Homeschooling is legal in all 50 states, but each state has its own homeschool laws. If you’re going to teach your children at home, you need to be aware of these homeschool laws.
I am not a lawyer, nor do I play one on TV. Nothing in this post can be construed as formal legal advice. All opinions are my own.
photo source: Janice Waltzer, used by license
I am, by no means, an expert on the topic of homeschooling, but I do love spending my days learning with my children. We’ve been living this lifestyle for almost our entire parenting stint — since shortly after our eldest son was born.
Since that child is now a sophomore in college at a state university with a 3.8 GPA, I’m breathing a sigh of relief. The experiment is working; I haven’t ruined him! His younger siblings are people I really enjoy spending the daze with, so that’s saying something, too.
If you’re interested in getting started in homeschooling, this is a series recounting our experiences in teaching our children at home, the things that I’ve learned, and some resources I’ve discovered along the way.
My way isn’t the only way. Your mileage may vary.
In the next month I’ll be sharing how to create your academic calendar, how to plan the day, what a day really looks like and how to stay sane in the beautiful mess of homeschooling. Before I go into those nuts and bolts, I think it’s important to consider what are the homeschool laws in your state.
Knowing the Homeschool Laws in Your State
Education at home is legal in all 50 of the United States, however they are regulated differently as each state has its own laws and requirements. It’s important to educate yourself on what your state requires and what are its specific homeschool laws.
Educate yourself and to know your rights in light of the homeschool laws in your state of residence:
1. Join HSLDA
I highly recommend joining the Home School Legal Defense Association, or HSLDA. They provide a wealth of resources for those who are homeschooling privately (as opposed to charter school members.) Not only can they tell you exactly what you need to do to be compliant with your state’s homeschool laws, but they also provide member families with legal counsel free of charge, as concerns your home school.
I have reached out to HSLDA on a number of occasions and have found them to be super thorough and helpful, particularly when it’s time to fill out our California Private School Affidavit.
2. Attend a conference or workshop.
One of the most helpful things to me years ago was to attend a conference presentation with a home school attorney. He was actually one of the HSLDA lawyers, presenting at a homeschool conference. He went step by step through our state’s requirements, explained exactly what those homeschool laws meant for us, and gave us concrete examples for record-keeping that would ensure that we were within compliance of our state homeschool laws.
I found this to be extremely helpful, and well-worth the cost of the conference, even though we had already been homeschooling for several years.
3. Join a local support group.
By joining a local homeschool support group, you can find friendship, teaching resources, and a wealth of moral support. Through newsletters and word of mouth, you’ll also be alerted to updates in your state’s laws and reminders about when to file paperwork. You can find a group near you, by visiting this database, but don’t be hesitant to ask around, too.
Of course, as you know by now, I am not an attorney, nor do I play one on TV. I’m a teacher! So, please go do your homework and make sure that you are aware of your rights and responsibilities as a home educator. You must keep current with the homeschool laws in your state in order to protect your rights and be in compliance with the law.
For further reading, Simple Homeschool offers great advice about researching laws and following the proper procedures.
Fellow homeschoolers, how do YOU keep track of the homeschool laws in your state?
About this series -If you’re interested in getting started in homeschooling, this is a series recounting our experiences in teaching our children at home, the things that I’ve learned, and some resources I’ve discovered along the way. But this way isn’t the only way. Your mileage may vary.
Coming up next time – Creating an Academic Calendar
Originally published on July 26, 2011. Updated on July 30, 2016.