Massachusetts’ compulsory attendance law provides that children must attend a recognized and/or approved school or be educated in some other way that is approved in advance by the local school committee or superintendent. To legally homeschool, you will need to follow these requirements:

1. Submit an annual notice of intent to the school district.

Although Massachusetts school districts vary, HSLDA has found that most require an annual notice of intent to provide home instruction. According to state law and court opinions, there are four areas a superintendent or school committee may consider when reviewing a notice of intent:

  • The proposed curriculum and number of hours of instruction
  • The competency of the parents (Parents do not need college or advanced degrees.)
  • Textbooks, workbooks, and other instructional aids to be used (so that the superintendent or committee can determine the subjects to be taught and the grade level of instruction for comparison with the curriculum of the public schools)
  • The method of assessment used (to ensure educational progress and attainment of minimum standards); the superintendent or school committee can require standardized testing or may substitute, with the approval of the parents, another form of assessment.

We suggest that you notify your local superintendent at the beginning of the school year. Along with the notice, we recommend that you provide a list of materials you intend to use, a brief description of the curriculum and/or subjects to be taught, and a description of your qualifications or the qualifications of others who will be instructing your children.

HSLDA members may use our specially designed notice of intent forms below and contact us for specific advice.

First-Year Notices of Intent (available below)

  • Notice of Intent Form
  • Notice of Intent Form When Superintendent Does Not Require Year-End Evaluation

Notices of Intent to Continue Homeschooling (available below)

  • Notice of Intent to Continue Homeschooling
  • Notice of Intent Form When Superintendent Does Not Require Year-End Evaluation

2. Teach the required subjects.

Massachusetts law requires that all students be taught the following subjects:

  • spelling,
  • reading,
  • writing,
  • English language and grammar,
  • geography,
  • arithmetic,
  • drawing,
  • music,
  • United States history and Constitution,
  • duties of citizenship,
  • health (including CPR),
  • physical education, and
  • good behavior.

While there are no specific requirements in Massachusetts law for how often each of the subjects must be taught or at what grade levels, HSLDA’s general recommendation is that each of the required subjects be taught at an age-appropriate level every year during the elementary and middle school years, and at least once at the high school level.

3. Keep good records.

There is no explicit legal requirement that homeschool records be kept. However, certain assessments may require various records and work samples.

4. Test or evaluate your child as required.

A superintendent or school committee may require periodic standardized tests or “other means of evaluating the progress of the children [that] may be substituted for the formal testing process, such as periodic progress reports or dated work samples.” Testing or evaluation must be mutually agreed upon by the parents and the superintendent or school committee. To learn more about different types of testing and evaluation, click here.

According to the Massachusetts Supreme Court opinion issued in the case Care and Protection of Charles, the standard of review to determine adequate progress is if the education is equal in “thoroughness, efficiency and progress made therein” to that of the schools in the district.

HSLDA offers our members a free Sample Progress Report to provide a basic idea of the kinds of information your school district may be looking for, available below.