State Law: Arkansas

Arkansas compulsory school attendance age

Arkansas law requires children ages 5–17  as of August 1 to attend school. If a child has not reached his 6th birthday by August 1, parents can waive attendance requirements for one year. However, the parent must file a kindergarten waiver using a Department of Education form.

HSLDA believes that a parent-issued diploma and transcript should be sufficient to demonstrate that a child has completed a secondary education. However, even if your child is beyond compulsory school attendance age, there may be situations where you would want to continue to follow the requirements of a home education option recognized under Arkansas law until your child graduates from high school (filing a home education notice, keeping attendance and other records, etc.). These records may be requested in some situations, such as obtaining a driver’s license if your child is a minor, enlisting in the military, applying to colleges, or demonstrating eligibility for Social Security benefits. If you are a member of HSLDA and would like additional details, please contact us.

Withdrawing your child from his or her current school

If you want to start homeschooling during the school year and your child is currently enrolled in a public or private school, HSLDA recommends that you formally withdraw your child from that school. If you are going to start homeschooling after the school year is over, and your child is considered enrolled for the following year, we recommend that you withdraw your child before the next school year begins, so that the school does not mark your child as absent or truant.

We invite you to become a member of HSLDA to receive specific advice about withdrawing your child from school and starting to homeschool. Local schools may have specific forms or withdrawal procedures. HSLDA members are eligible to receive individualized advice about whether complying with those procedures is advisable or required. HSLDA members can also use the sample letter of withdrawal for Arkansas available in Member Resources to correspond with school officials.

We generally recommend that any correspondence with authorities be sent by “Certified Mail—Return Receipt Requested.” Keep copies of the withdrawal letter and any other paperwork or correspondence, and any green postal receipts, for your personal records.

Note: If your child has never attended a public or private school, this section does not apply.

Complying with Arkansas’s homeschool law

In Arkansas, parents may homeschool under the homeschool statute. If a registered sex offender lives in your home, or if your student is currently being disciplined by a public school, it’s imperative that you get individualized guidance before seeking to start a home school program.

Homeschooling under the homeschool statute:

1. Annually notify the local public school superintendent that you are homeschooling. 

Notification consists of annually filing the Notice of Intent to Home School and Home School Waiver forms with the superintendent of the local public school district. (Since the homeschool statute does not require the use of those forms, there is a question as to whether parents could provide the notice without using any form.) Notice must be filed by August 15.

If you decide to begin homeschooling after the start of the year and your child is enrolled in public school, you must file the notice 14 days prior to withdrawing your child from public school. The superintendent or the local school district board of directors may waive this 14-day waiting period. HSLDA believes that this 14-day waiting period is unconstitutional.

If you move into the state or a new school district during the school year, you must file in the new district within 30 days after establishing residency there.

The notice may be delivered by U.S. mail, in person, by email, or electronically, and must include: (a) the names, dates of birth, genders, and grade levels of the children, and the name and address of the last school each child attended, if any; (b) the mailing address and phone number of the homeschool; (c) whether your child plans to seek a GED (optional); (d) whether your child plans on seeking to participate in public school interscholastic activities (optional); (e) whether your child plans to seek a learner’s permit or driver’s license during the school year (and if so, you should notarize your signature on your notice); (f) a statement that you agree that you are responsible for your child’s education while you are homeschooling; and (g) the signature of the person providing the home school program.

The information you include in your notice is confidential and may be used only for statistical and record-keeping purposes.

You may download the notice of intent and waiver forms here.

2. No standardized tests are required. 

The importance of recordkeeping

You can find Arkansas’s specific recordkeeping requirements, if any, above. Regardless of what state you live in, HSLDA recommends that you keep detailed records of your homeschool program. These records may be helpful if you face an investigation regarding your homeschooling or your student needs to furnish proof of education.