Homeschooling laws can change, so be sure to check the Vermont Agency of Education website for updates.
Are you ready to start homeschooling in Vermont? 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 Vermont 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 Vermont homeschool requirements to get you started:
Vermont Homeschool Law
According to Vermont Statute 16 V.S.A. § 1121, “A person having the control of a child between the ages of six and 16 years shall cause the child to attend a public school, an approved or recognized independent school, an approved education program, or a home study program for the full number of days for which that school is held, unless the child:
- is mentally or physically unable so to attend; or
- has completed the tenth grade; or
- is excused by the superintendent or a majority of the school directors as provided in this chapter; or
- is enrolled in and attending a postsecondary school […] which is approved or accredited in Vermont or another state.”
As stated above, “Every family in Vermont has the right to educate their own children. All students in Vermont must be enrolled at an approved public or independent school or enroll in a home study program. Home Study and Home Schooling mean the same thing; the family is responsible for educating the students. Families must develop their own curriculum, or purchase a curriculum to implement or they can enroll their students in an online program/academy. The family will determine which best meets their needs.
The Agency of Education’s Home Study Team functions as an approver of home study programs – not a school. There are some minimum standards that the State of Vermont has determined all Home Study Programs must meet, and we are responsible for ensuring that all programs are in compliance with the requirements in 16 VSA §166b. By enrolling in a Home Study Program, families give up their right to a publicly funded education. There is no money available to pay for a Home Study Program at either the State level or the local level” (Vermont Agency of Education).
What do I need to be eligible to be a homeschool parent?
There are no minimum qualifications for your to homeschool your child in Vermont.
Do I need to notify the school district of my intent to homeschool my child?
Yes! Per Vermont Statute 16 V.S.A. § 166b, “A home study program shall send a written enrollment notice to the Secretary whenever it intends to enroll a child. Enrollments in home study programs shall expire on July 1. If a home study program intends to re-enroll a child for the following school year, a new notice under this section is required and may be submitted at any time after March 1.”
Notification must include the following (16 V.S.A. § 166b):
- “The name, age, and month and year of birth of the child.
- The names, mailing addresses, town of legal residence, and telephone numbers of the parents or guardians of the child.
- For each child enrolled during the preceding year, any assessment of progress required […].
- For each child not previously enrolled in a Vermont public school or Vermont home study program, independent professional evidence on whether the child has a disability. A comprehensive evaluation to establish eligibilities for special education is not required, but may be ordered by a hearing officer after a hearing under this section.
- […] For each child being enrolled for the current year, a detailed outline or narrative that describes the content to be provided in each subject area of the minimum course of study, including any special services or adaptations to be made to accommodate any disability. Methods and materials to be used may be included but are not required.
- The names, addresses, telephone numbers, and signatures of the persons who will provide ongoing instruction in each subject area of the minimum course of study […].
- The signatures of all custodial parents or guardians who are legally authorized to make educational decisions for the student.”
Students must remain in the public/independent school until you have received an official Home Study enrollment complete letter” (Vermont Agency of Education). “Within 14 business days of receiving an enrollment notice, the Secretary or designee shall send the home study program a written acknowledgment of receipt. The acknowledgment shall include a determination:
- either that the enrollment notice is complete and no further information is needed, or specifically identifying information required […] which is missing. If information is missing, the home study program shall provide the additional information in writing within 14 days; and
- either that the child may be enrolled immediately or that the child may be enrolled 45 days after the enrollment notice was received. At any time before the child may be enrolled, the Secretary may order that a hearing be held. After notice of such a hearing is received, the child shall not be enrolled until after an order has been issued by the hearing officer to that effect” (16 V.S.A. § 166b).
What educational options are available to my homeschooler?
When you homeschool in Vermont, you have options. According to the Vermont Agency of Education, “Students enrolled in home study may take part in classes and activities at their public (not independent) schools. Act 119 provides for the participation of homeschoolers in public school academic, co-curricular, and extracurricular programs. […] If a student is taking a class at the public school, you must:
- Include the content of the public school class in the minimum course of study. (Not applicable if the student has met the minimum course of study exemption.)
- Provide an End-of-the-Year Assessment (EOYA) or a copy of the Report Card for the class.
- […] submit the signature of a school official (teacher, principal, guidance counselor, etc.) in the enrollment packet verifying the class the child is taking at the public school (Form C).
- If the student is accessing an online program, families must keep hard copies of work if their plan is to submit a Parent Report and Portfolio for an End of the Year Assessment. The Home Study Office will not accept print outs from the online program documenting that the student completed the program unless the print out includes grades. The Home Study Office needs to see work samples that the student completed.”
As another option, Act 77 “creates a Flexible Pathways Initiative within the Agency of Education to expand opportunities for secondary students to complete high school and achieve postsecondary readiness. The Act provides the opportunity for each high school student to:
- Enroll in two dual enrollment courses that the State pays for,
- Allows eligible students to access the early college program through which students’ complete 12th grade entirely on a college campus, and
- Removes the age limit for participation in the High School Completion Program.”
Note: “To be enrolled in a home study program, at least sixty percent of the core academics (3 out of 5) must be conducted at home. “Core academics” includes (basic communication skills: reading and writing, basic communications skills: use of numbers (math), history/citizenship/government, the natural sciences, English, American, and other literature.”
Vermont Homeschool Requirements
Even though Vermont does not highly regulate homeschooling, there are some Vermont homeschool requirements you must satisfy when you homeschool:
- Begin homeschooling by age 6.
- File the required enrollment notice each year.
- Provide the “minimum course of study” each year per (16 V.S.A. § 166b). See below for clarification.
- Submit annual end-of-year evaluations to the Secretary or designee.
- “Notify the Secretary within seven days of the day that any student ceases to be enrolled in the program. Within ten days of receiving any enrollment report, the Secretary shall notify the appropriate superintendent of schools” (16 V.S.A. § 166b).
- Stay current with homeschooling laws and requirements.
Minimum course of study refers to the following:
- “For a child who is younger than 13 years of age, the subject areas listed in section 906 of this title.
- For a child who is 13 years of age or older, the subject areas listed in subdivisions 906(b)(1), (2), (4), and (5) of this title, and other subject areas selected by the home study program. The child’s progress in the elective areas shall not be subject to the annual progress assessment.” Note that “the educational content provided shall be adapted in each area of study to the age and ability of each child and to any disability of the child. Nothing in this section requires that a home study program follow the program or methods used by the public schools.”
Per section 906, “the minimum course of study means learning experiences adapted to a student’s age and ability in the fields of:
- (1) basic communication skills, including reading, writing, and the use of numbers;
- (2) citizenship, history, and government in Vermont and the United States;
- (3) physical education and comprehensive health education, including the effects of tobacco, alcoholic drinks, and drugs on the human system and on society;
- (4) English, American, and other literature;
- (5) the natural sciences; and
- (6) the fine arts.”
In other words, a child who is age 13 or older is not required to take physical education, comprehensive health education, or fine arts.
What is an MCOS Exemption?
Per 16 VSA §166b(k), “A VT home study program that has successfully completed the last two consecutive school years of home study with any enrolled child, provided those two years fall within the most recent five years, shall not thereafter be required to submit an annual detailed outline or narrative describing the content of the minimum course of study.
Home Study Enrollments must be received or clearly postmarked by midnight, August 1, to be considered a complete year for purposes of the MCOS exemption. The student must not have been withdrawn during the school year, for this to be considered a school year. An MCOS must be submitted for each child who is 12 years old at the time [of] enrollment (even if the student is eligible for the exemption). See 16 V.S.A. §166b (k). […] The MCOS exemption is extended to all students in a family. If one student earns the exemption, then all of the students in the family receive the exemption. The same applies for students who lose the exemption. If one student in a family loses the exemption, then all students in the family lose the exemption.”
Do I need to administer testing to my homeschooler?
According to 16 V.S.A. § 166b, “Each home study program shall assess annually the progress of each of its students. Progress shall be assessed in each subject area of the minimum course of study […] by one or more of the following methods:
- A report in a form designated by the Secretary, by a teacher licensed in Vermont. In determining the form of the report, the Secretary shall consult with parents who have provided home study programs for their children. Nothing in this section shall be construed to require the Secretary to consult with parents on an individual basis regarding the form of a teacher report.
- A report prepared by the student’s parents or instructor, or a teacher advisory service report from a publisher of a commercial curriculum, together with a portfolio of the student’s work that includes work samples to demonstrate progress in each subject area in the minimum course of study.
- The complete results of a standardized achievement test approved by the Secretary, administered in a manner approved by the testing company, and scored in accordance with this subdivision. In selecting the list of tests to be approved, the Secretary shall:
- Consult with parents who have provided home study programs for their children. Nothing in this section shall be construed to require the Secretary to consult with parents on an individual basis regarding the test to be administered as a progress assessment for their own home study programs.
- Select at least four tests to be scored by a testing company, and at least four tests to be administered and scored by a teacher licensed in Vermont who is not the parent or legal guardian of the student.”
For more information on the assessment requirements, see the current Home Study Guidelines on the Vermont Agency of Education website.
What happens to my child’s evaluation results?
“If the Secretary has information that reasonably could be expected to justify an order of termination under this section, he or she may call a hearing. At the hearing, the Secretary shall establish one or more of the following:
- the home study program has substantially failed to comply with the requirements of this section;
- the home study program has substantially failed to provide a student with the minimum course of study;
- the home study program will not provide a student with the minimum course of study” (16 V.S.A. § 166b).
What records do I need to keep when I homeschool my child?
According to the Vermont Agency of Education, “We can and do maintain records documenting that students satisfactorily meet all necessary standards, and confirm with school districts all who are enrolled with us so they can accurately enforce truancy laws.” That being said, parents are still required to track their child’s progress “and to keep records of their progress (portfolio, qualified teacher assessment, curriculum-based assessments, etc.).”
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 Vermont homeschool requirements through your local school district.
Other Vermont Homeschool Policies
Once you make sure that you are following Vermont homeschool law and meeting Vermont homeschool requirements, here are some other things you need to know:
Can my homeschooled child participate in extracurricular activities or services offered by the public school?
According to § 4404.1, “A home study student shall be eligible to participate in or, when selection to participate in an activity is made on a competitive basis, to try out for, one or more co-curricular or extracurricular activities at a school operated by his or her district of resident or, if the district does not operate a school, at a public school for which his or her district is required to pay tuition. […] Although a home study student need not enroll in academic programs to participate in activities under this rule, he or she must show compliance with insurance, physical examination, age, transfer and other requirements of the Vermont Principals’ Association on the same basis as enrolled students.”
Also, “A home study student may use facilities at a school operated by his or her district of residence or, if the district does not operate a school, at a public school for which his or her district is required to pay tuition” (§ 4405.1).
“Students with disabilities may be enrolled in a Home Study Program. Families should be aware that by enrolling in a Home Study Program:
- Students are not entitled to and may not receive any special education supports and services through the school
- Families are required to complete the Adaptations form. This form provides us with information on what families will do to support their student’s education. Please see this Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) for more information, and see the sample Adaptations” form (Vermont Agency of Education)
What if I want to re-enroll my child in public school after homeschooling?
At some point, for whatever reason, you may choose to re-enroll your child in public school. “If the student completes a home study program and enters/returns to a public/independent school, the student’s achievement level (such as grade level or academic standing) will be at the discretion of the school. Students might not receive credit for courses undertaken at home and may need to repeat courses” (Vermont Agency of Education).
What are my child’s postsecondary options after homeschooling?
“Students enrolled in home study do not receive grades or diplomas from the State” […] “Upon request, the Agency will provide a verification letter that may be used to document that the student was enrolled in a home study program” (Vermont Agency of Education).
When planning for your child’s life after homeschooling, you may want to contact universities and colleges, organizations, and/or branches of the military for admission requirements.
See the Home Study page on the Vermont Agency of Education’s website for even more information on homeschooling in Vermont.
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 Vermont homeschool law and Vermont 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 Vermont Homeschool Groups by county.