Homeschooling in Idaho: Guidance for Getting Started

This guide to homeschooling in Idaho has everything you need to get started. It includes an overview of state requirements, a list of top field trips,  information on how to connect with other homeschoolers in The Gem State, and much more. 

Homeschooling in Idaho: Guidance for Getting StartedHomeschooling in Idaho: Guidance for Getting Started

DISCLAIMER: This article is not written as legal advice. Check with your local school board and official Idaho laws before making decisions about educating your children.

Is it easy to homeschool in Idaho?

Idaho is one of the least restrictive states in the nation for homeschooling. According to the Home School Legal Defense Association  (HSLDA) Idaho is a low-regulation, “green” state. This means that the law is extremely flexible in terms of statutes and requirements. In fact, there is only one, easy option for homeschooling in Idaho. While other states often have multiple homeschool categories and cumbersome processes, Idaho homeschooling is as straightforward as it gets. 

Dianna H., a Sonlighter in Pocotello, ID agrees.

Homeschooling in Idaho is a dream come true. We moved here from another state and we love how much freedom we have to make the choices we think best for our kids’ education. There is a large homeschooling community here and that makes it good for the kids too.”

Dianna isn’t alone. Many homeschool families are making the choice to homeschool in Idaho, and take advantage of this flexibility. The US Census Bureau reports that Idaho homeschooling is on the rise, with a 28% increase in recent years.

The W. Family, Sonlighters from Blackfoot, IDThe W. Family, Sonlighters from Blackfoot, ID
The W. Family, Sonlighters from Blackfoot, ID

What are the Homeschooling Requirements In Idaho?

Because Idaho is a low-regulation state, homeschool statutes require very little of parents, giving you the freedom and flexibility to educate your children the way you feel is best.

Idaho law does not require parents to file any notice of intent to homeschool. This means that you are entitled to make the decision to homeschool your child without notifying your local school district or any other government agency.  (If you are removing your child from public school enrollment, you may consider notifying the school of your decision in order to avoid any issues of truancy.)

Idaho homeschooling statutes require that parents teach children subjects that are commonly and usually taught in the public schools of Idaho. This is the only requirement under Idaho Law.

How many days are required for homeschool in Idaho?

There are no minimum days or hour requirements for homeschooling in Idaho. You are not required to maintain any attendance records and are free to homeschool any day of the week and any time of the day. 

How Long Does Homeschooling in Idaho Take?

While it is not required by law in Idaho, it is a good idea to maintain some records in your homeschool. Keeping records of learning allows you to see exactly how much you and your children are accomplishing. It also gives you a sense, overtime, of the progress your children are making. Lastly, should your fitness as a homeschool parent ever be called into question, it helps to have some records to reflect your commitment to your child’s education.  

Again, while this is totally optional in Idaho, we suggest keeping records of the following:

  • The days you completed learning activities
  • A summary of what you learned
  • a list of curriculum and any other resources
  • field trip recaps
  • extra-curricular activities and co-ops
  • samples of your child’s work

Using the Sonlight planner can help you easily organize this information.  It includes pages for the most common records that homeschoolers keep.

Do parents need qualifications to homeschool?

There are no certifications or qualifications required to teach your own children in the state of Idaho. As a parent, you are allowed under Idaho homeschool statutes to homeschool your children regardless of your own education level.

Can I homeschool someone else's child in Idaho?

Parents may choose anyone they see fit to homeschool their children. This includes other family members as well as non-related persons. As a parent, you have the freedom to choose who will educate your child.

​​Is unschooling legal in Idaho?

Unschooling is legal in Idaho, as it is in all 50 states. Unschooling is a method homeschooling families choose to create a completely child-directed education. Because you are not bound in Idaho by any one approach to homeschooling, you may choose to unschool.

The D. Family, Sonlighters from Nampa, IDThe D. Family, Sonlighters from Nampa, ID
The D. Family, Sonlighters from Nampa, ID

What are the homeschool subject requirements in Idaho?

The only real requirement for homeschoolers in Idaho is the subjects you teach. Idaho Code §33-202 requires parents to ensure that their homeschooled children receive instruction in the subjects commonly taught in public schools.

For most families, this generally includes the following subjects for all ages:

  • Language arts
  • Math
  • Social Studies
  • Science

How you choose to teach these subjects is up to you.

Do you have to have a curriculum when homeschooling in Idaho?

While there is no curriculum requirement for homeschooling in Idaho, many parents find an all in one curriculum to be an excellent option for providing daily structure and support. 

Sonlight offers an easy and comprehensive All Subjects Package that goes well beyond meeting Idaho State subject requirements. Plus, your children will be exposed to quality educational materials that inspire a love of learning. 

You may also be wondering about online homeschooling options. While digital resources may play a role in a child’s education, we feel strongly that there is simply no substitute for real books. Learn more about the extraordinary advantages of taking a literature-based approach with Sonlight here.

Do homeschoolers have to take standardized tests in Idaho?

Standardized testing is not required for homeschoolers in Idaho. Homeschoolers are allowed to participate in standardized testing through their local school district if preferred, but are not required to do so. 

Getting Starting with Homeschooling in Idaho

It can feel a bit overwhelming as you get started as a homeschooler, no matter where you live. If you are just beginning your homeschool journey, you’ll love our Homeschool 101 Getting Started Guide. It has everything you need to practically tackle your first year of homeschooling. 

If you are making the transition from public school to homeschooling, these videos can help:

What do I need to homeschool my child in Idaho?

While the legal requirements to homeschool are minimal, the reality is that homeschooling does require you to find the best approach to educating your child. This goes beyond your curriculum choice. Homeschooling allows you to design a homelife dedicated to learning. 

We recommend that you designate an area in your home for all of your homeschool books and supplies. This does not mean that you need an entire room devoted to learning! In fact, many families find that the dining room table, backyard, or living room couch are where most of the learning happens. A designated space allows you to easily keep track of all your learning resources.

At what age is school mandatory in Idaho?

Idaho law requires children ages 7-16 to be in school. This also applies to homeschool. While some states allow for a graduation exception to compulsory school age, Idaho does not. This means that even if your child graduates from your high school homeschool program before their sixteenth birthday, they are still subject to compulsory school until they turn 16.

Can you skip kindergarten in Idaho?

School attendance is not required in Idaho prior to age 7. This means that you may skip kindergarten. However, many families find some sort of early learning to be valuable and fun for younger children in the family.  We recommend taking a gentle approach to early learning in the preschool and kindergarten years.

If you are considering homeschooling prior to first grade, take a look at Sonlight’s three early years programs:

  1. product-img
    Pre-Kindergarten Package
  2. product-img
    All-Subjects Package K