If you moved during summer months when school is not in session and have not yet notified for this school year to the old district, you simply notify as usual to your new district. If a reminder to notify letter is forwarded to you from your old district in the Fall, you can leave a voice mail to let them know you moved out of the district, as a courtesy for their records, but this is not required. Notify as usual, including a completed assessment form as usual, to your new local district superintendent, not the old district.
If I already notified for this year and my children were excused from attendance, and now I’m moving to a new district within Ohio, do I need to send a new NOI to the new district when I move? And do I need to notify the old school district that we are leaving?
Changed in 2019, you now need to EITHER notify the new school district within a week of moving to a new district, OR (and this is easier/recommended) ask your old district to forward your information.
According to OAC 3301-34-03, section F (linked below), you may simply request for your old school district superintendent to forward your paperwork to your new district, and doing so will satisfy the requirement to re-notify in a new district. The old district is not obligated nor required to do so *unless you ask*. Ohio regulations note that requesting the forwarding of your previous notification to the new district satisfies the requirement and is to be honored by the new district of residence for the remainder of that school year (even if they do not follow through and do it).
If you instead wish to go through the process to re-notify the new district, you do not need to let the old district know that you moved to a new district; however, a quick after-hours voice mail would be fine as a courtesy.
If you decide to request for your information to be transferred, instead of notifying again within the school year, it should be sent certified. You want PROOF it was received - since that's all that matters, not if they actually do it.
Here is some suggested wording:
Dear Mr./Ms. <superintendent name>:
We are a homeschooling family. We received our letter of excuse from compulsory attendance this past fall from your office.
We are moving to <school district name> this week. Per OAC 3301-34-03, section F, we are formally requesting for you to forward our notification and excuse paperwork to our new district:
Superintendent District Address
Thank you for your prompt attention.
Excused children's names
Next year, when you are preparing to notify again, you will notify again as usual, to your new district, and include a completed assessment as usual, as it will be a “subsequent notification”, even though it’s a new-to-you district.
OAC 3301-34-03 (F): " (F) Upon transfer from a district in which the child has been excused from compulsory school attendance for the purpose of home education, the last district of residence shall, upon the request of the parent(s), forward to the new district of residence a copy of the information supplied and related documents. If the transfer and request of information occurs during the school year excused by the last district of residence, the forward of information request shall satisfy the notice requirements outlined in paragraphs (A) and (C) of this rule and should be honored by the new district of residence for the remainder of that school year. "
If you are moving out of Ohio, you do not need to do anything further with Ohio. You do not need to schedule an assessment or a test, or notify the school district that you are leaving (although you can if you want – it is NOT required). You can just leave – and then be sure to investigate and follow the homeschool law in your new state. If you do wish to let your old district know, a quick after-hours voice mail would be fine as a courtesy.
Do I need to include report card/test results/any assessment from my previous school/district/state if we are notifying to homeschool for the first time here in Ohio?
No. A completed assessment is only included with a subsequent Ohio notification. It doesn’t matter if you just moved to Ohio and homeschooled elsewhere, or if your children were enrolled in a private school or public school last year – whatever happened previously, or where, doesn’t matter. If this is your first year notifying to homeschool, your notification will only include the notification and curriculum addendum, as described in the Primer.
NEXT year, you will include a completed assessment form along with your NOI and curriculum addendum, because it will be a subsequent notification -- no matter how long you homeschooled for this school year. (See step 6 of the Primer for info about assessments and subsequent notification, and FAQ #7 below.)
A notification to your district of residence must be sent within a week of moving in, when moving in during the district's school year. Whether you are buying a home, renting, living with relatives, or living in a van down by the river (heh), it’s all the same.
If you are living in Ohio (and it is during the regular school year, not summer) and you have established residency, notification will be to the school district in which you are residing.
If it is summer months when you move, just notify when you can. Most people notify close to the start of the school year in their district (usually August).
If I decide to walk my notification in to my district superintendent’s office instead of sending it via certified mail (with the additional return signature receipt card), what should I do to make sure I have proof that they have received it, in case anyone claims it was not received?
If you decide to take your notification in personally, you need to receive a signed and dated receipt of your paperwork before leaving the office. You can have the office worker sign a second copy of your notification, or you can print out a second document as a receipt for them to sign and date.
If they refuse to sign and date your document, or in any way else provide you with physical proof that your notification paperwork has been received, do not leave it with them. Take it to the post office and send your paperwork certified, and pay the additional amount to attach the physical return signature receipt card to the envelope.
We STRONGLY recommend that if you are new to homeschooling, and especially if you are withdrawing your child mid-year, to just send your notification certified and with return signature receipt. 99% of "emergency" calls and messages we receive are from families who are standing in the superintendent's office, trying to hand in their notification, and the office worker is refusing to accept the notification or they (wrongly) threaten truancy. The US mail worker has no emotion in the situation and will simply require the school officer worker to sign for the certified mail without question.
Do I need to wait? My district’s website says that I have to continue to send my child to school until my “application” to homeschool has been “approved”.
Any district that includes wording such as that on their website is distributing incorrect information. Ohio is a notification state – not an approval state. You do not “apply” to homeschool – you inform them that you ARE exercising your right to do so. It is not an “application” – it’s a notification that informs them of your intent to exercise your right. The superintendent has no right to “approve” or “deny” your right. When you have notified, you can begin homeschooling – even the same day. You can take your child home from school, send in your notification of intent to homeschool, and start homeschooling – all in the same day. The superintendent has 14 calendar days within which he or she can request additional information, if you forgot something on the notification, but this is not a denial, simply a request for more information.
And will this log be sent in with my next notification or asked for at a portfolio assessment?
No. There are no logs or tracking of hours in Ohio.
On your NOI, you mark (checkmark, state, initial, X) your assurance that you will provide at least 900 hours of home education. (If you are notifying in letter form instead of the form, you just state your assurance.) That is all. It is written as “home education” specifically, and not as “school hours” and not “instruction”, as it is often wrongly called on websites and district letters. “Home education” means whatever you decide it to mean in your family. It was specifically chosen to be "home education" in our regulations, which can and does encompass all parts of life for your family.
You do not need to track or log your home education experiences.
Even if you decide to log hours for your own information, this would just be for YOUR info, and the log should NOT be turned in to your district at the end of the year or with your next notification. (A log should also NEVER be asked for with a portfolio assessment. If your assessor asks for such information, that is a good indication that he or she doesn't know her job, and should not be hired by you.)
IF you do decide to log hours, be honest and log EVERY learning opportunity. And good luck with keeping up with that! :)
Annually, prior to notification for your second and further years (NOT your first notification!) you must choose one option for assessment prior to notifying again - typically either a nationally-normed, standardized test, or a portfolio review (“narrative assessment”) with an Ohio licensed or certified teacher. (There is actually a 3rd option as well; see below. )
Assessment is "annual", it is not "year end" though many people do them in the summers. Assessment is just to show progress, NOT content mastery or grade completion. Assessment does not "promote" your child to a new grade.
If you choose a standardized test, the only thing you send into the superintendent is the overall, composite score, written on the Standardized Test Assessment Form. You do NOT need to send in a copy of the test - only this form.
The portfolio review ("narrative assessment") option sounds intimidating, but it can be one of the most helpful and easy things about homeschooling in Ohio. If you choose the portfolio review, all you send into the district is a signed assessment form which states:
“ I hereby attest that a portfolio of samples of <child name>’s work was reviewed by me for the 20____ -20____ academic year and is in accordance with his/her abilities.”
That one delightfully vague, signed and dated statement IS the entirety of the “narrative assessment”. This is signed by the Ohio licensed/certified teacher (of your choosing, not the school's) who performs the assessment. You do not send in portfolio samples to the superintendent -- only this signed assessment form. We have a list of vetted, recommended assessors (who all are experienced homeschool parents as well) at this link: Recommended Assessors
Copies of these forms are available on the Forms page. You will send in one of these two options, along with your next notification of intent to homeschool. This notification with test or assessment review form must be sent in every year following your first notification year (“subsequent notification”), if you intend to continue homeschooling your child in Ohio.
A completed assessment form should not be sent on its own without the subsequent notification. If you are instead enrolling your child in school or have moved to a new state, then you will not send in an assessment, but your district might require one. See FAQ #19 for more.
Most Ohio homeschoolers do one of the two year end assessment options: either a portfolio review, or a nationally-normed standardized test. The portfolio review typically must be reviewed by a currently certified Ohio teacher. You can, however, petition your district superintendent to use an “Other person mutually agreed upon by the parent(s) and the superintendent”. This can be yourself, your spouse, or someone else you think should be your designated person. Petitioning for this option is not guaranteed, but it is an available option you can try to utilize. Instead of a portfolio review or a standardized test, you can also work out another mutually-agreed upon other assessment.
Any of these “mutually-agreed” other options must be agreed upon by your superintendent PRIOR to sending in your subsequent notification. Usually this can take weeks or months to work out, and there is no recourse for you if the superintendent does not agree. It MUST be mutually agreed, and the superintendent can disagree for any or no reason at all.
Yes. Assessment will always go with a subsequent notification, regardless of how long you homeschooled for this year according to your local district's calendar. Your next notification is a subsequent notification, even if you notified and withdrew your children to homeschool the week your local district ended. See FAQ #10 below for more info on what to show for assessment when you haven't been homeschooling all year.
If you are enrolling your child in school. if they have graduated, or have moved to a new state, you will not send in an assessment. You can still do one and keep it for your records, but it is NOT sent in to your school superintendent.
To stress again- a completed assessment form is sent in WITH your subsequent notification, not on its own. If you are not notifying for the next school year (enrolling, graduated student, moved out of state), then you do NOT send in an assessment for the previous school year.
His/her birthday falls after the first day of school in my district. Do I need to notify?
No. Unless you are pulling your child from school mid-year (see Question #9), you will not need to notify until the start of the NEXT school year. Even if your child’s birthday is the next day after school starts in your district (or, rarely, a different date noted by your district) you will not need to notify until the following year.
If your child has a birthday around August or September, it is a good idea to check to see when school starts in your district for the year he or she will turn 6. If your child will be age 6 on or before that date, then you need to notify.
No, if you are pulling a preschool age child from public school preschool program, you do NOT notify of your intent to homeschool that child. Even if he or she is in a public school-funded program it does not “count” as being in enrolled in the system. Just withdraw your preschooler and start having fun at home.
If you are pulling a Kindergarten child from public school kindergarten, and school has already started, then unfortunately even if they are under the compulsory age of 6, enrolling a child into public school Kindergarten makes them compulsory age, and you will need to send in an intent to homeschool notification to withdraw them from the system (see the Primer for the How-to on that).
If your child has never been in public school kindergarten, then you will NOT need to notify for homeschooling until your child is compulsory age (6 by the first day of school in your school district.)
No, if your child has not yet attended the first day of school, then your child is NOT YET compulsory, even though you registered for him or her.
As the parent, you can decide to keep your child home simply by calling the superintendent's office and letting them know you have changed your mind. This is often called "red-shirting", and many people do it even when they have no intention of later homeschooling, because they decide their 5 year old is just not ready. Do not mention that you are homeschooling - there is no need to open that can of worms with office staff that does not understand homeschooling laws. Simply tell them them you have decided to "red-shirt" your 5 year old this year.
Every assessor has different expectations on what he or she will want to review. It is best to interview and find an assessor first, and ask the assessor what materials he or she will be expecting to see. Some assessors are more traditional in their approach, and some are experts in doing assessments for unschoolers and will be able to do an assessment based on far more untraditional methods than you might expect. It just depends on the individual assessor. If your assessor asks for information that doesn’t seem to fit with your homeschooling style, you are free to pick a different assessor who is more in line with your methods.
There is no list of approved assessors from which you must choose, and you should be wary of choosing an assessor from a list provided to you by the schools. (The assessors listed might be wonderful homeschool assessors, or they might not. You still should interview him or her before agreeing to hire the assessor- don’t pick someone based on a list provided by your school.)
Homeschooled families are best served by finding an assessor who is a homeschool parent themselves, or someone who is an advocate for homeschooling in some capacity. We have a list of assessors who have been interviewed by OHP and vetted as homeschool advocates, if you would like a place to start your search.
Assessment is not about "proof" or showing completed curricula or bringing in stacks of workbooks. It's not what "assessment" means in schools. You don't pass or fail or get called a new grade label. If the assessor you hire compares your child to state standards, demands proof of completed workbooks or curriculum, wants a log of hours, or says your child "passed" and says they have been promoted to a new grade, that assessor doesn't know Ohio homeschooling laws and has no business doing a homeschooling assessment.
It is ONLY about showing "progress according to the child's own ability". You can do that with 2 days of homeschooling. The assessment will be a time of encouragement -- it's not a time for being judged. The key is finding someone who is themselves also a homeschooler. The recommended assessors list is the place to go for that. Don't go to a current classroom teacher who only understands the word "assessment" in a school mindset.
There is no approved curriculum list for Ohio. Curriculum choices – if you even decide to use curricula- are completely up to you as the parent, and the state is not allowed to approve or deny any curriculum choices. That leaves the choices completely up to you – which is a wonderful thing, but can also be frightening for all the choices out there! Where to start? Thirty years ago, homeschoolers had much more limited choices, and many of them homeschooled with nothing other than a library card (and a Bible, if they were Christians). Now, the possibilities are endless.
Here are some good starting places to investigate curriculum and learning styles:
Homeschool Resource Roadmap, which lists a free database of multiple thousands of curriculum choices, along with the curriculum or resource’s stance on Common Core.
An additional part of the website is the Rest Stop: How-To Helps page, which contains many useful articles for getting started with curriculum, including: “How to Choose Curriculum”, “Is the Perfect Curriculum Out there?” and “What About Grade Level?”
Cathy Duffy’s books and website
Starting Out Right at Home: Important information about de-schooling (often confused with “unschooling”, but it’s not the same thing). It’s best to not jump right from a school situation directly to a curriculum, as doing so most often leads to burn out, by both parent and child. This is caused by trying to recreate a stressful situation right in the home – only with the added stress of you having a much deeper vested interested in the success of your children than even the best classroom teacher. Before investing time and money into curriculum, read the info on that website!
Home Learning Year by Year, by Rebecca Rupp (non-affiliated Amazon link) - Suggested lists of topics and subjects to cover. Remember that there is no set curriculum you need to follow, whether in regards to “what your child should know”, or as it relates to the state; this is only one possibility, just as public school scopes and sequences are decided (and change about twice every generation). Available as a book only; check your library or bookstore or Amazon.
Also, see the Homeschooling Resources page on this site for a list of helpful books.
Do I need to follow public school/state graduation requirements?
No. Homeschoolers make their own graduation requirements for their students.
How do my homeschoolers get a diploma?
You simply - print one or have one printed. There are lots of places online to do this including free online templates.
A homeschool diploma (issued by the parent) is equally valid and legal under Ohio law as any other school diploma. A GED is not required, nor is it considered even ideal, to be obtained, as a GED signifies no high school completion, and a homeschool graduate *has* completed a high school education. Colleges have time and again recognized the validity of a homeschool education, and have in recent years actively recruited homeschool graduates. You, as the legal administrator of your legal homeschool, set the graduation requirements for your school. We are not bound to any of the ODE’s graduation requirements (including course of study or graduation tests), as those are set for public schools only. Once your child has fulfilled the requirements that YOU set for YOUR school, YOU can decide to issue your child a diploma.
Do I need to enroll in an "accredited" school? What about "accredited" curriculum?
Enrolling in an “accredited” school is not necessary and accredited curriculum is a myth. No curriculum, anywhere, in any school, even public or private schools, is accredited – only schools, and not a curriculum, can be accredited, and it is largely just feel-good marketing to frightened homeschoolers, under the college level. (Many public schools are not accredited, but no one bothers to ask.)
Will they be accepted into college after homeschooling high school?
Most families follow a general course of study, and often, the best thing to do for a college-bound student, is to investigate the entrance requirements for the college or colleges he or she is considering, and gear your high school program toward that goal. This is just for your use, however- there is no specific course of study which must be adhered to in order to receive a high school graduation diploma. For college acceptance, your diploma (which is a ceremonial document) is of little importance. What most colleges will be looking for are high school transcripts (which you can also legally write) and college entrance exams.
Homeschoolers are typically heavily recruited by colleges, because they have proven more successful in college than average students. Homeschooled graduates tend to already be independent learners who are used to thinking outside the box, both of which are prized in the college environment.
For more information on homeschool high school programs and college acceptance, we recommend checking out Lee Binz’ website called The Home Scholar/Home High School Help.
AGAIN, a homeschool diploma is EQUAL in validity under Ohio law.
A high school diploma is simply a ceremonial document that attests to the fact that he or she has completed your legal homeschool’s high school requirements (see the explanation in the last question). You have always been legally allowed to issue your own diploma (either print your own at home, or use a diploma printing service). You are the school. You are the administration of your school. It is your right to create and print your own ceremonial document for your school. The ONLY change with this law, is that IF the validity of your child’s high school diploma is challenged by a college or workplace, he or she can show their last compulsory age letter of excusal to "prove" to any naysayers that you homeschooled according to state law, and as such, your diploma is as valid as a diploma from the school down the road. It does not make your ceremonial document any more legal than one printed for the school down the road. It is simply something to hold in your back pocket to show if anyone questions the legality of homeschooling.
You simply keep your child’s last compulsory aged notification letter of excuse from attendance, and that will be your “proof” of your compliance with state law, if their diploma is challenged.
Simply follow the steps outlined in the How to Homeschool in Ohio – Primer page. The day you send in your notification to your superintendent’s office, you can call or email the school or e-school and let them know your child is not continuing with the program. Ask for labels or anything else they need to send you to return their computers and other materials. You do not need to wait until your notification paperwork is processed to withdraw your child from the e-school.
You can fill out their "withdrawal" forms if you want, but it’s just a courtesy for them – the only legal document is your Notification of Intent to Homeschool, and this goes to your local district superintendent – NOT the charter/e-school. Do not feel like you need to provide any information other than that your child is being withdrawn. They do not NEED to know that you are homeschooling, and they most certainly do not need to know your curriculum choices. Write "N/A" through any request for such information.
Remember, Ohio is a notification state, not an approval state, and there is NO wait time, despite what the staff of the school or e-school might try to say. Once you have sent in your notification (send it certified with return signature receipt, as stated in the Primer), you can keep your children home and begin homeschooling the same day. (See the info above in #11 concerning curriculum choices.) If you continue receiving phone calls about absences, call the school to remind them that your children are no longer enrolled, ask them to contact the superintendent (who is sent your notification paperwork) if they have questions, and then you can ignore or block the number.
See the steps outlined above for withdrawing from an online/charter school.
The only thing you *should* do additionally, is call after hours and leave a voice mail with your open enrolled school, letting them know you have notified to homeschool, and if they have any questions, to contact your local district superintendent. This is not a legal step, but simply helping the open enrolled school with navigating their own internal processes. There is no legal form for this, as it is just a courtesy.
Do not feel like you need to provide any information other than that your child is being withdrawn from the open enrolled school. They do not NEED to know that you are homeschooling, and they most certainly do not need to know your curriculum choices. If you want to fill out a withdrawal form instead of calling to leave a voice mail, write "N/A" through any request for such information.
See the steps outlined above for withdrawing from an online/charter school.
The only thing you should do additionally, is file a withdraw notice/form with your private school. This is not a legal step, but simply helping the private school with navigating their own internal processes. There is no legal form this, as it is just a courtesy, but your private school should have this form to fill out.
Do not feel like you need to provide any information other than that your child is being withdrawn. They do not NEED to know that you are homeschooling, and they most certainly do not need to know your curriculum choices. Write "N/A" through any request for such information.
First, testing is NEVER required in Ohio. It is one of the assessment options. (See #7 above for assessment options.)
ANY nationally normed standardized test is acceptable. The ODE website publishes a list of “accepted tests” on their homeschooling information page, but that document is for enrollment into school programs, and not related to homeschooling. The only requirement under Ohio regulations is: IF you choose to do a test for your annual assessment, it must be a nationally-normed standardized test. There is great list of possibilities, including where to purchase the test and the requirements for the test, at this website:
If you choose a test that allows the parent to administer the test, then you can administer the test. This would fall under this part of Ohio code: “OAC 3301-34-04 (B) (iii) A person duly authorized by the publisher of the test.”
A composite score of a minimum 25th percentile is considered performing at a level of reasonable proficiency.
If your child scores below this 25% composite - do NOT submit this score! Just test again on a better day for your student, or find a homeschool assessor and send in a narrative assessment form this year instead. (This is one of many good reasons why we do not recommend testing at the schools.)
When testing, the scores should come to YOU, not directly to the school, and then you can decide to submit it as your annual assessment or not. Many people test for their own information or for their child's practice, but then send in a narrative assessment instead, as they do not believe the school has a right to test scores on students they do not educate. In any case, if you have the test scores sent to you, then you as the parent can make that choice instead of the school.
A test score under 25th percentile composite would require a plan with the superintendent for remediation, as noted in the law code here. There is no reason to go through with that when you can just have a portfolio review done instead. Sometimes very bright children just do not test well, but this doesn't mean they need a year of remediation.
This is highly discouraged by homeschooling advocates -- but often encouraged by schools. Why the difference?
Children within the public schools are being opted out of these tests because of data mining. (Just ask many of your public school family friends.)
Even worse than data mining is that when you submit your child to a school test, unlike the 25th percentile minimum with the nationally-normed standardized test option, there is NO OBJECTIVE STANDARD as to what is considered "reasonable proficiency" with in-school state testing. "Proficient", instead, is completely up to the whim of the superintendent. If a school superintendent decides to have an issue with homeschoolers, they can decide that even a homeschool student's perfect score is not good enough, and require the student to be placed in a remediation program of the superintendent's choosing. ANY plan of the superintendent's choosing - not the parent. Let the gravity of that "free test" choice sink in a moment.
When you test at the school, the school gets the results, not the parent, so you have no option of not submitting it if your child had a bad test day. The parent loses that right to decide. And the school has complete control over if they will accept the score as proficient or not.
Schools are trying to fill those empty testing seats abandoned by parents wisely opting their enrolled children out, by offering them “for free” to homeschoolers, because they get funding for every child in a testing seat. That ‘Free’ dangling carrot is not worth the exchange of your child's data and your right to not submit test results that are unsatisfactory.
Nope. Never again. You can CHOOSE to do a nationally-normed test for your annual assessment if you want to (see #14 above) and you can choose to have your child do a college entrance test in high school, but it is your choice. It is not required – not for annual assessment, not for third grade, not for high school graduation.
Welcome to real learning instead of teaching to a test!
My school doesn't teach X subject for Y grade, so why do I need to find a curriculum for every one of those subjects?
Public school subject requirements don't apply to home education any more than public school testing or state testing requirements. We are our own educational entity and we make all decisions. YOU decide what you want to teach, and when.
We do assure to covering certain topics within the course of home education, which is not the same thing as course requirements.
In OAC 3301-34-03 (5), the regulations state the following:
“(5) Assurance that home education will include the following, except that home education shall not be required to include any concept, topic, or practice that is in conflict with the sincerely held religious beliefs of the parent:
(a) Language, reading, spelling, and writing:
(b) Geography, history of the United States and Ohio; and national, state, and local government;
(f) Physical education;
(g) Fine arts, including music; and
(h) First aid, safety, and fire prevention."
This requirement means you will include those listed topics (except any with a conflict) within the years of home education. This is not an assurance of classes, or courses, or textbooks, and those topics might not be included equally every year. You are simply, and literally, giving an assurance that your years of home education will include those topics. NOT that you are going to have a class or textbook for each of those. Remember that schools don’t have a class in Ohio history every year, but there will likely be a discussion about someone who lived in Ohio at some point, or your might go to see some historical landmark. That's covered as "included" in education. A topic/subject can be covered with a single conversation. You can give your honest assurance that those topics will be covered, and you actually WILL cover many of them: in field trips, museums, and real life. For example, fire safety can be “covered” in the important everyday parenting life of talking with your children about fire escape routes in your home, or in going to visit a fire station open house.
No class or curriculum is necessarily needed.
Also, there is an important exception in the OAC above, which many people skip right over : “except…any concept, topic, or practice that is in conflict with the sincerely held religious beliefs of the parent”. If you have a conflict with any of them, you should not feel obligated to note it or to explain it, since you do not need to prove anything. Just don't include it; it's important to write out that full phrase, as reminder, in your curriculum addendum (as shown in the example 1 linked in Step 3 of the Primer.)
But what SHOULD I teach?
Since you now know that all requirements are yours, and that there is no need to follow public school requirements for a private education, but can instead tailor your child's education to his or her specific needs - the best "individual education plan" possible - it sometimes gets overwhelming thinking about all the choices. If you are needing ideas on topics, a good resource to check is the Home Learning Year by Year book, by Rebecca Rupp. World Book also puts out a "typical" scope and sequence guide, as do many popular curriculum companies. Take a look at a few companies whose values mostly align with your own, and see what they suggest each year. That will give you a good starting place if you are feeling frustrated. But remember, you NEVER have to do a particular topic one year just because some curriculum guide schedules it. YOU are your child's educator, not a curriculum. Curriculum is just a tool - use the tool as needed, put it down when it's no longer useful.
There are lots more curriculum search links on question #11, above.
The Extracurricular Homeschooler Access law allows Ohio students who are homeschooling guaranteed access to public school extracurricular activities, such as sports. This is guaranteed access, *not* guaranteed a spot on the team. Homeschool students must meet the same eligibility and financial requirements as other students.
This law does not include any class or activity that is graded, which usually includes bands and choirs. Graded classes, even "extra" classes, are considered curricular, or co-curricular. You might be able to get involved in these activities, but you would need to seek permission to join, as co-curricular class enrollment is entirely up to the discretion of your local superintendent. They can agree or deny participation to co-curriculars for any or no reason. This law also does not include student social activities like school dances, which are often run by organizations like PTA, not the school itself, and could have its own insurance requirements. They MIGHT allow non-student guests, but they do not HAVE to allow it.
Activities that DO follow under this law are NOT up to the discretion of the school superintendent or the school's opinion. However, if your student participates, he or she needs to meet all eligibility requirements as any other student. A school might try to insist that this includes sending in a report card of grades, however, Section C states the following:
"(C) In order to participate in an extracurricular activity under this section, the student shall be of the appropriate age and grade level, as determined by the superintendent of the district, for the school that offers the extracurricular activity, shall fulfill the same nonacademic and financial requirements as any other participant, and shall fulfill either of the following academic requirements:
(1) If the student received home instruction in the preceding grading period, the student shall meet any academic requirements established by the state board of education for the continuation of home instruction."
The first phrase includes nonacademic requirements, which is to say living within the district, unless your district does not offer the activity, and the financial requirement is that the homeschooler pays the same fees to play/participate as a public school student. The second underlined phrase above, followed by subsection (1) would be fulfilled simply by one of the annual assessment options, noted in Step 6 of the Primer: "the student shall meet any academic requirements established by the state board of education for the continuation of home instruction." That is an annual assessment for home education, NOT a grade card. A grade card would be an extra requirement, which is forbidden according to section (F).
The second option noted in (C):"either of the following", is in regards to a student that was recently enrolled in school and therefore only has school-given grades so far. In the case of a child previously enrolled in school, last year's report card fulfills this requirement since no annual homeschool assessment will have been obtained yet.
Per sections (F) and (G), neither the school nor an interscholastic conference can impose any extra requirements or extra fees on a homeschooler. Many athletic directors, however, do try to insist on a submitted report card. If you wish to jump through the school's hoops to participate, a simple pass/fail report card can be written up on a basic document at home. Nothing "official" is needed to meet this request. (And as mentioned above, if you don't want to, a good case can be made for insisting that a report card is *not* needed in any circumstance.)
It's also worth noting that many times, the same activities that can be obtained at a local school are also available within the homeschool community, so it is useful to check local homeschooling resources as well. Public schools do not have the market cornered on extracurricular - far from it! We maintain an extensive list of Homeschool Groups and Activities, arranged by area of the state, and homeschool dances are advertised all of the state, especially in the Spring.
Home educated minors do need to obtain a work permit to work during the usual school year, just as any other student. (No work permit is needed for summer work.)
Work permits can be obtained at your local high school, or downloaded from the internet. If you download the forms, you will still need to bring them to your local superintendent to have the work permit signed. It may be an antiquated law, requiring a school that we have no part of, to sign off on our children's work permits, but it is currently Ohio law.
Here is Ohio law on minor work permits:
Here is the work permit application, if you wish to download your own:
Here is the doctors' certificate which must also be signed to obtain the work permit:
Grade level placement and credit transfers (for high school) following home education are ultimately up to the school superintendent. However, Ohio law does state the following: The school district of residence shall enroll or reenroll a child who has been home educated without discrimination or prejudice.
In placement decisions, the superintendent can look at three determining factors:
While placement is ultimately up to the superintendent, and when you enroll your child, you ultimately lose the freedom of that automony in the decision making process, it is important to hold the superintendent into following Ohio law, also, so keep in mind the words without discrimination or prejudice.
Here is a link to Ohio law on Placement in school:
Mail your notification packet to the attention and address of your local district superintendent. The district can forward your paperwork on if they wish, to another office, but our responsibility is to follow the law; what they do with it once it arrives at their office is now their responsibility, and on their watch.
Since Ohio regulations state that the superintendent (not any other school employee) has 14 calendar days to review the notification and ask for additional information, it is VERY important that we send it to the local district superintendent only (certified and with signature receipt) so that we can know exactly what date it was received by the superintendent and by whom. If we send our notification to some other office, for the school's convenience, we will have no way of knowing when that other office sends it to the superintendent, and therefore no way of knowing when their 14 calendar day clock runs out.
The school could claim, even months later, that the superintendent just received your notification, so you would need to comply with replying to a request for more information. Sending it to the local district superintendent only, despite a school"s requests otherwise, protects your rights.
Yes. The letter of excuse from compulsory education MUST be signed by your local district superintendent, and no other school office worker. This was clarified in Ohio law in 2014.
Revised Code Section 3321.04 formerly noted the “city or exempted village school district or the educational service center.” However, the law was amended to read the “superintendent of the school district in which the child resides.”
The Ohio Department of Education published a letter of notice of responsibilities to school superintendents in the summer of 2017. This letter clarifies the superintendent's responsibilities. If your school district is not following Ohio law, consider printing out a copy of this short letter and sending it to them if you need to follow up on an improperly signed excusal letter. That letter is linked here:
Responsibilities of the District Superintendent
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Please note, we are fellow homeschooling parents, not legal counsel. Information shared should not be taken as legal advice. We highly recommend being well-versed with the applicable administrative code and your rights to home educate. The regulation codes pertaining to Ohio homeschooling are linked on this page.