Home School State Requirements Explained: What You Should Know
Homeschool Basics

Home School State Requirements Explained: What You Should Know

Whitney
Whitney

Table of Contents

We are a family of five with three kids that are on our third year of homeschool. Before we started homeschool I was a bit overwhelmed with figuring out where to start. Before you begin homeschool you should always check your state requirements each year at the beginning of your school year.

Homeschool state requirements in the United States very from each state from minimal regulations to very high regulations.

These regulations include:

  1. Required school ages
  2. If you need to notify the state that you are homeschooling
  3. Teacher qualifications
  4. State-mandated subjects
  5. Assessment requirements
  6. Immunization requirements

There are 11 states that have very minimal regulations and are considered the most friendly homeschool states. They include Indiana, Idaho, Alaska, Texas, Oklahoma, Missouri, Iowa, Illinois, New Jersey, Connecticut, and Michigan.

Required School Ages for Homeschool in the US

Each state has a minimum number of when a child must go to school in their community or start homeschool. As there is a start age, there is also a range of time children need to be educated.

The minimum age to start school ranges from 6-8 years old. The required school age ends at ages ranging from 16-18 years old.

Notification Requirements for Homeschool in the US

Before you start homeschool you should always check to see if you need to notify your state that your child is being homeschooled or if you need any other documentation sent in.

Most low regulated states do not require you to notify them. They may ask proof of attendance or some other documentation at any time, but notification is not needed otherwise.

Other states do require you to notify the State that you are homeschooling. Kansas  only requires you to report for the first homeschool year, while the rest require verification every year.

Information that needs to be sent in can range from a simple form with your child's name, grade that they are in, or birth certificate. Or it can be more strict with sending in your curriculum to be verified with state standards.

Some states also require an annual report of how well your child is doing in each subject, qualifications for teaching, or tests to be performed to check your child's progress. Immunization records may also be required to have on hand.

Check your state for more detailed info.

State Notify Teacher
Qualifications
Assessment Immunizations
Alabama ✓*
Alaska ✓*
Arizona
Arkansas
California ✓*
Colorado
Connecticut Recommended
Delaware
Florida
Georgia
Hawaii
Idaho
Illinois
Indiana
Iowa
Kansas first year only
Kentucky
Louisiana
Maine ✓**
Maryland
Massachusetts
Michigan
Minnesota
Mississippi
Missouri
Montana
Nebraska
Nevada
New Hampshire
New Jersey
New Mexico
New York
North Carolina
North Dakota
Ohio
Oklahoma
Oregon
Pennsylvania
Rhode Island
South Carolina Requires
approval
process
South Dakota
Tennessee
Texas
Utah
Vermont
Virginia
Washington
West Virginia
Wisconsin
Wyoming

*Only for private tutoring
**If running homeschool as a private school

To further protect yourself, HSLDA is an organization to help protect homeschoolers and keep their rights. You can help support them by becoming a member.

Teacher Qualifications for Homeschool in the US

To homeschool in some states you must follow the teacher qualifications mandated by your state. This means you may need to be certified before starting to homeschooling your child. The teacher qualifications vary by state. Some options include:

  • In Washington: One option for to meet qualifications is-one hour of supervision for only your child by a certified person or you must be approved to be qualified to provide home-based instruction from your local school district. Other homeschool options are available too. You can also be deemed qualified by your local superintendent to teach homeschool.
  • In Minnesota: a teacher's license for the grade you are teaching, complete a teacher competency exam, have a bachelor's degree, and provide instruction to an accredited school.
  • In Tennessee: You have to have a high school diploma or GED. Submit a notice to homeschool, provide immunization records, you must teach four hours a day for 180 days every academic year, keep attendance records, and test your child in grades 5,7, and 9.
  • In California: If you have a private tutor, the child much be taught by someone with a California teaching credential for the grade level taught. They must be taught for a certain amount of time each day for 175 days by the English language. The parent can do this if they have the teaching credentials needed.

These are only some of the states that require teacher qualifications to give you an idea of how in-depth the requirements can go and how much they are different.

States that require teacher qualifications are:

States that require teacher qualification for some homeschool options are:

  • California-for private tutors
  • Alabama-for private tutors
  • Hawaii-for private tutors
  • Maine-if joining with other homeschooling parents as a private school

State Mandated Subjects for Homeschool in US

In more regulated states you must have certain subjects in your curriculum that you follow. These subjects change per state. Subjects range from following your public school district to more detailed subjects. All of the subjects listed are from the HSLDA website.

Some states have a recommended subject list to follow, while others require the subjects to be listed in your curriculum.

  • Washington: occupational education, science, math, language, social studies, history, health, reading, writing, spelling, art, and music.
  • California: must follow subjects taught in public school
  • Idaho: must follow subjects taught in public school
  • Nevada: English, math, science, and social studies
  • Arizona: reading, math, grammar, social studies, and science
  • Montana: English, language arts, math, social studies, science, health, arts, career education
  • Wyoming: reading, writing, math, science, civics, history, and literature
  • Colorado: reading writing, math, speaking, the United States constitution, history, civics. science and literature
  • New Mexico: language arts, math, reading, and science
  • North Dakota: Must follow subjects taught in public school by grade level
  • South Dakota: language Arts and math
  • Nebraska: math, science, language arts, social studies, and health
  • Texas: math, reading, spelling and grammar, and good citizenship
  • Minnesota: subjects by grade level including reading, literature, fine arts, math, writing, history, science, economics, government, geography, citizenship, physical education, and health
  • Iowa: reading, language arts, math, science, and social studies are only required if you do the Independent Private Instruction (IPI) of homeschool
  • Missouri: 600 hours out of 1,000 hours of instruction to core subjects including reading, math, social studies, science, and language arts
  • Louisiana: you must match subjects by grade level from what the public school teaches. The curriculum you chose must match the same quality as the public school. The Declaration of Independence must be taught in elementary and The Federalist Papers in high school.
  • Wisconsin: reading, math, social studies, science, language arts, and health. One must show proof of these being taught in all four years of high school.
  • Illinois: language arts, math, social sciences, biology and physical sciences, physical development and health, and fine arts
  • Michigan: English, grammar, writing, reading, literature, spelling, civics, history, science and math
  • Kentucky: reading, writing, spelling, grammar, math, science, history, and civics taught in the English language
  • Georgia: math, social studies, science, reading, and language arts
  • Ohio: reading, writing, spelling, language, history, geography, history of Ohio, history of the United States, government, health, physical education, math, science, first aid, safety, fire prevention, fine arts, music
  • West Virginia: reading, language, math, science, and social studies
  • South Carolina:math, science, social studies, reading and writing. In grades 7-12 composition and literature
  • New Hampshire: science, math, language, history, health, government, reading, writing, spelling, exposure to and apapreciation of art and music, history of the constitutions of New Hampshire and the United States
  • Maine: math, science, social studies, English, language arts, physical and health education, library skills, fine arts. Grades 6-12 one year of Maine studies. Grades 7-12 one year of computer proficiency.
  • Vermont: communication skills, reading, writing, the use of numbers, natural sciences, fine art. A variety of  literature including English and American, other literature. Citizenship, history, and government in Vermont and United States. Physical education and health education that discuss the effects of tobacco, alcoholic drinks, and drugs on the human system and society.
  • New York: subjects are specific to grade level
  • Pennsylvania: subjects vary by grade level
  • Rhode Island: reading, writing, health and physical education, arithmetic, history of Rhode Island and United States, principles of American government, civics
  • Connecticut: reading, spelling, writing, English grammar, arithmetic, geography, United States history, citizenship, and story of town, state, and federal governments
  • New Jersey: under New Jersey law a parent must give their child the same education that is equivalent to school. This includes how many years a subject is taught.
  • Massachusetts: age-appropriate levels of reading, writing, spelling, grammar, English language, geography, arithmetic, drawing, music, United States history and Constitution, duties in citizenship, health, CPR, physical education, and good behavior
  • Maryland: math, social studies, English, science, art, music, health and physical education

Assessment Requirements for Homeschool in US

Some states make it mandatory to give your child an assessment every year or specified tests to measure that they are learning. These States include:

  • Hawaii
  • Washington
  • Oregon
  • Colorado
  • North Dakota
  • South Dakota
  • Nebraska
  • Minnesota
  • Iowa
  • Louisiana
  • Tennessee
  • Georgia
  • Florida
  • South Carolina
  • North Carolina
  • Virginia
  • West Virginia
  • Ohio
  • Maine
  • New Hampshire
  • Vermont
  • New York
  • Pennsylvania
  • Massachusetts

Immunization Requirements for Homeschool in US

With the increase in vaccines, you should know that some states require you to send in your child's immunization records. These States include:

  • Montana: you just have to keep them on record in case you are asked to send them in. Unless you have a religious or medical exemption.
  • Colorado: keep your records handy. Only need to send them in the school district upon request
  • New Mexico: medical and religious exceptions are allowed. Keep your records in reach in case you are asked to send them in.
  • North Dakota: sent in yearly 14 days before you start homeschool
  • Nebraska: must comply to vaccination requirements unless exempt
  • Minnesota: immunization compliance for children reaching age 7 and again in the 7th grade
  • Iowa: you must have proof of vaccinations for those homeschooling their first time.
  • Louisiana: Proof of immunization for meningococcal disease by age 11 to the State Board of Elementary and Secondary Education. Unless you have a waiver.
  • Tennessee: Proof of immunizations sent in at the beginning of your school year to the superintendent at your local school district.
  • Alabama: If you are registered as a private homeschool
  • Pennsylvania: Every year you must report by August 1st.
  • Virginia: Required upon request.
  • North Carolina: Required to keep immunization records on hand.

This information is based on my own research and only a resource to help you understand what you need to start homeschooling.


Frequently Asked Questions

How do I become a homeschool teacher?

First you need to see if your state requires you to be qualified to teach. Sometimes a high school diploma fits in that qualification. Other states require to be certified to teach by grade level or by being deemed qualified by your local superintendent.

If your state does not require you to be qualified, then the next step is to find out if you need to include certain educational subjects. Then find a curriculum or make one that matches your state requirements.

If you do not need to follow state mandated subjects you have the freedom to choice which subject best meets your child's need or interest.

What age should you start homeschooling?

First, you must check your state information to see what age is the minimum age to start educating your child by state standards. You can start homeschool before the minimum age. The average age to start homeschool is at age 7.

How many hours a day should I homeschool?

Some states require a minimum number of hours to homeschool each day along with the amount of days your child must be educated.

If your state does not require a specific amount of hours elementary age, 2 to 3 hours. Older students will generally homeschool for 3 to 4 hours a day.