NOTIFICATION IN A NUTSHELL
IS IT LEGAL?
Yes. It is your constitutional right to make educational choices for your child. This right was upheld by the Supreme Court of the United States in 1972 (Wisconsin vs. Yoder). In 1976, the Ohio Supreme Court ruling in The State of Ohio vs. Whisner recognized the primary rights of parents to teach their children at home. Further, your primary parental right to provide the education for your child/ren is specifically safeguarded by Ohio’s home education regulations (OAC 3301-34-02).
Ohio law does not specifically provide for home education; the Home Education regulations are based on Ohio Revised Code Section 3321.04-Compulsory Attendance. The requirements specifically addressing home education became effective on August l, 1989 and can be found under The Ohio State Board of Education Administrative Code-Chapter 3301-34 entitled Rules for Excuses from Compulsory Attendance for Home Education. These requirements carry the same effect as law and school districts may not exceed, change or alter these standards in any manner. These standards serve as rules and policies for districts to follow.
WHO MAY HOMESCHOOL?
The definition of home education according to Ohio regulations is “an education primarily directed and provided by the parent or guardian of a child who is not enrolled in a nonpublic school.” The parent/guardian is primarily responsible for homeschooling the child; however, the parent may choose a third party (grandparent, tutor, friend) to educate the child. The third-party must meet the minimal educational requirements in the regulations. (See Required Information – Item 9). The parent is still fully responsible for the education of the child.
WHEN / WHO DO I NEED TO NOTIFY I WILL HOMESCHOOL?
Children between the ages of 6 and 18 years of age are of compulsory school age and must be enrolled in an educational situation. Check with your school district regarding their cutoff date by which a 6 y/o child must be enrolled. Notification of intention to homeschool is made to the Superintendent only (not his designee, attendance officer, student services personnel, school principal) of your school district of residence. (If your district contains the word “local” you should notify your County Superintendent of Education.) Local superintendents (and designees) do not have authority to issue an excuse from compulsory attendance.
There is no specific starting date for homeschooling and parents may begin home education at any time during the school year; you do not have to wait for the start of a new school year, semester or quarter. When conventional schools are in session, your child must be enrolled in a traditional school or be homeschooling. It is not necessary that parents wait to be notified by Superintendent that their child has been excused from compulsory attendance before beginning home education. It is long-standing, statewide practice to notify your superintendent of your intention to home educate by Day One of the start of your district’s new school year that you will home educating. If your child is not enrolled, or your Superintendent notified that you will be homeschooling, you may be liable under truancy laws. Home education is a legal excuse from compulsory attendance in Ohio. Since home education is an equal and legal educational option in Ohio, homeschoolers should not expect different or less-than-equal treatment by the school district when exercising their parental right to choose the home education alternative. Parents are fully responsible for the notification of intention to home educate and, as always, must use their best judgment in determining how to proceed.
NOTIFICATION PROCEDURES (OAC 3301-34-03)
Mail your notification form via certified mail, return receipt requested. If hand-delivering the notification, be sure to obtain date and signature of person receiving your notification. Keep copies of all your notification paperwork. They are legal documents. It is suggested that you not use the form supplied by your school district since it may contain errors and ask you to provide information not required in the home education regulations. It is suggested that you contact a local homeschooling group rather than your school district for an appropriate notification form or letter, or if you have questions about the notification procedure. Home school support groups are conversant with the regulations and understand the procedures and challenges of home education that are not the purview of public school districts. It is neither necessary nor desireable to have any conversations with any public officials regarding your decision to home educate. The supt is responsible for informing your child’s school of your homeschool decision. The information you are required to provide may not be exceeded by the superintendent. The superintendent has 14 calendar days in which to notify you in writing of either compliance or non-compliance with the regulations. If you receive notification of “non-compliance,” within 14 days of the supt’s receipt of your notification information, the superintendent may only ask for information which is incomplete, or missing, not additional information; additional information would not be specifically required as outlined below, e.g,, grade level or providing textbook table of contents are not required information. If your school district contacts you after 14 calendar days of receipt of the information by the superintendent, you are under no obligation to provide any further information and are entitled to an excuse from compulsory attendance. If you do not receive one, you should request it. Always keep your copy of your excuse from compulsory attendance with your home education documents. Letters from your superintendent stating your “request is approved,” or “permission is granted” are not in harmony with the Ohio Administrative Code-Chapter 3301-34
Rules For Excuses from Compulsory Attendance for Home Education. It is your safeguarded parental right to home educate. Superintendents issue an excuse from compulsory attendance based on your compliance with the required notification information.
YOU ARE REQUIRED TO SUPPLY THE FOLLOWING INFORMATION:
(1) school year for which notification is being made;
(2) name and address of parent;
(3) name and address of person teaching the child, if other than the parent;
(4) full name and birthdate of the child/ren;
(5) assurance that the require topics will be included;
(a) language, reading, spelling and writing;
(b) geography, history of the U.S. and Ohio; and national, state and local government;
(f) physical education;
(g) fine arts, including music; and
(h) first aid, safety and fire prevention;
(6) brief outline of intended curriculum (provided for informational purposes only); and
(7) a list of textbooks, courses, OR other basic teaching materials; (provided for informational purposes only);
(8) assurance that the parent will provide 900 hours of home education; and
(9) assurance of the teacher’s (parent’s/designated party) qualifications:
(a) high school diploma; or
(b) certificate of high school equivalence; or
(c) standardized test scores that demonstrate high school equivalence; or
(d) other equivalent credential found appropriate by the superintendent; or
(e) lacking the above, the home teacher must work under the direction of a person holding a baccalaureate degree from a recognized college until the child/ren’s test results demonstrate reasonable proficiency or until the home teacher obtains a high school diploma or certificate of high school equivalence.
(l0) the signature of the parent, which affirms the information provided.
Your child must be assessed at the end of each “school year” only if you are planning to continue homeschooling. Your child/ren’s assessment must be sent to your Superintendent together with your notification for your next year of home education. You are required to supply an assessment together with your notification; do not send the assessment separately from your notification. The purpose of assessment is to show whether your child requires remediation. There are 3 methods of assessment:
(a) results of a nationally-normed standardized achievement testing; OR
(b) written narrative prepared by
(i) an Ohio-certified teacher, who has reviewed a portfolio of samples of the child’s work; OR
(ii) or other person mutually agreed upon by the parent and superintendent; OR
(c) any alternate assessment mutually agreed upon by the parent and the Superintendent.
The standard used for the standardized testing is “reasonable proficiency,” which means an overall composite score of at least 25th percentile. The standard for the written narrative, or portfolio review, is “progress in accordance with the child’s abilities.” Please contact local homeschooling support groups for information on standardized testing, certified Ohio teachers who are available for portfolio review.
[Note: The Ohio Proficiency Test does not fulfill the requirement of Assessment Option (a).]
Should you have any questions or concerns about home education, whether about the notification procedure, home education resources, or getting started, etc. we suggest that you contact a local homeschooling organization in order to receive complete, accurate and appropriate information about home education.
S.M Duncan, Rev. 02/01 (Do not reprint for distribution or publication without prior permission)