah, Arizona and New Mexico.
States with moderate regulation require more oversight of the home school process. Parents in these states must register and submit some type of evaluation and progress report to the state such as standardized tests, portfolios, or professional evaluations. Twenty-one states fall into this group, including Virginia, Florida, Tennessee, Ohio, Oregon, Washington and Hawaii.
High regulation states require the most work from parents to meet their various requirements. Some families have been known to leave these states in order to move to states with less restrictive laws. Besides registering with the state, parents may have to have teaching degrees, teach state-approved curriculum, and submit to official home visits and evaluations of their student's progress. There are six states that are in this group, and except for North Dakota, they are all located in the Northeast. They include Rhode Island, Massachusetts, Pennsylvania, New York and Vermont.