District of Columbia Homeschool Laws

General Overview of the Homeschooling Laws in the District of Columbia

The District of Columbia takes legal responsibility for assuring that children aged between the ages of five and seventeen receive an education if they live in DC. The Office of the State Superintendent of Education’s (OSSE) intention is that the parents and legal guardians of school-age children are given a choice of providing their children’s education in a home school environment and that that education should be regular and thorough.

Notification of Intent to Homeschool in District of Columbia

The regulations in the District of Columbia state that any parent who wishes to homeschool their child or children must give notice of intent to do so. A Notice of Intent to Homeschool form is required to be completed for this purpose, and this must be submitted for the forthcoming school year by August 15th.

The form is available online and the minimum time period required prior to the withdrawal of any child from their public school, before the commencement of their homeschooling is 15 days. Once the child has begun homeschooling the form must be resubmitted annually for each year the parents wish their child to be homeschooled. Should the child discontinue homeschooling, or if there is any change in circumstances, the OSSE must be informed as soon as possible.

Qualifications Required to Homeschool in District of Columbia

Any parent or legal guardian who wishes to homeschool a child must have, as a minimum educational qualification, a high school diploma or an equivalent qualification. If a parent or legal guardian does not have a high school diploma or equivalent qualification, they may petition the Office of the State Superintendent of Education to request a waiver of this requirement. When such a petition is submitted it must include evidence from the child’s parent or legal guardian that they have the ability to give the child regular and thorough education.

Number of Days/Hours of Instruction Required for Homeschoolers in District of Columbia

The homeschool laws in the District of Columbia do not specify a set number of hours or days that a child has to be receiving lessons. However, it does require that a bona fide educational program is being followed and that the lessons pertaining to that educational program are of sufficient quantity and duration for the child to benefit from the program.

There is no requirement for the parent or legal guardian to teach the child for the same number of hours as public schools, have the same lesson times, or that they necessarily have to take vacations in line with public school term times. However, the OSSE do advise that homeschool teaching terms should follow as closely as possible the session of public schools wherever possible.

What Subjects Need to Be Covered in Home Education (and for how long) In District of Columbia?

The District of Columbia does stipulate that there are eight core subjects which must be taught if a child is being homeschooled by a parent or legal guardian. Those subjects are science, music, art, health, social studies, language arts, mathematics, and physical education.

These requirements in terms of subjects do not obligate the parent or legal guardian teaching them to use any or all of the standard teaching resources and materials that are used by the public schools in the District. Nor is there any requirement to follow the exact same curriculum within any of the eight subjects that are being taught to pupils in DC’s public schools.

What Are the Recordkeeping Requirements for Homeschoolers in District of Columbia?

A parent or guardian who is administering a homeschooling curriculum to a child must maintain a portfolio of the appropriate educational materials used to teach each subject. This should also include evidence of work completed by the child in the form of assessments, workbooks, worksheets, written work, any other relevant material which proves the child is fully engaged in and being taught the subject.

Once per year, the OSSE can at any time review the child’s portfolio by making a written request. This review is to ascertain whether the child is receiving the appropriate lessons on a regular basis.

Is Part-time Enrollment Permitted in the District of Columbia?

Part-time enrollment in the District of Columbia’s public schools by a child being homeschooled is possible, but only at the discretion of the appropriate school district.  A homeschooled child may also take the standardized tests which children in public school sit, and this can be done free of charge.

Are Homeschoolers Permitted to Participate in Extracurricular Activities in District of Columbia?

This is governed by the District of Columbia State Athletic Association,  and their regulations specify that in order for any student to be able to participate in any sporting activity which the association funds, that the child must be in enrolled in a DC public school.

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