Homeschooling Requirements by State
In the USA, it’s perfectly legal to homeschool. But each state has its own particular regulations, laws, and requirements. For example, some states require annual standardized testing while other states leave that choice to the parents. Many states offer loose guidelines for what to teach but leave the curriculum choices and instructional methods up to the family. In some states, homeschoolers have to attend school for a set number of days while others are not obligated to keep attendance records at all.
Besides saying it’s legal and popular to homeschool, there’s not much else you can say about homeschooling that would apply nationwide. Whether you’re planning a move or wondering what your home state requires, this guide will get you started on the path to homeschooling responsibly—and legally —in all 50 states.
What state has the most lenient homeschool laws?
Good news! The majority of states are considered low regulation. These states have fewer reporting mechanisms, greater freedom afforded to parents, and laxer rules about officially declaring yourself a homeschooler. While the laws vary widely, these states overall are quite accommodating to homeschoolers.
What is the hardest state to homeschool in?
The New England region is where you find the toughest areas to homeschool. The states marked with this icon below are the hardest states to homeschool in.
That is, the homeschooling requirements by state for these five have a relatively high level of regulation overseeing homeschoolers. It doesn’t mean that homeschooling itself is more difficult. Teaching math is still teaching math no matter where you are. It’s just that in these five states there are more hoops to jump through by way of guidelines, paperwork, and accountability. But there are thriving communities of homeschoolers in these states, so don’t let the regulations stop you if you think your children would benefit from a custom, at-home education.
Homeschooling in America, State by State
The following list of homeschooling requirements by state is a work in progress, so check back in weeks to come for additional state pages. The entire list should be complete by the end of 2023. Click on your state below to view the homeschooling requirements.
Please note that while this information has been carefully researched, laws do change. So always check with a state's department of education for the most up-to-date and official information.
- New Hampshire
- New Jersey
- New Mexico
- New York
- North Carolina
- North Dakota
- Rhode Island
- South Carolina
- South Dakota
- West Virginia
In a nutshell, as a new, just-getting-started homeschooler, you’ll want to follow this simplified checklist:
- Find out and fulfill any state reporting or notification (so your child is not considered truant).
- Choose a homeschool curriculum based on your preferences and your child’s needs.
- Gather basic school and office supplies.
- Set up a learning area in your home and organize all your materials.
- Plan your school year and your daily routines.
- Add outside-the-home options for socialization: extracurriculars, field trips, and co-op activities.
Then enjoy the journey! Homeschooling is one of the most rewarding ventures you’ll ever take on! It’s so worth the effort. To go deeper, read our more in depth guide How Does Homeschooling Work? FAQs & Tips for Homeschooling Your Child.
Read our general getting started guide—How to Start Homeschooling—to find out how to set up homeschooling regardless of where you’re located. Then look for your specific state in the list above for the particular ways to make your homeschool choice official. You may need to file an affidavit, submit a letter of intent, or otherwise inform your local school board. It varies state to state.
If you’re transitioning from public school to homeschool, your starting point may be slightly different because you’ll need to officially withdraw your child from public school.
Then with the legal hoops successfully out of the way, the fun part begins! You can choose a curriculum, plan your homeschool year, schedule your daily routines, and enjoy learning alongside your child.
While many states do outline subjects to cover, the choice of curriculum is typically yours. States don’t provide curriculum for homeschoolers. This is great news because you wouldn’t want to use a curriculum designed for a classroom in a homeschool environment with a parent and just a few siblings.
So, yes, as a homeschooler, you use your own curriculum. Request a Sonlight catalog to see examples of what homeschool curriculum is like and how it’s especially designed to meet the unique needs of a parent (typically without an education degree or any teaching experience) who is teaching just one or a few children.
The best homeschool curriculum is one that
- matches your own educational goals
- is easy to use with little preparation
- works with your budget
- is academically robust and enjoyable
Opt for a proven curriculum with a reliable reputation so you know it’s well-researched and proven to be a winner among homeschool families. Sonlight is the original literature-based Christian homeschool curriculum. For over 30 years, thousands of families have reaped the benefits of closer family bonds thanks to its great books, organized in all-in-one programs.
Does Sonlight work? Oh yes, it does! Read stories from Sonlight graduates and be inspired!