Homeschooling laws can change, so be sure to check the Georgia Department of Education website for updates.
Are you ready to start homeschooling in Georgia? You may have many questions about topics like what you need to do to begin, what recordkeeping and testing is required, and how you need to interact with your local school district. You will want to start by understanding Georgia homeschool law. You may feel overwhelmed as you start this process, but there are resources available and other homeschoolers who have already succeeded on this adventure!
Here is some information on Georgia homeschool requirements to get you started:
Georgia Homeschool Law
Georgia Education Code (O.C.G.A. § 20-2-690.1) establishes that “mandatory attendance in a public school, private school, or home school program shall be required for children between their sixth and sixteenth birthdays. Such mandatory attendance shall not be required where the child has successfully completed all requirements for a high school diploma.”
What do I need to be eligible to be a homeschool parent?
According to the Georgia Department of Education, homeschool parents must have a high school diploma or GED. Alternately, parents have the option to hire a tutor who has at least a high school diploma or GED.
Do I need to notify the school district of my intent to homeschool my child?
Yes! In accordance with Georgia Law (O.C.G.A. § 20-2-690), as the parent or guardian, you need to register your homeschool by submitting a paper or online Declaration of Intent Form (online is preferred). You must include the names and ages of students, address where the program is located, and dates of the school year. If using the online form, remember to remove your pop-up blocker and save and print copies after you submit!
This form needs to be submitted annually to the Georgia Department of Education by September 1 or within 30 days after your home education program is established. You will not receive confirmation from the Georgia Department of Education that your Declaration of Intent form was received.
According to the Georgia Department of Education, once you have submitted the Declaration of Intent, “you as the parent have similar rights and responsibilities of the Local Education Authority (District office). The parent is considered the superintendent, principal, teacher, and you can create and sign any document that relates to the educational needs of your child/children.”
The Declaration of Intent document “should be used to obtain driver’s license/permits, work permits, post-secondary admission, military enlistment, and for all other entities that require proof of educational enrollment for homeschool students” (Georgia Department of Education)
Note that “the Georgia Cyber Academy and the Georgia Connections Academy are online public charter schools and are not affiliated with the home study program. If you are interested in these schools, you must contact them directly.”
Note, too, that “the Georgia Department of Education has a very limited role related to home school. The Georgia Department of Education is only responsible for maintaining the Declaration of Intent records.”
Georgia Homeschool Requirements
Even though Georgia does not highly regulate homeschooling, there are some Georgia homeschool requirements you must satisfy when you homeschool:
- Begin homeschooling by age 6.
- File the required Declaration of Intent form to register your homeschool by September 1st or within 30 days after a home study program is established.
- Provide instruction for at least 180 instructional days, at least 4.5 hours per day (unless your child is physically unable to comply).
- Teach at least these five content areas: mathematics, English language arts, science, social studies, and reading (O.C.G.A. § 20-2-690).
- Assess your child every three years beginning at the end of third grade (see details below).
- Stay current with homeschooling laws and requirements.
Do I need to administer testing to my homeschooler?
According to the Georgia Department of Education, “Students in home study programs shall be subject to an appropriate nationally standardized testing program administered in consultation with a person trained in the administration and interpretation of norm referenced tests. The student must be evaluated at least every three years beginning at the end of the third grade. Records of such tests shall be retained by the parent/guardian. Please note that the Georgia Milestones, End-of-Grade and End-of-Courses Assessments are not nationally standardized tests. You can search “nationally standardized tests” on the Internet and contact the testing vendor directly or you can contact a home school association in your area to obtain information on test times and test locations.”
What records do I need to keep when I homeschool my child?
When homeschooling in Georgia, parents are required to keep the following records:
- Copy of the Declaration of Intent document
- Record of required testing
In addition to the required recordkeeping, we also recommend you do some personal recordkeeping to provide verification of education in the event you would need to show some form of educational proof to the state or other legal entities or to prepare for re-entry into public school or post-secondary pathways. This includes:
- Immunization records
- Lists of texts and workbooks used
- Student schoolwork samples and/or portfolios
- Additional testing and evaluation results
- Correspondence with school officials
You may also be able to find more information on Georgia homeschool requirements through your local school district.
Other Georgia Homeschool Policies
Once you make sure that you are following Georgia homeschool law and meeting Georgia homeschool requirements, here are some other things you need to know:
Can my homeschooled child participate in extracurricular activities offered by the public school?
According to the Dexter Mosely Act, State Law 20-2-319.6, home study students in grades six through 12 are authorized to participate in extracurricular and interscholastic activities in the student’s resident public school system.
What if I want to re-enroll my child in public school after homeschooling?
The Georgia Department of Education also offers guidance on returning your child to public school after homeschooling: “If you wish to return your child to public school, you may do so at any time. You can create a withdrawal form and give it to the local school. The local school must validate each content area your child/children took while being enrolled in a home study program. This validation process is unique to each district. If you have questions related to this process, please contact your local school district.”
The school district will follow the guidance of SBOE §160-5-1-.15 when awarding units of credit or acceptance of transfer of credits and/or grades.
How does my homeschooler obtain a GED?
“If you are wishing to withdraw from homeschool to obtain your GED, download and print the two documents below.
- Underage Enrollment Affidavit for Home School Applicants
- Underage Youth Application for GED Program”
See the Home Schools page on the Georgia Department of Education’s website for even more information on homeschooling in Georgia.
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 Georgia homeschool law and Georgia 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 Georgia Homeschool Groups by county.