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North Dakota Homeschool Laws

North Dakota Homeschool Laws

Homeschooling laws can change, so be sure to check the North Dakota Department of Public Instruction website for updates. 

Are you ready to start homeschooling in North Dakota? 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 North Dakota 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 North Dakota homeschool requirements to get you started

North Dakota Homeschool Law 

According to North Dakota Century Code (NDCC) 15.1-20-01, “Any person having responsibility for a child between the ages of seven and sixteen years shall ensure the child attends a public school for the duration of each school year. If a person enrolls a child of age six in a public school, the person shall ensure the child attends the public school for the duration of each school year. The person may withdraw a child of age six from the public school. However, once the child is withdrawn, the person may not re-enroll the child until the following school year.”

However, per NDCC 15.1-20-02, “The provisions of section 15.1-20-01 do not apply if the person having responsibility for the child demonstrates to the satisfaction of the school board that:

  • The child is in attendance for the same length of time at an approved nonpublic school;
  • The child has completed high school;
  • The child is necessary to the support of the child’s family;
  • A multidisciplinary team that includes the child’s school district superintendent, the director of the child’s special education unit, the child’s classroom teacher, the child’s physician, and the child’s parent has determined that the child has a disability that renders attendance or participation in a regular or special education program inexpedient or impracticable; or
  • The child is receiving home education.”

To comply with North Dakota’s home education laws, you must follow the homeschool requirements listed in NDCC Chapter 15.1-23. “Home Education” in North Dakota is defined as “a program of education supervised by a child’s parent in accordance with the requirements of this chapter” (NDCC 15.1-23-01).

What do I need to be eligible to be a homeschool parent?

According to the North Dakota Department of Public Instruction, “A parent is qualified to supervise a program of home education if the parent holds a high school diploma or general education diploma (GED)” (NDCC 15.1-23-03). “A parent who does not meet the qualifications provided in section 15.1-23-03 may supervise home education but must be monitored in accordance with section 15.1-23-07 for the first two years” (NDCC 15.1-23-06). A parent may also request that a monitor be provided at the school’s expense.

Per NDCC 15.1-23-01, a parent may be the child’s legal guardian who supervises home education where “supervise” means “the selection of materials, determination of an educational philosophy, and oversight of the method, manner, and delivery of instruction.” According to the North Dakota Department of Public Instruction, “This law gives parents freedom to choose how the child is educated, however it must be noted the parent is still solely responsible for their child’s education.”

Do I need to notify the school district of my intent to homeschool my child?

Yes! “At least fourteen days before beginning home education or within fourteen days of establishing a child’s residence in a school district, and once each year thereafter, a parent intending to supervise or supervising home education shall file a statement, reflecting that intent or fact, with the superintendent of the child’s school district of residence or if no superintendent is employed, with the county superintendent of schools for the child’s county of residence” (NDCC 15.1-23-02).

Per NDCC 15.1-23-02, “The statement must include:

  • The name and address of the child receiving home education;
  • The child’s date of birth;
  • The child’s grade level;
  • The name and address of the parent who will supervise the home education;
  • The qualifications of the parent who will supervise the home education;
  • Any public school courses in which the child intends to participate and the school district offering the courses; and
  • Any extracurricular activities in which the child intends to participate and the school district or approved nonpublic school offering the activities.

The statement must be accompanied by a copy of the child’s immunization record and proof of the child’s identity.”

According to the North Dakota Department of Public Instruction, “After receiving the Statement of Intent to Home Educate (SFN 16909), the local superintendent will: 

  • Inform the parent about parental responsibility to maintain the student’s academic record for each home-educated student.
  • Explain resources and support for students who are experiencing learning difficulties and who may need special education and related services, as well as the responsibility of the local school district to identify and appropriately serve such students.
  • Provide the local school district’s expectations for each student at the appropriate grade level in the subjects required by statute.
  • Provide information regarding the standardized achievement test administered by the district and the parent’s options regarding the test.
  • Provide a copy of the state law on home education.”

What educational options are available to my homeschooler?

“The 2019 Home Education version of the Century Code clarifies that a parent may choose any way they see fit to educate their child. This may be virtually, through independent classes, work study, public school, etc.” (North Dakota Department of Public Instruction). Based on the State Superintendent letter dated January 14, 2014, “a home educated student may open enroll to a non-resident school district for the purpose of participating in academic courses” (2014-L-01).

North Dakota Homeschool Requirements 

Even though North Dakota does not highly regulate homeschooling, there are some North Dakota homeschool requirements you must satisfy when you homeschool:

  • Begin homeschooling by age 7.
  • File the required Statement of Intent fourteen days prior to beginning homeschooling and each year thereafter (NDCC 15.1-23-02).
  • Include “instruction in those subjects required by law to be taught to public school students” (NDCC 15.1-23-04).
  • Provide instruction for “a duration of at least four hours each day for a minimum of one hundred seventy-five days each year” (NDCC 15.1-23-04).
  • Arrange for testing using a nationally-normed standardized achievement test in grades four, six, eight, and ten.
  • Stay current with homeschooling laws and requirements.

Do I need to administer testing to my homeschooler?

North Dakota Century Code states, “While in grades four, six, eight, and ten, each child receiving home education shall take a standardized achievement test used by the school district in which the child resides (All school districts in North Dakota are required to take the NDSA which is a criterion-based test). The NWSA will fulfill the testing requirement for home educated students. If the parent does not wish to have their child take the NDSA, they will be required to take a nationally normed standardized achievement test of their choice and submit the test scores, including the composite score, to the superintendent or county superintendent if the district does not employ a superintendent” (North Dakota Department of Public Instruction).

If the child takes a nationally normed standardized achievement test not used by the school district in which the child resides, the child’s parent is responsible for the cost of the test. In addition, the cost of administering a test is the responsibility of the child’s parent if the test is administered by an individual who is selected by the parent. An individual selected by the child’s parent to administer a test must be licensed to teach by the education standards and practices board or approved to teach by the education standards and practices board. The cost of administering a test is the responsibility of the school district if, at the request of the child’s parent, the school district administers the test. The school district shall ensure that the test is administered by an individual who is employed by the district and who is licensed to teach by the education standards and practices board or approved to teach by the education standards and practices board” (North Dakota Department of Public Instruction).

There are, however, exemptions to this requirement. Per NDCC 15.1-23-09, the testing requirement “does not apply if the parent notifies the school district in which the child resides that the parent has a philosophical, moral, or religious objection to the use of standardized achievement tests or the parent:

  • Is licensed to teach by the education standards and practices board or approved to teach by the education standards and practices board;
  • Holds a baccalaureate degree; or
  • Has met or exceeded the cutoff score of a national teacher examination given in this state or in any other state if this state does not offer such an examination.”

What happens to my child’s annual testing results?

The North Dakota Department of Public Instruction provides the following information: “If the child’s basic composite score on a standardized achievement test is less that the thirtieth (30%) percentile nationally, a multidisciplinary assessment team shall assess the child for a potential learning problem under rules adopted by the superintendent of public instruction. If the multidisciplinary assessment team determines that the child is not disabled and the child’s parents wish to continue home education, the parent, with the advice and consent of an individual who is licensed to teach by the education standards and practices board or approved to teach by the education and standards practices board, shall prepare a remediation plan to address the child’s academic deficiencies and file the plan with the superintendent of the school district or with the county superintendent if the district does not employ a superintendent. The parent is responsible for any costs associated with the development of the remediation plan. If the parent fails to file a remediation plan, the parent is deemed to be in violation of compulsory school attendance provisions and may no longer supervise the home education of the child.

The superintendent of the school district shall use the remediation plan as the basis for determining reasonable academic progress. The remediation plan must remain in effect until such time as the child achieves on a standardized achievement test a basic composite score at or above the thirtieth (30%) percentile or a score, which when compared to the previous year’s test score, demonstrates one year of academic progress. At the option of the parent, the test may be one required or one administered in a higher grade level. The child’s parent, with the advice and consent of an individual who is licensed to teach by the education standards and practices board or who is approved to teach by the educations standards and practices board, may amend the remediation plan from time to time in effect the child fails to demonstrate reasonable academic progress on a subsequent test, a remediation plan must again be developed and implemented.”

If a child receiving home education obtains a basic composite standardized achievement test score below the fiftieth percentile nationally, the parent must be monitored for at least one additional school year and until the child receives a test score at or above the fiftieth percentile. If testing is not required by section 15.1-23-07 during the first two years of monitoring, the period of monitoring may not be extended, except upon the mutual consent of the parent and the monitor. If a parent completes the monitoring requirements of this section for one child, the parent may not be monitored with respect to other children for whom the parent supervises home education” (NDCC 15.1-23-06).

What records do I need to keep when I homeschool my child?

According to NDCC 15.1-23-05, “A parent supervising Home Education shall maintain an annual record of courses taken by the child and the child’s academic progress assessments, including any standardized achievement test results.” Also, “it is recommended from the North Dakota Home School Association (NDHSA) and the North Dakota Department of Public Instruction (NDDPI) that a parent maintain meticulous records of both classes taught and standards met during these classes. These records will be helpful to the parents for multiple reasons, including:

  • If the student transfers to a public school;
  • Filling out college applications and scholarships; and
  • Resources for educating younger children in the household.”

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 postsecondary pathways. This includes the following:

  • Attendance
  • 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 North Dakota homeschool requirements through your local school district.

Other North Dakota Homeschool Policies 

Once you make sure that you are following North Dakota homeschool law and meeting North Dakota 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. A child receiving home education may participate in extracurricular activities either:

  • Under the auspices of the child’s school district of residence; or
  • Under the auspices of an approved nonpublic school, if permitted by the administration of the school.

* The child participating under the auspices of the child’s school district of residence is subject to the same standards for participation in extra-curricular activities as those required of full-time students enrolled in the school.  The child is subject to the transfer rules as provided in the constitution and by-laws of the North Dakota High School Activities Association” (North Dakota Department of Public Instruction).

Based on the State Superintendent letter dated January 14, 2014, “a home educated student may not open enroll to a non-resident school district for the sole purpose of participating in extracurricular activities” (2014-L-01).

What if I want to re-enroll my child in public school after homeschooling?

If a homeschooled child transfers to a public school district, “the parent shall furnish the [academic] record, upon request, to the school district superintendent or other administrator,” including records of courses taken, progress assessments, and any results from standardized testing (NDCC 15.1-23-05).

What are my child’s postsecondary options after homeschooling?

According to the North Dakota Department of Public Instruction, “Diplomas may be issued through a child’s school district of residence, an approved nonpublic high school, or the North Dakota Center for Distance Education. Policies regarding issuance of high school diplomas to home educated students are established by the local school boards.

Homeschooled students are eligible for the North Dakota Academic/CTE Scholarship Program: “The window for applications to be submitted is January through the first Friday in June. Home-educated students must file with the NDDPI the Home Education Transcript for the North Dakota Scholarship Program form. The form must be notarized and submitted with the supporting documentation requested in the form” (North Dakota Department of Public Instruction).

See the Home Education and Home Education Frequently Asked Questions pages on the North Dakota Department of Public Instruction’s website for even more information on homeschooling in North Dakota.

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 North Dakota homeschool law and North Dakota 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 North Dakota Homeschool Groups by county.

North Dakota Homeschool Laws

More North Dakota Homeschool Resources

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