Homeschooling in Arizona: Guidance for Getting Started
Looking for Arizona homeschooling information? Here it is! Find out what paperwork you need to file to get started as a homeschooler and what subjects you need to teach your child each year. Learn the homeschool requirements and regulations for everything from standardized testing and kindergarten to recordkeeping and high school transcripts.
Maybe you’re excited about the new Arizona school voucher expansion, thinking now you can finally afford to homeschool! To learn how this generous state funding for homeschooling works, click here.
Also discover great Arizona field trips, how much homeschooling really costs, and exactly who to contact in your area if you have questions about getting started.
DISCLAIMER: This article is not written as legal advice. Check with your local school board and official Arizona laws before making decisions about educating your children.
Is it easy to homeschool in Arizona?
Homeschooling is not strictly regulated in Arizona, so for most families, it’s an easy state to homeschool in. To see statistics about homeschooling in Arizona and discover how popular it is, see this official Home School Data Dashboard from the Maricopa County School.
Requirements for Homeschooling in Arizona
Great news! Arizona homeschooling statues are not complicated. The rules for homeschooling in Arizona indicate some simple paperwork to file and a short list of five academic subjects to teach. Compared to many other states, Arizona’s homeschooling laws are easy-peasy!
How many days are required for homeschool in Arizona?
Arizona does not stipulate any minimum number of days of instruction. Neither does the state have homeschooling hour requirements.
Do you have to be certified to homeschool in Arizona?
No, parents do not have to be certified as teachers or hold any other type of certification to homeschool their own children.
Do parents need qualifications to homeschool in Arizona?
Arizona does not outline any parent qualifications to homeschool your own children.
Who is eligible for homeschooling?
Any parent or guardian can opt to homeschool in Arizona as long as they file the correct paperwork.
You are obligated to file a letter of intent for homeschooling in Arizona. This is formally called an Affidavit of Intent to Homeschool. It must be notarized and include the following information:
- child’s name
- child’s date of birth
- family address
- parent’s name
- parent’s telephone number
Along with the Affidavit of Intent to Homeschool, also submit proof of the child’s identity and age—typically a birth certificate. This important document will be returned to you once the school district makes a copy for their own records.
Submit both the Affidavit of Intent and the proof of birth to the superintendent of your county’s district within 30 days of beginning to homeschool (or of the date when your child turns 6 years old). You may do this via mail or in person.
This rule holds whether you are homeschooling for the first time with a 6-year old or if you’re switching from public school to homeschooling in Arizona. The form has to be submitted only once unless your county of residence changes.
Here’s an example form from the Maricopa County School Superintendent. Check to see if your county has a specific form they want you to use or if you can use a more general template.
Is unschooling legal in Arizona?
Yes, unschooling is legal in Arizona. Unschooling is a style of teaching that is very student-led, letting the child set the pace and often the topics and materials as well. As long as you are fulfilling your obligation to teach reading, grammar, math, social studies, and science, you are free to choose whatever methods or resources you like.
Can I homeschool someone else's child in Arizona?
In Arizona, home school is defined as “a school conducted primarily by the parent, guardian or other person who has custody of the child or instruction provided in the child's home." Ariz. Rev. Stat. Ann. §15—802F.1.
This definition does not rule out being hired to instruct someone else’s child in the child’s home, under the supervision of the legal guardian. So while it’s a bit unusual, it seems that you could possibly homeschool someone else’s child in Arizona. Since the parent files the paperwork with the school district, the parent is ultimately responsible for the instruction, but there’s no prohibition against hiring out some of the teaching.
What do I need to homeschool my child in Arizona?
Since the Arizona homeschool requirements are so minimal, your needs are the same as any other homeschooler in the nation.
- You’ll want to make sure you have the right mindset.
- You’ll need a place for your books and resources. It doesn't have to be fancy. A single bookshelf or an emptied china cabinet is adequate.
- You’ll want spots for learning—probably a comfortable spot for family reading time and a table for pencil and paper work. Your kitchen table and living room couch can do double duty here as homeschool areas. You don’t need a dedicated homeschool room.
- You’ll need basic school supplies, of course.
- A schedule or routine will make your days easier to manage, especially if you have very young children.
What are the homeschool requirements in Arizona?
Arizona homeschooling requirements are relatively lax. By way of proof, there is nothing required for homeschooling in Arizona—no attendance records, no lists of curriculum, and no annual assessments. There are no standardized testing or other reporting requirements for homeschoolers.
The only homeschooling requirements in Arizona are to file the affidavit with your district and provide instruction in five subject areas:
Of course, to protect yourself, it’s a good idea to keep records in case there ever were a question about your actions. While these are optional, we suggest keeping notes about:
- what days you had school lessons
- what you learned week by week
- a list of curriculum and resources
- any field trips you took
- any extra-curricular activities and co-ops
- samples of student work
To help you organize your records, use the Sonlight planner. It has pages for the most common records that homeschoolers keep.
Your homeschool records don’t have to be extremely detailed or formal, but a paper trail that clearly indicates you have a plan and are following a dedicated program of study for your children will go a long way to clearing up any possible confusion about your suitability as a homeschool parent.
Plus, you’ll appreciate having records for your own benefit! It’s incredibly rewarding to look back and see all you covered with your child and see growth from the beginning of a school year to the end.
Do you have to have a curriculum when homeschooling in Arizona?
Technically no. As an Arizona homeschooler, you aren’t required to have a curriculum. The filing of your affidavit of intent to homeschool implies that you will provide instruction in the five required areas, but aside from committing to do so, there are no other stipulations about your teaching and no reporting required to prove that you’ve done it.
But you’re homeschooling to provide your child with an excellent education, right? So you want the absolute best materials and ones that will make life easy for you. That’s why using a curriculum is a wise choice. Download the free printable curriculum comparison checklist to help you narrow down your options.
For greatest ease and great savings, opt for a Sonlight All-Subjects Package. It will cover all the Arizona required subjects and so much more, giving your child a rich education that instills a love of learning.
If you’re comparing online homeschooling to print curriculum, realize that there’s no substitute for real books. Learn the unparalleled benefits of Sonlight’s literature-based approach here.
Do homeschoolers have to take standardized tests in Arizona?
No, in Arizona, homeschool laws do not mandate any testing for homeschooled students. Although not required, some homeschool parents find benefit in occasional testing. Watch the video below to see the possible advantages of standardized testing for homeschoolers even when it’s not required.
Getting Starting & Timing
Ready to get started as a homeschooler in Arizona? Learn how homeschooling works in The Grand Canyon State and what you’ll need to do to become an official homeschooler.
How do I start homeschooling in Arizona?
The Arizona Department of Education states, “Home Schooling is under the jurisdiction of each county. Please contact your county directly for more information.” To help you get started, here are links for the school districts in each of Arizona’s 15 counties. Where possible, we’ve linked directly to the district’s information about homeschooling.
School District Websites for 15 Arizona Counties
- Apache County, AZ
- Cochise County, AZ
- Coconino County, AZ*
- Gila County, AZ
- Graham County, AZ
- Greenlee County, AZ*
- La Paz County, AZ
- Maricopa County, AZ
- Mohave County, AZ
- Navajo County, AZ
- Pima County, AZ
- Pinal County, AZ
- Santa Cruz County, AZ*
- Yavapai County, AZ
- Yuma County, AZ
* Website does not include information specific to homeschooling. Use the contact information to begin your inquiry.
If you move to another AZ county, be sure to notify your previous county that you’ve moved and file a new Affidavit of Intent to Homeschool in your new county of residence.
Once you’ve filed your affidavit of intent to homeschool with your county, download this getting started checklist for more to-dos.
At what age is school mandatory in Arizona?
School is compulsory in Arizona for ages 6-16.
However as a homeschooler, there is an option to delay formal schooling until the age of 8. To do so, simply indicate your desire to delay schooling until age 8 on your Affidavit of Intent to Homeschool.
Can you skip kindergarten in Arizona?
Homeschooling kindergarten in Arizona is optional. You can skip kindergarten in Arizona since compulsory school age begins at 6. But those early years of homeschooling are so precious. Why skip them! To provide gentle instruction in the years prior to age six, use Sonlight’s three early years programs:
- Preschool PackageRetail Price $429.70 Special Price $365.25
- Pre-Kindergarten PackageRetail Price $473.60 As low as $402.56
- Intro to the World: CulturesRetail Price $405.65 As low as $344.80
Even if you don’t follow the Instructor’s Guides in these Arizona homeschool programs, you’ll have a delightful collection of books and learning resources that will give your preschooler a foundation in key skills while nurturing curiosity. You may note that Sonlight’s programs have a slight overlap in ages. For example, a four-year-old could use either Pre-K or Preschool. A five-year-old could use either Pre-K or Kindergarten. If you find this range of ages confusing and need the reassurance of an expert, reach out to a Sonlight Advisor who can help you make the best curriculum choice.
How long can you homeschool a child in Arizona?
You can homeschool in Arizona for one year only, or you can homeschool from kindergarten through high school graduation! The choice is up to your family.
If you do decide to stop homeschooling and send your child back to public school, be sure to notify your county district in writing within 30 days of your decision.
Must-see Arizona Field Trips for Homeschoolers
Field trips are far more than a diversion from your regular homeschool curriculum. Yes, they do inject excitement and provide a change of routine when you’re falling into a homeschool rut. But even more, these excursions transform abstract ideas into tangible, and often unforgettable, personal experience.
It’s one thing to read about outer space. It’s quite another to tour the Lowell Observatory in Flagstaff and peer through a telescope, guided by expert scientists.
Bring your history, art, and science lessons to life with these top Arizona field trip destinations:
- Hoover Dam
- Monument Valley Navajo Tribal Park
- National Parks in Arizona
- Arizona Science Center
- Heard Museum
- Bisbee Mining & Historical Museum
- Arizona History Museum
- Arizona Museum of Natural History
- Phoenix Art Museum
Document your field trips on this free printable field trip log —an excerpt from the Sonlight homeschool planner.
As homeschoolers, you can flex your schedule to tour museums, zoos, parks, and galleries during off-peak hours or discount days when visitors are sparse and docents are available for customized tours.
Financial Considerations for Homeschooling in Arizona
Homeschooling does have an impact on a family’s budget. First, at least one parent will likely have to sacrifice full-time employment. This is especially true for families with very young children and/or a large number of children. While it’s very common for the primary homeschooling parent to have a side-gig or a part time job, it is admittedly challenging to juggle both homeschooling and full time work. It can be done! But it requires flexible expectations and ruthless time management.
The homeschooling family typically forsakes earning potential for the privilege of investing in their children during their school years. On top of that decrease in income are the costs associated with homeschooling. Parents are responsible for curriculum, co-op memberships, extracurricular activities, field trips, school supplies, etc.
DID YOU KNOW?
If you’re making your curriculum purchase using ESA funds, you can now purchase Sonlight through the Empowerment Scholarship Account (ESA) program from the Arizona Department of Education.
Use your ESA funds to get your entire homeschool year in one easy package! History, math, science, and more—all scheduled and planned out for you. Just open and go!
How much does it cost to homeschool in Arizona?
Arizona’s cost of living is just shy of the national average, making it neither an expensive nor a low-cost place to live. Thus homeschooling in this state will cost you the national norm: approximately $500 to $2500 per child per year. To delve further into the cost of homeschooling in Arizona, visit How Much Does Homeschooling Cost?
However, Arizona does offer some unique state-based financial resources that may help you pay for materials.
Does Arizona pay for homeschooling?
Arizona offers public funding for school choices that happen outside the public school system in through the state’s Empowerment Scholarship Account (ESA) program.
ESAs provide public funding for personalized education that happens outside of the public school system, enabling parents to pay for the educational choices that are best for their children. These funds are disbursed via ClassWallet.
Does Arizona have a school voucher program for homeschooling?
Students are eligible for approximately $7,000 per year on average to spend on homeschooling or private schools at their discretion but with approval from the Arizona Dept. of Education. Special education students may also qualify for additional funding each year.
This new windfall of academic funding does complicate the Arizona definition of homeschooling though. By definition, a homeschooler in Arizona is fully responsible for all costs associated with educating at home. A student using an ESA does not file an Affidavit of Intent to Homeschool.
This means that the ESA school voucher system does not fall under the traditional mantle of what has legally been recognized as homeschooling. There are homeschool advocates who are wary of the additional state oversight that will accompany this generous public funding.
Arizona parents will soon find themselves in the situation of California families who have two basic choices:
- homeschool independently without any state funding and maintain nearly full autonomy, or
- accept a measure of state oversight while receiving state funding
Many families may consider Arizona stipulations or limitations are well worth the hefty state funding. After all, homeschooling tends to top out at $2500 annually per child. The $7000 allowance will foster a bonanza of new co-op options and enrichment classes in the Copper State and surely make homeschooling an even more popular choice.
How can I homeschool in Arizona for free?
With Arizona’s ESA program, many families are able to homeschool for free, using state funds instead of their own money.
For those who don’t opt to take state money, there are still a myriad of free homeschooling resources for Arizona families, namely via the Internet and public libraries. But a small warning … don’t try to homeschool at zero cost. Your children are worth the investment in their education! Absolutely stretch your dollars and be frugal with your book budget, but always realize that investing in your children’s education is priceless.
Great books are worth buying and keeping in your home library so you can revisit them whenever you like. Science kits, hands-on crafts, and math manipulatives help the concepts stick so learning is effortless and enjoyable. Plus plenty of parents have realized firsthand the headache of a piece-meal, beg-and-borrow approach to homeschooling. Sure, you can DIY, but why? An open-and-go curriculum package that has everything you need erases the hunt for discounted used books and library holds.
Can I get money from the state for homeschooling in Arizona?
Yes, families can apply for state funding via the Empowerment Scholarship Account (ESA).
Even with the abundant public funding, it’s godly to steward these resources with wisdom and frugality. So here are four tips for making the most of your state funds or your own personal homeschool budget:
- Choose a curriculum that allows you to combine multiple children with one program. Making a program serve double duty for siblings close in age not only conserves your budget, it also saves you tremendous time and makes for treasured family memories as you learn together.
- Make sure your curriculum is high-value. For example, Sonlight is a program that builds a cherished home library. Instead of tossing consumable workbooks at the end of the school year, Sonlight gives you a shelf of beloved books you’ll read again and again. When you look at those titles, you don’t just see school books, you remember your favorite characters, the exciting adventures you shared, and the meaningful discussions the stories inspired.
- Spread your curriculum outlay over multiple months with no-interest, no-fee payment plans.
- Be sure you have a guarantee if the curriculum doesn’t work out.
No, homeschooling is not tax-deductible in Arizona.
Yes, you are still obligated to pay your local, state, and federal taxes even as a homeschooler and even if you don’t use the new expanded ESA program.
Partnering with Schools in Arizona
According to Arizona statutes,
Home-instructed students are allowed to participate in the public schools' interscholastic activities for the attendance area where they reside.” To find out what options are available to your children, contact your local school system.
Christian Homeschooling in Arizona
As a homeschooler in Arizona, you’re allowed to use Christian curriculum, pray during your school day, and study the Bible as a school subject. If building your children’s Christian faith as you learn together sounds ideal to you, then a Christian curriculum is a valuable asset.
The heart of Sonlight’s curriculum is the History / Bible / Literature product line, available for all ages and grades. These unique literature-based courses seamlessly integrate Bible study, missionary biographies, and gospel-centered conversation into your homeschool.
Find out what makes Sonlight a Christian homeschool curriculum. Then try Sonlight free to see if it’s a good fit for your family and if its goals match your own.
Finding Homeschool Community in Arizona
Because homeschooling is so popular in Arizona, there’s no shortage of homeschool community! Whether you’re looking for co-ops for your children, opportunities for peer socialization, or mom-groups for your own inspiration, there are dozens of options to find mentors and likeminded parents in Arizona.
- The Pima County schools website lists several local resources for homeschoolers.
- Joining your Arizona state homeschool organization provides multiple benefits even beyond the community you’ll gain — discounts, a magazine, scholarships and contests, a high school graduation ceremony, and more.
- Refer to the Sonlight Connections page to look for (or start) in-person homeschooling group in Arizona.
If Facebook groups are your jam, join the Considering Homeschooling in Arizona community.
Homeschooling High School in Arizona
When it comes to homeschooling through high school in Arizona, you have nearly complete freedom! Although you’re still expected to cover the basic five academic areas (reading, grammar, math, social studies, and science), there are no other requirements. So you can craft a 4-year high school plan that perfectly suits your teen’s interests and future plans.
As a homeschooler, you are responsible for awarding credits, awarding a diploma, and issuing a transcript. A great place to start is with Sonlight's College and Career Planning Kit. It will equip you with all you need to face these final homeschool years without fear.
If college is in your teen’s future, be sure to craft that 4-year high school plan accordingly. For example, let’s say your teen is interested in attending the University of Arizona. Check with the admissions department to identify the baseline requirements and then be sure to meet those credit and course prerequisites. Of course, going beyond the bare minimum helps your teen stand out among the sea of applicants and earn scholarship dollars as well.
It’s easy to fulfill college admissions requirements with Sonlight’s flexible high school courses. You can mix and match the ideal configuration of credits, topics, and educational experiences to showcase your teen’s unique gifts.
Do homeschooled teens have what it takes to succeed after high school? Yes! Sonlight teens graduate to go on to accomplish amazing things. Read some of their stories here. From advanced degrees to mission work and military service, Sonlight graduates are fully equipped for whatever God calls them to do.
For homeschool graduation, you can arrange a private ceremony or join with a larger group of homeschoolers to have a more traditional ceremony. For example, Arizona Families for Home Education provides its members an annual high school graduation event with all the trappings.