Homeschooling laws can change, so be sure to check the Idaho Department of Education website for updates.
Are you ready to start homeschooling in Idaho? 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 Idaho 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 Idaho homeschool requirements to get you started:
Idaho Homeschool Law
According to Idaho Statute § 33-202, “The parent or guardian of any child resident in this state who has attained the age of seven (7) years at the time of the commencement of school in his district, but not the age of sixteen (16) years, shall cause the child to be instructed in subjects commonly and usually taught in the public schools of the state of Idaho. To accomplish this, a parent or guardian shall either cause the child to be privately instructed by, or at the direction of, his parent or guardian; or enrolled in a public school or public charter school, including an on-line or virtual charter school or private or parochial school during a period in each year equal to that in which the public schools are in session; there to conform to the attendance policies and regulations established by the board of trustees, or other governing body, operating the school attended.”
The Idaho Department of Education describes homeschooling as “education directed by the parent/guardian” and emphasizes that “Idaho does not regulate or monitor home school education.” As such, the parent/guardian selects the curriculum and incurs all costs. Parents are urged “to make an informed decision and determine if they have the capacity to provide the instruction and oversight necessary for home schooling. Access to high quality curriculum; ability to accurately track or assess learning, and time to provide the instruction and oversee the work are just a few of the items to consider when looking at home schooling.”
What do I need to be eligible to be a homeschool parent?
According to the Idaho Department of Education, “Idaho has no teacher certification requirement for a parent/guardian who chooses to provide an education for his/her child at home.”
Do I need to notify the school district of my intent to homeschool my child?
The Idaho Department of Education states that “there is no registration or sign up procedure required.” However, it does recommend the following: “Parents should contact the school office, in person and/or in writing, to let the school know that the child will be instructed at home and is being withdrawn from public school. The school may have a withdrawal form to be completed by the parent or guardian. If a parent does not withdraw the child, the child may remain on the school attendance list and may be considered truant.”
What educational options are available to my homeschooler?
A homeschooler may participate in public school classes or extra-curricular activities. “According to Idaho Code §33-203 (commonly known as the Dual Enrollment Law), the parent or guardian of a child of school age who is enrolled in a nonpublic school or public charter school shall be allowed to enroll the student in a public school for dual enrollment purposes. Contact the school or district for more information on enrollment and policies” (Idaho Department of Education). A Dual Enrollment Q and A is found here.
Idaho Homeschool Requirements
Even though Idaho does not highly regulate homeschooling, there are some Idaho homeschool requirements you must satisfy when you homeschool:
- Begin homeschooling by age 7.
- Set hours and days of instruction. Although there is no required instructional schedule, the Idaho Department of Education shares the following guidelines:
- Kindergarten, four hundred fifty (450) hours per year
- Grades one through three (1-3), eight hundred ten (810) hours per year
- Grades four through eight (4-8), nine hundred (900) hours per year
- Grades nine through twelve (9-12), nine hundred ninety (990) hours per year
- Grades nine through twelve (9-12), sixty (60) hours of total instruction per credit
- Determine a curriculum. Although there is no set required curriculum for homeschoolers in Idaho, the Idaho Department of Education provides information on the public school core subjects (language arts and communication, mathematics, science, and social studies) as well as other subjects like fine arts, health, and physical education here.
- Stay current with homeschooling laws and requirements.
Do I need to administer testing to my homeschooler?
No. A homeschool student may participate in statewide tests or assessments, but “this is a decision of local districts and/or charters schools. Arrangements must be made with the school before the testing period begins. Districts and charters are not required to accommodate home school students but may be willing if space is available and arrangements are made in advance-” (Idaho Department of Education).
What records do I need to keep when I homeschool my child?
According to the Idaho Department of Education, there is no required recordkeeping or reporting: “It is the sole responsibility of parents or guardians to monitor their child’s progress and attendance in a homeschool. It is important to keep schedules and records of the instructional time provided to prevent any issues related to truancy.”
Even though Idaho’s homeschool requirements are minimal, we 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 the following:
- Immunization records
- Lists of texts and workbooks used
- Student schoolwork samples and/or portfolios
- Test and evaluation results
- Correspondence with school officials
You may also be able to find more information on Idaho homeschool requirements through your local school district.
Other Idaho Homeschool Policies
Once you make sure that you are following Idaho homeschool law and meeting Idaho homeschool requirements, here are some other things you need to know:
Can my homeschooled child participate in extracurricular activities offered by the public school?
Yes! See the Dual Enrollment information above.
What if I want to re-enroll my child in public school after homeschooling?
The school or district is responsible for determining the placement (or grade level) of your child transferring from homeschool to public school. “The Idaho State Department of Education does not dictate policy to school districts regarding the placement of students. Examples of what a district may use for determining placement include testing, review of homeschool coursework and/or records, or provisional placement in an age-level grade.”
Acceptance of completed coursework will depend on district policy. According to the Idaho Department of Education, “Districts and the school will determine how the coursework completed aligns to their curriculum. At the high school level, they will determine if credit will be awarded for the work. Unless the work is completed through an accredited institution recognized by AdvancED, the districts aren’t required to accept the work.”
What are my child’s postsecondary options after homeschooling?
According to the Idaho Department of Education, homeschool students do not receive a high school diploma from the state or a public school. There is no state diploma, and “school districts issue diplomas for students who have taken their course work in that school system and completed the district’s requirements for graduation. Parents or guardians can learn more about the specific school district policies on home instruction by contacting the district in which they reside.”
The Idaho Department of Education warns, “Many occupations require students to graduate from an accredited high school. Home schooling can make it more challenging for students after they have completed the high school course work if they don’t have a diploma from an accredited institution.” Check with colleges and universities, vocational schools, military branches, or those in your child’s target career to find out about admission or entry requirements.
See the Home School page on the Idaho Department of Education’s website for even more information on homeschooling in Idaho.
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 Idaho homeschool law and Idaho 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 Idaho Homeschool Groups by county.