General overview of the homeschooling laws in Indiana
The main laws tackling the school attendance in the state of Indiana is the Indiana Code Section 20-8.1-3-23 and 20-8.1-3-24. These were enacted in 1973 and amended in 1991. However, the state of Indiana does not include any exact statutes pertaining to homeschooling. It rests on the case of State v. Peterman in 1904 where the Indiana Appellate Court defined a school as a place where instruction is imparted to the young and held that homeschool is considered as a private school. In another the case of in 1985, the Court of Appeals ruled for the homeschooling’s legality and ended the jurisdiction of local school districts over homeschooling.
Notification of Intent to homeschool in Indiana
A Notification of Intent for homeschooling is not required in the state of Indiana. The only thing required of a parent, who wishes to have his or her child homeschooled, is to report to the Department of Education if requested specifically requested by them, the number of grade level enrollments in that homeschool.
On the other hand, if a child is enrolled in a public school and is being withdrawn from it to be homeschooled, a notification from the parent to that public school must be done. An online form is made available by the state’s Department of Education to allow parents to register their homeschool but this registration is merely voluntary and not mandatory.
Qualifications required to homeschool in Indiana
There are also no specific qualifications for homeschool teachers. They are not required to be licensed or certified to teach. Under the laws of Indiana, the parents may operate homeschools as private schools. This is as long as the parents will provide the required number of days of instruction.
The parents are also required to keep attendance records. Unlike the homeschool laws of other states, there are no requirements as to notification, assessment, or parent qualifications.
Number of days/hours of instruction required for homeschoolers in Indiana
According to the law, parents or homeschool teachers must provide 180 days of instruction. Based on this, it is at the parent’s discretion on how to set the days and number of hours per day which their homeschool will adhere to for its operations.
What subjects need to be covered in Home Education (and for how long) in Indiana?
The law provides “instruction equivalent” to that of public schools. This phrase has never been explained clearly. Curriculum requirements that are being followed by the public schools are not applicable to homeschools because they are exempt from it. The only important thing is that the medium of instruction is required to be in English.
What are the recordkeeping requirements for homeschoolers in Indiana?
Parents are required to keep records of attendance of the students and furnish them, if asked or specifically requested, to the state superintendent or the superintendent of the local school corporation. This is done to make sure that the student is actually attending homeschool.
The superintendent of the state may request for the grade levels and number of children who are homeschooled. However, this request is to be made individually and may not be made in a general manner to homeschoolers.
Is part-time enrollment permitted in Indiana?
Yes, part-time enrollment is allowed in Indiana. Under the law of the state, it is the decision of local school corporations whether or not they will allow the part-time enrollment of homeschooled students. State funding may likely be acquired by the school corporation depending upon the participation of part-time students.
Fort Wayne Community Schools Corporation, a school corporation in Indiana, provided some guidelines with regard to the part-time enrollment of homeschooled students. The guidelines included the following:
- Requests for part-time enrollment can be picked up in the Office of the Superintendent of the school district;”
- A student intending to enroll part-time must meet all of the criteria in relation to the Indiana Code 22-33-2 which provides the compulsory school attendance;
- Codes of conduct pertaining to full-time students of the public school shall be applicable to part-time students;
- The parent/guardian must contact the appropriate administrator and/or guidance counselor to schedule requested classes;
- The parent/guardian must provide transportation for the student to and from all classes/courses. The child can take the district’s bus transportation if his/her schedule is compatible with established routes and schedule of the bus;
- For courses with a prerequisite, part-time students may be asked to provide proof that academic criteria have been met, so long as they are required to comply with the same prerequisites as full-time students.
- Part-time enrollment student can participate in interscholastic athletics, provided the student also follows the IHSAA and district eligibility guidelines; and lastly,
- The final decision with regard to placement and admission for all home education students part-time in the Corporation is at the discretion of the superintendent.
Are homeschoolers permitted to participate in extracurricular activities in Indiana?
Yes, they are allowed to participate in the extracurricular and educational activities of a public school as long as the approval by the local Indiana school board or school superintendent is obtained. Elementary or junior high homeschool students are able to join public school sports events and athletics but their participation is at the public school’s discretion.
Learn more about homeschooling in Indiana in the short video below:
On the other hand, for a homeschooled high school student to partake in public high school athletics, the homeschool education program of the student must also be in conformity to the bylaws of the Indiana High School Athletic Association (IHSAA).