Homeschool families are governed by the requirements of the state in which they live. Homeschoolers in California, for instance, must follow a different set of laws than, say, the homeschoolers in Texas. Different regulations in Ohio can make homeschooling a little bit different than homeschooling in Connecticut. And so on.
How does homeschooling vary from state to state?
Differences state to state may be significant — such as having to file a homeschool curriculum plan in one states but not in another, or having to turn in end of year test scores in some states, not others. Differences can also be slight — like filing a notice of intention to homeschool when a child turns 6 in one state versus age 7 in another state.
Some states permit homeschool families to operate entirely on their own with a minimum of contact with school districts at all, while others require regular contact with districts to insure they are operating under the law.
Homeschoolers in some states may operate as private schools, utilize tutoring provisions to take advantage of the expertise of others to supplement the educational program, or take classes at local high schools and colleges.
Though homeschool regulations in one state may be very similar to another, subtle differences matter nonetheless.
The responsibility and privilege of directing and educating children means doing so lawfully in compliance with all applicable state regulations. Though moving across state lines is very easy while homeschooling, gaining familiarity with any changes in the regulations should be a top priority for families planning to homeschool there.
Those finding these laws intimidating can find plenty of help understanding and interpreting them with the help of any public library, homeschool legal web site or trusted advisor.
Do homeschool regulations ordinarily factor into a family’s decision of where to live? The answer to this question is not presently known, not through conventional methods anyway. Obviously, families thinking of moving to an area should check out the new laws first, as they might any other laws that may significantly affect their decision-making (i.e., small business, state tax, health care, and so on). When considering a move, families must then decide if they can work within the freedoms guaranteed to the homeschoolers who live there as well as the procedures that homeschoolers in that state are asked to follow.
Homeschooling comes with an almost infinite amount of freedom and an endless number of variations on how it can be done. No matter the state, every American family may homeschool entirely as they like, in a way that is tailored to their own desires and situations. Nevertheless, it is important to check laws before beginning any homeschool program, to be sure that any existing specifications are incorporated into the methods or curriculum plan.
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