Homeschooling Laws and Regulations

Homeschooling laws can be divided into three categories:

   1. In some states, homeschooling requirements are based on its treatment as a type of private school (California, Indiana, Texas, for example) In those states, homeschools are generally required to comply with the same laws that apply to other (usually non-accredited) schools.
   2. In other states, homeschool requirements are based on the unique wording of the state's compulsory attendance statute without any specific reference to "homeschooling" (New Jersey, Maryland, for example). In those states, the requirements for homeschooling are set by the particular parameters of the compulsory attendance statute.
   3. In other states (Maine, New Hampshire, Iowa, for example) homeschool requirements are based on a statute or group of statutes that specifically applies to homeschooling, although statutes often refer to homeschooling using other nomenclature (in Virginia, for example, the statutory nomenclature is "home instruction"; in South Dakota, it is "alternative instruction"; in Iowa, it is "competent private instruction"). In these states, the requirements for homeschooling are set out in the relevant statutes.

While every state has some requirements, there is great diversity in the type, number, and level of burden imposed. No two states treat homeschooling in exactly the same way. Generally, the burden is less in states in category 1, above. Furthermore, many states offer more than one option for homeschooling, with different requirements applying to each option.