Indiana compulsory school attendance age
A child must attend school beginning in the fall of the school year in which he or she turns 7. However, if the child is officially enrolled in a public school earlier than 7, he or she must continue to attend or be educated at home. When you intend to teach your child at home, you can wait to begin instruction until he or she turns 7.
Children must remain in school until they turn 18 or graduate. A child who turns 16 can withdraw from school if the child and his or her parents have an exit interview with the local public school principal.
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 Indiana 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 Indiana 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 Indiana’s homeschool law
Indiana homeschools are considered to be nonaccredited private schools, and thus homeschools must comply with Indiana’s private school statute.
Homeschooling under the private school statute:
To homeschool, you will need to follow the steps below.
1. Provide equivalent instruction in the English language.
Private schools must teach in the English language and provide instruction equivalent to that given in public schools. However, the State Board of Education is not given the authority to define “equivalent instruction” nor to approve homeschool programs. There are no mandatory subjects for a homeschool program, but HSLDA recommends that you follow the same general subjects that would be taught in public school.
2. Teach for the required number of days.
You must operate your homeschool program for the same number of days that the public schools in your district are in session. This is generally 180 days.
3. Keep attendance records.
You must keep attendance records to verify the enrollment and attendance of your students. Such records must be made available upon request of the state superintendent or the superintendent of the school district in which you reside.
4. Provide information to the state, if required.
Indiana public school officials frequently request that homeschoolers complete an online enrollment form on the Indiana Department of Education website. This enrollment is not required under state law and is voluntary. There are a few situations when completing this enrollment form might be beneficial.
Upon a specific and individual request by the state superintendent of public instruction, you must furnish the number of children, by grade level, that you are teaching at home.
The importance of recordkeeping
You can find Indiana’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.