Connecticut compulsory school attendance age
Connecticut law requires parents either to instruct their children or to ensure they receive instruction from others in specific subjects. If parents choose not to instruct their children, or see to their instruction, then they must enroll them in public school between the ages of 5 to 18 years—unless they are high school graduates or are receiving equivalent instruction elsewhere (e.g., private school or tutors).
If a child is 5 years old, 6 years old, or 17 years old, parents may exempt that child from compulsory attendance requirements by personally appearing at the school district office and signing an option form. Be sure to have the superintendent’s office mark the date your option form was received, sign or stamp it to indicate receipt, and give you a photocopy. If a child is under age 18, but has graduated from high school, a parent-issued diploma and transcript should be sufficient to demonstrate that the child has completed a secondary education.
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 Connecticut 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 Connecticut 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 Connecticut’s homeschool law
Connecticut General Statute 10-184 says that all parents are responsible for ensuring that their children receive instruction in the following required subjects:
- Reading, writing, spelling, and English grammar;
- United States history, and citizenship, including a study of the town, state, and federal governments.
Parents have both a statutory and constitutional right to educate their children at home, and they are not required by law to initiate any contact with government officials before they begin to homeschool. The mere fact that a child is not enrolled in public school does not mean that the child is not receiving equivalent instruction in subjects taught in the public schools. Standardized testing is not required by statute or regulation. There are, however, some optional guidelines that HSLDA recommends to avoid questions of equivalent instruction.
1. File a notice of intent.
Within 10 days of starting your homeschool program, or at the beginning of the school year in subsequent years, file an annual notice of intent with your local superintendent. HSLDA recommends using a notice of intent form. Your notice must include the “name of teacher, subjects to be taught and days of instruction, and the teacher’s methods of assessment.”
We recommend that you mail your notice to the school district via Certified Mail, Return Receipt Requested. If you hand-deliver your notice, be sure to have the superintendent’s office mark the date the letter was received, sign or stamp the letter to indicate receipt, and give you a photocopy.
Please note that the notice is not a request for approval. By filing a notice of intent, you acknowledge full responsibility for the education of your child in accordance with the requirements of state law. Receipt of your notice of intent does not in any way constitute approval by the school district of your homeschool program.
2. Be prepared to attend an annual portfolio review meeting.
If you file a notice of intent, school officials may ask you to attend an annual meeting to “determine if instruction in the required courses has been given.” Your child’s portfolio should include some brief examples of the required school subjects that you indicated you would be teaching in your notice of intent.
Like the rest of the procedures in the guidelines, this annual review is optional. Many schools do not request a review, and there is no need to initiate contact with your school district if they have not set one up.
If you are an HSLDA member, we encourage you to contact us if school officials have asked you to participate in a review to discuss the options available to you.
The importance of recordkeeping
You can find Connecticut’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.
These records should include attendance records, information on the textbooks and workbooks your student used, samples of your student’s schoolwork, correspondence with school officials, portfolios and test results, and any other documents showing that your child is receiving an appropriate education in compliance with the law. You should maintain these records for at least two years. You should keep your student’s high school records and proof of compliance with the home education laws during the high school years (including any type of home education notice that you file with state or local officials) on file forever. HSLDA’s high school webpage has additional information about homeschool recordkeeping.