1. Make sure you have the required qualifications to homeschool under D.C. regulations.
D.C. regulations require that you have a high school diploma or its equivalent to homeschool. If you do not have a diploma or its equivalent, you may petition the Office of the State Superintendent of Education (OSSE) for a waiver by providing evidence of your ability to provide thorough, regular education. Members of HSLDA may contact us for assistance seeking a waiver.
2. Notify the District of Columbia that you are homeschooling.
D.C. regulations state that parents who wish to homeschool must use an official form provided by the D.C. Office of the State Superintendent of Education. The form should be filed 15 days before you officially begin homeschooling, and every year thereafter by August 15. The form states that it should be accompanied (initially) by a copy of your high school diploma or GED. If you cannot locate your diploma or GED, a cover letter stating that you have one but are unable to locate it is an appropriate alternative. Not filing by August 15 does not mean you cannot homeschool. If you are an HSLDA member and have not filed by August 15, contact us for specific advice about your situation.
3. Teach your children thoroughly and regularly.
D.C. regulations state that a bona fide home education program must provide thorough, regular instruction of sufficient duration to implement the home school program. This requirement does not mean that homeschooling families must provide the same hours of instruction, take vacations at the same time, or teach their children for the same number of hours as public schools, but they should provide instruction during the period of the year when public schools are in session. If you are an HSLDA member, you may contact us for specific advice regarding your situation.
4. Teach the required subjects.
The regulations require you to teach at least the following subjects: language arts, mathematics, science, social studies, art, music, health, and physical education.
5. Maintain a portfolio.
D.C. regulations require you to maintain a portfolio of homeschooling material that includes evidence of your child's current work, such as examples of your child's writings, worksheets, workbooks, creative materials, assessments, or any other materials that demonstrate that your child is engaged in thorough, regular educational activities in a range of subjects. The portfolio is to be maintained for one year and should only be reviewed when there is reason to believe that a regular and thorough education is not being provided.
6. Be prepared to demonstrate that your child is receiving a “thorough, regular education."
D.C. regulations state that the OSSE may request to review your child’s portfolio up to two times per year. A review request must be made in writing, and the review must be held at a time and place mutually agreeable to the OSSE and you. HSLDA members, contact us immediately if this occurs.
While testing is not mandatory for homeschool students, your child is eligible to participate in public school-sponsored testing in your resident school district without charge.
Here is what may happen if the OSSE determines that your child is not receiving a “thorough, regular education”:
The regulations provide for a series of procedures for review and appeal if there is a disagreement between parents and school officials. Ultimately, the State Superintendent of Education is empowered to issue a decision. If it is determined that a child is not receiving “thorough, regular education,” the child must be enrolled in school within 45 days unless the decision is stayed by court order.
7. Notify the District of Columbia if you discontinue homeschooling.
You must send written notice to the DC Office of the State Superintendent of Education 15 days prior to discontinuing homeschooling. Use the form located here.
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.