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

A child must attend school beginning in the fall of the school year in which he or she turns 7. However, if the child is officially enrolled in a public school earlier than 7, he or she must continue to attend or be educated at home. When you intend to teach your child at home, you can wait to begin instruction until he or she turns 7.

Children must remain in school until they turn 18 or graduate. A child who turns 16 can withdraw from school if the child and his or her parents have an exit interview with the local public school principal.


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

Indiana homeschools are considered to be nonaccredited private schools, and thus homeschools must comply with Indiana’s private school statute.

Homeschooling under the private school statute:
To homeschool, you will need to follow the steps below.

Private schools must teach in the English language and provide instruction equivalent to that given in public schools. However, the State Board of Education is not given the authority to define “equivalent instruction” nor to approve homeschool programs. There are no mandatory subjects for a homeschool program, but HSLDA recommends that you follow the same general subjects that would be taught in public school.

You must operate your homeschool program for the same number of days that the public schools in your district are in session. This generally is 180 days.

You must keep attendance records to verify the enrollment and attendance of your students. Such records must be made available upon request of the state superintendent or the superintendent of the school district in which you reside.

Indiana public school officials frequently request that homeschoolers complete an online enrollment form on the Indiana Department of Education website. This enrollment is not required under state law and is voluntary. There are a few situations when completing this enrollment form might be beneficial.

Upon a specific and individual request by the state superintendent of public instruction, you must furnish the number of children, by grade level, that you are teaching at home.


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