How to find the homeschooling laws for your state
If you're wondering how to find your state's homeschooling laws, if it's legal in your state, what the requirements are, and how you can start homeschooling read this.
Disclaimer: the information provided in this article is intended for research purposes only. Individual family needs may differ. Please contact your local Department of Education for more information.
If you want your child to join the more than 3.1 million children homeschooled in the United States but you've got some questions — you've come to the right place. Maybe you're wondering if homeschooling is legal in your state, how you can start homeschooling, or if you're just curious about the homeschooling laws that apply in your state.
Below, you'll discover more about homeschooling in the United States along with some useful resources that can help you on your family's home learning journey.
Why should I research state laws before I start homeschooling?
In the United States, each state regulates the laws for homeschooling, not the federal government. While homeschooling is legal across the country, different states have their own laws and regulations. It is important to be aware of these to ensure you homeschool your child legally.
What kind of homeschool laws exist?
The laws and requirements for homeschooling in each state vary greatly. For example, states such as Oklahoma have minimal requirements for homeschooling, while states such as North Dakota have extensive requirements. State laws may set out one or more of the following requirements:
Mandatory subjects. Nevada's homeschool laws state that parents must teach reading, writing, mathematics, science, and social studies: including history, geography, economics, and government.
The requirement to notify the state of the intention to homeschool. North Carolina's homeschool laws require that parents submit a one-time Notice of Intent to Operate a Home School. Some states, such as Georgia, may also require an annual notification.
Minimum qualifications for parents. For example, Minnesota's homeschool laws require parents who wish to homeschool to hold a bachelor's degree, a teacher competency certificate, or be directly supervised by someone with a teaching license.
Standardized testing requirements. Pennsylvania's homeschool laws require students in grades 3,5, and 8 to take either statewide tests or an approved standardized test.
How can I find my state’s homeschooling laws?
You can locate your state homeschool laws on your state education department's website, which you can easily find via this helpful list of links. You can also check out Outschool's detailed guides to the specific homeschool laws for Texas, Florida, North Carolina, and California.
How can I withdraw my child from a public school?
Once you're familiar with your state's homeschooling laws and are ready to start homeschooling, it's important that you formally withdraw your child from their public school. You will usually need to do this by letter; however, what your withdrawal letter should contain and to whom it needs to be sent to varies by state.
In Texas, you must send your letter to the school via certified mail. The letter should state that you will withdraw your child on a given date to begin homeschooling and provide assurance that your curriculum will cover the subjects mandated by Texas law. Whereas in Florida, you need to send a notice of intent letter to the Public School Superintendent’s Office within your school district.
You can find out your state's requirements for withdrawing your child from a public school by following the links provided by SEA, which will take you to your state education department's website.
How can I find my state homeschool testing requirements?
Some state homeschooling laws mandate that homeschooled children participate in standardized testing at set intervals. States do this to ensure homeschoolers are not falling behind their public school-educated peers.
For example, Florida requires annual testing unless you're homeschooling under an umbrella school. However, some states, including Texas, do not require any form of homeschool testing, but parents can, of course, still opt to use a standardized test to ensure their child is on track.
You can usually track down your state's testing requirements by visiting your state education department's website, which you can find through this useful list of links.
You can also contact homeschooling advocacy organizations for your state, who'll be able to provide information on any mandatory testing requirements, and which tests are most commonly used by families within your state.
Can I homeschool my special needs or neurodiverse kids?
Any child can be homeschooled, including those who are neurodiverse or have additional needs. Educating your child in a way that meets their unique needs is a common reason for parents choosing to home-educate.
The Home School Legal Defense Association (HSLDA) has some helpful resources on homeschooling a child with additional needs, including a useful guide that sets out some top tips for starting homeschooling children with special needs.
How do I find the answers to my homeschooling questions?
After you've decided to start homeschooling and have researched the laws for homeschooling in your state, you will likely have many questions about homeschooling. To help answer your questions, Outschool has put together a helpful set of homeschooling FAQs (below) and many useful articles that will hopefully help demystify homeschooling.
The legal process to start homeschooling is complete - what now?
Once you've completed the legal process to start homeschooling, it's time to begin to plan how homeschooling will look for your family. Among other things, you'll need to create your homeschool curriculum, decide what space you'll use for homeschooling and how you'll supplement your homeschooling.
To help guide you through the next steps of your homeschooling journey, download our free How to start homeschooling eBook.
How do I create a homeschool curriculum?
One of the key things you need to do when you decide to start homeschooling is to design your homeschool curriculum. Because this can sometimes seem like a daunting task, Outschool has put together a series of helpful articles to guide you through this process, including:
How can I supplement and outsource my homeschooling?
For families transitioning from a traditional school environment to homeschooling, the next biggest concern is socialization and finding creative ways to supplement their child’s academics.
You don’t have to be their only teacher.
While you know your child best, sometimes it can be a huge benefit to let them hear ideas and learn new skills from someone passionate about that particular subject.
Exploring alternate learning opportunities outside the home allows your child to meet and spend time with people who enjoy the same things they enjoy. As parents, this also allows you to let someone step in on a subject you may not have thought about since you were in school. Outschool can help by offering classes on any topic where you want to find support in your homeschooling. For example:
Use 1:1 tutoring for subjects your kids need some extra help with or want to explore further.
Virtual field trips are an easy way to learn about history and culture while exploring new places from the comfort of home.
Think about allowing your kids to participate in the process. Let them talk to you about what their interested and be sure to share with them classes and topics that they may not know about. Because the more engaged they are, the more they’ll learn.
There are plenty of ways to supplement your homeschooling:
Go outside and enjoy fun field trips. Regardless of the ages, and age ranges between your children, consider getting outside the house and exploring local museums and historic homes. Call your local library and see if they have passes to activities nearby or if they offer any experiences for homeschoolers. If you've ticked off all the field trip locations locally or want something different, why sign up for a virtual field trip on Outschool?
Enroll your child in a virtual club. Clubs are an excellent way for kids to meet and engage with other young people. Whether it's a social club, book club, or even a dinosaur club, Outschool is a fantastic place for your child to meet new people that share their passion.
Play sports. Check out your local sporting clubs and teams if you have an active child. In some states and counties, homeschoolers can participate in their local public school's sports team. Since that is not the case everywhere, check with your local homeschool organization for additional information on how your homeschoolers can access sports in your area. Your child can also join virtual sports clubs on Outschool, where you will find a wide range of dance classes, sports classes, and more.
Curious to find out more? Check out Outschool's handy list of the best ways to supplement your homeschooling.
Where can I find homeschooling inspiration?
One of the best ways to get homeschooling inspiration is to connect with other homeschooling families or read about what other homeschool families are doing.
You can get plenty of inspiration and read about why other families homeschool on Outschool's Homeschooling blog. Join our Outschool Parent Hub and use HSLDA's group finder to find local homeschool groups near you.
Or check how homeschooling families use Outschool for their homeschooling.
How do I teach homeschool subjects that are out of my depth?
There will likely be a time during your homeschooling journey when you encounter subjects or topics that are more difficult for you to teach. You’re not alone! The good news is that there are plenty of easy and affordable ways to get help with topics outside your area of expertise. With Outschool, you can help your child learn to read, tackle tough algebra problems, or explore cultures around the world.
Of course, you could consider hiring a private or in-home teacher, but many homeschool families are now outsourcing the tricky areas of their curriculum to Outschool.
Outschool provides affordable and engaging online classes and online private tutoring for your child, where they will learn from inspirational Outschool teachers. From single-topic classes to entire semester-long courses on core curriculum topics, you are sure to find an Outschool class to meet your child’s needs.
So why not sign up for your free Outschool account today and discover the perfect class for your child?