Oregon compulsory school attendance age
In Oregon, children between the ages of 6 and 18 years must attend school or comply with the homeschool laws or until they have graduated from high school.
If your child turns 6 after September 1, you are not required to enroll that child in school or comply with the homeschool laws until the beginning of the next school year.
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 Oregon 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 Oregon 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 Oregon’s homeschool law
To homeschool legally in Oregon, you will need to follow these steps:
1. Notify the education service district (ESD).
You must send a one-time notice of intent to homeschool to your local ESD in writing within 10 days of starting your homeschool program, or within 10 days of withdrawing your child from public school to be taught at home. The notice must include your name and the names, addresses, and birth dates of the children being homeschooled. It must also include the name of the school your children are presently attending or last attended, or, if your children have not been attending school, the name of the public school district where your children reside. A notice of intent form for HSLDA members’ use is available here.
The ESD must acknowledge receipt of your notification in writing within 90 days of receiving the notice.
2. Test your children in grades 3, 5, 8, and 10.
By August 15 in grades 3, 5, 8, and 10, you must have your child tested. When the legislature lowered the compulsory attendance age to 6, it specifically stated that the testing schedule for homeschool students would not change. The Oregon State Board of Education recently updated its administrative rules to state that a 6-year-old child is presumed to be in kindergarten unless the parent decides to place the child in a higher grade. So, the law will maintain the presumption that the 1st grade is when the student turns 7 by September 1. Therefore, a child is to be tested at the end of the school year in which he or she turns 9 (3rd grade), 11 (5th grade), 14 (8th grade), and 16 (10th grade) by September 1. Parents can test their child earlier at their discretion if they believe the student has completed grade 3, 5, 8, or 10 earlier.
The tests must be approved by the State Board of Education and be administered by a qualified neutral person.
If your child was withdrawn from public school, the first examination must be administered at least 18 months after the date of withdrawal. If your child has never attended public or private school, the first examination must be administered to the child by August 15 after completing grade 3.
The administrator of the test must score the test and report the results to you. The results are not reported to the education service district unless the ESD superintendent specifically requests them.
If the composite score on the exam is below the 15th percentile, your child must be given an additional exam within one year. If the score on the second exam is a lower percentile than the previous exam, the superintendent of the ESD may place the education of your child under a certified teacher selected by and paid for by you. If the third exam continues the decline, the superintendent may either allow your homeschool to continue under a certified teacher’s supervision and require an additional exam within one year, or allow the child to be taught by you and require the additional exam within the year, or order you to send your child to school for a period that cannot exceed 12 consecutive months.
3. Address any disabilities.
If your child has a disability, you must have that child evaluated for satisfactory educational progress according to the method recommended in your child’s individualized education plan (IEP) or privately developed plan. No testing of your student is required unless recommended in the plan. HSLDA members, please contact us for more information.
The importance of recordkeeping
You can find Oregon’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.