If you want to start home school, you need to know the homeschooling requirements and laws where you live.
My guide gives some useful tips to help you steer your way through and shows you how to find out about the laws which affect you.
This fascinating article on Wikipedia proves that homeschooling is legal in many countries and estimates the numbers of children who are homeschooled.
Homeschooling laws vary; in fact there are massive differences between the legal requirements you'll have to face.
Before you begin, here is my guide to help you take the right approach to homeschooling laws:
The good news is that home school is legal in many countries, including South Africa, Indonesia, New Zealand and Russia as well as the United Kingdom and Canada.
Home school is legal in all 50 US states, but each state has different homeschooling requirements.
In terms of the US, the Homeschool Legal Defense Association (HSLDA) has a really useful guide to the requirements of each state.
You can also see an overview of the home school laws affecting the US and UK here.
You'll find the HSLDA website has details of the homeschooling requirements that directly relate to you. Most states have mandatory reporting, some require a portfolio, yet others want you to have a list of curriculum handed over to the local public school district...so it's worth checking out the requirements thoroughly.
Home school laws in your state may include:
If you're just starting out, I thought this overall remark from an E-How contributor about US homeschool state requirements might be reassuring:
"Each state sets its own regulations, which range from very lax to somewhat troublesome."
Thankfully, here in the UK for England and Wales, the homeschooling requirements are basically very straight forward.
In fact, since my children never went to school in the first place, there is no legal obligation upon us to register as a homeschool family with the Local Authority.
The homeschooling laws we are obliged to follow are based on Section 7 of the 1996 Education Act. This says:
"The parent of every child of compulsory school age shall cause him to receive efficient full time education suitable a) to his age, ability and aptitude, and b) any special educational needs he may have, either by attendance at a school or otherwise."
It is the 'otherwise' part of this sentence which is so important and gives us the right to homeschool.
The law is different in Scotland, Northern Ireland and Islands such as the Channel Islands and the Isle of Man.
In April 2019 the government published a new guidance for home educators here.
I have to say, it does sound pretty off-putting and heavy duty. Remember, the people who wrote it have never been home educators themselves. They haven't seen how children learn fantastically well all by themselves once they are motivated to do so.
What you need to remember is that actually nothing has changed in law.
Home educating parents are NOT required to:
Also, the guidance clearly states that there are NO legal requirements for you as parents educating a child at home to do any of the following:
The fact is that actually you will do brilliantly and your child will learn far more than they would at school.
I run the Courageous Homeschooling Facebook support group which will reassure you that all will work out just fine. Do join us and see for yourself that teaching your child at home is a life-changing decision which is better and more rewarding for all of you.
I really hope that you won't be put off starting homeschool by the need to fulfill the requirements of your state, province or country.
The advantages of homeschooling are well worth jumping through any hoops you find.
The summary of the homeschooling laws I have given here is not intended to be, and does not constitute, the giving of legal advice.
But I think the hardest part is often getting started and, once you've begun, you'll see homeschooling really does have lots of benefits.
Don't be put off by homeschooling requirements and laws; it's really worth it!
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