written by: Donna Clarke
• edited by: Donna Cosmato
• updated: 8/2/2012
Homeschooling laws and legal homeschooling requirements are not complicated to learn and they are worth investigating. Homeschooling offers the potential for young people to experience life and learning in a unique and exciting way, providing a level of learning simply unparalleled.
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Is Homeschooling Legal?
There are a number of questions that come to mind when considering the question of homeschooling. Is homeschooling legal? What are the homeschool laws that apply to me? Are there Federal homeschooling laws?
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The Founding Fathers, upon creating the laws of the land, determined issues of education to be a concern for the individual state. To that end, the 10th amendment of the Constitution stipulates that if a concern were to arise with respect to education, it should be resolved by the individual state involved. As such, should a person wish to homeschool, they would familiarize themselves with specific laws and regulations which exist within their respective state.
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Individual states have specific laws with respect to homeschooling. Some states, California, Nevada and Delaware for example, are more homeschooling friendly. Other states such as New York, Pennsylvania, Massachusetts and North Dakota, require more state oversight. Each state's Department of Education has a set of guidelines and laws with respect to homeschooling. These laws and guidelines are available upon request and in most instances, are also available online.
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Each state defines the homeschooling laws for the citizens who reside within it's borders. Individual counties and provinces are required to adhere with the guidelines set forth by the state,. They (the counties) may not impose additional rules, regulations or requirements. County homeschooling laws may not supersede the state, they may only work in accordance with the state law. For example, most states require a homeschooling family not utilizing an umbrella organization, meet with a representative of their school district's Department of Education. This meeting is designed to review the learning which has occurred over a specified period of time. The county may not require more meetings than set forth in the state law. In other words, should the state allow for two meetings each academic year, the county must adhere to that law. It is always beneficial to be aware of both sets of requirements, and defer to state law, should a question arise.
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Homeschoolers have specific rights with respect to the individual laws of their respective states. Should a homeschooling family wish to avoid some of the potential challenges that come with working with some of the more strictly regulated states, they may wish to enroll their child(ren) in an accredited homeschooling program approved by their state. These umbrella organizations may be secularly or religiously based, and offer a variety of services for the homeschooling family.
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Know the Law
When it comes to homeschooling, preparation is key. Knowing the homeschooling laws for your individual state is of utmost importance in guaranteeing a stress free homeschooling journey. Keep a hard copy on file, along with your other school papers, and be sure to refer to it should you have any concerns.