As a homeschool consultant, the first question most parents ask is “What are the laws to homeschool my child?” Every state in the United States of America says something in their law books pertaining to homeschooling. According to the Homeschool Legal Defense Association, (http://www.hslda.org) there are four areas which states are divided for homeschool requirements.
1.States requiring no notice
These states do not require parents to initiate any contact with the school district when they decide to homeschool their children.
2.States with low regulation
These states requires parents to notify their school district of their intention of homeschooling.
Homeschooling in my home state of Alabama, as in many other states, also require registration with a documented school of some kind or be a certified teacher. This school covering is called a “Legal Umbrella”. It could be a private school or church school but the law requires the administrator to collect attendance records, which shows proof of participation.
3. States with moderate regulation
Parents are to send notification, test scores, and or professional evaluation of student progress.
With this requirement, many homeschool umbrellas will set up testing for their students and assign a certified teacher to meet quarterly with the parents. Some schools use a “portfolio” record as part of the student progress report, which is just a sampling of the student’s work throughout the year and other schools only require a report card of grades and attendance.
4.States with high regulation
State requires parents to send notification or achievement test scores and or professional evaluation, plus other requirements. (i.e. curriculum approval by the state, teacher qualification of parents, etc.)
This is pretty severe and there is less freedom for the parent to teach what they want. Curriculum is assigned from the grade level and you must follow a certain schedule of work. This is basically public school at home. The federal mandate for all public schools is to have 180 days attendance and as a requirement each family would be required to fulfill that mandate.
Some parents feel that their rights are being taken away by the state. They want to make the decision about what is right for their child and not be forced to follow what some state bureaucrat has decided what is good for every child in that state. There are intense debates; big lectures and long articles written on this very subject.
You might ask yourself: Why do I have to follow this law? There have been numerous conflicts between school districts and families that homeschool. If you are abiding by the law of your state you have no cause to worry whether the state will investigate why you are homeschooling. If you aren’t following the laws, then there are drastic measures that the state can take, including taking away your own children.All of this discussion can promote freethinking and might even help change state laws to improve homeschooling requirements, but for the time being it’s best to follow your own state law.
This is a type of school covering which once you register and pay their fee, you would be entitled to the benefits of their administration of homeschool. Some coverings require much more than the state requires so study your state law to know what is necessary.
In most states and counties, there are several choices of coverings and it should not be too challenging in finding one which suits your needs.
Many times school coverings feel the need to over set their boundaries in the name of educating children and create an atmosphere similar to public school. You are the parent. You have the final say of what your children should be learning. Don’t ever let an administrator tell you what is best for your child.
Statement of Faith
A statement of faith is a document which many church schools require the parents to sign in order to be included in their covering. It will declare their religious beliefs and if you do not agree with what they declare, then do not sign it. I belonged to a church school coving who did not have a statement of faith. When they closed down unexpectedly, I had to find another legal covering. It seemed that every legal covering in my county had a statement of faith which I did not agree with. It doesn’t matter if you attend church or not finding a school covering who agrees with your beliefs can sometimes be difficult. I finally found a covering which did not require a statement of faith and I have homeschooled with them ever since.
Homeschooling is a wonderful privilege and we are very blessed to live in a country where we have this choice. There are many more children being homeschooled by their parents in 2010 than when I first started back in 1990. By following the laws of the land where you live, homeschooling your children will bring you joy and a sense of accomplishment you will find no where else.