Ohio compulsory school attendance age
Children must attend school or comply with the homeschool laws between the ages of 6 and 18 years.
Ohio statutes establish that a child is of compulsory school age if the child is 6 years old on or before the day school starts in the school district where a child resides. Although most do not, local school boards are authorized to establish guidelines on a district-by-district basis. Although there is no statutory or regulatory deadline for the submission of your notice of intent, HSLDA recommends that you send in your notice of intent around the time school starts in your school district.We understand that there may be situations that are unique, so HSLDA members are encouraged to contact us with specific questions about their own situation. To join HSLDA, click here.
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 Ohio 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 Ohio 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 Ohio’s homeschool law
Ohio parents may choose to homeschool under the state’s homeschool statute or as a non-chartered, non-tax-supported school.
Option 1: Homeschooling under Ohio’s homeschool statute:
Children may be excused from compulsory attendance in order to be home educated if their parents comply with the state’s homeschool regulations. Follow these steps to homeschool under this option:
1. Submit annual notification to the school district in order for your child to be excused from compulsory attendance.
In order to receive an excuse, parents or guardians must submit annual notification to the resident school district superintendent. The notification must provide the following:
- School year for which notification is made;
- Name and address of the parent, and full name and birth date of child;
- Name and address of person(s) who will be teaching the child, if other than the parent;
- Assurance that the homeschool will include the required subjects listed below (“except that home education shall not be required to include any concept, topic, or practice that is in conflict with the sincerely held religious beliefs of the parent”);
- A brief outline of intended curriculum;
- List of textbooks or other basic teaching materials; and
- Assurance of hours and qualifications (see below).
HSLDA strongly recommends that you maintain copies of your notification as well as any and all correspondence with the school district. We recommend that all correspondence with the school district be done in such a way as to assure receipt by the school of your correspondence. We strongly recommend using some form of mail with certification and return receipt.
The law places specific time frames and requirements on superintendents to respond to homeschool notification. HSLDA members who have not received their letter of excuse within 14 days of submitting their notification should contact us. Please visit this page or send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
HSLDA has created easy-to-use forms to assist our members in obtaining an excuse from compulsory attendance for home education. Please visit this page to download these forms.
2. Make sure you have the required qualifications.
Parents who teach their own children at home are required to have a high school diploma or GED, or scores from a standardized test demonstrating high school equivalence. A parent who lacks any of these qualifications may still homeschool under the direction of a person who holds a baccalaureate degree. Such oversight is required until the children’s test results demonstrate reasonable proficiency.
3. Teach the required subjects.
Home education programs are required to teach language, reading, spelling, writing, geography, history of the United States and Ohio, government, math, science, health, physical education, fine arts (including music), first aid, safety, and fire prevention.
4. Teach the required number of hours.
Parents providing a home education program must assure the superintendent that they will provide at least 900 hours of home education per school year.
5. Assess your student annually.
Parents home educating their children under Ohio’s homeschool statute are required to annually assess their children’s academic proficiency. You may select one of three options to comply with the assessment regulation.
One, you may choose to test your child with any nationally normed standardized achievement test. The test may be administered by an Ohio licensed or certified teacher, or by another person that you and the superintendent agree upon, or by any person authorized by the publisher of the test. The composite score must be sent to the superintendent and must show that the child scored at least in the 25th percentile.
Two, you may choose to submit a written narrative indicating that a portfolio of samples of your child’s work has been reviewed by a qualified person and that your child’s academic progress for the year is in accordance with the child’s abilities. The narrative must be prepared by an Ohio licensed or certified teacher or by someone else whom you and the superintendent have agreed upon.
Three, you may choose another form of assessment than those listed above if you and the superintendent have agreed upon it.
Here is how to submit the assessment results to your superintendent:
You are required send the annual assessment results with your homeschool notification for the subsequent academic year.
HSLDA has developed a form that our members may use to submit their test results, to ensure that they are in compliance with the law. Download the form here.
Here is what will happen if your child does not demonstrate reasonable proficiency:
If your child fails to demonstrate reasonable proficiency on the assessment, the superintendent is obligated to notify you in writing that you must submit a plan of remediation within 30 days. During the remediation, you will be required to submit quarterly reports. The superintendent may terminate remediation when your child demonstrates reasonable proficiency. It is possible that a child may be ordered into public school if remediation is unsuccessful. HSLDA members who receive notification of remediation from their superintendent should contact us immediately. To become a member of HSLDA, click here.
Option 2: Homeschooling as a non-chartered, non-tax-supported school (“-08 school”):
Ohio Administrative Code 3301-35 08 permits a school which is not chartered by the state board of education, nor seeking a charter, because of truly held religious beliefs to operate if it meets certain minimum standards. HSLDA has successfully litigated to defend this section of the code as a means for parents to homeschool, and there are a variety of reasons why parents may find this approach appropriate for their family. There are specific requirements and qualifications for forming an -08 school. HSLDA members should read our -08 schools memo before choosing this approach.
HSLDA will assist member families who, because of truly held religious beliefs, organize single-family -08 schools to educate their own children. If you are an HSLDA member who is considering privately educating your children under this regulation, please contact us for more information.
The importance of recordkeeping
You can find Ohio’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.