General overview of the homeschooling laws in North Carolina
The battle for North Carolina’s freedom to homeschool began in the 1970s when a threat to prohibit it by the state surfaced. Fortunately for homeschool advocates, it was decided that homeschooling would be regulated under the same terms that regulated private schools (Delone vs State, 1985).
At the present, homeschooling in North Carolina is regulated by law through General Statutes Article 39 – Non-public Schools and is defined in section 115C-563 as a private school where children are educated by a tutor, parent or a qualified individual from within a maximum of two families.
Last amended in January of 2013, Homeschooling is governed by the Division of Non-Public Education (DPNE). This law champions the individual’s right to education and encourages the pursuit of education in accordance with an individual’s rights and beliefs grant-ing the parent’s freedom to homeschool their children in agreement with the law.
Notification of Intent to homeschool in North Carolina
To begin homeschooling in North Carolina, the officiating party must:
- Tender a Notice of Intent to homeschool and pass it to the DPN,
- Administer a standardized test each year
- Have an instructor possess at least a high school diploma
- Ensure proper disease immunization is implemented
- Record the student’s attendance yearly
- Apply for a Notification of Intent to homeschool in North Carolina
If a family wishes to homeschool, the law in North Carolina requires the family to first tender a Notice of intent. Parents are advised to deliver a Notice of Intent to open private school no later than the 1st of July to the North Carolina Division of Non-Public Education (DNPE). It is important to include the guardian’s information and the facilitator’s accreditation when filing the Notice of Intent.
The first day of July marks the beginning of the academic year and is completed on the last day of June; a Notice of Intent is refused when received in June. The DNPE is also responsible for terminating homeschool operations, reviewing student performance through standardized testing, and checking student’s yearly attendance records. There is no specific date in which these tasks are carried out by DPNE so it is advised that guardians must always have these with them. All Notice of Intents must include the parents’ credentials, the chosen name of the school and its address, and the name of its administrator.
Qualifications required to homeschool in North Carolina
After the Notice of Intent is provided, North Carolina requires instructors with at least a high school diploma to facilitate students. No other requirements for instructors are mandated. The DPNE requires homeschools to pass annual standardized testing, to keep records of immunization and to keep records of attendance. The DPNE is in authority to validate the school’s performance. If found, unsatisfactory, they may choose to terminate the program.
Number of days/hours of instruction required for homeschoolers in North Carolina
Although not required by law, North Carolina encourages homeschools to run at least 180 days or six (6) months with 5 hours of tutoring each day. Ages of children that may be homeschooled are between the ages of six (6) and 18. The DPNE requires the student’s records within this time to be kept until the child reaches 18 or until their homeschooling is closed.
What Subjects need to be covered in Home Education (and for how long) in North Carolina?
Homeschooling in North Carolina doesn’t require specific subjects to be taught nor does it have a specific timeline required. The discretion lies on the guardian or the facilitator. However, It is encouraged to have the child learn English, grammar, reading, spelling, and Mathematics since the standardized test each year consists of these subjects.
What are the recordkeeping requirements for homeschoolers in North Carolina?
Facilitators must at all times keep all records of grades, immunizations, and attendance of the students within the year. These records are compulsory and will be inspected by the DPNE within the year. The DPNE does not provide specific dates regarding when these inspections will take place, so it is advised to have these records readily available.
Is part-time enrollment permitted in North Carolina?
There is no explicit mandate that specifies whether part-time enrollment is allowed or prohibited. It is entirely dependent on the district whether it will be permitted.
Are homeschoolers permitted to participate in extracurricular activities in North Carolina?
Although it may depend on the district’s decision, homeschooled students in North Carolina may engage in extracurricular activities. Options like knitting, dancing, art, music, and many more diverse clubs are available for homeschool students. No specific mandate prohibits children from participating in these programs.
Here’s a short summary about what you need to know about North Carolina homeschooling:
While neighboring states like South Carolina are passing laws like Equal Access to Interscholastic Activities, North Carolina has yet to see a similar law passed.