Are you considering homeschooling your child? You can do it! As you get started, it’s important to make sure you comply with the education laws where you live. This page helps you understand how to homeschool legally in Arkansas—step by step.
Arkansas law requires children ages 5–17 as of August 1 to attend school. If a child has not reached his 6th birthday by August 1, parents can waive attendance requirements for one year. However, the parent must file a kindergarten waiver using a Department of Education form.
HSLDA believes that a parent-issued diploma and transcript should be sufficient to demonstrate that a child has completed a secondary education. However, even if your child is beyond compulsory school attendance age, there may be situations where you would want to continue to follow the requirements of a home education option recognized under Arkansas law until your child graduates from high school (filing a home education notice, keeping attendance and other records, etc.). These records may be requested in some situations, such as obtaining a driver's license if your child is a minor, enlisting in the military, applying to colleges, or demonstrating eligibility for Social Security benefits. If you are a member of HSLDA and would like additional details, please contact us.
If you want to start homeschooling during the school year and your child is currently enrolled in a public or private school, HSLDA recommends that you formally withdraw your child from that school. If you are going to start homeschooling after the school year is over, and your child is considered enrolled for the following year, we recommend that you withdraw your child before the next school year begins, so that the school does not mark your child as absent or truant.
We invite you to become a member of HSLDA to receive specific advice about withdrawing your child from school and starting to homeschool. Local schools may have specific forms or withdrawal procedures. HSLDA members are eligible to receive individualized advice about whether complying with those procedures is advisable or required. HSLDA members can also use the sample letter of withdrawal for Arkansas available in Member Resources to correspond with school officials.
We generally recommend that any correspondence with authorities be sent by “Certified Mail—Return Receipt Requested.” Keep copies of the withdrawal letter and any other paperwork or correspondence, and any green postal receipts, for your personal records.
Note: If your child has never attended a public or private school, this section does not apply.
In Arkansas, parents may homeschool under the homeschool statute. If a registered sex offender lives in your home, or if your student is currently being disciplined by a public school, it’s imperative that you get individualized guidance before seeking to start a home school program.
Homeschooling under the homeschool statute:
Notification consists of annually filing a written notice of intent. Notice must be filed by August 15. It is not necessary to use any particular form, or any form at all, but it’s a very good idea to use a form from a trusted source to avoid inadvertently leaving out some of the information that is required. HSLDA makes a form available to our Arkansas members. The Arkansas Department of Education also makes a form available.
The notice must include:
The notice may be submitted electronically, or by email, or by U.S. mail, or in person. This information is confidential and may be used only for statistical and record-keeping purposes. § 6 15 503(a-b). It is important for a parent to keep documentation showing that the notice was submitted.
If you decide to begin homeschooling after the start of the year and your child is enrolled in public school, you must file the notice 14 days prior to withdrawing your child from public school. The superintendent or the local school district board of directors may waive this 14-day waiting period. HSLDA believes that this 14-day waiting period is unconstitutional.
If you move into the state or a new school district during the school year, you must file in the new district within 30 days after establishing residency there.
You can find Arkansas’s specific recordkeeping requirements, if any, above. Regardless of what state you live in, HSLDA recommends that you keep detailed records of your homeschool program. These records may be helpful if you face an investigation regarding your homeschooling or your student needs to furnish proof of education.
These records should include attendance records, information on the textbooks and workbooks your student used, samples of your student’s schoolwork, correspondence with school officials, portfolios and test results, and any other documents showing that your child is receiving an appropriate education in compliance with the law. You should maintain these records for at least two years. You should keep your student’s high school records and proof of compliance with the home education laws during the high school years (including any type of home education notice that you file with state or local officials) on file forever. HSLDA’s high school webpage has additional information about homeschool recordkeeping.
HSLDA is a national advocacy organization that supports the right of parents to educate their children at home. We are dedicated to protecting the legality of your homeschool while equipping you to successfully teach your children.
HSLDA members have 24/7 phone and email access to our staff of attorneys and legal assistants, who can help you understand the homeschool law in your state and will go to bat for you if a school official or other authority challenges your homeschool. Our 80,000 members—families like you!— also receive personalized advice on everything from homeschooling a high schooler to teaching a child with special needs from our team of education consultants.
Please note: The information on this page has been reviewed by an attorney, but it should not be taken as legal advice specific to your individual situation.
Last updated November 9, 2018