Homeschooling has been legal throughout the United States for about 25 years, but regulations vary dramatically by state. Only two states require background checks for parents who choose to homeschool, and just ten require parents to have a high school degree. Fewer than half require any kind of evaluation or testing of homeschooled children. Use the map below to compare how these regulations vary by state. Related Story »
Notification of Homeschooling
Many states require parents to notify local school districts that their children will be homeschooled, but 11 states don’t require parents to alert anyone. Most also don’t require tests or portfolio reviews as proof of educational progress.
Parent Education Minimums
Most states have no minimum education requirements for parents who homeschool. Some states require parents to be “competent” or “capable” but don’t define what this means. No state requires a parent to have a college degree.
Only two states prohibit some parents from homeschooling based on their criminal history or that of someone living in the home. In the other 48 states, parents’ criminal history cannot legally be used as a reason to prevent them from homeschooling.
State Mandated Subjects
Thirty-three states require parents to teach certain subjects. But 22 of these have no means of checking whether they are. Children in these states are not assessed or if they are, their low test scores can’t be used to intervene in homeschooling.
While public school students face routine assessments of their progress, homeschooled students are largely exempt from this requirement. In several states, homeschooled students are never assessed.
The vast majority of states don’t require homeschoolers to be vaccinated. Some states — particularly those that consider homeschools to be private schools — may require them to be immunized by law. But proof of immunization is not submitted to any authority.
Note: These regulations do not pertain to students taught at home by certified teachers. In some states, private school regulations also apply to homeschools. In others, parents can choose to operate as a private school, but are overseen by accredited private schools and typically face different requirements.
Sources: Education regulations and bylaws for all 50 states, Department of Education, Coalition for Responsible Home Education, Home School Legal Defense Association, Massachusetts Home Learning Association.