Is Homeschooling Legal?
The answer is a resounding yes! Homeschooling is now legal in all parts of the US. Home education is regulated at a state level, with each state having its own laws governing home education. While at one time most children were educated at home by their parents or private tutors, by the 20th century compulsory education laws reduced home educators almost exclusively to the Amish and families living in extremely rural areas. The number of homeschooling families began rising again in the late 1970’s and early 1980’s, with legal battles occurring in a number of states. In 1993, home education finally became legal in all fifty states.
Points to Ponder
Before you jump in, however, there are several points to consider.
While homeschooling is now legal in all US states, there is great variety in each state’s homeschooling laws. Be sure to research your own state’s laws carefully before you begin. Also, if you move, be sure to investigate the laws in your new state.
Homeschooling is either explicitly illegal or very limited in several countries, including Brazil, Greece, and Kazakhstan. Germany has made headlines due to their strict policies on homeschooling.
Homeschool families in the US military should follow the laws of the state they currently live in. Military families living on foreign soil are not under the jurisdiction of the foreign country’s compulsory attendance law and can simply begin homeschooling.
The freedom to homeschool in the United States is a hard-won right that we should not take for granted. When your state homeschool leaders ask you to write or call your congressmen or legislators, be sure to do so.
Consider getting legal protection. Some states offer this through membership in a state organization, or you might want to join a national organization providing legal support for homeschool families. If you find yourself in a legal battle, these organizations provide legal counsel for members.
A Few More Thoughts
Families in all US states have enjoyed the freedom to homeschool since 1993, provided that they follow the laws of their state of residence. Whether families in other countries enjoy the right to homeschool or not varies by country. Those families who do enjoy this freedom need to be vigilant in retaining it, both through obeying applicable homeschooling laws and through being active in the political process, especially when education laws are being debated.