|Copyright 2005 Julie Shepherd Knapp
The Homeschool Diner's Guide to
Before You Begin --
Know your State or Provincial Homeschool Regulations and your School
by Julie Shepherd Knapp, copyright 2006
Homeschooling is legal in the United States and Canada, and in many other countries, including
Mexico, the United Kingdom, Ireland, France, Spain, South Africa, Kenya, Australia, New Zealand, and
Japan. Some of these countries struggle with very restrictive laws and policies... but at least they have
the option. In many other countries, such as Germany, potential homeschool parents are struggling to
gain the right to educate at home. My heart goes out to them!
I am not a lawyer, and cannot possibly keep up with the ever-changing laws and policies for each
school district, state, province, and country... but the Homeschool Legal Defense Association (HSLDA)
has given it a try! Visit the US HSLDA website to see summaries of the regulations for each US state,
and visit the HSLDA of Canada website for summaries of provincial regulations. The HSLDA also has
summaries of homeschooling regulations for various countries worldwide. (Please note that the
HSLDA is a Christian-focused organization.) The National Home Education Network (NHEN) also
keeps a database of summaries, which are (sometimes) easier to "follow" than the HSLDA summaries.
Don't take anyone else's word for it -- read it for yourself!
You need to personally read and become familiar with the actual laws that apply to your homeschool
family... Your state homeschool organization probably has a link to the relevant statutes at their
website... if they don't, post a question to a local or state online homeschool group, or find your US
state education department at
ED.gov and search for statutes that apply to homeschooling, such
as ""compulsory attendance", "truancy", "home based programs", and "private schools". (Each state
has different wording and terms, so it is often easier to begin by asking an established homeschooler
from your state where to look for the regulations.) Here is a place to start for homeschooling laws in
Don't jump thru needless hoops -- ask homeschoolers in your area what is actually expected
in the way of reporting, and what are the is the easiest ways to comply with the regulations!
You need to discuss the regulations with other homeschool parents in your area to see how the laws
are actually interpreted and implemented... It's important to talk to established homeschoolers about
the requirements, because many times the legal wording is vague, and could mean different things to
different people. Also, requirements that seem very "scary" when you read about them may be, in real
life, quite easy to manage. If you don't ask, you won't know.
Do you know your state's "Compulsory Age of Attendance"?
The school entrance age varies by state, so be sure to check your own state regulations to find out
when you need to begin meeting homeschool requirements. In some states it is as late as age 8!
So... before you begin homeschooling:
National Home Education Legal Defense -- "believes in an informed, empowered citizenry, who is
able to fight for freedom effectively when necessary, ... also acts with and on behalf of its members to
resolve conflicts with government officials"
Homeschool Legal Defense Association -- "a nonprofit advocacy organization established to
defend and advance the constitutional right of parents to direct the education of their children and to
protect family freedoms", Christian fosused
"Do We Need a Homeschool Legal "Insurance" Organization?" from the Homeschooling is Legal
website, in opposition of the HSLDA
AHSA-USA -- an online support group for homeschoolers to contact homeschooling attorneys and
experts about homeschooling legal and litigation issues, also, an informal network of attorneys and
legal experts that are concerned with litigation pending and threatened against homeschoolers, its
primary purpose is to exchange legal information within the profession, and to educate and support
attorneys and experts involved in homeschool litigation.
Homeschooling, Divorce and Custody Issues
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|If we value independence,
if we are disturbed by
the growing conformity of knowledge,
then we may wish
to set up conditions of learning
which make for uniqueness.
-- Carl Rogers