Although homeschooling is legal in all U.S. states, it is still a subject of legal debate. Fortunately, the debate is not about the right to homeschool children, but about the amount of state regulation that should be applied to the process. Some states require no notice that a family intends to homeschool their child or children. Others require the filing of an official notice with local school officials. (NOTE: States vary in terms of what must be included in the notice.) Some states require that a fully credentialed teacher must supervise the homeschooled child’s education. Some require that the homeschool student must be enrolled in public school and some states allow students to enroll in a public school but don’t require that they do so. Some states actually prohibit homeschoolers from enrolling in public schools.
The United States Supreme Court has never ruled specifically on homeschooling, but in 1972 it did rule that Amish parents could keep their children out of public schools for religious reasons. The Court also ruled that parents have the basic right to “establish a home and bring up children” along with the right to “worship God according to the dictates of [their] own conscience.” The combination of these rights is why, In the United States, the Supreme Court considers homeschooling to be a fundamental right under the Court’s concept of liberty. While this precedent does seem to favor educational choice, that choice is conditional on states setting standards specific to homeschooling.
In some states, homeschooling regulations are moderate or heavy and other states have few regulations. Some states allow parents to formally withdraw their children from school and begin educating them at home while other states’ parents are required to report regularly, show proof of actual progress, and/or keep certain state-specified records, such as attendance, subjects being taught, who the teacher is and whether he/she is certified to teach in your state, etc.
The bottom line is that, while every state has SOME requirements, a lot of variety exists in terms of the type, level, and the number of regulations levied on homeschooling. No two states treat homeschooling in exactly the same way.
(For more information about homeschooling regulations in your state, click here.