In the United States, home schooling is legal in all states, but laws vary from state to state.
by Ann Bowers
Is home schooling legal?
In the United States, home schooling is legal in all states, but laws vary from state to state. It is also legal to home school in Great Britain, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, Puerto Rico, Japan, South Africa, and some other countries.
What is the law regarding home schooling?
The law varies according to where you live. In some countries, you must inform the government of your plans to home school, in order to avoid being penalized for truancy. In some places, you may register your home as a private school. In other places, you must be supervised by a public school.
You only need to worry about the law if your child is within the age range of compulsory school attendance in your state or country. Usually this age range is 6 or 7 years old to 15 or 16 years old. If your child is older or younger, you don’t need to register or report anything. But, make sure you check to see what the age range is in your place of residence.
Must I have a degree or special training to home school?
It depends. You must research the law in your country or state. Requirements vary. Most places do not even require a high school diploma. Some require a home schooling course.
Where can I get information about home schooling and the law?
Local home schooling groups can help you, but remember, you are responsible for getting accurate legal information and for compliance with the law. Local groups are not lawyers! Even the local school district may mislead you. They may tell you that your child must be supervised by the school district. This may or may not be true.
Go online and access your state or country’s Department of Education website. You should be able to find the information there. If not, call them by phone.
If these suggestions don’t get the information, consult an attorney.
Where do I start gathering information?
Where do you start looking for information about home schooling? Be wary of any group that wants to make money. Here’s where not to start:
1. A local school district (at least not at first)
It is in their best interest to keep you in the district so they will get attendance funding. They may tell you home schooling is illegal in your state or will demand you enter their Independent Study Program.
2. A home school legal group
It is in their best interest to scare you into thinking you must purchase their insurance plan. It’s very unlikely that you will need legal representation if you obey the law.
3. A group of “our kind of people”
Often a religious or local group won’t see the whole situation and may give you misinformation.
4. A textbook company, curriculum expert, or distance learning program
They will want to sell you books, expertise, or a program.
5. An expert (self-proclaimed)
This person may have never actually home schooled anyone.
Here’s where you do start – on the Internet. Look for anything that’s free or inexpensive. Take what you find on message boards, email lists, and in chat rooms with a grain of salt. It may not be accurate. You may find a great deal of information at your local library or bookstore. Go to a home schooling conference. (Note: Vendors lower prices the last day of the conference.) Join a local home schooling support group. Join a state home schooling association; you’ll get a newsletter and information about conferences and other activities.
Home schooling children is legal in the United States and many other countries. Research home schooling and the laws governing it before you begin. After you become familiar with the laws, start on the Internet looking for information about home schooling, groups, conferences, and other activities.
Bio for Ann Bowers
Ann Bowers has been an elementary school teacher, in kindergarten through 8th grade, for 20 years. She was a Bilingual Education Grant Project Coordinator for seven years and a school principal for seven.
She has a B.A. in English, an M.A. in Education, and holds California Life Teaching Credentials and specialist credentials in Remedial Reading and Teaching English as a Second Language. She is retired and has started a second career as a freelance writer.
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