Homeschooling laws can change, so be sure to check the Arkansas Department of Education website for updates.
Considering homeschooling in Arkansas? If yes, you will want to start by understanding Arkansas homeschool law. You may feel overwhelmed as you start this process, but there are resources available and other homeschoolers who have blazed the trail before you!
To help get you started on your understanding of Arkansas homeschool requirements, we’ve put together some information for you:
Arkansas Homeschool Law
According to Arkansas Education Law, every parent or legal guardian of “a child five (5) years of age through seventeen (17) years of age on or before the date established in A.C.A. § 6-18-207 for the minimum age for enrollment in public school shall enroll the child in and ensure the attendance of the child at a public, private, or parochial school or provide a home school for the child” (A.C.A. § 6-18-201). Arkansas considers a “home school” to mean “a school provided by a parent or legal guardian for his or her own child” (A.C.A. § 6-15-501).
Based on A.C.A. § 6-15-503 of the Arkansas Education Law:
“Parents or legal guardians desiring to provide a home school for their children shall give written notice to the superintendent of their local school district of their intent to provide a home school for their children and agree that the parent or legal guardian is responsible for the education of his or her children during the time the parent or legal guardian provides a home school for the children:
- at the beginning of each school year but no later than August 15, or
- five (5) school days before withdrawing the student from the local school district and at the beginning of each school year thereafter, or
- within thirty (30) calendar days of establishing residency within the school district.”
The notice of intent shall include:
- “The name, sex, date of birth, grade level, and name and address of the school last attended, if any, of each student involved;
- The mailing address and telephone number of the home school;
- The name of the parent or legal guardian providing the home school;
- A statement of plans to participate during the school year in public school interscholastic activities under A.C.A. § 6-15-509;
- A statement of plans to seek a high school equivalency diploma during the current school year; and
- The signature of the parent or legal guardian.”
Under certain conditions (A.C.A. § 6-18-232), a homeschooled child may be allowed to enroll in one or more courses at the public school or public charter school where the child resides. Homeschooled students may also be eligible to participate in distance learning through the Arkansas Distance Learning Development Program (A.C.A. § 6-47-404) or through the public school district or open-enrollment private school (A.C.A. § 6-47-406), and they may be eligible to participate in the Building Better Futures High School Program (A.C.A. § 6-41-803).
Arkansas Homeschool Requirements
Even though Arkansas does not highly regulate homeschooling, there are some Arkansas homeschool requirements you must satisfy when you homeschool:
- Begin homeschooling by age 5 (or 6 in some cases).
- File the required notice of intent.
- Stay current with homeschooling laws and requirements.
Although not specifically outlined in Arkansas homeschool requirements, we also recommend you do some personal recordkeeping to provide verification of education in the event that you would need to show some form of education proof to the state or other legal entities or to prepare for post-secondary pathways. This includes:
- Immunization records
- Lists of texts and workbooks used
- Student schoolwork samples
- Correspondence with school officials
- Portfolios and test results
You may also be able to find more information on homeschooling in Arkansas through your local school district.
Other Arkansas Homeschool Policies
Once you ensure that you are following Arkansas homeschool law and meeting Arkansas homeschool requirements, here are some other things you need to know:
What if your child wants to participate in public school activities while homeschooling? According to A.C.A. § 6-15-509, a child who is homeschooled shall be allowed to try out for interscholastic activities, as long as certain criteria are met. Participation in interscholastic activities at private schools may also be allowed under certain conditions (A.C.A. § 6-15-510).
What if your child wants to return to public school after being homeschooled? Homeschool students who enroll or re-enroll in a public school have “the same rights and privileges enjoyed by other public school students…. To enroll or re-enroll in a public school, a homeschooled student shall submit to the public school:
- A transcript listing all courses taken and semester grades from the home school; and
- A portfolio of indicators of the homeschooled student’s academic progress, including without limitation:
- Curricula used in the home school;
- Tests taken and lessons completed by the homeschooled student; and
- Other indicators of the homeschooled student’s academic progress”
A school district may choose to assess the student using a nationally recognized norm-referenced assessment. Note that “a homeschooled student who enrolls or re-enrolls in a local public school shall attend classes for at least nine (9) months immediately before graduation before the student can become eligible to graduate from the public school with a diploma” (A.C.A. § 6-15-504).
What about planning for after high school? Homeschooled students, aged 16 or above may be allowed to take the GED test, given these criteria:
- A student enrolled in a home school shall provide a notarized copy of the notice of intent to home school provided to the superintendent of the local school district as required by A.C.A §6-15-503; and
- A student enrolled in a private, parochial, or home school must achieve at least the minimum official GED practice test scores.
Homeschooled students are considered “non-traditional students” and fall under conditional admissions standards (e.g., ACT composite score or its equivalent) for state-supported two-year and four-year institutions of higher education (A.C.A. § 6-60-208), and they may be eligible for the Arkansas-sponsored scholarships (A.C.A. § 6-82-306), (A.C.A. § 6-85-207, A.C.A. § 6-85-208), and (A.C.A. § 6-85-304).
See the Support for Home School Parents page on the Arkansas Department of Education’s Division of Elementary & Secondary Education website for even more information on homeschooling in Arkansas.
Connect With Local Homeschoolers
Remember, too, that you are not alone. You should connect with local homeschoolers from your state, who can help you with Arkansas homeschool law and Arkansas homeschool requirements and offer you all kinds of practical advice and suggestions. They can give you guidance on everything from curriculum to daily schedules to recordkeeping, and they may be able to share information about local resources, support groups, and field trips. Click the image below to find Arkansas Homeschool Groups by county.