General Overview of the Homeschooling Laws in Arkansas
The main law tackling homeschooling in Arkansas is in the state’s code, specifically Sections 6-15-501 to 6-15-508. According to the law, the definition of a home school is a school that is provided by a parent/legal guardian for their own children. In 2017, new laws regarding homeschool were passed by the state’s legislature. The law requires children, who are aged 5 to 17 as of 1st of August, to attend school.
This short video below will help you understand more about Arkansas Homeschool Laws:
By the 1st of August, if a child has not turned 6 years old yet, a waiver of attendance requirements for a year can be done by the parents. The parent is required to file a kindergarten waiver using a for from the state’s Department of Education.
Notification of Intent to homeschool in Arkansas
By the 15th of August every year, the parent or legal guardian is required to submit a letter of intent to the local school superintendent and a waiver signed by the former declaring that the state does not have responsibilities in his or his child’s education any longer. The notification of intent and the waiver are filed per family and not filed for each child who is to be homeschooled. After filing these forms, the parents or legal guardians will not get an approval letter, curriculum, or books, as a result of the filing. If the parent or legal guardian submit through email, notification through the same regarding the submission will be received. It is also not required that the parents or legal guardian have to discuss their decision to choose to homeschool with the local school superintendent. It is not required by law that they give a reason for such choice.
Qualifications required to homeschool in Arkansas
Teacher certification for the parents is not required by the state of Arkansas to enable them to qualify to homeschool. The state’s law also does not include standardized testing of homeschool students as one of its requirement. The Department of Education of Arkansas, school districts, or education service cooperative is not required to provide diplomas for students who are enrolled in home school.
Number of days/hours of instruction required for homeschoolers in Arkansas
There is no number of days or hours of instruction required for homeschoolers under the law of the state.
What subjects need to be covered in Home Education (and for how long) in Arkansas?
As the number of days or hours of instruction, there are no requirements as to the subjects that are needed to be covered in home education. A parent or legal guardians have the discretion to select and buy the books, curriculum, online, or other programs of their choice. They are also free to make their own schedule of instruction for the children.
What are the recordkeeping requirements for homeschoolers in Arkansas?
While there are no requirements, under the law, with regard record keeping, it is suggested that parents should keep records as these may be helpful if the student is required to furnish or submit proof of education. These situations include getting a driver’s license in the case of minors, military enlistment, college applications, or for showing eligibility for benefits of Social Security. These records should include records of attendance, textbook and workbook information that the students used, student’s schoolwork samples, portfolio, test results, correspondence with local school officials, and other documents and materials proving that the child is getting the appropriate education.
Is part-time enrollment permitted in Arkansas?
Yes, part-time enrollment is permitted in Arkansas. However, this is at the discretion of the public school where the home school students are enrolling for academic classes. There is nothing in the law that requires school districts to accept home school students. However, if they do so, there is a funding mechanism for school districts that permit homeschool students to enroll. According to House Bill 1208, under Act 173 of 2017 by Arkansas Representative Mark Lowery and Senator Jane English, public schools are allowed to voluntarily establish rules and regulations when it comes to the enrollment in the academic classes at the public school of nonpublic school students. This allows nonpublic school parent to receive some benefit because, after all, they pay taxes for public schools.
Are homeschoolers permitted to participate in extracurricular activities in Arkansas?
Yes, homeschoolers are permitted to participate in extracurricular activities in Arkansas. House Bill 1474 under Act 592 of 2017 by Arkansas Representative Mark Lowery permits homeschoolers to join interscholastic activities at any Arkansas Activities Association (AAA) member public school located anywhere in the state. The only requirement is the agreement of the student’s resident school district and the other school district regarding this matter.