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 Ohio—step by step.
Children must attend school or comply with the homeschool laws between the ages of 6 and 18 years.
Ohio statutes establish that a child is of compulsory school age if the child is 6 years old on or before the day school starts in the school district where a child resides. Although most do not, local school boards are authorized to establish guidelines on a district-by-district basis. We understand that there may be situations that are unique, so HSLDA members are encouraged to contact us with specific questions about their own situation. To join HSLDA, click here.
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 Ohio 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 Ohio 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.
Ohio parents may choose to homeschool under the state’s homeschool statute or as a non-chartered, non-tax-supported school.
Option 1: Homeschooling under Ohio’s homeschool statute:
Children may be excused from compulsory attendance in order to be home educated if their parents comply with the state’s homeschool regulations. Follow these steps to homeschool under this option:
In order to receive an excuse, parents or guardians must submit annual notification to the resident school district superintendent (a) no later than the first week of the start of the public school building the child would attend in the school district of residence, (b) within one week of the date on which the child begins to reside in the district, or (c) within one week from the child’s withdrawal from a school.
The notification must provide the following:
HSLDA strongly recommends that you maintain copies of your notification as well as any and all correspondence with the school district. We recommend that all correspondence with the school district be done in such a way as to assure receipt by the school of your correspondence. We strongly recommend using some form of mail with certification and return receipt.
The law places specific time frames and requirements on superintendents to respond to homeschool notification. HSLDA members who have not received their letter of excuse within 14 days of submitting their notification should contact us. Please visit this page or send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
HSLDA has created easy-to-use forms to assist our members in obtaining an excuse from compulsory attendance for home education. Please visit this page to download these forms.
Parents who teach their own children at home are required to have a high school diploma or GED, or scores from a standardized test demonstrating high school equivalence. A parent who lacks any of these qualifications may still homeschool under the direction of a person who holds a baccalaureate degree. Such oversight is required until the children’s test results demonstrate reasonable proficiency.
Home education programs are required to teach language, reading, spelling, writing, geography, history of the United States and Ohio, government, math, science, health, physical education, fine arts (including music), first aid, safety, and fire prevention.
Parents providing a home education program must assure the superintendent that they will provide at least 900 hours of home education per school year.
Parents home educating their children under Ohio’s homeschool statute are required to annually assess their children’s academic proficiency. You may select one of three options to comply with the assessment regulation.
One, you may choose to test your child with any nationally normed standardized achievement test. The test may be administered by an Ohio licensed or certified teacher, or by another person that you and the superintendent agree upon, or by any person authorized by the publisher of the test. The composite score must be sent to the superintendent and must show that the child scored at least in the 25th percentile.
Two, you may choose to submit a written narrative indicating that a portfolio of samples of your child’s work has been reviewed by a qualified person and that your child’s academic progress for the year is in accordance with the child’s abilities. The narrative must be prepared by an Ohio licensed or certified teacher or by someone else whom you and the superintendent have agreed upon.
Three, you may choose another form of assessment than those listed above if you and the superintendent have agreed upon it.
Here is how to submit the assessment results to your superintendent:
You are required send the annual assessment results with your homeschool notification for the subsequent academic year.
HSLDA has developed a form that our members may use to submit their test results, to ensure that they are in compliance with the law. Download the form here.
Here is what will happen if your child does not demonstrate reasonable proficiency:
If your child fails to demonstrate reasonable proficiency on the assessment, the superintendent is obligated to notify you in writing that you must submit a plan of remediation within 30 days. During the remediation, you will be required to submit quarterly reports. The superintendent may terminate remediation when your child demonstrates reasonable proficiency. It is possible that a child may be ordered into public school if remediation is unsuccessful. HSLDA members who receive notification of remediation from their superintendent should contact us immediately. To become a member of HSLDA, click here.
If you move school districts within Ohio during the school year, you can request your previous school district to forward a copy of your records to your new school district. This request satisfies the regulation’s notice requirements.
Option 2: Homeschooling as a non-chartered, non-tax-supported school (“-08 school”):
Ohio Administrative Code 3301-35 08 permits a school which is not chartered by the state board of education, nor seeking a charter, because of truly held religious beliefs to operate if it meets certain minimum standards. HSLDA has successfully litigated to defend this section of the code as a means for parents to homeschool, and there are a variety of reasons why parents may find this approach appropriate for their family. There are specific requirements and qualifications for forming an -08 school. HSLDA members should read our -08 schools memo before choosing this approach.
HSLDA will assist member families who, because of truly held religious beliefs, organize single-family -08 schools to educate their own children. If you are an HSLDA member who is considering privately educating your children under this regulation, please contact us for more information.
You can find Ohio’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 July 31, 2019