The Legal Side of Homeschooling – What You Need To KnowJan 22nd, 2012 | By Jessica Parnell | Category: Legal Side of Homeschooling
List of questions about the legalities of homeschooling.
Have you recently decided that homeschooling is the right move for your family? You will not be alone – researchers estimate that there are 1.5 to 2 million homeschoolers in the United States, representing 3 to 4 percent of school-age children. But if you find yourself still hesitating a bit, you might be asking an important question: what are the legal ramifications of opting to provide my child with a loving and quality education in the home?
In order to be a proactive parent and a responsible teacher, you will need to do some research on just how the legalities of homeschooling your child will affect your educational journey. Armed with a bit of knowledge and some resources on how to work with your individual state department of education, you can remove much of the fear and uncertainly attached to the legal side of homeschooling, and circumvent problems that could arise.
Questions You May Have Regarding the Legal Aspects of Homeschooling:
Is homeschooling my child truly legal? Yes it is – in all 50 states and in many other countries as well.
Under what authority is homeschooling regulated in this country? The regulations governing homeschooling vary quite widely from state-to-state; there is no federal authority over homeschooling.
How do I know what my state requires? Some states have tighter requirements than others – so make sure to contact your State Department of Education for information on these requirements. A good homeschooling program should also have resources in place to help enrolled students meet their state guidelines (however, the buck stops with you – the parent).
Are all children – including homeschoolers – subject to compulsory attendance status? Yes they are, in theory. However, while these statutes exist in every state (and vary by state), each state also provides either a way that students may be “otherwise educated” or a way that students may be “totally exempt” from such statutes.
Will school truancy policies affect my homeschooled child? Truancy issues have existed ever since the first compulsory attendance laws were passed. But the fact is that truancy is a public school problem that cannot be addressed in homeschooling policy. A child schooled at home cannot be truant.
Does my child have a right to participate in school district sports or activities? Regulations about participation vary from state to state, and may even vary from district to district as well. Many states have equal access laws in place – guaranteeing that public school districts allow homeschoolers access to their extracurricular activities, such as sports, music, drama, debate team and other programs. Open the lines of communication with your school district in a positive and professional way, and you may be surprised at what you can achieve!
Will my homeschooled student be eligible to attend college? Yes they will. There are many colleges who admit homeschooled students giving credence to the quality of a homeschool education and the validity of accumulated course credits. This is also why you want to select a superior homeschool curriculum through an accredited academy.
An important thing to remember when researching the legal aspects of homeschooling in your particular state is to not accept the information garnered from any one source as completely valid. Because regulations vary so widely, misinformation can certainly occur. Do your research wisely!
Some Questions You May Want To Ask Your State Up Front:
- What role does my State Department of Education play in regulating homeschooled children?
- Is there any specific state regulation or statute pertaining to homeschooling?
- If there is not, under what authority is homeschooling regulated?
- Has there been any recent legislative activity related to homeschooling that I should be aware of?
- What role will a local school district play in homeschooling within my state?
Remember, there is strength in knowledge, and also much to be gained in finding an excellent homeschool support group in your local area! Other moms and dads who are experienced in dealing with the entire realm of homeschooling can provide you with a wealth of resources for your upcoming journey. Best of luck!