General Overview of The Homeschooling Laws In Rhode Island
Rhode Island is a state which does not supervise homeschooling statewide, and instead, homeschooling regulations and their governance are the responsibility of individual local school districts. The law relating to a child’s education states that a child must be enrolled in school if, on September 1st, they will be aged 6 years. Should parents wish to homeschool their child, they are advised to contact the local education supervisor’s office.
Notification of Intent to Homeschool In Rhode Island
Parents or legal guardians wishing to withdraw their child from public school in order to homeschool them must submit a formal notice of intent to the local school committee that covers the residential area where the child lives. The notice of intent must stipulate that you intend to teach the child for the same number days that they would be taught in a public school, that you commit to teaching them the necessary subjects required for a homeschooling program and that you will keep an accurate record of the child’s attendance.
Find out more about Rhode Islan Homeschool laws in the video below:
You will also need to submit a proposal for the homeschooling program you intend to follow with the child and agree with the local school committee how you plan to evaluate the progress the child is making during the academic year.
Qualifications Required to Homeschool In Rhode Island
There is no requirement in Rhode Island for any parent or legal guardian who wishes to homeschool a child to have formal teaching or educational qualifications. The only stipulation is that you are capable of providing the child with ‘thorough and efficient’ instruction and guidance.
Number of Days/Hours of Instruction Required for Homeschoolers In Rhode Island
Any homeschooled child must receive the same number of teaching hours per week from their parent or legal guardian, as a child in a public school would receive. This is normally around five-and-a-half hours per week.
The other requirement is that they are homeschooled for approximately the same number of days too, which is at least 180 days per year. In total, the school districts, and therefore homeschools are required to provide no less than 1,080 school hours to each child per year.
What Subjects Need to Be Covered in Home Education (and for how long) In Rhode Island?
Parents and legal guardians are allowed to create their own bespoke curriculum for the child they are teaching, or they can simply copy the same curriculum as is being taught in public schools. One very important requirement is that any curriculum must include specific subjects depending on which grade the child is in.
The specified subjects that have to be taught to all ages are health, physical education, arithmetic, reading, writing, history of the United States, geography, principles of American government, civics, and history of Rhode Island. From the fourth grade, two additional subjects are added, which are history, and the government of Rhode Island. Once the child is of high school age, the U.S. Constitution and the constitution of Rhode Island must also be added to the list of subjects being taught.
The advice can be sought from the Rhode Island Basic Education Program, who can assist with curriculum planning, and educational frameworks. Textbooks may be obtained from local school districts under a textbook loan system.
What Are the Recordkeeping Requirements for Homeschoolers In Rhode Island?
There are two main records that parents or legal guardians must keep in relation to homeschooling a child. The first is an accurate attendance record for the child, which must be made available to the local school committee at the end of the school year.
The second record will depend on what you have agreed with the local school committee in terms of tracking and testing the child’s progress. If the agreement is that you will test the child at home, then you must keep accurate records of all tests and evaluations that take place throughout the school year.
Is Part-time Enrollment Permitted In Rhode Island?
Part-time enrollment in a public school, by a child who is being homeschooled, may be possible, however, it is done at the discretion of the local school district.
Are Homeschoolers Permitted to Participate in Extracurricular Activities In Rhode Island?
Rhode Island’s Commissioner of Education has requested that all local school districts look favorably towards homeschooled children in terms of allowing them to participate in interschool and extracurricular activities where there is enough capacity for them to do so. Ultimately it is up to individual school committees to determine whether or not to allow any child to participate in these activities, and as they are under no obligation to do so, it is decided on a case by case basis.
In respect of athletic activities, the Rhode Island Interscholastic League have additional requirements that must be met by homeschooled children in order for them to take part in athletic programs that are normally only open to public school children.