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 Georgia—step by step.
Georgia law requires children to attend school between their 6th and 16th birthdays. However, if your child is under 7 and has attended a Georgia public school for more than 20 days, then he or she must continue to attend school thereafter. Early graduation is allowed if your child has successfully completed all requirements for a high school diploma.
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 Georgia 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 are also eligible to use the sample letter of withdrawal for Georgia available in Member Resources to correspond with school officials.
We generally recommend that any correspondence with authorities be sent “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.
Georgia law refers to homeschools as home study programs. To operate a home study program in Georgia, you must follow the steps listed below:
Homeschooling under the homeschool statute:
You must be a parent or a legal guardian of a child before you can file a declaration of intent to homeschool that child. You may hire a tutor to help you homeschool your child. The teaching parent or guardian and any tutor in a home study program must have a high school diploma or a GED.
Within 30 days after you begin homeschooling, and every year thereafter by September 1, you must submit a “declaration of intent to utilize a home study program” to the Georgia Department of Education. You can access online and printable versions of the declaration of intent on the department’s website. Your declaration must include the names and ages of your students, the location of your home study program, the local school system in which your home study program is located, and the 12-month period that you consider to be your home study program’s school year.
During the school year, your home study program must provide the equivalent of 180 days of education with each school day consisting of at least four and one-half school hours, unless your child is physically unable to comply with this requirement.
Your home study program must provide a basic educational program that includes, but is not limited to, reading, language arts, mathematics, social studies, and science.
At the end of every school year, you must write a report of the progress that your child made in each of the required subjects. You must keep this report in your records for at least three years. It does not have to be submitted to public school officials.
Your child must be tested at least every three years, beginning at the end of the 3rd grade. You may administer the test if you do this “in consultation with a person trained in the administration and interpretation of norm reference tests.” Test results do not have to be submitted to public school officials. HSLDA has some information that may help you locate a test provider on our website.
You can find Georgia’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.
Home School Legal Defense Association 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 October 2, 2017