Many people have questions about the legality of home schooling. These questions are a special concern to people who are giving serious consideration to beginning home schooling.
Here are some basic facts to consider:
Some state laws are quite restrictive, others are quite lenient. Obviously you will need to research the laws in your state. Here are some generalizations, however.
Don't let anyone convince you that it cannot be done in your state. Wherever you live, there are thousands of families who are already home schooling. Every state has a state-wide support group to encourage home schooling, and most areas have local support groups.
No state requires parents to have a teaching degree or certificate to teach their own children.
Some states do require various levels of formal education. Some require registering with the state, testing for the students, etc. You must learn the laws in your own state.
You state home-school support group will gladly answer your questions.
HSLDA is a professional, nation-wide organization of lawyers who specialize in knowing home-school laws.
Use this link to learn about laws in your state or to find
names and addresses of home-school support groups in your state (use
your "back" button to return here):
Many states do not require you to contact local officials at all. If you do have to contact them, you need to know your legal rights first.
Local school officials often do not know home-school law. They operate public schools. As a result they often give inaccurate information about home schooling. Some are biased against home schooling, either through lack of knowledge or for financial reasons. Unfortunately some have also been known to mislead, intimidate, threaten, or even sue (especially when home schoolers seem unsure of themselves).
Please don't misunderstand. We know that some local school officials are quite nice and easy to work with. The problem is that you do not know how they will react till you try to talk to them.
Our recommendation is that you go first to the sources that you can be sure will be both accurate and sympathetic. Get the facts from them, so you know the rights and requirements. Then if you must contact local officials, do so from a position of knowledge and confidence.
Contact the Home School Legal Defense Association at PO Box 3000, Purcellville, VA 20134; Phone (540) 338-5600. They are also online (see the link below).
This is a professional organization of lawyers. They exist for the sole purpose of specializing in home-school law, giving members legal advice and guidance. If you need a lawyer, they provide one along with court costs, if necessary.
There is a significant membership fee (discounts are available for members of support groups), but it is well worth it. Don't start home schooling without it! If you have a question or problem, contact them.
Let me conclude by assuring you that most home schoolers never have any serious legal problems. No one should ever refuse to home school because of legal concerns. However, Christians should know the law and strive to follow it. There is still, however, a definite risk of legal complications. This is the reason we urge home schoolers to follow the suggestions we have given.
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