Hawaii Education Code For Homeschooling
Homeschooling laws can change, so be sure to check the Hawaii Department of Education website for updates.
Are you ready to start homeschooling in Hawaii? 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 Hawaii 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 Hawaii homeschool requirements to get you started:
Hawaii Homeschool Law
According to Hawaii Revised Statute §302A-1132, “Unless excluded from school or excepted from attendance, all children who will have arrived at the age of at least five years on or before July 31 of the school year, and who will not have arrived at the age of eighteen years, by January 1 of any school year, shall attend either a public or private school for, and during, the school year, and any parent, guardian, or other person having the responsibility for, or care of, a child whose attendance at school is obligatory shall send the child to either a public or private school.”
The Hawaii Department of Education “recognizes homeschooling as an alternative to compulsory school attendance. Homeschooling is a parent-initiated educational alternative.”
What do I need to be eligible to be a homeschool parent?
“A parent teaching his/her child at home shall be deemed a qualified instructor regardless of educational background or training” (Hawaii Department of Education).
Do I need to notify the school district of my intent to homeschool my child?
Yes! According to the Department of Education, “Exceptions to Compulsory Education (Form 4140) or a letter of intent to homeschool should be sent to the principal of the public school in your neighborhood. A letter of intent, signed by the parent, can be used in place of Form 4140.” The letter of intent must include the name, address, and telephone number of the child; birthdate and grade level of the child; and dated parent signature.
“Parents are not required to officially enroll and un-enroll students in order to homeschool their child; therefore, no birth certificate or proof of residency is required.” A new Form 4140 or a new letter of intent to homeschool only needs to re-submitted “when the child transitions from elementary to intermediate/middle school or intermediate/middle school to high school, or if the child moves to another neighborhood.” Also, parents should “contact the school if they are moving out of state so that their child(ren)’s name(s) can be removed from the state homeschool roster.”
Hawaii Homeschool Requirements
Even though Hawaii does not highly regulate homeschooling, there are some Hawaii homeschool requirements you must satisfy when you homeschool:
- Begin homeschooling by age 5.
- File the required Letter of Intent or Form 4140 to the principal of your local public school.
- Teach using a curriculum that will be “structured and based on educational objectives as well as the needs of the child, be cumulative and sequential, provide a range of up-to-date knowledge and needed skills, and take into account the interests, needs and abilities of the child. A principal at the school of record may request to view the curriculum if the annual report is not sufficient to show satisfactory progress.”
- Teach content based on information provided by the school district. “Schools are responsible for informing parents what basic units of study should be covered for a particular grade level. Information on the standards and benchmarks for each grade level can be found here.”
- Test your child (according to the guidelines below) in grades 3, 5, 8, and 10.
- Submit an annual progress report, showing satisfactory progress in all content areas, at the end of each school year. Such evidence may be any of the following:
- “a score on a nationally-normed standardized achievement test, which demonstrates grade level achievement appropriate to a child’s age;
- progress on a nationally-normed standardized achievement test that is equivalent to one grade level per calendar year, even if the overall achievement falls short of grade level standards;
- a written evaluation by a person certified to teach in the State of Hawaii that a child demonstrates appropriate grade level achievement or significant annual advancement commensurate with a child’s abilities;
- or a written evaluation by the parent which shall include a description of the child’s progress in each subject area included in the child’s curriculum, representative samples of the child’s work, and representative tests and assignments including grades for courses if grades are given.”
- Stay current with homeschooling laws and requirements.
What tests do I need to administer to my homeschooler?
Standardized testing is required in grades 3, 5, 8, and 10, per the Hawaii Department of Education. “Students who are home-schooled may participate in the Smarter Balanced assessment(s) and Hawaii State Assessment (HSA) Science assessments or the HSA Alternate assessments at the request of the parent or guardian. Schools must provide these students with one testing opportunity for each relevant content area if requested. Home-schooled students may not participate in the End-of-Course exams or Kaiapuni Assessment of Educational Outcomes (KĀʻEO) assessments due to the design requirements of these assessments.
Although homeschool students are only required to test in grades 3, 5, 8, and 10, the student is eligible to participate in the assessments described in the above paragraph at the local public school. A parent may also elect to arrange for private testing of an equivalent standardized test at the parent’s own expense. Additionally, the parent may request and the principal may approve other means of evaluation to meet the Statewide Testing Program requirements.”
What records do I need to keep when I homeschool my child?
When homeschooling in Hawaii, according to the Hawaii Department of Education, parents are required to keep the following records:
- Copy of approved Letter of Intent or Form 4140
- Record of planned curriculum for their child (may be requested by school district principal “if the annual report is not sufficient to show satisfactory progress”), including the following:
- “The commencement date and ending date of the program;
- A record of the number of hours per week the child spends in instruction;
- The subject areas to be covered in the planned curriculum:
- An elementary school curriculum may include the areas of language arts, mathematics, social studies, science, art, music, health and physical education to be offered at the appropriate development stage of the child;
- A secondary school curriculum may include the subject areas of social studies, English, mathematics, science, health, physical education and guidance.
- The method used to determine mastery of materials and subjects in the curriculum; and
- A list of textbooks or other instructional materials which will be used. The list shall be in standard bibliographical format. For books, the author, title, publisher and date of publication shall be indicated. For magazines, the author, article title, magazine, date, volume number and pages shall be indicated.”
- Standardized test results
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 (Although “health records are not required for homeschooled children. It is not necessary for the homeschooled child to submit the TB (tuberculosis) test clearance or Form 14 (Student Health Record).”
- Student schoolwork samples and/or portfolios
- Other test and evaluation results
- Correspondence with school officials
You may also be able to find more information on Hawaii homeschool requirements through your local school district.
Other Hawaii Homeschool Policies
Once you make sure that you are following Hawaii homeschool law and meeting Hawaii homeschool requirements, here are some other things you need to know:
Can my homeschooled child participate in extracurricular activities offered by the public school?
No. “The parents submitting a notice to homeschool their child shall be responsible for the child’s total educational program including athletics and other extracurricular activities” (Hawaii Department of Education).
What if I want to re-enroll my child in public school after homeschooling?
According to the Hawaii Department of Education, “Whenever the parent chooses to terminate homeschooling, the parent is required to notify the principal of the school of record (school where intent to homeschool was sent). The child shall be re-enrolled in the local public school or a licensed private school unless a new alternative educational program is presented within five school days after the termination of homeschooling. Notification may be written or verbal.”
“For grades one through eight, the homeschooled child shall re-enroll at the appropriate grade level by birth date. For example, if the homeschooled child by birth date should be an eighth grader, then he/she is enrolled as an eighth grader.”
“Once the child is enrolled, if the school or parent has a concern about appropriate grade level placement, then the school shall evaluate the student (as it would any other student) and make adjustments accordingly, including placement at another grade level. Parents should be informed and involved in the assessment, as feasible. The principal’s decision about grade placement is final.”
What are my child’s postsecondary options after homeschooling?
The Hawaii Department of Education also clarifies the status of homeschoolers after completing high school: “Homeschooled students do not receive a high school diploma. A homeschooled student who wants to earn a high school diploma from the local public high school shall attend high school for a minimum of three full years to meet the graduation credit requirements.”
“A homeschooled student with a valid form 4140 who has been receiving homeschool instruction for at least one semester may earn a high school equivalency credential and a Hawaii Adult Community School Diploma from the community school for adults. To earn this high school equivalency credential, the student must attain a passing score on either the General Educational Development (GED) or HiSET test. To earn a Hawaii Adult Community School Diploma, the student must attain a passing score on either the General Educational Development (GED) or HiSET test and must have successfully completed at least one semester of high school at an accredited Hawaii public or private school.”
“A child who is being homeschooled may participate in any college entrance examination, which is made available to all other students. The principal of the local public high school shall, upon request, supply written acknowledgment that a child has been homeschooled in compliance with the requirements of Chapter 12, Hawaii Administrative Rules. The letter is written for homeschooled children whose parents have met the requirements of Chapter 12, i.e., submitted an annual progress report and test data for appropriate grade levels.”
See the Homeschooling page on the Hawaii Department of Education’s website for even more information on homeschooling in Hawaii.
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 Hawaii homeschool law and Hawaii 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 Hawaii Homeschool Groups by county.