Homeschooling laws can change, so be sure to check the Ohio Department of Education website for updates.
Are you ready to start homeschooling in Ohio? 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 Ohio 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 Ohio homeschool requirements to get you started:
Ohio Homeschool Law
According to Ohio Revised Code (ORC) 3321-04, “Every parent of any child of compulsory school age who is not employed under an age and schooling certificate must send such child to a school or a special education program that conforms to the minimum standards prescribed by the state board of education, for the full time the school or program attended is in session, which shall not be for less than thirty-two weeks per school year.” A child “between six and eighteen years of age is ‘of compulsory age’” (ORC 3321.01).
Per ORC 3301-04, “Excuses from future attendance at or past absence from school or a special education program may be granted for the causes, by the authorities, and under the following conditions: […] That the child is being instructed at home by a person qualified to teach the branches in which instruction is required, and such additional branches, as the advancement and needs of the child may, in the opinion of such superintendent, require. In each such case the issuing superintendent shall file in the superintendent’s office, with a copy of the excuse, papers showing how the inability of the child to attend school or a special education program or the qualifications of the person instructing the child at home were determined.”
“As a parent or guardian of an excused child, you decide how to teach the required subjects. You select the curriculum and educational materials and take full responsibility for the education of your child or children. There is no state financial assistance for families who choose this option. You are not required to include any concept, topic or practice that conflicts with sincerely held religious belief of you or your family” (Ohio Department of Education).
What do I need to be eligible to be a homeschool parent?
According to the Ohio Department of Education, “To provide home school instruction, you, or the person providing instruction, must have one of the following qualifications:
- A high school diploma;
- The certificate of high school equivalence (GED);
- Standardized test scores that demonstrate high school equivalence; or
- Another equivalent credential found appropriate by the district superintendent.
If you do not have one of the above qualifications, someone who has a college degree from a recognized college must supervise your instruction. This is until you obtain a high school diploma or GED.”
Do I need to notify the school district of my intent to homeschool my child?
Yes! “Notification should be provided no later than the first week of the start of the public school building the child would attend in the school district of residence or within one week of the date on which the child begins to reside in the district or within one week from the child’s withdrawal from a school” (Ohio Department of Education). “The notification includes:
- Your qualifications to homeschool;
- Confirmation that you will provide a minimum of 900 hours of instruction that must include the following subjects:
- Language, reading, spelling and writing;
- Geography; history of the United States and Ohio; and national, state and local government;
- Physical education;
- Fine arts, including music; and
- First aid, safety and fire prevention;
- A brief outline of the curriculum for the current school year;
- A list of textbooks, correspondence courses, commercial curricula or other basic teaching materials that you plan to use; and
- Your signature.
The recommended notification is to use the Ohio Department of Education’s Home Education Notification Form. “Within 14 days of receiving the notification, the district superintendent formally excuses your child or children from attendance laws for traditional schools” (Ohio Department of Education).
“The home school notification process is an annual requirement. […] After the first year of homeschooling, you must submit with each annual notification, assessment reports that comply with the options provided in the home education regulations” (Ohio Department of Education).
What educational options are available to my homeschooler?
In Ohio, “your home-schooled child may be a part-time student in the district. The option for part-time enrollment and related policies is the decision of the local public school district” (Ohio Department of Education). If you are interested in nonpublic school attendance, your homeschooled child may be eligible for EdChoice Scholarships: “Eligibility is based upon the performance of the public school building to which the student would be assigned or the income level of the family.” Make sure you investigate as you consider both options for your homeschooler.
Also, the “College Credit Plus program gives students in grades 7-12 the chance to earn high school and college credit simultaneously by taking courses at participating Ohio colleges or universities. Tuition is free if your home school student takes classes at a public college. There may be modest fees for private college credit. The deadline is April 1 for homeschool students to let the Ohio Department of Education know they want to participate in College Credit Plus next school year” (Ohio Department of Education).
Note that, in Ohio, online schools are considered community/chartered public schools and are therefore not included in the category of homeschooling.
Ohio Homeschool Requirements
Even though Ohio does not highly regulate homeschooling, there are some Ohio homeschool requirements you must satisfy when you homeschool:
- Begin homeschooling by age 6.
- File the required Home Education Notification Form to the superintendent every year.
- Provide 900 hours of instruction per year.
- Teach the required subjects: Language, reading, spelling and writing; Geography; History of the United States and Ohio, and national, state and local government; Mathematics; Science; Health; Physical education; Fine arts, including music; and First aid, safety and fire prevention. Ohio’s Learning Standards and Ohio’s Graduation Requirements are available on the Ohio Department of Education’s website.
- Submit an assessment of the student’s work with each year’s notification.
- Stay current with homeschooling laws and requirements.
Do I need to administer testing to my homeschooler?
Yes! According to the Ohio Administrative Code 3301-34-04, “The parent(s) shall send to the superintendent an academic assessment report of the child for the previous school year at the time of supplying subsequent notification. The academic assessment report shall include one of the following:
- (1) Results of a nationally normed, standardized achievement test.
- Such test shall be administered by:
- A licensed or certified teacher; or
- Another person mutually agreed upon by the parent(s) and the superintendent; or
- A person duly authorized by the publisher of the test.
- Results should demonstrate reasonable proficiency as compared to other children in the district at the same grade level. Any child that has a composite score at or above the twenty-fifth percentile shall be deemed to be performing at a level of reasonable proficiency.
- Such test shall be administered by:
- (2) A written narrative indicating that a portfolio of samples of the child’s work has been reviewed and that the child’s academic progress for the year is in accordance with the child’s abilities.
- The written narrative shall be prepared by:
- A licensed or certified teacher; or
- Other person mutually agreed upon by the parent(s) and the superintendent.
- The parent(s) shall be responsible for the payment of fees charged for preparation of the narrative.
- The written narrative shall be prepared by:
- (3) An alternative academic assessment of the child’s proficiency mutually agreed upon by the parent and the superintendent.
If the parent(s) chooses to have the standardized testing conducted as part of the school district scheduled testing program, there shall be no cost to the parent(s). The time and location for testing shall be established by the school district. If the parent(s) chooses to have the standardized testing conducted privately, the parent(s) shall pay for the testing. The time and location for testing shall be established by the parent(s).”
What records do I need to keep when I homeschool my child?
To meet Ohio’s homeschooling requirements and 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, you should keep certain records. This includes the following:
- Immunization records
- Record of courses completed
- 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 Ohio homeschool requirements through your local school district.
Other Ohio Homeschool Policies
Once you make sure that you are following Ohio homeschool law and meeting Ohio 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 Ohio Department of Education, “Legislation allows home school students the opportunity to participate in extracurricular activities in public schools. An ‘extracurricular activity’ is a pupil activity program that is run by a school or school district and is not included in a graded course of study. Activities include any offered at the school that the student would attend if enrolled in the public school district where the family resides. If the school district does not offer a particular activity, then the student may request to participate in another district’s program. The superintendent of the other school district may choose to allow the student to participate as an out-of-district student.
Home-educated students must meet the same nonacademic and financial requirements as any other student participating in the activity. Fees and ability in sports, where there are cuts, apply.”
What if I want to re-enroll my child in public school after homeschooling?
“If you are home schooling and decide to enroll your child or children into the public school, the superintendent of the district in which your family lives will determine the appropriate grade level placement for each child. For high school students, the superintendent will evaluate which credits MAY be applied toward the district’s requirements for graduation” (Ohio Department of Education).
What are my child’s postsecondary options after homeschooling?
According to the Ohio Department of Education, “Students who are home-educated do not receive diplomas from the State Board of Education in Ohio. Recent changes in Ohio law allow home-educated students who complete their high school curriculum to receive diplomas from their parents or guardians. The parent-issued diploma recognizes completion of a student’s secondary education in accordance with home education laws and regulations. In Ohio, this diploma serves as proof that the home-educated student completed his or her high school education. Please see section 3313.6110 of the Ohio Revised Code for additional details.”
As you help your child plan for life after homeschooling, be sure to check with colleges and universities, organizations, and/or the military regarding admissions requirements.
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 Ohio homeschool law and Ohio 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 Ohio Homeschool Groups by county.