Georgia compulsory school attendance age
Georgia law requires children to attend school between their 6th and 16th birthdays. However, if your child is under 7 and has attended a Georgia public school for more than 20 days, then he or she must continue to attend school thereafter. Early graduation is allowed if your child has successfully completed all requirements for a high school diploma.
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 Georgia 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 Georgia 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 Georgia’s homeschool law
Georgia law refers to homeschools as home study programs. To operate a home study program in Georgia, you must follow the steps listed below:
Homeschooling under the homeschool statute:
1. Ensure that the person or people homeschooling your child have the required qualifications.
You must be a parent or a legal guardian of a child before you can file a declaration of intent to homeschool that child. You may hire a tutor to help you homeschool your child. The teaching parent or guardian and any tutor in a home study program must have a high school diploma or a GED.
2. Submit an annual declaration of intent.
Within 30 days after you begin homeschooling, and every year thereafter by September 1, you must submit a “declaration of intent to utilize a home study program” to the Georgia Department of Education. You can access online and printable versions of the declaration of intent on the department’s website. Your declaration must include the names and ages of your students, the location of your home study program, the local school system in which your home study program is located, and the 12-month period that you consider to be your home study program’s school year.
3. Provide the required number of days of instruction.
During the school year, your home study program must provide the equivalent of 180 days of education with each school day consisting of at least four and one-half school hours, unless your child is physically unable to comply with this requirement.
4. Teach the required subjects.
Your home study program must provide a basic educational program that includes, but is not limited to, reading, language arts, mathematics, social studies, and science.
5. Write annual progress reports.
At the end of every school year, you must write a report of the progress that your child made in each of the required subjects. You must keep this report in your records for at least three years. It does not have to be submitted to public school officials.
6. Test your child at least every three years after he or she completes 3rd grade.
Your child must be tested at least every three years, beginning at the end of the 3rd grade. You may administer the test if you do this “in consultation with a person trained in the administration and interpretation of norm reference tests.” Test results do not have to be submitted to public school officials. HSLDA has some information that may help you locate a test provider on our website.
The importance of recordkeeping
You can find Georgia’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.