Compulsory attendance is required for children ages 6 through 18.
Parents have the prerogative to choose the education for their child. Kentucky State Board for Elementary and Secondary Education V. Rudasill, Ky. 589 S.W. 2nd 877 (1979).
In Kentucky, under state law, all children must be enrolled in school between the ages of six (6) and 18. If a child is six (6) by August 1, he or she MUST be enrolled in primary school. Children can begin primary school at age five, but only if their 5th birthday is on or before August 1 of the current school year. A four-year-old who will turn five by August 1 can enroll in primary school.KRS 159.010.
Home schools are defined as nonpublic schools in Kentucky. Because home schools are considered private schools in Kentucky, private school laws apply equally to home schools. KRS §159.030.
Parents wishing to educate their child at home must first establish a bona fide school, notify the local superintendent of schools that they have established this school, and report the names, ages, and place of residence for each pupil in attendance at the school. Each year they must notify the local superintendent of schools of their intent to homeschool their child(ren) within two weeks of the first day of the school year. KRS §159.160.
The homeschool parent must keep student attendance records and be open to inspection by the KDE. KRS §159.040.
The curriculum is to be similar to the courses taught in the public schools of the state, consistent with KRS §156.445(3). This is interpreted in Kentucky State Board for Elementary and Secondary Education V. Rudasill, Ky. 589 S.W. 2nd 877 (1979) to at least include reading, writing, spelling, grammar, history, mathematics, and civics. KRS §158.080.
The school term of nonpublic schools, including home instruction, may not be shorter than the term of the local public school district; if the school operates year-round, then the minimum term is 185 days. KRS §§158.070 and 158.080.
Individual school districts can decide whether to allow home-schooled students to participate in extracurricular activities. Kentucky Home School Information Packet.
Kentucky law provides optional certification for private, parochial, and church schools that comply with curriculum, certification, and textbook standards established by the KBE. Kentucky Revised Statutes (KRS) §156.160(3).
Pupils completing the prescribed elementary program of studies at any approved (interchangeable with certified in Kentucky) private or parochial school are entitled to a certificate of completion signed by his/her teachers. The certificate entitles the pupils to admission into any public high school. KRS §158.140.
Proprietary schools, i.e. privately owned for-profit educational institutions offering instruction in business, trade, technical, industrial, or related areas, but not including parochial, denominational, or charitable schools, cannot be established, maintained, operated, or conducted without a license. KRS §§ 165A.310 and 165A.330.
Proprietary schools are subject to state minimum standards. The standards include qualifications of instructors and administrators. KRS §§165A.310 and 165A.370.
The school term for private and parochial schools may not be shorter than the term of the local public school district; if the school operates year-round then the minimum term is 185 days that includes no less than the equivalent of 1062 instructional hours in a minimum of 170 instructional days. KRS §§158.070 and 158.080.
Instruction at private and parochial schools must be in the English language. KRS §158.080.
The State Textbook Commission approves text materials for certified private and parochial schools if texts are comprehensive and appropriate to the grade level in question, notwithstanding that they may contain elements of religious philosophy. KRS §156.445(3).
Proprietary schools are subject to state minimum standards. The standards include the quality and content of courses. KRS §§165A.310 and 165A.370.
Private and parochial schools are required to report to the local school district superintendent the names, ages, and places of residence of all pupils and any other information the superintendent requires to comply with the laws relating to the compulsory attendance and employment of children within two weeks of the first day of the school year. KRS §159.160.
If a private, parochial or church regular day school declines to notify the local board of education of those students in attendance, the school must notify each student's parent/guardian in writing and it then becomes the duty of the parent/guardian to notify the local board of education. KRS §159.030(1)(b).
Private and parochial schools must keep student attendance records in a register provided by the State Board for Elementary and Secondary Education. The schools must make attendance and scholarship reports in the same manner as required of public school officials. KRS §159.040.
The schools must be open to inspection by the directors of pupil personnel and officials of the Kentucky Department of Education (KDE) at all times. KRS §159.040.
Voter registration forms are available to private schools upon request from the county clerk. The school may designate an individual to inform students and employees of the availability of the forms and assist them in properly registering. The completed forms must be returned to the county clerk for official registration. KRS §116.046.
Proprietary schools are subject to state minimum standards. The standards include that student and faculty records must be available for inspection. KRS §§165A.310 and 165A.370.
Kentucky publicly places students in private schools that maintain special education programs approved by the Kentucky Board of Education if the local school district does not provide a special education program for the student's exceptionality. Transportation costs are included in the costs covered by the state. KRS §157.280(1) and (2).
Private primary or secondary schools, and preschool programs must require a current immunization certificate for any child enrolled as a regular attendee to be on file within two weeks of the child's attendance. Any child enrolled in grade six must also have an immunization certificate for hepatitis B. The certificate is provided by administrative regulation of the Cabinet for Health and Family Services, promulgated under KRS Chapter 13A. KRS §214.034.
Office of Continuous Improvement and Support
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Notify the superintendent of the local school board in writing within ten days of the beginning of the school year of their intent to homeschool their child(ren) each year they homeschool.
The letter must include the name, ages and residence of each child in attendance of the homeschool. See KRS 159.160.
A sample letter of intent has been included in the Kentucky Homeschool Information Packet (PDF).
When informing the district superintendent of your desire to homeschool, create a ‘school’ name. This will be used for future records and diplomas.
The parent is responsible providing the curriculum and the instructional materials for children being homeschooled. The responsibility for the education of the homeschooled child is borne completely by the guardians. The guardians select the curriculum and educational materials. There are many websites devoted to curriculum and instructions for homeschool families.
Subjects taught should include reading, writing, spelling, grammar, history, mathematics, science, and civics. It is the parents’ right to offer other subjects, as well. See KRS 158.080, KRS156.160, and KRS.156.445
It is required that all core instruction be offered in the English language.
Record and maintain scholarship reports of each student's progress in all subjects taught at the same intervals as the local public schools. See KRS 159.040 KDE suggests that the person responsible for instruction keep a portfolio that contains samples of the best work done by each child in several areas of study and maintain the portfolio each year the student is homeschooled.
This may be of assistance in documenting the existence of the homeschool or the transfer of the child to another educational setting. A record of courses taken and grades received is also necessary.
Keep accurate attendance records of pupil attendance. The attendance records can be kept in a notebook, on a computer, or in another manner, but must be readily available in case of an inquiry. See KRS 159.040. The minimum school term is 1062 instructional hours.
The term of the school shall not be for a shorter period in each year than the term of the public school in the district in which the child attending the school resides. In those school districts which are operating a year-round school program, the minimum term of private and parochial schools shall be one hundred eighty-five (185) days.
Students from non-accredited/non-certified private schools or homeschools do not receive a diploma recognized by the Kentucky Department of Education (KDE). It is the responsibility of the homeschool to issue a diploma to the student. Although homeschools operate legally under Kentucky statutory law, the KDE has limited governance over the establishment of such schools or their day-to-day operations.
The KDE does not issue diplomas to, or officially recognize homeschool diplomas. It is important to note that homeschools cannot seek traditional accreditation. Homeschools will not be found on the Kentucky list of certified schools. Unless a homeschooling family functions as a satellite classroom for an accredited/certified school, other schools or agencies may require documentation or other verification before accepting homeschool diplomas.
Some homeschooled children take the General Education Development (GED) exam to obtain a standard credential after turning 18. Other college-bound home school graduates take the SAT or ACT tests.
Participation in extracurricular activities sponsored by the public school is decided upon by individual school districts. State law only requires the public school district to allow opportunity for a student to participate in extracurricular activities if the student is enrolled in the public school district. Some districts are willing to allow homeschools to participate, but this is decided by individual school districts.
Enrolling/re-enrolling in public schools (recognition of credits):
When students who previously attended a homeschool or non-certified secondary school (any private school not certified pursuant to KRS 156.160(3)) desires to enroll in a public school, the local public school district is responsible for proper placement and awarding credits for the non-certified private school.
If the student does not hold a properly certified transcript, the schools may place the students using one of two methods:
1. Pass a similar examination given to other students receiving credit for the course.
2. Student must attain a “C” average in the course by the 12th week of school. Those courses successfully completed by examination or performance shall be counted toward minimum high school graduation requirements in the local school district. See KRS 158.140.
Students who complete a high school education in a homeschool setting approved under state law qualify for federal student aid (grants, loans, and work-study funds). For a homeschooled student to qualify for a college or career school education, he/she must complete a high school education in a homeschool setting approved under state law (or-if state law does not require a homeschooled student to obtain a completion credential-completing a high school education in a homeschool setting that qualifies as an exemption from compulsory attendance requirements under state law). See the website U.S. Department of Education’s Federal Student Aid for complete information regarding eligibility.
Source: Kentucky Department of Education
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