Many parents, for many different reasons, make the resolution to homeschool their children. Homeschooling allows for a particular educational experience designed to suit your child’s specific requirements, and in many cases goes above and beyond what can be achieved in a community or private school system. If you make the decision to homeschool your young ones, it is important that you do so legally, and recognize the laws in your area. It is absolutely critical that you do this, because if you fail to meet legal requirements when homeschooling your children you will inadvertently rob your children of postsecondary scholastic opportunities.
Homeschooling laws vary from state to state, so you have to look up the particular laws in your own state. The basis of state laws on homeschooling is the consequence of truancy laws that require children to attend school. The essential idea is that these laws exist to determine a homeschooled child from a child that is merely not going to school, which is of course against the law. Generally, states will demand that you submit a “notice of intent” to homeschool your children before the upcoming academic year, and the state will then reply with the suitable paperwork for you to fill out.
Besides familiarizing yourself with the specific laws of your state you should also consult with a homeschooling organization for advice. In some cases parents will be dealing with school officials who want to discourage them from homeschooling, and in these situations it is critical that you comprehend your rights. In the state of New York, for example, parents are not required to meet with school officials. School officials may request a meeting with the parents in order to discuss homeschooling, but the state may not revoke the right to homeschool if the parents decline this meeting.
It is also required that your child take standardized tests. This is so the state can legally allocate your child to a given grade level. The laws vary from state to state but in most cases you will have a certain amount of elbow-room in non-standardized tests. New York allows for non-standard tests every alternate year between grades 4 and 8, for example.
Although it may seem intimidating at first, homeschooling your children legally is fundamentally not that complex. You just have to make sure that you follow every step, and don’t leave out any paperwork. While some state restrictions or rules may seem needless or cumbersome, in the long run you’ll save yourself a ton of headaches if you fill everything in properly and on time.
The best thing you can do when you begin to homeschool your children is to consult with other homeschooling parents and advocacy groups. Looking up legal vernacular online can be confusing, but any homeschooling group will give you solid, plain-English advice on how to properly and legally set up homeschooling for your children. Remember: it’s impossible to overestimate the value of studying your state laws in regards to homeschooling – if you overlook or violate any of them, you could lose your right to homeschool altogether.