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 Oregon—step by step.
In Oregon, children must attend school or comply with the homeschool laws between the ages of 6 and 18 years or until they have graduated from high school.
If your child turns 6 after September 1, you are not required to enroll that child in school or comply with the homeschool laws until the beginning of the next school year.
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 Oregon 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 Oregon 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.
To homeschool legally in Oregon, you will need to follow these steps:
You must send a one-time notice of intent to homeschool to your local ESD in writing within 10 days of starting your homeschool program, or within 10 days of withdrawing your child from public school to be taught at home. The notice must include your name and the names, addresses, and birth dates of the children being homeschooled. It must also include the name of the school your children are presently attending or last attended, or, if your children have not been attending school, the name of the public school district where your children reside. A notice of intent form for HSLDA members’ use is available here.
The ESD must acknowledge receipt of your notification in writing within 90 days of receiving the notice.
By August 15 in grades 3, 5, 8, and 10, you must have your child tested. When the legislature lowered the compulsory attendance age to 6, it specifically stated that the testing schedule for homeschool students would not change. The Oregon State Board of Education recently updated its administrative rules to state that a 6-year-old child is presumed to be in kindergarten unless the parent decides to place the child in a higher grade. So, the law will maintain the presumption that the 1st grade is when the student is 7 by September 1. Therefore, a child is to be tested at the end of the school year in which he or she turns 9 (3rd grade), 11 (5th grade), 14 (8th grade), and 16 (10th grade) by September 1. Parents can test their child earlier at their discretion if they believe the student has completed grade 3, 5, 8, or 10 earlier.
The tests must be approved by the State Board of Education and be administered by a qualified neutral person.
If your child was withdrawn from public school, the first examination must be administered at least 18 months after the date of withdrawal. If your child has never attended public or private school, the first examination must be administered to the child by August 15 after completing grade 3.
The administrator of the test must score the test and report the results to you. The results are not reported to the education service district unless the ESD superintendent specifically requests them.
If the composite score on the exam is below the 15th percentile, your child must be given an additional exam within one year. If the score on the second exam is a lower percentile than the previous exam, the superintendent of the ESD may place the education of your child under a certified teacher selected by and paid for by you. If the third exam continues the decline, the superintendent may either allow your homeschool to continue under a certified teacher’s supervision and require an additional exam within one year, or allow the child to be taught by you and require the additional exam within the year, or order you to send your child to school for a period that cannot exceed 12 consecutive months.
If your child has a disability, you must have that child evaluated for satisfactory educational progress according to the method recommended in your child’s individualized education plan (IEP) or privately developed plan. No testing of your student is required unless recommended in the plan. HSLDA members, please contact us for more information.
You can find Oregon’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 July 10, 2015