State-by-State Requirements for Homeschooling: A Comprehensive Guide

So, you’ve decided to homeschool (woohoo!), but you’re trying to figure out how to do so in the state where you live. You probably have a few questions about state requirements, such as:

      • Is homeschooling legal in my state?
      • What is legally required of me as a teacher?
      • Do I need to report what my child is learning?
      • What is required for my student’s high school diploma?
      • Who can I contact about homeschooling resources in my state?

Never fear! We’re here to help you answer these questions and hopefully make the “legal” side of homeschooling super easy to understand and execute. You can do this!

state by state requirements for homeschooling

Is homeschooling legal in my state?

The short answer is, yes! Homeschooling in and of itself is legal in all 50 states in the United States. In the 1990s, homeschooling was recognized as a legal education option in every state. Since then, the number of homeschoolers has skyrocketed, with the COVID-19 pandemic pushing the data even higher. Today, it’s estimated that over 4 million children are homeschooled!

Regardless of what state you live in, you can homeschool! And we highly recommend it 😉.

Do I need to follow specific state requirements to homeschool?

Homeschool requirements state laws

This is where we look at each state individually. Although you can legally homeschool in all 50 states, the rules and requirements vary tremendously. In Part 2 of this post, we’ll break down the basic requirements of each state, but for now, let’s discuss just a few in an effort to give you a broad understanding.

If you live in Alaska, you’ve got it easy! Alaska is known as one of the most lenient states when it comes to homeschooling. As the parent, you’re not required to report anything to the state. Under Alaska’s homeschool statute, you’re pretty much free to teach your child however you choose, as long as you’re the child’s parent or legal guardian.

Taking it up a notch, Wisconsin has low regulations. The main goal of their regulations is to ensure your high schooler is getting the required courses and instruction necessary to graduate and apply for jobs and/or college. Each year, you’ll need to file a report with the state that states your child’s status of enrollment as a homeschooler, along with certification that you’ll provide at least 875 hours of instruction throughout the year. For high schoolers, you have to include specific subjects in their syllabus prior to graduation.

In New York, we see some of the strictest homeschooling requirements nationwide. As a homeschooled family in New York, you have to submit the following:

Each of these items is submitted to your local school district, in addition to complying with the state’s hourly “attendance” requirements.

So, as you can see, we’ve only talked about three states and the requirements vary greatly! Even if you’re in a state that has stricter regulations, take heart that it is still feasible, you’ll just have to put in a bit more work to report.

What about high school graduation?

Excellent question! Again, states will vary on their requirements for graduation, but to make life a little easier for you, check out our blog post about crafting the perfect high school transcript! We’ve also shared information on how to make sure your high schooler meets science graduation requirements.

At the end of the day, you can’t be too thorough when it comes to documenting coursework, credits, grades, etc. When in doubt, document! Even if you don’t need to do so for state requirements, at the very least it will beef up your graduate’s transcript and provide solid information for colleges and employers.

Online Homeschooling Resources

Homeschool state requirements and online resources

If you’re looking for more information about homeschooling and how to successfully (and legally) do so within your state, we have two top-notch recommendations for you!

The Homeschool Legal Defense Association (HSLDA) works hard to make sure every homeschooling family understands how to homeschool within their state of residence. They have also been influential in quite a bit of legislation surrounding homeschooling!

And, like mentioned above, HSLDA is our favorite resource for better understanding each state’s requirements for homeschooling. Their website offers a color-coded, integrative map that lays out homeschool laws by state. In addition, HSLDA shares other information pertinent to homeschooling, such as immunization requirements.

The Coalition for Responsible Home Education (CRHE) seeks to empower homeschooled children through community awareness, education, and advocacy. They focus heavily on the rights of homeschooled children and offer resources to encourage successful homeschool education.

comprehensive guide to state requirements for homeschooling

For States with Stricter Requirements…

Homeschool Skedtrack is a free, online resource that lets you plan, schedule, and track all at once. Their website isn’t fancy or frilly, but it gets the job done and is a great alternative to using a notebook planner. Oh, and this resource will also generate a report card for your student!

Homeschool Tracker is not free, but it’s quite affordable on an annual basis. You can track up to 20 students (a fantastic option if you’re teaching in a co-op!), with high-quality features such as high school transcripts, lesson planning, weighted grading, flexible workflows, and more.

If you’re looking for a low-tech way to track your homeschooler’s education, a paper and pencil will always be there for you! Etsy offers countless printable options for homeschool planning, or you can just scroll through their templates to glean some ideas to use on your own.

Remember the Why Behind Your Decision to Homeschool

Deciding to Homeschool, state requirements

State requirements might leave you feeling discouraged on your journey as homeschoolers. We often choose to homeschool so that we have the ultimate say in what our child learns, so don’t “rules” just cancel out the benefits?

Absolutely not! Even if you live in a more regulated state like New York, you still get to have a say in what your child learns. You still get to keep them at home with you. You still get to be their teacher, and you still get to watch them grow and blossom as individuals, uninfluenced by the environment surrounding public education.

These reasons are a huge part of our mission behind Journey Homeschool Academy. Through online courses, you can be confident your student is getting a high-quality education that meets high standards. We take the hard work of planning off your plate and give you a turnkey curriculum your student will learn from and, best of all, will love!

Get your kids excited about science with engaging, faith-based curriculum.

Take lesson planning off your plate! Journey Homeschool Academy’s multi-sensory approach makes science interesting with flexible, engaging lessons without sacrificing a rigorous academic education.

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