Is it Possible to Homeschool Yourself: The Truth About Home Learning

Is it Possible to Homeschool Yourself

Homeschool is different for every individual and family. Parents and students may wonder if it’s possible to homeschool yourself. It might seem like they hardly need you as they get older for parents of very motivated learners. Some parents worry about their ability to teach a subject they’ve not mastered better than a student would grasp it alone. Meanwhile, some students just want to go their own way for various reasons. Some students regrettably may not have access to a parent to help teach. There are two major questions here that require addressing for all of these groups. First, is it legal to self-teach? Secondly, in a practical sense, can you accomplish a high-quality self-education? I will walk you through the specific laws for homeschool in each state and help you find legally applicable solutions. 

Is it possible to homeschool yourself? You cannot legally homeschool yourself as a child. Likewise, home-self education as an adult does not confer any special status. You may be smarter for your efforts and even learn new skills, but it will not ‘count’ as college credit or even toward a diploma. In the USA, education requires oversight. Parents, institutions, private but degreed teachers, and other options like online schools and correspondence all meet these requirements, but self-teaching does not. 

Homeschool Laws 

Homeschooling yourself is not legal in any state, but children often self-direct learning, especially if they have a parent who works at home. This does not imply that the parent is no longer responsible for the education, but rather that the student needs less help with learning topics and a hands-off approach is better for their understanding of the subjects. The specific rules for home education vary by state, but the list below covers the general guidelines for teaching homeschool in each state.

In every state, parents have the right to educate their own children. These are the additional options and specific requirements. You can also access the Homeschool Legal Defense Association website for perpetually updated versions of these laws by clicking here

Homeschool Law Overview By State

  • Alabama- A church school, private tutor, and private school can teach. Church schools do not require teacher certification. Private tutors must be certified, meet daily and hour minimums, and file certain paperwork. The private schooling option refers to parent-led teaching and has no specific degree or recording requirements, but you must attend a hundred and eighty days per year. 

  • Alaska- Students of homeschool must be recorded by the district via parent notification, but otherwise, there are few standards. The state is responsible for proving they aren’t adequately educated if there are questions of the quality or type of home education. 

  • Arizona- Parents must file an affidavit of intent to homeschool with the county school superintendent within thirty days of beginning a homeschool program. Moreover, parents must teach reading, grammar, math, social studies, and science.

  • Arkansas- Parents must notify the local public school superintendent of the intent to homeschool. The intent needs to include information on the curriculum, the schedule, and parent/teacher qualification. State tests are mandatory. 

  • California- According to FindLaw, “The state does not have a specific homeschooling statute. Several options are available. First, the homeschool may qualify as a private school if, among other requirements, the teacher is “capable of teaching” and instruction is in English. As a variation, students may enroll in a private school satellite program and receive an independent study from that school. Another option is having the instruction provided by a certified private tutor. Finally, students may enroll in an independent study program at home, through a public school.”

  • Colorado- Colorado law says homeschoolers are “subject only to minimum state controls.” Parents, guardians, and adult relatives (as designated by the parent) are allowed to teach. Records and state testing are both mandatory. 

  • Connecticut- There are no state statutes, but the Connecticut State Department of Education regulations permit it when the instruction is “equivalent” to public school. A portfolio with reading, writing, spelling, English, grammar, geography, arithmetic, US history, and citizenship is required, and parents must file an intent to homeschool.

  • Delaware- There are three options provided by statute: single-family homeschool, multiple family homeschool, and single-family homeschool coordinated with the local school district. Attendance and enrollment must be reported. There are no requirements for teacher qualifications or testing.

  • Florida- Florida allows tutors as long as they’re certified. Portfolios and notice of intent are required along with testing for parent-led homeschool. However, multiple homeschools can group together to be classified as a private school.

  • Georgia- “Parents must file a declaration of intent. Instruction must include, but may not be limited to, reading, language arts, math, social studies, and science. The school day is four and one-half hours. Parents must write an annual progress report and retain it for three years. The parent must have at least a high school diploma or GED equivalency, and students must submit to a national standardized achievement test every three years, beginning in third grade.” Per Findlaw

  • Hawaii- Parents file intent and annual progress reports. They also need a record of the curriculum, and students take advancement tests of the parent’s choice in grades 3, 5, 8, and 10. 

  • Idaho- Students must be “comparably” instructed to those in public schools. 

  • Illinois- Homeschools are considered private schools. Instruction must be in English, and there are attendance requirements. 

  • Indiana- Just like Illinois, homeschools are considered private schools. Instruction must be in English, and there are attendance requirements.

  • Iowa- Instruction must be under a certified teacher, or parents must prove the instruction is equal to teacher-guided education. Record keeping and submission are also required. 

  • Kansas- Homeschoolers can qualify as a nonaccredited private school.

  • Kentucky- Homeschoolers must follow the laws for private, parochial, or church regular day schools. Parents need to submit an enrollment report. 

  • Louisiana- Home-based ‘private schools’ are allowed. Otherwise, parents are required to provide a “sustained curriculum of quality at least equal to that offered by public schools” and take standardized tests. 

  • Maine- You may choose between the home school statute or becoming a non-approved private school. Homeschool students take an annual assessment, while private schools have to offer evidence of teacher competence, which must then be approved. 

  • Maryland- Church and non-public school umbrellas must be bonafide or state-approved. Otherwise, a portfolio supervised by the public school superintendent is allowed. 

  • Massachusetts- Homeschool must be approved in advance by the superintendent or the school committee. Tests and assessments are mandatory, and some subjects are required.

  • Michigan- Parents arent required to submit any notice and may teach reading, spelling, mathematics, science, history, civics, literature, writing, and English grammar. Otherwise, there is a nonpublic school option, which requires teachers to be certified.

  • Minnesota- Parents can teach if they have/do one of the following; a teaching certification, work under the direct supervision of a qualified instructor, or hold a baccalaureate degree. Students take tests and have required subjects, and parents either have on-site visits, or they must provide documentation to show compliance with education laws.

  • Mississippi- Parents file a certificate of enrollment for a “legitimate home instruction program.” 

  • Missouri- Intriguingly, homeschools here keep specific records but do not need to submit them. Students need 1,000 hours of instruction, with 600 hours in reading, math, social studies, language arts, and science, and 400 hours must be done within the home school location.

  • Montana- Homeschools provide the same basic instructional program as public schools. Parents notify authorities of the intent to home school and meet the minimum number of hours required. 

  • North Carolina- Annual standardized testing is required for English, grammar, reading, spelling, and math. The school must operate for a nine-month period of instruction. Parents must possess a high school diploma or GED. Parents must keep certain records and must provide a notice of intent to homeschool.

  • North Dakota- Annual notice and reports are required, and parents must possess a baccalaureate or teaching certificate or operate under the umbrella of a teacher.  Standardized tests happen in grades 4, 6, 8, and 10. 

  • Nebraska- Home schools operate under private school laws. 

  • Nevada- The subjects of English, science, math, and social studies are required, and parents have to give annual notice along with evidence that they offer “equivalent instruction of the kind and amount” as public schools.

  • New Hampshire- Parents give notification to the district and maintain a work portfolio, including materials used. There are tests, but those offer several options. 

  • New Jersey- Homeschool must be ‘equivalent’ to other education. 

  • New Mexico- Parents must have a high school diploma or a GED, and classes must include reading, language arts, mathematics, social studies, and science. Additionally, parents have to notify the district they intend to homeschool the children. 

  • New York- New York has required subjects, record keeping, testing with minimums to pass, and parents file intent forms. Additionally, teachers have to be ‘competent,’ and records of the work must be submitted. 

  • Ohio- Parents must submit an annual notification of homeschooling with a curriculum. Teacher requirements and standardized testing are mandatory, along with some curriculum. There is also a religious exemption with different requirements. 

  • Oklahoma- A constitutional provision guarantees the right to homeschool.

  • Oregon- A parent or legal guardian notifies the school district of intent only once. Assessment tests in grades 3, 5, 8, and 10 can result in more testing or oversight if students perform below specified limits. 

  • Pennsylvania- Parents provide annual affidavits, which include information on the courses taught and a portfolio. There are standardized tests and additional requirements for parents. Certified tutors are also allowed to teach. 

  • Rhode Island- Attendance must be “substantially equal” to public schools with required subjects, and teaching must be “thorough and efficient.” 

  • South Carolina- Three homeschooling options exist here. Standard homeschool requires parents with high school diplomas or equivalents to offer an approved instruction program and run for four and one-half hours per day over 180 days a year. Students get annual assessments. Alternatively, parents can join the South Carolina Association of Independent Home Schools and comply with the association’s standards. Otherwise, you can join an association of home schools with no fewer than 50 members.

  • South Dakota- Homeschool must provide the same amount of time on teaching as the public schools and include language arts and math. Standardized tests happen in grades 2, 4, 8, and 11. 

  • Tennessee- This state offers three options. Parents with a high school diploma or equivalent can notify the district of intent to homeschool and teach four hours per day for one hundred and eighty days per year. Church-related schools and satellites of these church schools are also allowed. 

  • Texas- There is no specific homeschooling statute. Courts allow homeschools to operate under private school rules with some required subjects. Plus, the state law prohibits colleges from discriminating against homeschoolers.

  • Utah- Parents file an affidavit with the local school district every year and teach language arts, math, science, social studies, arts, health, and computer literacy. 

  • Vermont- Annual notice with a detailed curriculum must be submitted by a parent along with an annual evaluation. Instruction in reading, writing, math, citizenship, history, the United States and Vermont government, physical education, health, English, American, and other literature, science, and fine arts are mandatory. 

  • Virginia- There are four different options for homeschoolers. Regular homeschool requires annual testing and notice to the district. Parents teach language arts and math and must qualify as teachers in one of four ways. A religious exemption is available. Certified tutors are allowed, or groups of homeschooling families can form a private school. 

  • Washington- Homeschool and a correspondence extension of private schools are allowed. Teacher qualifications and standardized tests are necessary and easy to satisfy, such as having a certified teacher oversee parents. 

  • West Virginia- You can homeschool by “approval” or “notice” methods. The approval method must be the same term as the school district and approved by the school board. The notice method requires proof of parental high school equivalency or diploma, and both tests and evaluations are mandatory. 

  • Wisconsin- Homeschool must have at least 875 hours of instruction, a “sequentially progressive curriculum of fundamental instruction” in core requirements. Parents must submit information to prove compliance annually. 

  • Wyoming- Parents submit annual curriculums that are  “sequentially progressive curriculum” in required core subjects. 


Is Self Education Possible

When it comes to learning, it is our natural state. While you can’t homeschool yourself, that doesn’t mean you can’t self-teach. Learning is not limited to legally recognized schooling formats, and you should pursue your educational desires. 

There is no reason why a self-motivated pursuit of learning is less effective than any other type of education. The Department of Education may not give you official credit for it, but you can learn new skills, practice your talents, and expand your knowledge at will. Plus, the extra education will benefit you in the long run, even without a piece of paper to prove it. Expanding your knowledge base is always a wise decision. 

Benefits of Educational Oversight

People homeschooled themselves for generations. Of course, they also learned from the people around them. By mimicking things we see that work, humans slowly built their group knowledge base. However, organized teaching is what allows us to pass on far more than basic information. Through learning, we can gain from the experiences we never had. All of recorded history is available to us because we learned and taught each other as a species to read and write. Thus preserving information so every individual doesn’t have to re-discover it.

Having parents, tutors, or institutions oversee student education helps ensure that they are getting a variety of widely useful information. Otherwise, the gaps between what one person knows and the next would be wider than they are now. To allow access to education, we need to make sure all the information is available. Every student gets a sample of a range of different teachings like science, math, and writing. 

Final Thoughts

While you can’t teach yourself, options like online homeschools and correspondence can help a young person obtain an education without their parents becoming teachers. In some states, the laws are more relaxed, so having a home teacher can include other people. However, there’s no provision anywhere for a self-taught homeschool.

Fortunately, self-teaching doesn’t require any special permissions. If you love something, learn all about it. Certainly, you can make it easier to pass classes about it later in life by doing this. Moreover, you can guarantee your own well-rounded education by learning at will. 

Parents will be glad to know they have many options to help motivated learners achieve their goals. Luckily, educational oversight can dictate minimums but never restrict your desire to learn more. 

Recent Content