How to Homeschool in North Carolina

This information is not legal advice and should not be used as such. You should verify all requirements with the government agency in your area before you begin homeschooling. You may find contact information in the links below.
  • In North Carolina, homeschooling is known as a "non-public school".
  • Compulsory attendance is required for children ages 7 through 16.

From the United States Department of Education

"A 'home school' means a nonpublic school in which one or more children of not more than two families or households receive academic instruction from parents or legal guardians, or a member of either household." N.C. Gen. Stat. §115C-563.

Any new home school must send a notice of intent to operate to a duly authorized representative of the state of North Carolina. This "duly authorized representative" is defined by law as the Director of the Division of Non-Public Education. Notice must be provided when the home school is terminated. N.C. Gen. Stat. §§115C-552(b); 560(b), 563(b).

Home schools elect to operate as either a private church school or school of religious charter, or a qualified nonpublic school and must then meet the requirements for that type of school. N.C. Gen. Stat. §115C-547 through §115C-554 or §115C-547 through §115C-562.

Building inspections are waived though if the school meets in a private residence. N.C. Gen. Stat. §115C-564.

The person providing instruction in the homeschool must hold at least a high school diploma or its equivalent. N.C. Gen. Stat. §115C-564.

A home school must operate for a nine calendar month school term. N.C. Gen. Stat. §§115C-548, 556.

Nonpublic school students have access to Learn and Earn On-Line courses by directly registering through the established higher education organization's course registration process.

Any new school may, on a voluntary basis, participate in any state-operated or -sponsored program that would otherwise be available to such school, including but not limited to the high school competency testing and statewide testing programs. However, since the standardized tests used by the Public Schools of North Carolina are state standardized (rather than nationally standardized), they do not satisfy the annual nationally standardized testing requirement for homeschools. N.C. Gen. Stat. §§115C-551; 559.

Students attending a home school must be tested academically once each year through a nationally standardized test or other nationally standardized equivalent measurement. The test must measure achievement in English grammar, reading, spelling, and mathematics for students and verbal and quantitative areas for grade 11 students. N.C. Gen. Stat. §§115C-174, 550, 558, 563(a), 564.

Home schools that comply with the requirements under N.C. Gen. Stat. §115C-563 et seq. are not subject to any other educational provision except requirements respecting immunization. N.C. Gen. Stat. §115C-565.

Home schools must maintain records to ensure that students are immunized. N.C. Gen. Stat. §§115C-548; 556.

Enacted in 2011, this tax credit provides a tax credit for up to $3,000 per semester per child. Initial eligibility is restricted to children who were part of an individualized education program (IEP) and enrolled at least the preceding two semesters at a public school. Beginning in 2016, this initial eligibility is reduced to one semester. The tax credit can be claimed for special education and related service expenses for a child who is homeschooled. Expenses must be documented. Continuing eligibility depends on a new special education evaluation by the school district every three years. N.C. Gen. Stat. §105-151.33.

The North Carolina Virtual Public School (NCVPS) "shall be available at no cost to all students in North Carolina who are enrolled in North Carolina's public schools .... The Department of Public Instruction shall communicate to local school administrative units all applicable guidelines regarding the enrollment of nonpublic school students in these courses." Given permission by the local school board, homeschooled students may enroll in NCVPS online courses. The local school board shall collect fees for such enrollments. North Carolina General Assembly, Section 7.20(d).

Contact Information

North Carolina Department of Administration
Division of Non-Public Education
1309 Mail Service Center
Raleigh, NC 27699-1309
Phone: 919-733-4276

North Carolina Department of Public Instruction
301 North Wilmington Street
Raleigh, NC 27601
Phone: 919-807-3300
Fax: 919-807-3445
Email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Source: United States Department of Education - North Carolina State Regulations

From the North Carolina Department of Education

School Registration Requirement (Filing a Notice of Intent)

If any of the children currently living with you are at least age 7 but not yet age 16, they must be enrolled in a legal North Carolina school (either a local public conventional non-public or a home school registered with Department of Non Public Education (DNPE). North Carolina compulsory Attendance Law.

There is no approval, disapproval, certification or licensing process involved. You are notifying the State of North Carolina of your intent to establish a home school, not asking for state approval to do so.

As long as all questions on the Notice of Intent form are answered and credible high school diploma evidence is submitted with it for all adults listed as Chief Administrator and Provider of Academic Instruction, acceptance of your completed Notice of Intent form is automatic.

Formal receipt acknowledgment of your Notice of Intent will be sent to you via email once DNPE officials process your Notice of Intent and diploma evidence.

One Notice of Intent covers all children of compulsory attendance age who live with you. Only one Notice of Intent per household please.

Notice of Intent to Establish a Home School (Online)

You may use the North Carolina Notice of Intent to Establish a Home School webpage to register online. In order for you to review and update your home school record, a unique User id and password must be set up. You must also have a valid email address to participate in the online registration.

Notice of Intent to Establish a Home School (Mail)

You can complete the paper North Carolina Notice of Intent to Establish a Home School (PDF) and mail the form to:

NOI Section, Div. Non-Public Education
1309 Mail Service Center
Raleigh, NC 27699-1309

Reasons a home school can be terminated by DNPE:

1) Providing an invalid street address;
2) If any correspondence sent to a home school via the U.S. Postal Service is returned to DNPE as undeliverable or address not known;
3) Home schools that have moved out-of-state;
4) Home schools that do not administer a national standardized test annually;
5) Home schools that report no student enrollment; and
6) Home schools that do not operate on a regular schedule for more than three consecutive calendar months during any July 1 through the following June 30 period of time.

Attendance Requirements

Operate the school on a regular schedule for at least nine calendar months, excluding reasonable holidays and vacations.


North Carolina's law addressing the annual nationally standardized testing of non-public school students (both home and conventional) makes no exceptions for any reason.

Once the home school has filed its Notice of Intent with DNPE, the student(s) must be administered the test within the first twelve months of DNPE's initial acknowledgment of your Notice of Intent (date shown on your email as the date school was opened) and then once during each of the following consecutive twelve month periods.

For more valid comparison purposes, it is recommended that the student(s) be tested each successive year during that same month.

The parent/guardian who serves as the chief administrator of the home school pays the cost of annual testing. There are no government (state or federal) or private funding sources available to pay any part of its cost.

Test score records shared with DNPE are not considered public records under North Carolina law G.S. 115C-174.13,564,549 and 557 to read more.

The North Carolina home school testing law requires that the test satisfy three criteria. The test must be nationally standardized (reports scores as national percentiles, stanines and/or grade equivalents and compares student test results to a national norm); be an achievement test (one measuring subject knowledge); and, cover at least the subject areas of English grammar, reading, spelling and mathematics.

The home school law (unlike public school law) does not allow for exemptions for special needs children from the annual testing requirement.

However, the law does permit, for example, the administering of a 2nd grade level test to a 13 year old who is functioning academically at the 2nd grade level. Note that the science and social studies sections of the test are recommended but are not required by statute.

In addition, North Carolina home school law does not mandate that the student achieve a certain minimum score on the nationally standardized test in order for the parent/guardian to be legally permitted to continue to home school that student during the following (or any future) school year.

Teacher Requirement

The chief administrator shall provide a copy of his/her and all teachers’ high school diploma, college diploma or GED to DNPE. Acceptable examples of graduation from high school include a copy of the high school or college transcript—provided it states clearly that a diploma (high school or college) was awarded in a specific month and year. High school certificates or copies of them are not acceptable.

A letter on the letterhead of the educational institution of graduation stating the full name of the chief administrator and that a high school or college diploma was received from that institution in a specific month and year is also acceptable evidence of graduation.

If the graduation documentation is in a language other than English, please enclose an English translation of it by a non-related adult residing outside of the household. That person should then sign and date the translated document and provide a telephone number and mailing address for verification purposes. The credentials of the person performing the translation should also be provided.

Failure to include diploma evidence with your NOI will delay processing and, consequently, may delay the withdrawal of your student from the conventional school in which he/she is currently enrolled.

Health Records

Make and maintain the school disease immunization and annual attendance records for each student.

Termination Notification Requirement

Notify DNPE when the school is no longer in operation


The State of North Carolina does not issue a diploma or a transcript for home schooled students. The home school parent/guardian, who serves as the chief administrator of the home school designs, provides and retains copies of each student’s diploma and/or transcript. Each non-public school student receives all diplomas and transcripts from the chief administrator of the school in which the student is enrolled. Whenever a former home school student is presented for enrollment at a conventional school (public or non-public) or college, that educational

Suggested Transcript Information

1) The home school name, address and telephone number
2) Titles of subjects completed by the student by school year (for each of those four years)
3) The numerical (or letter) grade and unit credit earned for each subject
4) Annual nationally standardized test scores
5) The month and year of high school graduation
6) Signature of the chief administrator and date of signature
7) Social Security number of student

Drivers Permits

Students under age 18 may not obtain/retain/re-acquire a valid North Carolina driver's permit/license if he/she is not enrolled in a legal North Carolina school.

Driver Education is available only through two sources:
1. The local public high school that the student would be enrolled.
2. A local professional North Carolina Division of Motor Vehicles approved driver training program.

Each Local Education Agency has the discretion to charge a fee up to $65 per student for Driver Education courses. Parents/guardians should contact the Local Education Agency to determine the cost that will be required for any Driver Education course.

If a non-public school student fails to pass the course, he/she must then either wait until at least age 18 to obtain a permit.

DNPE Recommendations

1) Conduct instruction each school year for at least 180 days.
2) Keep school records longer than required by law.
3) Maintain a current daily log, journal or lesson plan book throughout the entire school year.
4) When selecting your school name, choose an academic name appropriate for inclusion on the student’s future high school diploma which would be provided by your school. Keep in mind that DNPE will NOT be able to accommodate requests later for a change of school name in the division’s files.
5) In order to expedite the processing of Notices of Intent, please do not submit your Notice of Intent until you are certain that your home school will definitely begin within 5 days of the submission.
6) Do not withdraw your child from his/her present school or begin your school until you have received written acknowledgment

North Carolina Home Schooling Links

Source: North Carolina Department of Education

Updated 29 December 2021

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