Anyone who is homeschooling or thinking about homeschooling needs to be aware of the homeschooling laws in their state. That is pretty easy to find on the Internet or from a local school superintendent. Here is an article about this topic that will give you some more information. My comments are at the end.
Homeschooling Laws - Do You Know What They Are For Your State? by Don Rodriguez
Education is one of the primary functions of state government. Thus, either directly or indirectly, all states have laws and regulations that govern home schools. Laws are passed by the state legislature and regulations are promulgated by state agencies, such as a State Board of Education. It is critical that parents who decide to home school their children know what the homeschooling laws and regulations are for their particular state.
These enactments normally fall into four categories: attendance, required courses, record keeping and reporting, and assessment. All states have laws which make it mandatory that children between certain designated ages attend school. Further, sometimes these laws also prescribe that children be in school for a minimum number of hours per day and a minimum number of days per year. There are criminal and civil penalties provided for both parents and children who violate these laws.
States also require that certain courses be taught, such as science, reading, state and national government, and certain others. And, caution here, some states even require that instruction be in the English language. As for record keeping and reporting, most states require that parents who intend to home school notify their local public school superintendent of their intent each year and that they include a statement that they meet minimum state standards of eligibility to teach. Some states also require that parents maintain a schedule of attendance and course taught and that parents report their child's progress at least annually.
Some states also require some form of assessment. Sometimes it is by nationally recognized testing or by a review of your child's academic work by a competent professional. Here is how the State of Ohio sets forth its requirement in this area:
The assessment should be based on a nationally normed, standardized achievement test which is:(1) administered by a certified teacher, a person mutually agreed upon by the parents and the superintendent, or a person duly authorized by the publisher of the test to administer the exam; and(2)intended to measure proficiency comparable with other students of the child's grade. A score at or above the 25 percentile shall be considered reasonable proficiency for the child's performance.As an alternative to the test described above, the parents may provide a narrative written by a certified teacher, or other person mutually agreed upon by the parents and the superintendent, of a portfolio of the child's school work. Or the parents may provide an assessment agreed upon by the parents and the superintendent. The parents are responsible for all costs of the academic assessment, except the parents may have the testing done free of charge by participating in the public school testing program.
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My Comments: We live in Ohio, so I can say that the above wording for our homeschooling laws is correct. We have to notify the school district before school starts and provide an assessment from a certified teacher at the end of the year. It's really pretty easy to find a teacher who will look over your child's work and sign a form saying that they have worked up to their ability for the year.
I'm not saying that you can do nothing all year and get a teacher to OK it. I'm just saying that if you work with your child consistently during the year, it's pretty easy for a teacher to see their progress from looking over their work and then sign a form stating that.
Some states you just have to take attendance. That's it! Just tell them your child showed up for the day. Other states have much stricter guidelines, but all homeschooling laws are achievable for any normal family.
When you are first starting out, you have to become familiar with the homeschooling laws in your state, but once you do this the first year, it's really no big deal. You know what you need to do. You know what your state requires and you just do it year after year. Don't let these laws intimidate you into not homeschooling. Many families in your state homeschool and you can too if you put your mind to it.
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