1. What do I need to do to begin home schooling?
Answer: Fill out and turn in a notice of intent and waiver form to your local public school superintendent. Click here for more information on how to home school.
2. Where do I get books to home school my child?
Answer: There are numerous places where you can order books. Click here for a list of home school resources.
3. Are there any restrictions on which parents can home school their child?
Answer: Unless you are a registered sex offender, you can home school your child in Arkansas. Home school curricula are tailored to enable individuals without teaching degrees to be very successful home schoolers.
4. Does the State of Arkansas oversee my home school?
Answer: State oversight of your home school is done in the form of testing. Your child must take the reading and math portions of the Iowa Test of Basic Skills once a year in grades 3-9. However, this test is for statistical purposes only. There are no penalties for students who do poorly on the test. Click here for more information on state-mandated testing.
5. Does the State of Arkansas require any specific home school curriculum?
6. Does the State of Arkansas require any certain number of home school hours per day or days per year?
7. Does the State of Arkansas require the parent to have any particular level of education in order to home school?
8. How can I make contact with other home schoolers in my area of the state?
Answer: Over 70 home school support groups cover most of the state. Click here for a list.
9. Does the State of Arkansas require me to keep any particular set of home school records such as test scores and etc?
Answer: No. However, it is a good idea to keep a record of work done by your home school student in case anyone were to ever question the quality of education you are providing in your home school.
10. Does the State of Arkansas require my home school student to take any mandated tests?
Answer: Yes. Home school student in grades 3 – 9 must take the reading and math portions of the Iowa Test of Basic Skills. Home schoolers will be notified by their local Educational Service Cooperative or your local public school district regarding the time and place for testing. The test is usually given during the spring.
11. If I register my home school child for a certain grade do I have to limit my curriculum to that specific grade?
Answer: No. One positive aspect of home schooling is that parents can tailor the curriculum to meet the needs of the child. This means that parents have the freedom to enroll their child in subjects from more than one grade level at the same time.
12. Can home school students skip grades or be held back?
13. Can home school students start school a year late?
14. Do home schoolers have to enroll in kindergarten at the same age as public school students?
Answer: No. By turning in a kindergarten waiver form to the local public school district, parents may waive kindergarten for their child.
15. Can a grandparent or someone other than the parent home school a child?
Answer: The letter of the law says that a home school must be conducted primarily by the child’s parent or legal guardian. No court rulings exist that clarify to what extent other individuals can be involved in teaching a child enrolled in a home school.
16. Can a home school declare itself to be a private school and avoid state home school regulation?
Answer: An Arkansas court ruling from the 1980’s stated that a home school could not be a private school. No other rulings exist on this matter?
17. How much does it cost to home school a student for one school year?
Answer: There is no set answer to this question. It is less expensive to teach a kindergarten student than one in high school. Some parents supplement their child’s education with online classes on the internet. Some buy used books and others buy new ones. Some people borrow books and others utilize resources from their public library. As a general rule, parents can expect to spend around $200 per year per child on books.
18. Does the State of Arkansas provide any books or other material for home schoolers?
19. Can public school superintendents require parents to interview with him before being allowed to home school?
20. Can public school superintendents require proof of residence before accepting home school notices of intent?
21. Do parents who are transferring their child from a public school to a home school have to tell the superintendent why they are transferring?
1. What about the socialization of my child?
Answer: Numerous opportunities for socialization exist outside of schools. Home school students can take advantage of these. Also, home school students are spared some of the negative socialization that goes on at a traditional school.
2. Will my child’s development be affected if he or she has little contact with other children?
Answer: Isolating a child is not good. Most home school students are afforded sufficient time to play with other children through organized home school activities, church, scouting, or through friends and family. In addition, home school students have a greater opportunity to learn to relate to adults.
Transferring From Home School to Public or Private School
1. What if we decide to transfer our child from home school to public school?
Answer: Transferring from home school to public school in grades K – 8 is much easier than in grades 9-12. Most public schools will give credit for courses completed in a home school in elementary school. Some high schools refuse to give credit for home school courses completed in grades 9 -12. It would be wise to check with your local public school about their policy for home school students who transfer to their school.
2. What if we decide to transfer our child form a home school to a private school?
Answer: Each private school sets its own admission requirements. However, it is generally easier to transfer from a home school to a private school than to a public school.
High School Graduation, Diplomas, and College
1. If we home school through high school, how does my child graduate and obtain a high school diploma?
Answer: Several home school support organizations, including The Education Alliance, offer high school diplomas and graduation ceremonies. Most home school students participate in some type of high school graduation and receive a home school high school diploma. In addition, The Education Alliance offers free transcripts to home schoolers who submit a list of the courses they have completed. Some employers and certain institutions of higher learning require students who graduate from a home school to pass a General Educational Development (GED) test.
2. If we home school through high school, how does my child gain admission into college?
Answer: Most colleges have admission procedures for home school students. It is a good idea to check those admission requirements during the student’s 9th grade year and then re-check it during the student’s 11th grade year. This will enable the student to take any specific courses that may be required for admission to a particular college or university. Generally speaking, a home school student with a good ACT or SAT test score will have little trouble gaining admission into most colleges or universities in Arkansas.
Special Needs Students
1. Can students with special needs be home schooled?
Answer: Yes. Students with special needs can be home schooled the same as any other students. Click here for more information on home schooling students with special needs.
2. Do students with special needs have to take the state-mandated test?
Answer: No. For our special needs child to be exempt or receive special treatment during the test, you must make arrangements in advance with your local Educational Service Cooperative or in Pulaski County with your local school district.
3. Can I obtain special education services for my home schooled child through the public schools?
Answer: A very small amount of federal funds are available for non-public school students to obtain special education services through the public schools. However these services are very difficult to obtain.
1. What if I fail to complete the notice of intent and waiver forms in time to register my child for home schooling?
Answer: Under Arkansas law, students not enrolled in a public, private, parochial, or home school are truant. Home school children whose parents fail to file the notice of intent and waiver forms are truant under Arkansas law. Truancy is a crime for which parents can be punished. Parents can be required to appear in court, fines can be levied, and social workers can be ordered to intervene in the home. In extreme cases parents can be jailed and children placed in foster care.
2. What if I fail to provide an “adequate” level of education for my home school child?
Answer: Educational neglect is considered child abuse under Arkansas law. Though it is difficult to prove, parents who neglect the education of their children can be treated the same as any other parent who abuses their children. Parents can be fined, imprisoned, or supervised by the Arkansas Department of Human Services. Children can be placed in foster care, placed in public school, or overseen by the juvenile justice system.
3. What if I refuse to have my child tested as required by state law?
Answer: Parents who refuse to have their child tested are considered truant and laws governing truancy can be applied. Parents who fail to have their child tested are generally not in danger of punishment. Failure to test could be due to circumstances beyond the control of the parent or those administering the test.
1. How do home school students do on standardized tests when compared to their public school counterparts?
Answer: Every year for 20 years in a row, Arkansas home school students have outperformed their public school counterparts on standardized tests.
2. Are home school standardized test scores made available to anyone other than the child’s parents?
Answer: Parents are the only ones who are supposed to receive personally identifiable data regarding their child’s home school test. The Arkansas Department of Education does collect data on home schoolers as a group for statistical purposes only.
1. Can home school students take courses at the local public school?
Answer: Home school students are allowed to take academic courses at the local public school if the local school board approves it. Most public schools in Arkansas make no provision for home school students to take classes at the public school.
2. Can home school students take courses at a private school?
Answer: Yes. If the private school approves it.
3. Can home school students participate in regional science fairs, orchestra and voice competitions, spelling bees, and other similar competitions?
Answer: The organization(s) sponsoring these events establish(es) the rules regarding who can participate in these competitions. If the competition is sponsored or sanctioned by the Arkansas Activities Association, they only allow home school students to compete in “academic” competitions. This means that home school students can enter science fair competitions that are sanctioned by AAA, but not orchestra or sports related competitions that AAA sanctions.
Sports and Extracurricular Activities
1. What opportunities for extracurricular activities exist for home schoolers?
Answer: Larger cities and towns usually have sports and other extracurricular activities for home schoolers. Choices may be more limited in rural areas.
2. Can home school students play sports at the local public or private school?
Answer: All public schools and many private schools are members of the Arkansas Activities Association. The Arkansas Activities Association requires that eligible athletes be enrolled in at least 4 courses at the school and that they have at least a 2 point GPA in order to be eligible to play sports for a particular school. A small number of private school with athletic programs are not members of AAA. Home schoolers can play for those schools subject to their approval.
3. Can home school students participate in extracurricular activities at public schools?
Answer: The local public school may allow home school students to participate in band, choir, school clubs, and other extracurricular activities as long as the home school student does not participate in competition against other schools that are members of the Arkansas Activities Association.
1. When can a home school student drop out of school?
Answer: Like students and public and private schools, home school students must remain in school until their 18th birthday or until they graduate from high school.
2. Can home school students work during the day?
Answer: Yes. There are no state requirements regarding when a home school student must attend classes.
3. Can home school students take holidays at times that are different from public schools?
Answer: Yes. Many home school families conduct school year round and enjoy taking holidays at times when other students are in school.
1. Can public school superintendents encourage their “undesirable” students to leave public school and begin home schooling?
2. Can home school children be out of the home during normal school hours?
Answer: Little Rock and some other cities may have a daytime curfews for children. These do not apply if they are accompanied by a parent or if they have legitimate business such as a teenager on his or her way to or from work. Otherwise, there is nothing illegal about home school children being outside during the day. Allowing home school children to roam the neighborhood during normal school hours may provide anyone who does not approve of home schooling with a reason to contact authorities.
3. How many home school students are there in Arkansas?
Answer: The number of home school students increases each year. At the end of the 2004 school year, over 13,000 students were enrolled in Arkansas home schools.
4. If I stop home schooling, do I have to report this to my local school district?