Are you considering homeschooling your child? You can do it! As you get started, it’s important to make sure you comply with the education laws where you live. This page helps you understand how to homeschool legally—step by step.


Compulsory school attendance age

Children must attend school or comply with the homeschool laws starting in the school year in which they turn 6 before September 1. They must remain in school until they turn 17 or complete the 10th grade. However, any child who has not reached 8 years of age by September 1 of the school year can be exempted from the compulsory attendance law if his or her parent files an affidavit with the county superintendent of schools stating that the child will not begin home instruction before turning 8.


Withdrawing your child from his or her current school

If you want to start homeschooling during the school year and your child is currently enrolled in a public or private school, HSLDA recommends that you formally withdraw your child from that school. If you are going to start homeschooling after the school year is over, and your child is considered enrolled for the following year, we recommend that you withdraw your child before the next school year begins, so that the school does not mark your child as absent or truant.

We invite you to become a member of HSLDA to receive specific advice about withdrawing your child from school and starting to homeschool. Local schools may have specific forms or withdrawal procedures. HSLDA members are eligible to receive individualized advice about whether complying with those procedures is advisable or required. HSLDA members are also eligible to use the sample letter of withdrawal for their state, available in Member Resources, to correspond with school officials.

We generally recommend that any correspondence with authorities be sent “Certified Mail—Return Receipt Requested.” Keep copies of the withdrawal letter and any other paperwork or correspondence, and any green postal receipts, for your personal records.

Note: If your child has never attended a public or private school, this section does not apply.


Complying with your state’s homeschool law

The parent or guardian must file a one-time affidavit of intent to homeschool with the county school superintendent within 30 days after beginning to homeschool in the county. The affidavit of intent must include the child’s name, the child’s date of birth, the address of the school the child is currently attending (if any), as well as the names, telephone numbers, and addresses of the persons who currently have custody of the child. (A form for the affidavit of intent is available to HSLDA members here.)

The parent or person with custody must provide a certified copy (not a photocopy!) of the child’s birth certificate. If you cannot obtain a certified copy of your child’s birth certificate, you can submit other proof of the child’s identity and age along with an affidavit explaining inability to provide a copy of the birth certificate.

You must include reading, grammar, math, social studies, and science in your homeschool curriculum.

If you decide to stop homeschooling, or move out of the county, you should submit an affidavit of termination to the county superintendent of schools within 30 days of ending your homeschool program. If you begin homeschooling again, or begin homeschooling in a new county, you should submit a new affidavit of intent.


Records

If your state has any specific recordkeeping requirements, they are listed above. Regardless of your state’s recordkeeping requirements, HSLDA recommends that you keep detailed records of your homeschool program. These records may be helpful if you face an investigation regarding your homeschooling or your student needs to furnish proof of education.

These records should include attendance records, information on the textbooks and workbooks your student used, samples of your student’s schoolwork, correspondence with school officials, portfolios and test results, and any other documents showing that your child is receiving an appropriate education in compliance with the law. You should maintain these records for at least two years. You should keep your student’s high school records and proof of compliance with the home education laws during the high school years (including any type of home education notice that you file with state or local officials) on file forever. HSLDA’s high school webpage has additional information about homeschool recordkeeping.



Home School Legal Defense Association is a national advocacy organization that supports the right of parents to educate their children at home. We are dedicated to protecting the legality of your homeschool while equipping you to successfully teach your children.

HSLDA members have 24/7 phone and email access to our staff of attorneys and legal assistants, who can help you understand the homeschool law in your state and will go to bat for you if a school official or other authority challenges your homeschool. Our 80,000 members—families like you!— also receive personalized advice on everything form homeschooling a high schooler to teaching a child with speical needs from our team of education consultants.


Please note: The information on this page has been reviewed by an attorney, but it should not be taken as legal advice specific to your individual situation.


Last updated July 10, 2015