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

You must enroll your child in school if he or she is 5 years old on or before July 31 of the current school year. Your child is no longer required to attend school if he or she will be 18 years old before January 1.


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

There are two ways for you to homeschool legally in Hawaii.

Homeschooling under Hawaii’s homeschool statute:
Hawaii law specifically refers to homeschooling in Hawaii Rev. Stat. § 302A-1132(a)(5). To homeschool under this statute, you’ll need to follow these guidelines.

You must provide a notice of intent before you begin homeschooling. The notice of intent should be given to the principal of the public school your child would attend if he or she were enrolled in public school.

This notice may be submitted on a department-developed form (Form 4140) or in a letter that includes the name, address, telephone number, birth date, and grade level of the child and the parent’s signature. You may choose to submit either the Form 4140 or a notice of intent—you are not required to submit both.

HSLDA has a notice of intent form on our website, which lists the minimum information that parents must provide. Parents may also create their own notice of intent, so long as they include all the required information.

Finally, you must also notify the principal if you are no longer homeschooling.

There are no required subjects to be taught, but your curriculum must “be structured and based on educational objectives as well as the needs of the child, be cumulative and sequential, provide a range of up-to-date knowledge and needed skills, and take into account the interests, needs, and abilities of the child.”

  • According to the statute, an elementary school curriculum may include language arts, math, social studies, science, art, music, health, and physical education.
  • A secondary school curriculum may include social studies, English, mathematics, science, health, physical education, and guidance.

You must keep “a record of the planned curriculum,” which must include:

  • the commencement date and ending date of the homeschool program,
  • the number of hours per week of instruction,
  • the subjects to be covered,
  • the method used to determine mastery of materials and subjects in the curriculum, and
  • a list of textbooks or other instructional materials.

The list should be in standard bibliographical format (the author, title, publisher, and date of publication should be indicated).

You must submit an annual report of your child’s progress to your local principal.

For grades 3, 5, 8, and 10, parents must submit the results of a criterion or norm-referenced standardized achievement test of the parents’ choice, which demonstrates grade-level achievement appropriate to their child’s age.

For all other grades, the annual progress report may be one of the following:

  • a score on a nationally normed standardized achievement test, which must demonstrate grade-level achievement appropriate to the child’s age,
  • progress on a nationally normed standardized test that is equivalent to one grade level per calendar year,
  • a written evaluation by a Hawaii certified teacher,
  • a written evaluation by the parent (grades, tests, assignments, or results of the statewide testing program may be submitted) that demonstrates progress, or
  • the results of Hawaii’s Statewide Testing Program, if the parent chooses “to have the child participate in the school’s testing program.”

Homeschooling as an alternative education program:
Hawaii law also allows parents to operate their homeschool as an alternative education program under Hawaii Rev. Stat. § 302A-1132(a)(5). To do that, you’ll need to follow these guidelines.

You must have a bachelor’s degree in order to homeschool as an alternative education program.

You can operate a homeschool program as long as you are providing an alternative educational program that is approved by the superintendent.

There are no required subjects to be taught, but your curriculum must “be structured and based on educational objectives as well as the needs of the child, be cumulative and sequential, provide a range of up-to-date knowledge and needed skills, and take into account the interests, needs, and abilities of the child.”

  • According to the statute, an elementary school curriculum may include language arts, math, social studies, science, art, music, health, and physical education.
  • A secondary school curriculum may include social studies, English, mathematics, science, health, physical education, and guidance.

You must submit an annual report of your child’s progress to your local principal.

For grades 3, 5, 8, and 10, parents must submit the results of a criterion or norm-referenced standardized achievement test of the parent’s choice, which demonstrates grade-level achievement appropriate to the child’s age.

For all other grades, the annual progress report may be one of the following:

  • a score on a nationally normed standardized achievement test, which must demonstrate grade-level achievement appropriate to the child’s age,
  • progress on a nationally normed standardized test that is equivalent to one grade level per calendar year,
  • a written evaluation by a Hawaii certified teacher, or
  • a written evaluation by the parent (grades, tests, assignments, or results of the statewide testing program may be submitted) that demonstrates progress.

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 6, 2015