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Massachusetts allows students to be educated at home if they are "approved in advance" by the local superintendent or school committee. In addition, it allows students to be educated in a private school if that private school has been approved. Unlike many other states, Massachusetts does not expressly permit students to be educated under the covering of a private school. Due to repeated parental rights decisions of the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court, however, homeschoolers operating under the umbrella of a private school have little to fear. Unfortunately, some homeschoolers on the South Shore will no longer have this option because the only private school program catering to homeschoolers, the Fellowship Christian Academy, has closed its doors.
Massachusetts law permits a private school to operate an "independent study program" for homeschoolers, but that program would need to be approved by the school committee of the town in which the private school is located. An official private school ISP option would be a big step forward for families across Massachusetts, where homeschooling is subject to local control. Public school students have the option of "open enrolling" into other school districts, so it makes perfect sense for homeschoolers to "open enroll" into umbrella schools. All that is needed is visionary leadership in a single private school and a receptive school committee in that town. HSLDA is eager to work with private schools that are willing to consider serving homeschoolers in this way. Please contact us if you know of a school that might be interested.