General Overview of the Homeschooling Laws in Massachusetts
Massachusetts law requires that a child attends school or is homeschooled from the first school year in which they are eligible to attend school. This is the year in which they turn 6 by December 31, and up until their 16th birthday.
Parents must seek approval from their local school district to homeschool their child. The approval to homeschool varies from district to district, but there is no reason for it to be disapproved in any district if you submit the necessary information.
For more information about homeschooling laws in Massachusetts, check the video below:
There is information which the school district cannot ask for when deciding if you are allowed to homeschool your child and that includes your rationale for homeschooling, your child’s socialization, your employment schedule, a statement of your child’s willingness to be homeschooled, and qualifications of the tutors.
Notification of Intent to Homeschool in Massachusetts
If your child is currently enrolled in public or private school and you wish to homeschool them, it is recommended that you send a letter of intent before you withdraw your child from the school. If you are withdrawing them before the start of the school year, you should send a letter before they return to school for that year; if you are withdrawing them in the middle of a school year, you should notify the school as soon as possible and before you withdraw your child (though there is no law stating that you cannot first withdraw your child).
You should send a notification of intent to your school district each year you plan to homeschool. Your letter of intent should include the proposed curriculum you are using, the number of hours of instruction you will be providing, the qualification of the parents/guardians, the resources to be used, and the method of assessment used.
Qualifications Required to Homeschool in Massachusetts
The district in which you are submitting your application to homeschool may inquire about your qualifications, but they cannot base their decision on your qualifications. In the state of Massachusetts, there are no laws governing the qualifications needed by parents to homeschool their child. As it stands, you do not need any qualifications other than being a parent or guardian.
Number of Days/Hours of Instruction Required for Homeschoolers in Massachusetts
In the state of Massachusetts, public schools operate for 180 days each year. They are required to give 900 hours of instruction to children each year, and 990 hours for high school students. While you may be required to submit the number of hours you will be instructing your child over the year, there are no formal guidelines or laws as to the number of hours instruction you need to provide.
What Subjects Need to be Covered in Home Education (and for how long) in Massachusetts?
Massachusetts homeschooling is in line with most other states. You need to ensure that you are covering spelling, writing, English, language arts, geography, math, science, social studies, physical education, health education, and art. There are no laws stating how often these should be taught or at what grade level but it is recommended that you try to keep the lessons grade-specific.
What are the Recordkeeping Requirements for Homeschoolers in Massachusetts?
There are no formal laws as to what records should be kept over the school year, but there are some best practice guides to help you (and your child) get the most out of the homeschooling experience.
Things to include in your records include proof of attendance, information on the resources you are using (including workbooks, textbooks, online resources, etc.), samples of your child’s work, any correspondence with school officials or boards, portfolios and test results, and any other homeschooling documents which prove that you are complying with homeschooling law and regulations.
We recommend keeping your records for two years, and the best way to store them is by scanning them into your computer and storing them in separate folders, grouped by the year your child was homeschooled.
Testing is an important part of recordkeeping in homeschooling even though there are no formalized requirements for what your child should be learning. You should be able to demonstrate that your child is learning and your assessments should be agreed upon before you start your homeschooling year. You should keep a record of all your child’s assessments to display that your child is learning.
Is Part-time Enrollment Permitted in Massachusetts?
Yes. Under Massachusetts education law, your child can be partially enrolled in public school. This means that your child is able to take regular school classes as part of their homeschooling education and can split their time between home and school (as long as the school offers this).
Homeschoolers are also eligible to participate in extracurricular activities in public schools. Any homeschoolers who live with a disability are also eligible for services through their local public school (the same services which students with disabilities would receive if they were enrolled in public school).
Are Homeschoolers Permitted to Participate in Extracurricular Activities in Massachusetts?
Yes, and it is encouraged. One of the misconceptions of homeschooling is that your child will not be social. By enrolling in homeschooling groups and finding events near to you, you can help your child to meet other children (you can meet other homeschooling parents too).
To receive more information about the homeschooling laws in the State of Massachusetts, you may want to visit the Massachusetts Homeschool Organization of Parent Educators website.