- Homeschool statute: Parents must submit annual notification to the local superintendent, including an outline of the planned curricula, have a high school diploma or GED (or homeschool under someone with a bachelor’s degree), provide 900 hours of instruction in a variety of subjects, and have their children assessed annually (by standardized test or portfolio review). There is a remediation process for homeschooled students in need of academic intervention. There are no bookkeeping requirements.
- Private school: A homeschool may operate as an “08 school” if there is a religious objection to government oversight and the parent providing instruction has a bachelor’s degree. Parents must provide annual notice to the Ohio Department of Education, keep attendance records, and provide 182 days of instruction in a variety of subjects. There is no assessment requirement.
Ohio’s homeschooling statute defines home education as “education primarily directed and provided by the parent or guardian of a child.”
|Notification:||Homeschool parents must submit a signed notification to the local superintendent including: the school year; name and address of parents; names and addresses of individuals who will teach required subjects if other than the parent; names and birth dates of the children being homeschooled; assurance that the required subjects will be taught; a brief outline of planned curriculum; a list of books, curricula, and other teaching materials to be used; assurance that the required 900 hours of instruction will be provided; and assurance that the parent has the proper qualifications or will homeschool under a qualified individual. If the notification is complete, the superintendent may issue the child an excuse from school attendance for that school year; if it is not complete, the superintendent may ask the parent to supply the missing information. The superintendent must keep the notification on file, along with the excuse if one is granted. If, upon reviewing the parents’ notification, the superintendent “has substantial evidence that the minimum educational requirements . . . will not be met,” he or she may deny the excuse, pending a due process hearing and an appeal.|
|Qualifications:||A homeschool parent or guardian must have a high school diploma or its equivalent. In absence of these, a parent or guardian may homeschool under the direction of an individual with a college degree either “until children’s test results demonstrate reasonable proficiency” or until the parent or guardian obtains a diploma or its equivalent.|
|Days or hours:||Parents are required to provide 900 hours of instruction per year.|
|Subjects:||Parents must provide instruction in language, reading, spelling, writing, geography, history of the United States and Ohio, national, state, and local government, math, science, health, physical education, fine arts, including music, first aid, safety, and fire prevention. Homeschool parents are exempt from teaching any content that conflicts with their religious beliefs.|
|Assessment:||Homeschool parents must complete an annual academic assessment report consisting of one of three options: (1) the results of a nationally standardized achievement test administered by a qualified individual (any child at or above the twenty-fifth percentile is considered to be making reasonable proficiency); (2) a written portfolio evaluation by a licensed or certified teacher; or (3) an alternative assessment agreed upon by the parent and the superintendent. If the parent chooses the testing option, the test may be administered at no charge as part of the school’s regular testing program or by a private individual at parents’ expense. Each year’s academic assessment report must be submitted to the school superintendent as part of the next year’s notification.|
|Intervention:||If a child fails to demonstrate reasonable proficiency in the annual assessment report, the superintendent will give the parent 30 days to create a remediation plan. During remediation a homeschool parent must submit a quarterly written evaluation with either a narrative of the child’s progress or an explanation of the child’s lack of progress. The superintendent may end remediation at any time, notifying the parent that remediation is no longer needed. However, if the student is not making progress the superintendent may revoke the child’s excuse from school attendance, pending a due process hearing and the option of an appeal to the juvenile judge of the county. Similarly, if at any time there is substantial evidence that a homeschool has ceased to meet the requirements, the superintendent shall notify the parents to revoke the excuse from school attendance, pending a due process hearing and appeal.|
Ohio’s private school law allows individuals to found non-chartered, non-tax supported private schools dubbed “08 schools” that are subject to very little oversight. However, in order to form such a school parents must have truly held religious objections to government oversight.
|Notification:||Parents homeschooling as 08 schools must submit a Notice to Parents form to the Department of Education by September 30th of each year. This form certifies that the school meets the minimum requirements for non-chartered, non-tax supported schools. The Department of Education maintains a list of such schools, and this list may be obtained by request. Parents homeschooling under this option must also submit annual attendence records to the treasurer of the local board of education so that they are aware of how many students in the district attend 08 schools.|
|Qualifications:||A bachelor’s degree is required.|
|Days or hours:||182 days.|
|Subjects:||Parents must provide instruction in language, reading, spelling, writing, geography, history of the United States and Ohio, national, state, and local government, math, science, health, physical education, fine arts, including music, first aid, safety, and fire prevention.|
|Bookkeeping:||08 schools must keep attendence records. Also, local boards of health have the authority to inspect 08 schools to ensure that they comply with fire, health, and safety laws; however, 08 schools with a small number of students may have these requirements waived.|
|Other:||Comply with state and local fire, health, and safety regulations.|
|Services Available to Homeschooled Students|
|Part-time enrollment:||Yes, at the district’s discretion. Whether or not homeschooled students may take individual courses or enroll part-time in public schools is up to the discretion of local school district.|
|Extracurriculars:||Yes. Beginning in the 2013 to 2014 school year, school districts will be required to allow homeschooled students (including both those homeschooling under the state’s homeschool statute and as 08 schools) to participate in extracurricular activities in the schools they would otherwise have attended. This includes high school athletics. If the district does not offer a given extracurricular, a homeschool student may request to participate in that activity in another district as an out-of-district student. Homeschooled students must meet the same participation requirements made of other students.|
|Special needs:||Yes and No. While public schools must offer special needs evaluations to all students within their districts regardless of what school they attend or whether they are homeschooled, public schools in Ohio have no obligation to provide additional services to special needs students homeschooled under the state’s homeschool statute. Special needs students homeschooled under the state’s 08 schools statute have the same access to federal special education funding as are students enrolled in private schools.|
|Other:||Beginning in the 2013 to 2014 school year, homeschooled students have access to the Post-Secondary Enrollment Program (PSEO), which grants funding for high school students to take dual enrollment college courses at participating Ohio colleges and universities.|
Early homeschoolers made use of a provision allowing superintendents to excuse a child from compulsory attendance if such a child was “being instructed at home by a person qualified to teach the branches in which instruction is required.” Alternatively, some chose to homeschool through association with an existing Christian school and others qualified to operate as non-chartered, non-tax supported schools (also called 08 schools). In 1989, the Ohio State Board of Education adopted official regulations governing homeschooling. These rules remain in effect.
For more, see A History of Homeschooling in Ohio.
This overview is for informational purposes only and does not constitute the giving of legal advice.