Rhode Island

  • Homeschool statute: Parents must apply for approval from the local school committee. Parents must provide “thorough and efficient” instruction in reading, writing, geography, arithmetic, history, and government, to operate for a term “substantially equal” to that of public schools, and to keep attendance records. There are no parent qualifications. The form of assessment required, along with the form of intervention in case of lack of progress, is determined by the local school committee, with the option of appeal.

Homeschool Statute

“A course of at-home instruction approved by the school committee of the town where the child resides” satisfies the state’s compulsory attendance law. Homeschools are required by statute to follow the same general requirements as private schools. See R.I. Gen. Laws §§ 16-19-1 and § 16-19-2.

Notification: Parents must have the approval of the local school committee to homeschool. In order to gain this approval, parents must present their proposed homeschooling programs to the local school committee. See R.I. Gen. Laws §§ 16-19-1.
Qualifications: None.
Days or hours: Homeschools must operate for a term “substantially equal to that required by law in public schools.” See R.I. Gen. Laws § 16-19-2(1).
Subjects: “Reading, writing, geography, arithmetic, the history of the United States, the history of Rhode Island, and the principles of American government” must be taught “to the same extent as these subjects are required to be taught in the public schools.” Instruction must be in English and must be “thorough and efficient.” See R.I. Gen. Laws § 16-19-2(3).
Bookkeeping: Parents must maintain attendance records using the same forms as public schools. See R.I. Gen. Laws § 16-19-2(2).
Assessment: No state requirement. However, as part of their “approval” authority local school districts may require some form of evaluation provided they “accommodate the preferences of parents for certain mechanisms for measurement.” See Thifault v. North Smithfield School Committee (1990).
Intervention: No state requirement. However, as part of their “approval” authority local school districts may intervene in cases where students make inadequate progress.
Other: “Any interested person resident in any city or town aggrieved by the action of the school committee of the city or town either in approving or refusing to approve at-home instruction may appeal the action to the department of elementary and secondary education. The department of elementary and secondary education, after notice to the parties interested of the time and place of a hearing, shall examine and decide the appeal without cost to the parties.” See R.I. Gen. Laws § 16-19-2.

Services Available to Homeschooled Students

Part-time enrollment: Yes, at the district’s discretion. 
Extracurriculars: Yes, at the district’s discretion. 
Special needs: Yes. 
Other: n/a

Resources:

R.I. Gen. Laws § 16-19-1

R.I. Gen. Laws § 16-19-2

Home Schooling, Rhode Island Department of Education

Rhode Island, International Center for Home Education Research

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

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