Numerous parents, for several different reasons, make the decision to homeschool their children. Homeschooling allows for a particular educational experience intended to fit your child's specific needs and, in numerous cases, goes above and beyond what can be achieved in a public or private school system. If you make the decision to homeschool your family, it is important that you do so legally, and recognize the laws in your area. It is absolutely crucial that you do this, because if you fail to meet statutory standards when homeschooling your children you will inadvertently rob your children of postsecondary educational opportunities.
Homeschooling laws vary from situation to situation, so you have to look up the precise laws in your home state. The foundation of state laws on homeschooling is the result of truancy laws that order children to be present in a day-school. The fundamental idea is that these laws prevail to tell apart a homeschooled child from a child that is merely not going to school, which is of course against the law. Ordinarily, states will require that you submit a "notice of intent" to homeschool your children before the upcoming academic year. The state will then respond with the proper paperwork for you to fill out.
Besides familiarizing yourself with the particular laws of your state you should also consult a homeschooling organization for advice. In various cases parents will be dealing with school officials who want to dishearten them from homeschooling, and in these situations it is important that you understand your rights. In the state of New York, for instance, parents are not required to meet with school officials. School officials may request a meeting with the parents in order to consult on homeschooling, but the state may not revoke the right to homeschool if the parents refuse this meeting.
It is also required that your child take standardized tests. This is so the state can legally allocate your child to a given grade level. The laws vary from state to state but in most cases you will have a certain amount of leeway in non-standardized tests. New York allows for non-standard tests every alternate year between grades 4 and 8, for example.
Though it may seem intimidating at first, homeschooling your children legally is, in the end, not that complex. You just have to make certain that you follow every step, and don't neglect any paperwork. While several state restrictions or protocol may seem unnecessary or cumbersome, in the long run you'll save yourself a ton of headaches if you fill everything in properly and on time.
The first thing you can do when you start to homeschool your children is to consult different homeschooling parents and advocacy groups. Looking up legal vernacular online can be confusing, but any homeschooling group will supply you solid, plain-English advice on how to properly and legally set up homeschooling for your children. Remember: it's impossible to overestimate the importance of studying your state laws in regards to homeschooling - if you overlook or disregard any of them, you could lose your right to homeschool altogether.