North Dakota

  • Homeschool statute: Parents must file annual notice with the local superintendent, create annual reports, and provide instruction in the same subjects required in public schools. Parents must have a high school diploma or GED or be monitored by a certified teacher. Students must be tested during grades 4, 6, 8, and 10 unless their parents claim a moral, philosophical, or religious exemption and have at least a bachelor’s degree. Test results must be filed with the local superintendent, and there will be intervention for students not making academic progress. Homeschooled students with disabilities must have service plans. North Dakota is the only state that offers homeschooled students the opportunity to earn an official high school diploma.

Homeschool Statute

North Dakota law defines “home education” as “a program of education supervised by a child’s parents.” See N.D. Cent. Code § 15.1-20-04. The state has a comprehensive homeschool statute. See N.D. Cent. Code § 15.1-23.

Notification: Parents must submit a statement of intent to the local superintendent at least 14 days before beginning to homeschool or within 14 days of moving into a school district, and annually thereafter. This statement must include the child’s name and address, date of birth, and grade level, as well as the name, address, and qualifications of the supervising parent and a list of any public school courses or extracurricular activities in which the child will be participating. The statement of intent must be accompanied by a copy of the child’s immunization record and the child’s birth certificate or other proof of identity. Parents homeschooling children with disabilities must also submit a copy of the child’s diagnosis and a services plan. For more, see “other” below. Each local superintendent must submit the number of statements of intent filed to the superintendent of public instruction. See N.D. Cent. Code §§ 15.1-23-02 and 15.1-23-14.
Qualifications: The supervising parent must (1) hold a high school diploma or GED or (2) be monitored by a certified teacher for the first two years of homeschooling. This individual may be either chosen and compensated by the local school district, or chosen and compensated by the parent, and must submit a report of the child’s progress to the local superintendent twice each year. If the child is tested and scores below the fiftieth percentile, this monitoring may be extended. See N.D. Cent. Code §§ 15.1-23-03, 15.1-23-06, and 15.1-23-07.
Days or hours: Instruction must take place for at least four hours each day for at least 175 days each year. See N.D. Cent. Code § 15.1-23-04.
Subjects: The law states that “a parent supervising home education shall include instruction in those subjects required by law to be taught to public school students.” See N.D. Cent. Code § 15.1-23-04. North Dakota law requires public elementary and middle schools to provide instruction in English language arts, including reading, composition, creative writing, English Grammar, and spelling; mathematics; social studies, including the United States Constitution, United States history, geography, government, and North Dakota studies; science, including agriculture; physical education; and health. See N.D. Cent. Code § 15.1-21-01. North Dakota law requires public high schools to make available four units of English language arts; 4 units of math; 4 units of science; 4 units of social studies; 2 units of fine arts; 2 units of the same foreign or native American language; 1 unit of advanced placement course or dual-credit course; 2 units of career and technical education; and 1/2 unit of North Dakota studies. See N.D. Cent. Code § 15.1-21-02.
Bookkeeping: Supervising parents must maintain an annual record of courses taken and academic progress assessments for each child. This record may be requested should the student later enroll in public school. See N.D. Cent. Code § 15.1-23-05.
Assessment: (1) Homeschooled students in grades 4, 6, 8, and 10 must take either a standardized achievement test used by the local school district or a nationally normed standardized achievement test. This test may be taken in the child’s learning environment or, at the parent’s request, in a public school. If the standardized test used by the local school district is chosen, the district will cover the cost if it is administered at the school or the parent will cover the cost if it is administered by an individual selected by the parent. If the parent chooses instead a nationally normed standardized achievement test, the parent will cover the cost of the test. If the parent chooses the test administrator, that individual must be a certified teacher and must notify the child’s local school district. The results of these standardized tests must be filed with the local superintendent. See N.D. Cent. Code §§ 15.1-23-08, 15.1-23-0915.1-23-10, and 15.1-23-11(2) If the parent notifies the local school district of a philosophical, moral, or religious objection to standardized testing, and the parent is licensed to teach, holds bachelor’s degree, or has made a passing score on a national teaching examination, this testing requirement is waived. Parents must notify the local school district of this objection when filing the statement of intent. See N.D. Cent. Code § 15.1-23-09(2)
Intervention: (1) If the child’s score is less than the thirtieth percentile nationally, the child must be assessed for learning problems by a multidisciplinary assessment team. If it is determined that the child does not have learning disabilities, the parent must create a remediation plan with the advice and consent of a certified teacher and file the plan with the local superintendent. If the parent does not file said remediation plan, the parent will be deemed to be no longer homeschooling. See N.D. Cent. Code § 15.1-23-11. The remediation plan provides a basis for determining reasonable academic progress and shall remain in effect until the child achieves a standardized achievement test score at or above the thirtieth percentile, or a score that, when compared to the previous year’s test score, shows one year of progress. The parent may amend the remediation plan with the advice and consent of a certified teacher. See N.D. Cent. Code § 15.1-23-12. (2) If the multidisciplinary assessment team determines that the child is disabled and requires specially designed instruction due to the disability, the parent must file a services plan with the local superintendent. If the parent does not file said services plan, the parent will be deemed to be no longer homeschooling. If the multidisciplinary assessment team determines that the child has a developmental disability, the parent must submit a services plan, which the superintendent will use annually to determine whether the child is making reasonable progress, and may continue homeschooling the child under the section of the law for children with developmental disabilities. See “other” below. See N.D. Cent. Code § 15.1-23-13. (3) Should a child’s services plan team agree that the child is not benefiting from being homeschooled, they must notify the local superintendent and request that the child be evaluated by a multidisciplinary team appointed by the local superintendent. See N.D. Cent. Code § 15.1-23-15.
Other: (1) Parents homeschooling a child who has been determined to have a developmental disability by a licensed psychologist must submit to the local superintendent a copy of the child’s diagnosis and a services plan. This plan may either be developed privately or through the local school district and must demonstrate that the child’s special needs are being addressed by qualified individuals and lay out what qualifies as reasonable academic progress. By November 1st, February 1st, and May 1st of each year, the parent must file with the local superintendent a report on the child’s progress prepared by the child’s services plan team. The child’s services plan and these reports will be used by the local superintendent to determine annually whether the child is making reasonable academic progress. See N.D. Cent. Code §§ 15.1-23-13, 15.1-23-14, and 15.1-23-15(2) “No state agency, school district, or county superintendent may be held liable for accepting as correct the information on the statement of intent or for any damages resulting from a parent’s failure to educate the child.” See N.D. Cent. Code § 15.1-23-18.

Services Available to Homeschooled Students

Part-time enrollment: Yes, at the district’s discretion. Homeschooled students are eligible to take classes at their local public schools at the discretion of the school district. See N.D. Cent. Code § 15.1-23-02.
Extracurriculars: Yes, at the district’s discretion. Homeschooled students are eligible to participate in extracurricular activities, including sports, at their local public schools at the discretion of the school district. See N.D. Cent. Code § 15.1-23-16.
Special needs: Yes. Homeschooled students with special needs are eligible for testing and various services through their local public schools as laid out in their homeschooling law. See N.D. Cent. Code §§ 15.1-23-14 and 15.1-23-15.
Other: Diploma: A public or private high school may issue a high school diploma for a homeschooled child provided the child’s parent submit documentation that the child has met the schools course requirements. See N.D. Cent. Code § 15.1-23-17. State aid: “For purposes of allocating state aid to school districts, a child receiving home education is included in a school district’s determination of average daily membership only for those days or portions of days that the child attends a public school.” See N.D. Cent. Code § 15.1-23-19.

Background:

After a contentious decade, the North Dakota Legislative Assembly passed the state’s homeschooling law in 1989. Before this year, homeschool parents had been required to have teaching certifications. The 1989 law allowed parents without teaching certifications to homeschool under the supervision of a certified teacher. This requirement was relaxed in 1995. In 1997, the legislature allowed for the homeschooling of developmentally disabled students and standardized the assessment process. Further legal changes have relaxed requirements further, and have allowed homeschooled students to participate in public school extracurriculars.

For more, see A History of Homeschooling in North Dakota.

Resources:

N.D. Cent. Code § 15.1-23

N.D. Cent. Code § 15.1-21

Home Education, ND Department of Public Instruction

Home Education Frequently Asked Questions

International Center for Home Education Research Analysis

This overview is for informational purposes only and does not constitute the giving of legal advice.

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