Ok, so I know one of the #1 questions we get is "Where do I start?" and the #1 response? With the laws in your state. Each state has their own rules and requirements. So I thought I'd just start a post where I'll add in an overview of the HS laws in each state.
Please remember, homeschool laws are subject to change. Use this post as a spring board, not legal advice. The laws in your state may have changed since I posted it.
I believe that you hit it on Indiana. :)
• Compulsory Attendance Ages: Generally, between 7 and 18, or upon graduation.
• Required Days of Instruction: Generally, 180 days. Specifically, the number of days public schools are in session in the school corporation in which the child is enrolled in Indiana. (§ 20-33-2-5).
• Required Subjects: "A school that is nonpublic, non-accredited, and not otherwise approved by the Indiana State Board of Education is not bound by any requirements with regard to curriculum or the content of educational programs offered by the school." (§ 20-33-2-12 (a))
• Teacher Qualifications: None.
• Standardized Tests: Not required by statute.
• Alternative Statutes Allowing for Home Schools: Ind. Code Ann. § 20-33-2-4(2). A child may attend "some other school which is taught in the English language."
1. The Indiana Appellate Court held that the Indiana compulsory attendance law allows the operation of home schools. State v. Peterman, 32 Ind. App. 665, 70 N.E. 550 (1904). Essentially, the Court said a school at home is a private school.
The Court defined a school as "a place where instruction is imparted to the young... We do not think that the number of persons, whether one or many, make a place where instruction is imparted any less or any more a school." Peterman, at 551. The court explained further: "Under a law very similar to ours, the Supreme Court of Massachusetts has held that the object and purpose of a compulsory educational law are that all the children shall be educated, not that they shall be educated in any particular way." Peterman, at 551.
The Court concluded; "The result to be obtained, and not the means or manner of attaining it, was the goal which the lawmakers were attempting to reach. The [compulsory attendance] law was made for the parent who does not educate his child, and not for the parent who … so places within the reach of the child the opportunity and means of acquiring an education equal to that obtainable in the public schools...." Peterman, at 552.
2. In Mazanec v. North Judson-San Pierre School Corporation, 614 F. Supp. 1152 (N.D. Ind. 1985), (aff'd by 798 F.2d 230), a federal district court recognized that parents have the constitutional right to educate their children in a home environment (at page 1160). The court wrote concerning the qualifications of home school parents that, "it is now doubtful that the requirements of a formally licensed or certified teacher … would pass constitutional muster." (at p. 1160). On appeal, the circuit court ruled that a school corporation is not immune from a 1983 action for improper enforcement of compulsory attendance.
3. Parents must keep attendance records, Ind. Code Ann. § 20-33-2-20, "solely to verify the enrollment and attendance of the particular child upon request of the state superintendent … or the superintendent of the school corporation in which the private school is located."
4. A private school administrator shall furnish, on request of the state superintendent of public instruction, the number of children by grade level attending the school. § 20-33-2-21(b). This request must be to the individual private school, not merely a blanket announcement to the public at large.
5. Although the child must be "provided with instruction equivalent to that given in public schools" (§ 20-33-2-28), the State Board of Education is not given the authority to define "equivalent instruction" nor to approve home schools. Furthermore, § 20-33-2-12(a) has removed all subject requirements, leaving home schools without any mandatory subjects.
Reference: Click Here
Indiana State High School Graduation Requirements
- English units: 4
- Math units: 3 One unit each Algebra I, Algebra II and geometry, or Integrated Math I, II and III for 3 units. Additional units may be completed in pre-calculus/trigonometry, AP Calculus, discrete mathematics, probability and statistics or AP Statistics.
- Social studies units: 3 units must include 1 unit U.S. history, .5 unit each of economics and U.S. government and 1 unit either world history and civilization or geography and history of the world.
- Science units: 3 Must include 1 unit biology, 1 unit chemistry, physics or integrated chemistry-physics and 1 unit additional credits in Core 40 science courses.
- P.E./Health units: .5 Must include .5 unit "health and wellness" and 1 unit "Physical education I."
- Arts: 2.5 units directed electives must be chosen from any combination of units in foreign language, fine arts and career-technical.
- Foreign language: 2.5 units directed electives must be chosen from any combination of units in foreign language, fine arts and career-technical.
- Electives units: 5.5 units includes 3 units general electives plus 2.5 units directed electives. Directed electives must include any combination of units chosen from foreign languages, fine arts and career-technical.career area.
- Other units: 3 units in "career-academic" sequence and 2.5 "flex credits." Core 40 Eff. Class of 2010: 2.5 units directed electives must be chosen from any combination of units in foreign language, fine arts and career-technical.
TOTAL # units (Std.) 20
Other diploma options: State offers honors/college prep curriculum option, and will offer technical diploma option effective with the Class of 2010. State also offers proficiency-based credit option.
Technical notes and citations:
- High-ability students allowed to complete course requirements through performance assessment.
- Core 40: End-of-course exams in Core 40 courses required. If a student fails 3 or more Core 40 courses, student, parent and counselor must decide if the student should continue in the Core 40 curriculum or complete the general curriculum.
- The current Core 40 Diploma requirements were developed through an agreement among the Indiana Department of Education, the Indiana Commission for Higher Education and the state's public university and were not a part of statute or regulation.
- Eff. Class of 2010: IND. ADMIN. CODE tit. 511, r. 6-7.1-1, 6-7.1-4
- Core 40 Eff. Class of 2010: "Only courses that officially have been designated as Core 40 courses may be counted." Students are encouraged to complete a career-academic sequence.
Eff. Class of 2011: All students must meet Core 40 requirements, but a student who does not complete the Core 40 course and credit requirements and does not pass the graduation exam may be eligible to graduate if the student: (1) Retakes the graduation examination in each subject area not passed. "(2) Completes remediation opportunities .... (3) Maintains a school attendance rate of at least ninety-five percent (95%) with excused absences not counting against the student's attendance. (4) Maintains at least a "C" average or the equivalent in the courses comprising the credits specifically required for graduation by rule of the board. 5) Otherwise satisfies all state and local graduation requirements. [and] (6) Either: (A) completes: (i) the course and credit requirements for a general diploma, including the career academic sequence; (ii) a workforce readiness assessment; and (iii) at least one (1) career exploration internship, cooperative education, or workforce credential recommended by the student's school; or (B) obtains a written recommendation from a teacher of the student in each subject area in which the student has not achieved a passing score on the graduation examination. The written recommendation must be concurred in by the principal of the student's school and be supported by documentation that the student has attained the academic standard in the subject area based upon: (i) tests other than the graduation examination; or (ii) classroom work."
In addition, upon request by a student's parent, "the student may be exempted from the Core 40 curriculum requirement ... and required to complete the general curriculum" to graduate.