What is Homeschooling?

Homeschooling is the education of children at home rather than in a traditional public or private school. It is legal in all 50 states, but every state makes its own rules and defines homeschooling differently. A family may need to register their child with their state or district, enroll their child in a non-traditional private school, church school, or homeschool program, or even establish their own private school.

States may regulate any of the following:

  • Your requirements for establishing and terminating your home education program (such as who to notify and when);
  • Who you must report to (such as your state, district, or cover school);
  • Your minimum teaching qualifications (such as a high school diploma or college degree);
  • The submission of curriculum plans (to let them know what you're going to teach);
  • The subjects you are required to teach;
  • What qualifies as adequate instruction (such as daily, yearly, or subject-based hours);
  • What records you must keep and how long you must keep them (such as attendance records and academic portfolios);
  • If and when you need to provide progress reports (to show how your child is doing); and
  • If, in what manner, and how often your child must be evaluated or tested (such as standardized testing or portfolio reviews).

States may regulate other things as well. Visit our Homeschool Laws section to find out what your compulsory attendance and home education laws are in your state. Note that, depending on your state, there may be other ways our child can be schooled at home beside under your state's homeschool statute. You may be able to enroll your child in an online virtual or correspondence school, enroll your child in a home-based private school, or hire a personal tutor. It's important that you know the requirements for your state, as well as your rights as a parent, so we encourage you take time to read through your state's homeschool laws.

  • Published 07 September 2009
  • Updated 09 January 2022

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