Every year, families choose to homeschool their children for various reasons. Whether it’s to ensure the safety of children amid a pandemic, to offer the child an enriched learning environment, or to choose a curriculum that isn’t available within the traditional educational system, homeschooling can be a viable choice for families and individuals. Regardless of each homeschooler’s preferences, families and individuals need to determine which state offers the most homeschool friendly regulations and opportunities.
Overview of Homeschooling Regulations in the United States
Homeschooling across the United States is regulated differently in each state, with each having different requirements for homeschoolers to abide on such as testing, filing paperwork, or submitting curriculum for approval. Although there is a lack of uniformity across all states, the vast majority of states do recognize homeschooling as a legitimate option and allow homeschoolers to participate in extracurricular activities and sports which are linked to their local school district.
Because of the wide range of homeschooling regulations, it is important for parents and individuals to familiarize themselves with the specific requirements in the state in which they are living in. Before determining the most homeschool friendly state, it is helpful to understand the various types of regulations regarding homeschooling across the United States. Generally speaking, homeschooling regulations can be divided into three main categories: notification of intent to homeschool, assessment and evaluation, and recordkeeping and immunizations.
Notification of intent pertains to letting your local state or school district know your intent to homeschool your child. Assessment and evaluation typically involves annual testing and the review of your homeschool families annually, and recordkeeping and immunizations are generally involving ensuring that your child has the required immunizations for school and that your child’s records are being kept according to state guidelines.
Qualities of Most Homeschool Friendly State
The best homeschool friendly state would provide families and individuals with the opportunity to homeschool their children while allow them to free of too many restrictions, paperwork, and general concerns that come along with homeschooling. An ideal state should provide flexible regulations, a wide variety of resources, and recognize the validity of homeschooling.
A homeschool friendly state should provide resources and support for homeschooling families. These may include access to statewide homeschool groups, bulletin boards for locating resources, access to statewide homeschooling conventions, and online classes for homeschoolers. Furthermore, a homeschool friendly state should provide access to extracurricular activities such as sports and after-school programs, as well as field trip opportunities.
It is also important to consider the regulations set in place in each state that concern homeschooling. While each state varies in its requirements, an ideal state should have minimal (or no) paperwork, testing, or filing requirements.
Additionally, an ideal state should provide options for a variety of educational philosophies, including classical, unit, and Charlotte Mason. Lastly, an ideal homeschool friendly state should recognize home education as a valid and legitimate form of education. This includes recognizing homeschool diplomas and providing homeschoolers with the opportunity to attend college.
The Most Homeschool Friendly State
When determining the most homeschool friendly state, many factors come into play. After researching the quality of regulations, resources, and support for homeschoolers, the most homeschool friendly state is found to be Ohio.
Ohio is widely regarded as one of the most homeschool friendly states, providing homeschool families and individuals with numerous resources, opportunities, and solutions. When it comes to regulations, Ohio has minimal requirements for families hoping to homeschool their child. This includes a notification of intent, a portfolio review for families with six students or more, as well as any standardized testing.
Ohio also provides homeschoolers with a wide array of resources and support. This includes access to statewide homeschooling conventions, statewide homeschooling organizations, and access to curriculum providers.
Additionally, Ohio has introduced new policies to help homeschoolers find help and support, such as providing free access to tutoring and therapy services. Finally, Ohio recognizes the legitimacy of homeschooling, allowing homeschoolers to participate in extracurricular activities, to apply for and receive IEPs (individualized Education Plans), and to receive their State of Ohio high school diploma. Furthermore, Ohio has also recognized homeschool diplomas for entrance into college.
Homeschooling is a viable choice for families and individuals who are looking for an enriched learning environment or additional resources for their child. Since homeschooling regulations vary from state to state, it is important for parents and individuals to familiarize themselves with the specific guidelines and regulations of the state in which they are residing in.
After researching the quality of regulations, resources, and support, Ohio is considered to be the most homeschool friendly state in the United States. With minimal regulations, extensive resources and support, and recognition of homeschool diplomas, Ohio provides families and individuals with numerous opportunities. As the homeschooling community continues to expand, Ohio is poised to remain a leader in providing homeschoolers with the support and resources they need for their child’s growth and development.