Arkansas

Arkansas has one homeschool option.

  • Homeschool statute: Parents must offer annual notice to the local school district. Homeschooling is prohibited if a sex offender lives in the household. There are no other parent qualifications and no hours of instruction, subjects of instruction, record keeping, or assessment requirements.

Homeschool Statute

A “home school” is defined as “a school provided by a parent or legal guardian for his or her own children.” For the full statute, see Ark. Code. Ann. § 6-15-501 to § 6-15-508.

Notification: Parents must notify the local superintendent of their intent to homeschool by August 15th or “fourteen (14) days prior to withdrawing the children from the local school district,” and annually by August 15th thereafter. When moving to another school district, written notice must be given within 30 days of establishing residency. The notice must include the name, birth date, and grade levels of the children; the name and address of the last school they attended, if any; the mailing address and telephone number of the homeschool; the name of the legal guardian providing the homeschool; and a statement regarding interest in public school interscholastic activities, a high school equivalency diploma, or intent to seek a driver’s license. This notice may be provided electronically, by mail, or in person.
Qualifications: None
Days or hours: None.
Subjects: None.
Bookkeeping: None.
Assessment: None.
Intervention: None.
Other: There are restrictions limiting when students under disciplinary action can be withdrawn to be homeschooled. See Ark. Code. Ann. § 6-15-503 (d). In addition, homeschooling is prohibited if a sex offender lives in the home. See Ark. Code. Ann. § 6-15-508.

Services Available to Homeschooled Students

Part-time enrollment: State law neither prohibits nor requires public schools to allow homeschooled students to enroll for individual classes, leaving the matter up to the local school district.
Extracurriculars: In 2017, Arkansas passed legislation giving homeschooled students full access to participation in interscholastic activities at a public school anywhere in the state as long as the student’s resident school district and the other school district agree and at any private school within 25 miles of the student’s home if the private school is a member of the Arkansas Activities Assoc. and agrees to let the homeschooler participate. Arkansas Statutes §6-15-509 and New Arkansas Home School Laws 2017.
Disabilities: Homeschooled students with disabilities are eligible for testing in their local public schools, and may also have access to services offered through these schools. This is because state law considers homeschooled students private school students for the purposes of funding for students with disabilities including IDEA. See Ark. Code. Ann. § 6-15-507.
Other: State law provides a detailed discussion of the process for re-enrollment in a public school after being homeschooled. See Ark. Code. Ann. § 6-15-504.

Background: 

Arkansas passed its homeschool statute in 1985. The U.S. Court of Appeals upheld the constitutionality of Arkansas’ standardized testing requirement in Murphy v. Arkansas (1988). In 1995, state legislators attempted without success to pass Senate Bill 583, which would have required homeschool high school students to pass a high school exit examination. In 1997, Governor Mike Huckabee signed into law House Bill 1157, which stripped the homeschool statute passed in 1985 of accountability.

In 2015, House Bill 1381 removed the homeschool statute’s remaining testing requirement, which had required annual testing for students grades 3 through 9 but did not require homeschooled students to achieve any minimum score. State law was revised again in 2017.  HB 1208, Act 173, allows public schools to voluntarily establish rules and regulations for the enrollment of nonpublic school students in academic courses at the public school. HB 1474, Act 592  HB 1481, Act 453 have to do with involvement in interscholastic activities. HB 1574, Act 635 reduces the amount of infor-mation required on the annual Notice of Intent to Home School. Parents will no longer be required to list their curriculum or class schedule. It replaces the waiver that homeschoolers are required to sign with an agreement that simply says the homeschool parents will be responsible for their child’s education. It also ensures local school districts do not force additional requirements on homeschool families, and it codifies past Attorney General opinions saying information on the Notice of Intent is confidential and cannot be used for anything besides recordkeeping and administrative purposes. See New Arkansas Home School Laws 2017.

Resources:

Ark. Code. Ann. § 6-15-501 to § 6-15-509

“Home School,” Arkansas Department of Education

Fact Sheet on Homeschooling in Arkansas

Participation of Home Schooled Students in Interscholastic Activities

“Home School Reports,” Arkansas Department of Education


This overview is for informational purposes only and does not constitute the giving of legal advice. Page last updated September 2018.