Homeschooling laws can change, so be sure to check the Oregon Department of Education website for updates.
Are you ready to start homeschooling in Oregon? 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 Oregon 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 Oregon homeschool requirements to get you started:
Oregon Homeschool Law
According to Oregon Statute 339.010, “Except as provided in ORS 339.030, all children between the ages of 6 and 18 years who have not completed the 12th grade are required to regularly attend a public full-time school during the entire school term. All children five years of age who have been enrolled in a public school are required to attend regularly the public school while enrolled in the public school. […] A child is considered to be six years of age if the sixth birthday of the child occurred on or before September 1 immediately preceding the beginning of the current school term.”
In Oregon, per ORS 339.030 (1) (c-d), homeschooling provides two possible exemptions to the compulsory school attendance rule:
- “Children who have received a high school diploma or a modified diploma,” or
- “Children being taught for a period equivalent to that required of children attending public schools by a private teacher the courses of study usually taught in kindergarten through grade 12 in the public school.”
Homeschooling, therefore, is an educational option in Oregon, but parents must follow the regulations of Oregon Administrative Rule (OAR) 581-021-0026.
What do I need to be eligible to be a homeschool parent?
There are no required qualifications for you to homeschool your child.
Do I need to notify the school district of my intent to homeschool my child?
Yes! “In order to comply with the compulsory school attendance law, parents of students between the ages of 6-18 must notify their local Education Service District (ESD) of their intent to homeschool within 10 days of beginning to homeschool or withdrawing their child from school or moving to a new ESD region. ORS 339.030, 339.035, OAR 581-021-0026(4).” This notification is only required at the beginning of homeschooling, not on an annual basis; however, “parents are encouraged to notify the ESD if they enroll their child in a public or private school. OAR 581-021-0026(4).”
What educational options are available to my homeschooler?
“ESDs and local school districts are not required by law to provide educational materials or services for students who are being homeschooled. Acquisition of these materials is the responsibility of the parent. However, some school districts may be able to provide materials on loan. A deposit may be charged. Various instructional materials and other resources are available on the Department of Education’s website.” Further, “a school district may allow homeschool students to attend academic classes but is not required by law to do so. A homeschool student who attends classes in a local school district is subject to the same rights and responsibilities as any student enrolled in the district” (Oregon Department of Education).
Note: “Students taught by a parent, legal guardian or private teacher at home using materials purchased from a “correspondence school” are considered to be homeschooled and must register as required in OAR 581-021-0026.”
Oregon Homeschool Requirements
Even though Oregon does not highly regulate homeschooling, there are some Oregon homeschool requirements you must satisfy when you homeschool:
- Begin homeschooling by age 6.
- “Notify the local Education Service District (ESD) of intent to homeschool (ESD Homeschool Websites) within 10 days of withdrawing from public or private school” (Oregon Department of Education).
- “Coordinate with Home School Tester(s) to assess student growth at the end of grade levels 3, 5, 8, and 10 (testing begins 18 months after notification)” (Oregon Department of Education).
- “Submit test results to local ESD when requested” (Oregon Department of Education).
- Stay current with homeschooling laws and requirements.
Do I need to administer testing to my homeschooler?
According to the Oregon Department of Education and OAR 581-021-0026(5), homeschool “testing is required at grades 3, 5, 8 and 10” prior to August 15 of the corresponding school year. However, “if the child was withdrawn from public or private school, the first test is not required in the first 18 months of homeschooling even if the child is in grade 3, 5, 8, or 10. OAR 581-021-0026(5)(a)(A).”
“Required testing for homeschool students focuses on satisfactory progress in academic areas. Academic content standards and curriculum goals have been developed by the Department of Education and are available on the department’s website. These content standards provide a framework for all content areas and are arranged as standards for grades 3, 5, 8, and 10. […] Parents are not required to use the state content standards and may teach programs other than those taught in public school” (Oregon Department of Education).
Testing must be administered by an approved homeschool tester. You can check the Home School Tester Contact List or identify another “neutral person” (i.e., no relationship by bloodline or marriage to the child) to administer the testing as long as that person has at least one of these qualifications:
- “Holds a current personnel service license or teaching license from Oregon Teacher Standards and Practices Commission; or
- Has been licensed by the Oregon Board of Psychologist Examiners; or
- Has met the publisher’s qualifications for purchase, and has purchased at least one of the approved tests; or
- Provides evidence of satisfactory completion of a graduate course in which test administration and interpretation is included in the objective; or
- Has previously qualified as an Oregon homeschool tester and has during the previous year administered at least one of the approved tests” (Oregon Department of Education).
In order to be approved as a homeschool tester, a person must apply using the Home School Test Proctor Application and Verification Form initially and then renew the application and verify the information each year. Supporting documentation must be provided as evidence of meeting one of the qualifications.
“The homeschooling Oregon Administrative Rules (OARs) list approved tests for assessment of satisfactory progress by home school students. […] Please work with a neutral qualified tester and test publishers to use one of the two most recent editions of these comprehensive tests currently approved for testing a homeschooled child. Further details about the examination of children instructed by parent, legal guardian or private teachers is provided in OAR 581-021-0026.” See the Home Schooling Questions and Answers page of the Oregon Department of Education’s website for a current list of approved tests.
“ESDs and school districts as governmental entities do not usually administer tests for homeschooled students. Some local school districts do allow testing of homeschool students with their regular students. Results of tests given in the local school district may be submitted as homeschooling tests. The test must be from the approved list and must be administered and submitted according to the approved timeline. It is up to the local school district to decide whether to include homeschooling students in the district testing program. The local school district or ESD may charge for individual testing services” (Oregon Department of Education).
What happens to my child’s annual testing results?
“If the ESD requests that the test results be submitted, parents or guardians must submit the results of the test to the ESD within a reasonable period of time. OAR 581-021-0026 (5)(c). Just because an ESD does not request test results one year, does not guarantee that the ESD will not request the results at another time. Parents or guardians should maintain a cumulative record of the test results for each homeschooled child” (Oregon Department of Education).
“A student must score at or above the 15th percentile on one of the approved tests or score equal to or greater than the composite score on the previous test. OAR 581-021-0026(7) (a-b)” (Oregon Department of Education).
“If a student at grade 5 does not meet the performance requirement on the test given following grade 5, the student will be required to be tested again after grade 6. If the results of the test given following grade 6 are below the performance requirement, but do not show a decline from the grade 5 test, the student meets the performance requirement and the student will not be required to be tested again until grade 8. If the results of the grade 6 test show a decline from the grade 5 results, the student will be required to be tested again following grade 7 and the ESD superintendent may require the parent or guardian to place the student under the supervision of a licensed teacher at the expense of the parent. OAR 581-021-0026(7) If the results of the grade 7 test continue to show a decline, the ESD superintendent may:
- allow the student to continue under the supervision of a licensed teacher and be tested again at grade 8; or
- allow the student to continue to be homeschooled and be tested again at grade 8; or
- order the student back to school for no more than 12 consecutive months.”
What records do I need to keep when I homeschool my child?
According to the Oregon Department of Education, “Homeschool records and documentation will not be a part of the student’s permanent public school records. Homeschool records are not kept at the Oregon Department of Education.” As a result, parents must keep certain records to satisfy Oregon homeschooling requirements, including standardized test scores.
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:
- 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 Oregon homeschool requirements through your local Education Service District.
Other Oregon Homeschool Policies
Once you make sure that you are following Oregon homeschool law and meeting Oregon 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, as long as the following statutes and administrative rules are followed: ORS 339.460, Interscholastic Activities; and OAR 581-021-0033, Interscholastic Activities Eligibility Requirement for Home School Students. Interscholastic activities include those activities administered by the Oregon School Activities Association (OSAA).
Home schooled students must be tested every year and must score at or above the 23rd percentile to be eligible to participate in interscholastic activities. Assessment scores must be submitted annually to the school district by the student’s parent or legal guardian. A school district may adopt alternative methods to determine eligibility, including a portfolio of work samples.
Parents or guardians should contact the school district athletic director and the OSAA for specific eligibility requirements. The home school parent is responsible for any fees charged for participation in such activities” (Oregon Department of Education).
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. “Oregon law allows school districts to develop policies and procedures to review a homeschooled student’s transcript and/or work samples to determine if credit can be awarded. Districts are not required to award credit for homeschool work. Therefore, the acceptance of high school credit earned in a homeschool program is determined by local district board policy. OAR 581-021-0210.”
What are my child’s postsecondary options after homeschooling?
“ESDs do not award diplomas to homeschooled students nor do high schools generally award diplomas to homeschooled high school students. Parents may, however, contact their local high school regarding local district policies, if any, on accepting credits toward a public high school diplomas, participating in graduation, and other related matters” (Oregon Department of Education).
“An applicant, who is at least 16 years of age, but not yet 18 years of age, may take the GED tests under certain circumstances. Specific GED information may be found at the Oregon Department of Education’s GED page. OAR 589-007-0400, General Educational Development Program and Certificates of High School Equivalency, states in subsection (7)(b)(A)(ii) that “the Education Service District must certify to authorized Oregon GED Chief Examiner that the applicant is exempt from compulsory school attendance” because the student is being homeschooled as provided in ORS 339.030 (1) (c and d). The ESD must be an approved GED option site to certify that 16 and 17-year-old students are eligible to test. The ESD/Parent Assurance Form and the GED Testing Authorization Form, which are provided by the ESD, are both required to certify to the authorized Oregon GED Chief Examiner that the applicant is exempt from compulsory school attendance and eligible for GED Testing” (Oregon Department of Education).
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 Oregon homeschool law and Oregon 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 Oregon Homeschool Groups by county.