Not meeting homeschool regulation when it comes to attendance can be a deal-breaker. Also, schooling enough to be effective is often a concern. I can remember the research I did before homeschooling. This is what I found regarding attendance.
How many days a week do you homeschool? There are no regulations on how many days a week homeschoolers must attend school. The states that have a mandate for attendance require on average 180 days of instruction. These days can be completed throughout the year in any amount of days a week that fit your homeschool’s needs and still meet the minimum requirement. Some states also regulate how many hours per day your child must school. You must first check with your state. Every state has different mandates on attendance. For some, there is no attendance requirements.
So, the big question is what does your state require and what does your child need. I’m going to spill all my beans right here and then you can read the rest of the article to gain the information you need to customize your learning schedule. I live in a state that doesn’t have any attendance regulation. My pre-K student has 30 mins of directed learning 4 days per week. My 4th grader gets 2.5 to 3 hours 4 days per week. We homeschool year-round with a large break in the summer and winter. Both of my kids are excelling in their studies.
States Attendance Requirements (Days and Hours)
Homeschool requirements are mandated through the state. In order to be in compliance, it is important to understand your state’s law on how often you are required to homeschool your child(ren). Keep in mind these requirements are minimums and you can always do more.
Also, just because there is no attendance requirement doesn’t mean there isn’t a need to record. You should know if your state has reporting standards that require you to report your school day’s activities. While they may not be looking at it for attendance you will still need to provide the information.
States Without Required Homeschool Attendance
The following states do not have a minimum requirement for hours per day or days per year:
|Connecticut||None||They require that you declare|
your days of school on the intent letter
|D.C. Washington||None||Must be enough for child to|
|Oklahoma||None||Recommends 180 days per |
States with Required Homeschool Days Per School Year or Hours Per Day
Don’t worry if you didn’t see your state above. That just means your state has guidelines on how many hours or days a homeschool student must receive instruction. This section will outline those homeschool requirements.
Alabama – 180 days per school year
California – There are four options to homeschool. You must follow the guidelines for the homeschool option you are enrolled in.
- Home-based private school – Student must have “fulltime” day school. The parent decides the definition of “fulltime”. The state does regulate that each child must have 200 minutes of physical education every 10 days.
- Private school independent study and public school independent study programs allow attendance based on the enrolled entity.
- Private Tutor or Teacher – 3 hours per day for 175 days per school year. Schooling must happen between 8 am and 4 pm.
Colorado – 172 days per school year with an average of 4 hours per day.
Georgia – 180 days per school year with 4.5 hours/day
Indiana – 180 days per school year taught to the equivalent instruction of public schools. When it comes to hours you can decide what is equivalent instruction time.
Kansas – 186 days per school year for 6 hours per day for grades 1- 11
Kentucky – 185 days per school year
Louisiana – 180 days per school year. As for hours per day the law states instructions must ” sustain curriculum of quality at least equal to that offered in public school for the same grade level.”
Maine – 175 days per school year
Maryland – No specific times given; however, must teach enough to meet standard achievement level for the child’s grade.
Mississippi – 180 days per school year
Missouri – 1,000 hours per school year. Of which, 600 of the 1,000 hours must be teaching the required subjects. Of those 600 hours, 400 hours must be at a regular homeschool location.
Montana – 360 hours per school year for Kindergarten, 720 hours for grades 1-3, 1080 hours of instruction for grades 4-12
Nebraska – 1032 hours per school year for elementary students and 1080 hours for high school
New Mexico – 180 days per school year or 990 hours for K-6 grade, 1080 for grades 7-12
New York – 180 days per school year or 900 hours for grades 1-6, 990 hours for grades 6-12
North Carolina – 9 months every school year
North Dakota – 4 hours a day for a minimum of 175 days per school year
Ohio – 900 hours per school year
Pennsylvania – 180 days per school year or 900 hours for grades K-6 and 990 hours for grades 7-12
South Carolina – 4.5 hours per day for a minimum of 180 days per school year.
South Dakota – 437 hours per year for Kindergarten, 875 hours for grades 1-5, and 962 hours for grades 6-12
Tennessee – 4 hours per day for a minimum of 180 days per school year.
Virginia – 180 days per school year
Washington – 180 days per school year
Wisconsin – 875 hours per school year
What Age Does Complusory Attendance Laws Start for Homeschoolers?
In short, compulsory attendance laws are created by each state to specify what ages kids are required to be in school. This may be homeschool, public school, or private school. Every child must legally start school by a certain age.
So, what does this mean for homeschoolers? Your state’s complusory attendance law will let you know by what age your child should have started following homeschool regulations for school. It will also let you know, how soon is too soon (age/grade wise) to stop teaching your child.
|State||Compulsory Attendance Age|
|District of Columbia||5–18|
Gaging Your Child’s Needs
I wanted to include a section in here about how to properly gage your child’s needs for how much instructional time they need. Here are a few things to consider. This is especially true for elementary kids or kids who have been pulled out of school due to poor learning progress.
Consider the subjects where your child is lacking the most. These are the classes you can give more time. So, I’m going to use my situation for example. My daughter had decrease progress in reading and math in public school. So, these are the two subjects that we spend the most time learning. The other subjects we take a steady pace with because we are not needing to go back, repeat, and then catch up.
Currently, we do 1 hour of math, 1 hour of Language Arts/Reading, 1/2 hour of unit study, and 1/2 hour of foreign language. Our unit studies includes science and social studies which includes good citizenship. We are able to complete all of our unit studies by rotating them.
Building Homeschool Schedule (Filling Instruction Time)
So, what happens if you live in a state that requires a high number of hours of instruction hours or days when you don’t think it is necessary for your kids. Even though I don’t live in a restrictive state, I am still a mom who is at home with her kids all day. So, I have to find ways to fill their “non-school” time.
Here are some fun ways to meet your hours, that have your kids learning, and doesn’t require a lot of teaching involvement:
- A game for the subject followed by a worksheet that demonstrates skill or ability.
- A project based learning activity
- Read a book or watch a documentary and then write a report about it.
- Pinterest is your best friend for ideas or activities to fill centers. Allow your kids to rotate through centers to practice information they are learning
- An online class
- Learning kits (build a robot or other STEM/History/Geography learning kit)
- Every child should be reading daily. It can be helpful to have them read during this time
- Creative writing time
- Computer Typing practice
- Coding class
- Mini Course (such as library skills etc)
Does my homeschool schedule have to follow the public school schedule? Homeschoolers are allowed to create their own daily schedules. If you are homeschooling in California via the private tutor method you are required to have school between the hours of 8am and 4pm. There are some states that do specify how many days and/or hours homeschoolers are required to be in school. Otherwise, parents should select a schedule that works best for their family and follows the state’s guideline for yearly hours or days.
What information should you include in homeschool record keeping? Homeschool records can include the following information:
- Schedule (when you school)
- Learning activities (everything from worksheets to field trips)
- Grades and Scores (if you use them or are required to use them in your school)
- immunization records
- birth certificates
- Letter of intent to homeschool
- Reading list
- Education philosophy
- awards and certificates
- portfolio of your student’s work