One of the common questions about homeschool, notably from young people who want to become home learners, is whether or not a parent has to be there for homeschool. Convincing your parents or guardians to allow you to homeschool is another issue, but it makes sense for older kids to wonder if they need an adult to learn. Naturally, as students age and mature, they need less assistance in learning the information. However, that doesn’t mean they can take over for a legal adult and DIY their own education. Fortunately, there are other solutions that can work for families with non-parent/guardian adults and ways for parents to allow children to learn at home without needing to become full-time homeschool educators. I will walk you through some of the options and offer some resources for the question of leaving kids alone to learn as well.
Does a parent have to be present for homeschool? In most places in the USA, a parent does have to be present for homeschool. Since homeschool is the legal right of parents and guardians to teach their children at home, most states don’t have a provision for other homeschool forms. However, children can take remote education and correspondence classes in the home with reasonable adult supervision. Some states allow teachers and tutors to teach kids at home if they hold the right certifications.
Where Are Non-Parents Allowed to Homeschool
Fifteen states openly allow non-parents to homeschool or have laws that may imply other options. Everywhere else in the USA, a parent (or guardian) is legally required to oversee the process. In states without specific provisions, you may need to inquire with the local school district or even hire an attorney to get an answer that is within your legal rights.
- Alabama- Tutors are allowed in Alabama.
- California- Certified private tutors are among the many available options.
- Colorado- Adult family members who are not parents may teach with parental consent.
- Delaware- Non-parents might be allowed because Connecticut State Department of Education regulations permit it when the instruction is “equivalent” to public school.
- Florida- Certified private tutors are an option.
- Idaho- The laws states that students must be “comparably” instructed to those in public schools. Teachers and certified tutors are likely allowed.
- Illinois and Indiana- Homeschools are considered private schools. Instruction must be in English, and there are attendance requirements. Teachers and tutors may be allowed.
- Iowa- Instruction under a certified teacher is required.
- Massachusets- Homeschool must be approved in advance by the superintendent or the school committee. You can request approval for a tutor or teacher, but it’s not guaranteed.
- Nebraska- Home schools operate under private school laws.
- New Jersey- Homeschool must be ‘equivalent’ to other education.
- Texas- There is no specific homeschooling statute. Courts allow homeschools to operate under private school rules with some required subjects.
- Virginia- Certified tutors are allowed, or groups of homeschooling families can form a private school.
- Washington- A correspondence extension of private schools is allowed.
Please keep in mind that these laws are only current as of this writing and may change in the future. If you have questions about the legal right to homeschool or what qualifies as a homeschool, you should ask a lawyer or inquire at the HSLDA. The Homeschool Legal Defense Association provides public information like up-to-date laws and even offers legal and occasional financial aid to its members.
For the Record
It is vital to note that responsible homeschooling adults, regardless of their legal relationship with a child, have to keep the same records. While the extent and specific nature of the records depend on where you live, each educator will need to make sure they have proof of the education. For example, certified tutors and teachers usually collect and grade papers like a traditional public or private school.
If you are uncertain what type of recordkeeping is needed where you live, contact your local school district, a homeschool attorney, or a homeschool help group in your area. It’s generally good to be in regular contact with at least two of these options or more regardless. Remember, you can’t keep too many records, but with too few, some states can and will remove your child from homeschool and require that they attend a public or private accredited institute. Similarly, in areas that require testing, students who fail their reasonable grade-level assessments may also be remanded to an accredited institution of learning.
Should you lose your right to homeschool, it is incredibly difficult to regain it. You will likely need a lawyer and a substantial amount of evidence showing your capability and plans to help the student succeed.
Schooling In Your House Doesn’t Require Homeschool
While the right to homeschool belongs to parents and often requires their presence, there are a couple of alternate options. Hiring a tutor full time is only allowed in some states. However, hiring part-time tutors is permitted everywhere so long as the responsible parent or guardian is still overseeing the education process personally. Moreover, you can enroll for distance learning with a local school, correspondence school, or even choose an online school.
Each of the latter three options is technically taking the educational records and responsibility largely out of the parents’ hands. While all parents are still required to make sure their children aren’t truant, you don’t have to teach to have home learners. In these uncertain times, having at-home options that don’t require all parents to become educators is a significant boon for many families.
Hire a Tutor or Teacher
If you want to hire a tutor or teacher for your homeschoolers, there are many excellent options to help you connect to qualified adult educators who can oversee some or all of the educational process. Hiring a supremely qualified tutor isn’t as difficult or expensive as you might expect. You can often find a certified teacher or similarly degreed expert for as little as eight dollars an hour. I recommend the following sites.
- Upwork this virtual job posting site is my top choice to find qualified professional teachers and tutors. I recommend starting here.
- Hey, Tutor is geared specifically to connect teachers and tutors with families who need their services.
Go Virtual With Local Schools
The option to have a teacher from your local school district used to be a science fiction fantasy. However, the COVID19 pandemic has led many districts to rethink their approach to learning. As a result, you can have home learners attend their own local school virtually in many areas. Regrettably, there are hundreds, if not thousands, of school districts in the USA. You will need to contact your specific local school to inquire about remote learning from down the street.
Online & Correspondence Academies
Numerous accredited institutions exist that have longstanding excellent reputations. Whether you opt for live online classes, twenty-four-seven pre-recorded online classes, or workbook correspondence classes, your kids can stay home and go to school. I recommend the high schools below for their outstanding curriculum and many success stories.
- The American School of Correspondence– This institution offers highschool correspondence with an accredited diploma on one of three different tracks, including college prep and independent study.
- Citizens Online High School- This school has been around since 1981 and boasts an impressive roster of famous and successful alumni. Plus, there are some unique courses of study at CHS, such as Spanish Language classes and African American Studies.
Does an Adult Have to Be Present
While a parent doesn’t always need to be a part of the homeschool or home learning experience, you’d think that having an adult around would be a requirement. Up until recently, I would have assumed this was the law as well as a common-sense issue. However, that appears not to be the case in an alarming number of US states.
It’s not hard to see why leaving a young child alone is dangerous and potentially abusive. However, in the states with regulations, parents and guardians might be alarmed to learn that there is at least one state where running to the corner store without your thirteen-year-old can also be illegal. As a general rule, you should always assume that an adult needs to be in the house with minors, though not necessarily in the same room as they mature.
The Age A Child Can be left Alone By State- 2020 Edition
A shocking thirty-nine US states have no specific legislation on the age a child must be before you can leave them unattended. I include a short list of the minimum age children can spend time alone at home for informational purposes only. This is not intended to encourage any parent to leave kids alone to homeschool or for any other reason.
- Age Six- Kansas
- Age Eight- Georgia, Maryland, and North Carolina
- Age Nine- North Dakota
- Age Ten- New Mexico, Oregon, Tennessee, and Washington
- Age Eleven- Michigan
- Age Twelve- Colorado, Deleware, and Mississippi
- Age Fourteen- Illinois
I strongly urge homeschool parents with home-based jobs to spend as much time as possible with their home learning kids. Choose a superb correspondence or online homeschool for education if necessary. Alternatively, you can move to a state that allows other family adults or private tutors to handle education but never leave your child alone.
Whether you are a full-time working parent or a curious student who would like to learn at home, there are options for you. not all homeschool requires a parent to count. Moreover, there are so many options that homeschool isn’t the only or right choice for every home learner.
Before you decide how best to study from the safety of home, make sure you check out all your options. A public school social butterfly might be happier virtual schooling with their friends from class, while your shy genius may thrive in an independent study correspondence program. Best of all, parents don’t need to design every aspect for themselves when they have multiple children with different needs and goals.
Don’t let the label stress you out. Anyone can attend school from home and succeed with the aid of a high-quality education if they are willing to put in the research to find the right option.