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Homeschooling is the education of children at home, rather than in a structured or formal setting. The children sometimes have tutors, but are more often home schooled by parents. Homeschooling is legal in all 50 U.S. states and also in some other countries. Some of the reasons parents cite as reasons for home schooling include poor public school environment with concerns over the safety of their children, better test results, objections over what is taught in public school, and the expense of private school. Homeschooling is also an alternative for families that live in isolated areas, and for those living temporarily abroad.

Each U.S. state has its own requirements for homeschooling. There are four categories for home schooling: states requiring no notice, states with low regulation, states with moderate regulation and states with high regulations. There is usually some initial paperwork before beginning home schooling, but as long as the teacher/parent/tutor keeps good records, there should be no problems. Families will most likely want to experiment to decide what kind of homeschooling works best for them.

The U.S. states that have no requirements for homeschooling include Idaho, Texas, Oklahoma, Missouri, Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Connecticut, New Jersey and the territories of Guam and Puerto Rico. Parents do not have to notify anyone that they are home schooling their children.

States that have low requirements for homeschooling require the parents to notify the school district that they are homeschooling their children - but nothing else. These states include California, Nevada, Montana, Wyoming, Arizona, New Mexico, Nebraska, Kansas, Wisconsin, Kentucky, Mississippi, Alabama, Delaware, Washington D.C. and the territory of the Virgin Islands.

The states that have moderate regulations for home schooling include Oregon, Colorado, South Dakota, Iowa, Arkansas, Louisiana, Tennessee, Ohio, Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia, Florida, Maryland and the territories of American Samoa and Northern Mariana Islands. These places must notify the school district they are home schooling their children, plus send in test scores and provide a professional evaluation of the child‘s progress.

States with the highest regulations require parents to notify the school district, send achievement test scores, provide professional evaluations of student progress, and provide a written curriculum that needs to be approved by the state. Also, these states sometimes require visits by state officials to check the student's progress. These states include Washington, Utah, North Dakota, Minnesota, West Virginia, Pennsylvania, New York, Vermont, Maine, Rhode Island and Massachusetts.

Parents do not need to have a teacher certification, but must follow the individual state’s requirements for home schooling. Those states that fall within the medium to high regulated states also need to keep attendance records. Highly regulated states may require an annual assessment at the end of the school year. Parents need to be well versed in the legal aspects of home schooling in the state they live, so be sure to check with your local school board.


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