Homeschooling laws can change, so be sure to check the Kentucky Department of Education website for updates.
Are you ready to start homeschooling in Kentucky? 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 Kentucky 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 Kentucky homeschool requirements to get you started:
Kentucky Homeschool Law
According to Kentucky Statute 159.010, “each parent, guardian, or other person residing in the state and having in custody or charge any child who has entered the primary school program or any child between the ages of six (6) and sixteen (16) shall send the child to a regular public day school for the full term that the public school of the district in which the child resides is in session or to the public school that the board of education of the district makes provision for the child to attend. A child’s age is between six (6) and sixteen (16) when the child has reached his or her sixth birthday and has not passed his or her sixteenth birthday.” Children can begin primary school at age five, but only if their 5th birthday is on or before August 1 of the current school year. A four-year-old who will turn five by August 1 can enroll in primary school.
Homeschooling your child is one option for meeting Kentucky’s compulsory school attendance requirements (KRS 159.030). This option is based on Section 5 of the Kentucky Constitution that grants parents the right to choose the formal education for their child. According to the Kentucky Department of Education, “Over thirty years ago, the Supreme Court of Kentucky determined that the Kentucky Department of Education (KDE) may not prescribe standards for homeschooling. Kentucky classifies homeschools as non-public schools; therefore, the laws relating to non-public schools also apply to homeschools. KDE does not accredit or certify homeschools and does not provide any financial assistance.”
What do I need to be eligible to be a homeschool parent?
There are no required qualifications for you as a homeschool parent.
Do I need to notify the school district of my intent to homeschool my child?
Yes, based on KRS 159.160, parents must “notify the superintendent of the local school board in writing within ten days of the beginning of the school year of their intent to homeschool their child(ren) each year they homeschool. The letter must include the name, ages and residence of each child in attendance of the homeschool” (Kentucky Department of Education). See the Kentucky Home School Information Packet for a sample letter of intent.
Kentucky Homeschool Requirements
Even though Kentucky does not highly regulate homeschooling, there are some Kentucky homeschool requirements you must satisfy when you homeschool:
- Begin homeschooling by age 6.
- File the required Letter of Intent to homeschool each year.
- Create a school name for your “bonafide school” and use this name for all recordkeeping.
- Provide instruction for a minimum of 185 days and a minimum of 1062 instructional hours per school year.
- Teach the required subjects of “reading, writing, spelling, grammar, history, mathematics, science, and civics. It is the parents’ right to offer other subjects, as well” (KRS 158.080, KRS 156.160, and KRS. 156.445).
- Offer all core instruction in the English language.
- Stay current with homeschooling laws and requirements.
Do I need to administer testing to my homeschooler?
No. There are no assessment requirements for homeschooling.
What records do I need to keep when I homeschool my child?
According to the Kentucky Department of Education, homeschool parents must “record and maintain scholarship reports of each student’s progress in all subjects taught at the same intervals as the local public schools (KRS 159.040). KDE suggests that the person responsible for instruction keep a portfolio that contains samples of the best work done by each child in several areas of study and maintain the portfolio each year the student is homeschooled. This may be of assistance in documenting the existence of the homeschool or the transfer of the child to another educational setting. A record of courses taken and grades received is also necessary.”
Parents also must “keep accurate attendance records of pupil attendance. The attendance records can be kept in a notebook, on a computer, or in another manner, but must be readily available in case of an inquiry” (KRS 159.040).
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 the following:
- Immunization records
- Lists of texts and workbooks used
- Test and evaluation results
- Correspondence with school officials
You may also be able to find more information on Kentucky homeschool requirements through your local school district.
Other Kentucky Homeschool Policies
Once you make sure that you are following Kentucky homeschool law and meeting Kentucky 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 Kentucky Department of Education, “State law only requires the public school district to allow opportunity for a student to participate in extracurricular activities if the student is enrolled in the public school district. Some districts are willing to allow homeschools to participate, but this is decided by individual school districts.”
What if I want to re-enroll my child in public school after homeschooling?
You do have the option to re-enroll your child in public school after homeschooling. Here is some guidance from the Kentucky Department of Education: “When students who previously attended a homeschool or non-certified secondary school (any private school not certified pursuant to KRS 156.160(3) desires to enroll in a public school, the local public school district is responsible for proper placement and awarding credits for the noncertified private school. If the student does not hold a properly certified transcript, the schools may place the students using one of two methods:
- Pass a similar examination given to other students receiving credit for the course.
- Student must attain a “C” average in the course by the 12th week of school.
Those courses successfully completed by examination or performance shall be counted toward minimum high school graduation requirements in the local school district” (KRS 158.140).
What are my child’s postsecondary options after homeschooling?
The Kentucky Department of Education offers this guidance related to diplomas and postsecondary planning: “Students from non-accredited/non-certified private schools or homeschools do not receive a diploma recognized by the Kentucky Department of Education (KDE). It is the responsibility of the homeschool to issue a diploma to the student. Although homeschools operate legally under Kentucky statutory law, the KDE has limited governance over the establishment of such schools or their day-to-day operations. Because of this, the KDE does not issue diplomas to, or officially recognize, homeschool diplomas.
It is important to note that homeschools cannot seek traditional accreditation. Homeschools will not be found on the Kentucky list of certified schools. Unless a homeschooling family functions as a satellite classroom for an accredited/certified school, other schools or agencies may require documentation or other verification before accepting homeschool diplomas.
Some homeschooled children take the General Education Development (GED®) exam to obtain a standard credential after turning 18. Other college-bound home school graduates take the SAT or ACT tests.”
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 Kentucky homeschool law and Kentucky 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 Kentucky Homeschool Groups by county.