A patchwork of homeschool policies

The lines between homeschooling and the public ed system are beginning to blur
By: | Issue: September, 2015
August 19, 2015

In the absence of federal homeschooling guidelines, states have created provisions for such students that vary widely from one place to another, according to a July report from the Education Commission of the States.

Some states, such as Alaska, Idaho and Michigan, have little or no homeschooling regulation. Others, including Washington, New York and Pennsylvania, have robust oversight policies.

The lines between homeschooling and the public ed system are beginning to blur, as states provide more online options and allow homeschooled students to participate, says the report “State Homeschool Policies: A patchwork of provisions.”

Homeschool numbers

Fewer than half of states require an assessment of homeschooled students’ academic progress. Of the 20 states mandating an assessment, 12 require standardized testing. In the remaining eight states, parents may choose either a standardized test or an alternative assessment method.
26 states allow homeschooled students to participate in extracurricular or co-curricular activities during or after school, attend academic classes at a local public school part-time, or both.
The number of students being homeschooled in the United States has increased from more than 1 million in 2003 to nearly 1.8 million in 2012.