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.
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 in writing each year no later than August 15th (or by December 15th for the spring semester or 14 days prior to withdrawing a child from public school during a semester). When moving to another school district, written notice must be given within 30 days of establishing residency. The first time, the notice must be delivered in person. 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 location of the homeschool, the basic core curriculum to be offered, the proposed schedule of instruction, and the qualifications of the parents. This information is only for statistical purposes, and is reported to the Department of Education.|
|Days or hours:||None.|
|Other:||There are restrictions limiting when students under disciplinary action can be withdrawn to be homeschooled. In addition, homeschooling is prohibited if a sex offender lives in the home.|
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 2013, Arkansas passed legislation giving homeschooled students full access to participation in interscholastic activities if they score at least the 30th percentile on a nationally standardized achievement test. The school district may allow a student with a lower score to participate, and may also require participating homeschooled students to attend the school for not more than one period per day. Arkansas Statutes §6-15-509.|
|Special needs:||Homeschooled students are eligible for special needs testing in their local public schools, and may also have access to special needs services offered through these schools. This is because state law considers homeschooled students private school students for the purposes of special needs funding, including IDEA. See Ark. Code. Ann. § 6-15-507.|
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.
The Arkansas Department of Education provides a Fact Sheet on Homeschooling in Arkansas and maintains a “Home Schools” webpage with information and forms. The Arkansas Department of Education also publishes annual reports on their “Home School Reports” webpage.
This overview is for informational purposes only and does not constitute the giving of legal advice. Page last updated September 2015.